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Fisher reflects on frustrating loss

Friday, 27 September 2013 22:51 Published in Sports

ST. LOUIS (AP) — Just over 16 hours after a 35-11 loss to San Francisco, St. Louis Rams coach Jeff Fisher was finally able to come to grips with the setback.

Fisher angrily stormed out of Thursday's post-game news conference after just two questions. The 1-minute, 32-second briefing provided little insight into the team's dismal performance,

On Friday afternoon, after a night of sleep, Fisher was able to reflect on the sluggish effort that he called "frustrating."

"But we found out where our team is and what we need to do and where we need improve on," he said. "We've got a lot of work to do as a staff. Fortunately, we have some extra time, some extra days to get focused."

Fisher's club has dropped the last two games by a combined 66-18, marking the second-worst consecutive defeats in his 19-year head coaching career. Under Fisher in 2009, the Tennessee Titans lost to Indianapolis 31-9 and New England 59-0 in Weeks 5 and 6.

St. Louis (1-3) hosts Jacksonville on Oct. 6.

Thursday's loss to the 49ers took a physical toll as well. Safety T.J. McDonald broke his right leg and has been placed on the designated injured reserve list. He will be out at least six weeks, but could return to the team.

"We're fortunate that it will not have to be surgically repaired," Fisher said. "It is not season-ending."

Cornerback Cortland Finnegan and linebacker Will Witherspoon suffered hamstring injuries and are considered day to day.

Fisher felt the lack of a running game and the inability to stop the 49ers' rushing attack played major roles in the loss. Frank Gore tore through the St. Louis defense for 153 yards. Offensively, the Rams rushed 19 times for 18 yards.

"We'll get it fixed," Fisher said. "We've got to adjust our offensive philosophy to what's better suited for us right now, and that's to hand it off. And then everything else spins off of that."

Despite the rough start to the season, Fisher said his players are handling the adversity well.

"They're really good, they're going to be fine," he said. "They're better than (just) hanging in there."

Quarterback Sam Bradford hit on 19 of 41 passes for 202 yards with one touchdown and one interception.

"I thought he did the best he could considering the circumstances," Fisher said.

Bradford connected with Lance Kendricks on a 6-yard scoring toss with 5:44 left.

The Rams will get four days off and return to practice Tuesday. Fisher is hoping the time off will help his players get things turned around

"I know they're excited to get away and come back and prepare for our next opponent," he said.

Cardinals clinch NL Central, beat Cubs 7-0

Friday, 27 September 2013 22:48 Published in Sports

 

ST. LOUIS (AP) -- The St. Louis Cardinals clinched their first NL Central title in four years, beating the Chicago Cubs 7-0 Friday night behind the strong pitching of Lance Lynn and home runs by David Freese and Matt Holliday.

St. Louis (95-65) has won six of seven and is tied with Atlanta for the best record in the NL. They are assured of home-field advantage when the NL division series starts Thursday.

Adam Wainwright (18-9) was moved up to start Saturday, putting the St. Louis ace on track to start his team's postseason opener against Cincinnati, Pittsburgh or the Los Angeles Dodgers.

(backslash)A near-sellout crowd of 44,030 was on its feet, roaring and clapping in unison the final half-inning, then snapping pictures and applauding while the team celebrated near the mound. After the final out, Cardinals players put on T-shirts that read: "We Own The Central."

The Cubs have lost 12 of 16 and watched an opponent clinch for the third time within a week. The Braves wrapped up the NL East on Sunday at Wrigley Field and the Pirates secured a playoff spot in Chicago the following day.

Lynn (15-10) struck out six in a row, starting with Dioner Navarro to end the first. He fanned seven his first time through the order and allowed just four hits over six innings with nine strikeouts and no walks. Lynn has won consecutive starts after a skid in which he was 0-5 with a 5.44 ERA in eight outings.

Leadoff man Starlin Castro had three hits, including a third-inning single that stopped Lynn strikeout streak,

Yadier Molina had two hits and three RBIs to set a single-season best with 78, Jon Jay had two hits and an RBI and leadoff man Matt Carpenter had a single that left him one hit shy of 200.

Travis Wood (9-12) gave up three runs and four hits, leaving after just one inning - when he reached 200 in a season for the first time.

Six batters reached safely with two out: Molina had a two-run double off the left-field wall and Jay extended his hitting streak to 12 with an RBI single.

Holliday hit his 250th career homer and 21st this season leading off the sixth off Blake Parker.

NOTES: Both benches were warned in the sixth after Lynn's high fastball struck Navarro on an arm. ... Lynn's strikeout run was the Cardinals' longest since 2009, when John Smoltz fanned seven Padres in a row in his St. Louis debut. ... Edwin Jackson (8-17, 4.74) is the Cubs starter Saturday. ... Cardinals cleanup man Allen Craig (left mid-foot sprain) was ruled out for the NL division series. ... Wood and Jeff Samardzija are among three NL duos with 200 innings apiece and are the Cubs' first since Ryan Dempster and Ted Lilly in 2008. ... Molina is batting .437 against the Cubs (21 for 48) with a team-high 13 RBIs. ... The Cubs are 12-74 when allowing four runs or more.

Blues get 4-1 preseason win over Wild

Friday, 27 September 2013 22:47 Published in Sports

 

ST. LOUIS (AP) -- T.J. Oshie and Patrik Berglund scored 51 seconds apart during St. Louis' four-goal third period, leading the Blues to a 4-1 exhibition victory over the Minnesota Wild on Friday night.

David Backes and Chris Stewart also scored for St. Louis, which finished the preseason with a 3-2-1 record. Alex Pietrangelo had two assists and Jaroslav Halak stopped 18 shots.

Jared Spurgeon scored for the Wild, who went 4-2-0 in the preseason. Josh Harding stopped all 15 shots he faced, and Johan Gustafsson allowed four goals on 11 shots.

Both teams will open the regular season Thursday at home. The Blues host the Nashville Predators, while the Wild plays host to the Los Angeles Kings.

 

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