Max Scherzer and Chris Sale. Felix Hernandez and Matt Moore.
Heat and more heat.
Even with its own studs such as Matt Harvey and Clayton Kershaw, the National League couldn't match up. The AL's 3-0 victory at Citi Field on Tuesday night was an arms showcase.
"We all came tonight and we brought it," Scherzer said. "You got guys who just can absolutely light up a radar gun, but not only that, throw multiple offspeed pitches for strikes."
It was just the third shutout for the AL, following 1946 at Boston's Fenway Park and 1990 at Chicago's Wrigley Field.
Scherzer, throwing at up to 99 mph, pitched a 1-2-3 first. Sale followed with a pair of perfect innings, reaching 96 mph.
Six up. Six down.
Against baseball's best.
"I don't think I've been a part of a baseball experience like that in my entire life," Sale said.
The rest weren't shabby either, with Greg Holland topping out at 97 and Grant Balfour at 95. Matt Moore, Steve Delabar and Joe Nathan all reached 94, Brett Cecil 93 and Felix Hernandez 92, throwing sinkers on nine of 13 pitches.
Mariano Rivera threw 16 pitches, all cutters ranging from 89-91, in a perfect eighth remembered for his introduction, when the other All-Stars left the field to him alone during a 1 1-2 minute ovation.
The NL managed three hits and one walk for four baserunners in all. And these weren't just any batters, but All-Star sluggers with shining colored spikes and enough honors to fill two dozen trophy dens.
"It's not fun," said David Wright of the host New York Mets. "You think of the broad spectrum of being an All-Star and it gets you excited. And then when you get down to the nitty-gritty and you look in there and you've got to face those pitchers, it's like, `OK, maybe this isn't as fun as I thought it was going to be.' Every guy comes in throwing high 90s with good secondary pitches. And this is difficult."
Carlos Beltran's one-out single to left-center in the fourth against King Felix gave the NL its first baserunner, and pinch runner Andrew McCutchen was stranded on third base when Wright grounded out.
Hernandez isn't used to warming up in the middle of a game.
"It was pretty weird. I don't feel that comfortable that way," he said.
Michael Cuddyer reached on a leadoff walk against Balfour in the sixth, Wright singled softly to center against Greg Holland in the seventh and Paul Goldschmidt doubled to deep right off Nathan in the ninth.
"That's a good lineup we threw out there, a lot of great hitters," NL manager Bruce Bochy said. "They shut us down."
The New York Yankees are America's most valuable sports franchise but European soccer clubs are the world champs, including a team that will be playing here in St Louis next month.
ABC News reports Spain's soccer powerhouse Real Madrid can boast of one more trophy. According to Forbes its now the world's most valuable sports franchise - worth $3.3 billion.
Manchester United is in 2nd place Barcelona third .The New York Yankees come in 4th. NFL teams have the most Facebook and Twitter followers in the the US. Forbes says the 30 top teams have 60 million fans. But Barcelona's soccer club has more than that by itself.
Spain's soccer powerhouse Real Madrid will be playing in an exhibition game against Inter Milan August tenth at the Edward Jones Dome.
Woods held his regular session with the media ahead of the British Open at Muirfield, where he resumes his quest for a 15th major title. Once considered a lock to break Jack Nicklaus' record, he hasn't won one of golf's biggest events since the 2008 U.S. Open.
"I feel very good about my game," Woods said. "I feel very, very good going into major championships. I've had a pretty good year this year so far - won four times. Even though I haven't won a major championship in five years, I've been there in a bunch of them where I've had chances. I just need to keep putting myself there and eventually I'll get some."
The biggest question mark for Woods at this major is his health.
He strained his elbow at last month's U.S. Open, playing in visible pain while struggling to a 32nd-place finish. He hasn't played since Merion, even skipping his own tournament to give the injury time to heal.
