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Mariners end 5-game skid, beat Cardinals 4-1

Saturday, 14 September 2013 22:49 Published in Sports

 

ST. LOUIS (AP) -- Rookie James Paxton gave up two hits in six shutout innings and the Seattle Mariners ended a five-game losing streak, beating St. Louis 4-1 Saturday night and dropping the Cardinals into a first-place tie in the NL Central.

St. Louis and Pittsburgh share the division lead once again. The Pirates topped the Cubs 2-1.

The Cardinals mustered only three hits, including Matt Carpenter's league-leading 50th double in the eighth. He later scored on a wild pitch by Charlie Furbush.

Franklin Gutierrez hit a two-run double in the fifth inning that ended St. Louis rookie Michael Wacha's scoreless streak at 23 2-3 innings. Kendrys Morales hit his 22nd homer in eighth off Tyler Lyons to make it 3-0.

The St. Louis hitters have been struggling all week, and they never got going at all against the 24-year-old Paxton (2-0), who limited them to a pair of singles.

The first was by Wacha (3-1) in the third when Paxton came off the bag to field a tapper and then slipped and fell, losing his grip.

The Cardinals managed three hits in seven scoreless innings to start the weekend series against the Mariners before winning 2-1 in 10 innings. They broke up no-hit bids in the sixth against Wily Peralta and Marco Estrada, winning both games while taking two of three from the Brewers.

Paxton struck out five and walked two. He won his major league debut a week ago against Tampa Bay, allowing an earned run in six innings.

Danny Farquhar finished for his 14th save in 16 chances.

Wacha struck out five in his seventh career start but also walked four in five innings.

Mariners pitchers were 0 for 20 with 13 strikeouts at the plate this year before Wacha walked Paxton on four pitches in the fifth to put runners on first and second with none out, setting up Gutierrez's double.

Seattle leadoff man Brad Miller was removed with a mild left hamstring strain after running out a sacrifice bunt in the fifth. Replacement Carlos Triunfel had a sacrifice fly in the ninth off Fernando Salas.

NOTES: Yadier Molina, who threw out two runners attempting to steal in the same inning Friday, was the first Cardinals C to do that since manager Mike Matheny on May 1, 2001, at Florida. Matheny said he didn't remember the occasion, but added, "You don't normally get that many opportunities unless you're stinking, or else your pitcher's just giving you no chance."

Falcons RB Steven Jackson faces old team in Week 2

Friday, 13 September 2013 23:29 Published in Sports

ATLANTA (AP) — Steven Jackson always wondered how the other half lived.

Spending his first nine seasons with the St. Louis Rams, he put up some impressive numbers individually but made only one trip to the playoffs — as a rookie. He never played on a winning team, which really started to wear on him in the end.

"When you're not on national television a lot, some of the things you've done over the years can get overlooked easily," said Jackson, a three-time Pro Bowler who has rushed for more than 10,000 yards. "You can only have so much individual success to kind of pacify you through your career."

So, with St. Louis looking to go younger in the backfield, Jackson moved on to the Atlanta Falcons, who came oh-so-close to making the Super Bowl last season.

Well, look who he'll be facing in Week 2 with his new team.

Yep, the Rams (1-0), who are trying to build on their first season-opening victory since 2006.

"I was on the outside,' Jackson said. "Now, being on the inside and seeing what a good team looks like, I saw what I was missing. I'm happy to be given this opportunity."

Atlanta (0-1) dropped its opener at New Orleans, the bid for a game-winning touchdown stopped on fourth down at the Saints 3 with less than a minute remaining.

But Jackson turned in the sort of all-around performance the Falcons were looking for when they signed him to replace Michael Turner, rushing 11 times for 77 yards and catching five passes for 45 yards.

At age 30, he's still got game — and the respect of his former team.

"Obviously, Jack was a huge part of me growing up," Rams quarterback Sam Bradford said. "I learned most how to be a leader. I watched the way he handled himself in different situations in the locker room, on the field, in practice, during games. I learned a ton from Jack. I really couldn't imagine having to start my career here without him."

So, with much of the attention on Jackson facing his former team, here are five other things to look for when the Falcons host the Rams on Sunday:

___

PROTECTING THE QB: Bradford hasn't been sacked in three straight games going back to last season, the first time the Rams have done that since 1973. Contrast that with the Falcons, who have only two offensive line starters at the same positions as last season. That lack of continuity showed throughout the preseason and in Week 1, when Matt Ryan was sacked three times and hurried on many more throws. The Rams will be looking to tee off on Ryan after getting four sacks in their opener.

RODDY'S ANKLE: Falcons WR Roddy White has played in 129 consecutive games, tied for the fourth-longest streak in franchise history, but he's been bothered by a high ankle sprain since the preseason. White was clearly not at full strength in the opener, catching only two passes for 19 yards. If he's still hobbled, the Rams can slide their coverages toward WR Julio Jones and TE Tony Gonzalez.

COOKING UP A RECORD: Jared Cook had quite a debut with the Rams, setting a franchise record for receiving yards by a tight end with 141 on seven catches. He also had a pair of touchdowns, giving the Falcons defense another dynamic tight end to account for after facing Jimmy Graham of the Saints.

ROOKIE CORNERS: Desmond Trufant and Robert Alford had to play key roles in the Atlanta secondary with Asante Samuel sidelined by an injury in Week 1. They both held up well against Drew Brees and the high-powered Saints. Alford had an interception and broke up two passes, while Trufant also knocked away a throw. The Falcons are hoping to get Samuel back, but Trufant remains a starter and Alford should continue getting extensive playing time.

BOUNCING BACK: The Falcons haven't had a losing streak since 2009. They are 20-3 after losses under coach Mike Smith and riding a 12-game winning streak in those situations. The Rams have their work cut out for them — especially playing at the Georgia Dome, where the Falcons are 33-7 in the regular season over the last five years.

Rams DE Long questionable for game against Falcons

Friday, 13 September 2013 23:27 Published in Sports

ST. LOUIS (AP) — St. Louis Rams defensive end Chris Long did not practice and coach Jeff Fisher says he's questionable for Sunday's game at Atlanta with hip soreness.

Long, the second overall pick in 2008, has posted double-digit sack totals the last two seasons and has played in 81 consecutive games, the third-longest streak among defensive ends. He was limited on Thursday.

Also on the injury report Friday were cornerback Quinton Porter, ruled out with a thigh injury, and safety Darian Stewart was doubtful.

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