"The elbow feels good," Woods said. "It's one of the good things of taking the time off to let it heal and get the treatment and therapy on it. The main reason was that coming over here, the ground is going to be hard, obviously. And I'm going to need that elbow to be good. And just in case the rough was, well, reports were it was going to be high, and it was going to be lush. I needed to have this thing set and healed. And everything is good to go."
Woods has dealt with several injuries, a swing change and major distractions in his personal life since winning at Torrey Pines five years ago.
Not like he hasn't been in contention. Woods has eight top-10 finishes in the majors since his last victory, but he hasn't been able to break his drought. Now he's returning to a course where he shot his worst round as a professional, an 81 in miserable conditions during the third round of the 2002 British Open.
"It's just a shot here and there," he said. "It's making a key up-and-down here or getting a good bounce there, capitalizing on an opportunity here and there."
Woods is again the world's top-ranked player, and no one comes close to his 13 PGA Tour victories over the last five years. But he knows better than anyone that major titles are what will determine his legacy. These are the tournaments he gears his entire season around, the ones he wants more than any others.
In his eyes, it's just a matter of time before he wins another one.
"It's not much," Woods said. "It could happen on the first day, it could happen on the last day. But it's turning that tide and getting the momentum at the right time or capitalizing on our opportunity. That's what you have to do to win major championships."
Follow Paul Newberry on Twitter at WWW.TWITTER.COM/PNEWBERRY1963
Actually, it was a dent.
Oakland's second-year slugger won baseball's Home Run Derby with a dazzling display of power Monday night, becoming the first player left out of the Midsummer Classic to take home the crown.
Cespedes beat Bryce Harper 9-8 in the final round at reconfigured Citi Field, hitting the decisive drive with five swings to spare. The outfielder from Cuba flipped his bat aside and raised his left arm in triumph when he sent his 32nd homer of the night some 455 feet to center field, where it caromed off the back wall of the black batter's eye.
He was swarmed by the American League All-Stars near the third base line.
"You come for a show in New York. He put on a show," said Detroit Tigers pitcher Max Scherzer, set to start for the AL on Tuesday night.
The final addition to the field, Cespedes was the fourth player not selected for the All-Star game to compete in the event.
Right off the bat, he proved he belonged. With family in the stands, Cespedes hit a whopping 17 home runs in the first round - more than any other player managed in their first two trips to the plate.
"I felt that I was getting into a very good rhythm, and that as long as the ball was right over the plate, I felt like I was in a good groove," he said through a translator. "That was the key."
Baseball's big boppers took aim at two trucks parked beside the home run apple behind the center-field fence, a popular staple at Mets games dating to their days in Shea Stadium.
With a shiny prize to shoot for, Cespedes dinged the hood on one and elicited a rousing cheer.
Cuban reliever Aroldis Chapman of the Cincinnati Reds brought Cespedes water and a towel during the first round, and 2010 champion David Ortiz strolled over to offer encouragement and advice.
The Rockettes danced atop the dugouts and did their famous kickline between first-round batters.
"It's far different from in Cuba," Cespedes said. "There might be two people at our games. There's only one photographer, and this is completely different and foreign to me. But I'm very happy to be here."
His first-round outburst was enough to send him straight into the finals, though he added six long balls in round two for good measure. Some of his drives were especially impressive, too.
Cespedes hit about a half-dozen balls into the upper deck in left, never reached by anyone in a game, and banged another couple of shots off the restaurant windows in the corner just below.
The 27-year-old Cespedes has struggled as a sophomore, batting .225 with 15 home runs, but hardly anyone in the game doubts his ability.
"This trophy will motivate me so that things continue to go well for me, and I just want to thank the people that believed in me, that thought I could play at this level," he said.
The 20-year-old Harper, wearing shiny gold spikes as his father pitched to him, hammered eight homers in all three rounds. But the Washington Nationals phenom couldn't keep up with Cespedes.
"He's incredible," Harper said. "He's an absolute machine."
Colorado outfielder Michael Cuddyer and Baltimore first baseman Chris Davis, who leads the majors with 37 homers, were eliminated in the second round. Davis tied Reggie Jackson (1969) for the AL record before the All-Star break.
"I had a little blister come up second round. It's just one of those things," Davis said. "I usually get one once a year and it just happened to be tonight. It actually popped during a swing. My main concern is obviously not to hurt myself and to hang onto the bat.
"It's something that I've dealt with in my career since I can remember. You've just got to kind of wear it for a couple of days and then it hardens up and you're good to go."
Citi Field opened in 2009 with a cavernous outfield and yielded the fewest home runs in the majors over its first three seasons, according to STATS. But the Mets erected a new fence in front of the old one, dubbed the Great Wall of Flushing, before last season. That trimmed dimensions by up to 12 feet and lowered the height of the wall from as high as 16 feet to 8 all around.
Since then, the ballpark has ranked closer to the middle of the pack in home runs, 18th out of 30. But it's still no hitter's haven. In fact, hometown favorite David Wright had joked he would take his Derby swings from second base.
Cespedes, however, and most of the other sluggers had little trouble clearing the old wall. When they got good wood, it was long gone.
"This stadium may be very difficult, but it's not as difficult as Oakland. And if I can do it in Oakland, I thought, why can't I do it here?" Cespedes said.
Wright and another hometown darling, Pirates slugger Pedro Alvarez, were both eliminated in the first round. Alvarez went to high school in New York City and grew up in the same Manhattan neighborhood as Manny Ramirez.
Wright managed five home runs as the sellout crowd of 43,558 chanted "Let's Go Mets!"
"I ran out of gas," he said.
Also knocked out early were defending champion Prince Fielder, the only player besides Ken Griffey Jr. to win multiple times, and American League captain Robinson Cano of the New York Yankees, who made Cespedes his final pick.
NOTES: Cespedes' home run total matched Ortiz (2010) and Cano (2011) for the third-highest behind Bobby Abreu (41 in 2005) and Josh Hamilton (35 in 2008). ... Davis was credited with the longest drive of the night at 502 feet. ... Oakland third base coach Mike Gallego pitched to Cespedes, who averaged 405 feet on his home runs. He became the first A's player to participate in the Derby since Jason Giambi in 2001 and joined Mark McGwire (1992) as the team's only winners. "Before I left, they asked me to bring home the trophy," Cespedes said. ... The American League topped the NL 53-50. ... Cano showed up at the afternoon news conference in a snappy suit. Harper was in a T-shirt, mesh shorts, sneakers and his spiky mohawk. At least he was dressed in blue and orange, Mets colors. ... By hitting 103 home runs in all, the sluggers raised $529,000 for charity.
CHICAGO (AP) -- Yadier Molina hit a three-run homer in St. Louis' four-run ninth inning, and the Cardinals beat the Chicago Cubs 10-6 on Sunday night in the majors' final game before the All-Star break.
Allen Craig lined a tiebreaking RBI single into left field before Molina drove an 0-2 pitch from Kevin Gregg (2-2) over the wall in left for his seventh homer. Craig and Molina tuned up for Tuesday's game in New York with four hits apiece, helping St. Louis to a season-high 21 hits overall.
Chicago went up 4-3 on Darwin Barney's three-run homer in the sixth and pinch hitter Cody Ransom had a tying two-run double in the eighth, but the Cubs' bullpen was unable to hold off the NL's highest-scoring team.
Pete Kozma had two RBI singles as the Cardinals won for the seventh time in nine games to salvage a split of the four-game series. Edward Mujica (2-1) had his second blown save opportunity in 28 chances, but managed to get the win on the same day he was chosen to replace teammate Adam Wainwright on the NL All-Star team.
Despite injuries to key pitchers Chris Carpenter, Jaime Garcia and Jason Motte, St. Louis heads to the All-Star break with baseball's best record at 57-36. It leads the NL Central by one game over surprising Pittsburgh, which lost 4-2 to the New York Mets earlier in the day.
Barney also had a run-scoring single for the Cubs, who went 6-4 on a 10-game stretch in Chicago that included a makeup game at the crosstown White Sox last Monday. The four RBIs for Barney matched a career high set in a 14-4 victory against Pittsburgh on July 30, 2012.
After a slow start, the Cubs (42-51) are a respectable 24-21 in their last 45 games. It's good enough for a four-game improvement compared to last year at this point, when the North Siders were 38-55 on their way to their first 100-loss season since 1966.
The Cardinals carried a 3-1 lead into the sixth, but Wainwright got into trouble after Alfonso Soriano began the inning with a fly ball to the warning track in right. Dioner Navarro and Brian Bogusevic then hit consecutive singles to put runners on first and second.
Wainwright bounced back to strike out Dave Sappelt, but his first pitch to Barney was up and over the plate, and he drove it into the basket in left field for his sixth homer.
That proved to be just a minor little speed bump for the Cardinals, who used four hits to regain the lead during a two-run seventh. Kozma singled in Molina to tie it at 4 and eventually came around on Matt Carpenter's bouncer into center field.
Adams tacked on an RBI double in eighth, setting the stage for the wild finish.
Travis Wood, who will represent the Cubs at the All-Star festivities, allowed three runs and a season-high 10 hits in 5 2-3 innings. It matched the shortest outing of the year for the consistent lefty, who pitched at least six innings in 17 of his first 18 starts.
Molina was out of the starting lineup for St. Louis' 6-4 loss on Saturday night and began the night in a 1-for-19 rut covering his previous seven games. But he singled in each of his first two at-bats and forced Bogusevic to make a leaping catch against the wall in center in the eighth.
NOTES: Cardinals OF Matt Holliday (right hamstring tightness) missed his third consecutive game. "We need to be real careful so we can continue to progress, make sure we are aiming for that first day after the break," manager Mike Matheny said. ... OF Cole Gillespie joined the Cubs, and reliever Henry Rodriguez was designated for assignment to make room on the roster. Gillespie was claimed off waivers from San Francisco on Saturday. He had a pinch-hit single in the eighth. ... Cubs RHP Scott Baker allowed four runs and six hits in three innings in his first rehab start with Class A Kane County. Baker missed last season with Minnesota after undergoing elbow-ligament replacement surgery. "Today was a big hump, to pitch against hitters and getting in a real game and the whole atmosphere and everything," Cubs manager Dale Sveum said, "and then hopefully we just start seeing gradual pickup in the velocities and all that."
CHICAGO (AP) -- Carlos Beltran had three hits and drove in a run, while reliever-turned-starter Joe Kelly (1-3) won his first game of the season as the St. Louis Cardinals beat the Chicago Cubs 3-2 Friday at Wrigley Field.
Beltran was a homer short of hitting for the cycle, with a run-scoring triple, double and single as the Cardinals bounced back from Thursday night's loss to the Cubs that snapped a five-game winning streak.
Kelly allowed three hits and a run in 5 1-3 innings, striking out four and walking two. Edward Mujica pitched the ninth for his 26th save in 27 opportunities.
St. Louis jumped on Cubs starter Carlos Villaneuva (2-5) for two runs in the top of the first inning. Matt Carpenter singled and scored on Beltran's triple, followed by Allen Craig's RBI single.
The Cubs cut St. Louis' lead to 2-1 in the third. Luis Valbuena walked, went to second when Starlin Castro was hit by a pitch, Anthony Rizzo hit into a fielder's choice that pushed Valbuena to third and then Alfonso Soriano's single scored Valbuena.
The Cubs threatened in the sixth with runners at first and second with just one out, but Brian Bogusevic hit into an inning-ending double-play.
The Cardinals increased their lead to 3-1 in the seventh. Pinch-hitter Rob Johnson, batting for reliever Randy Choate, hit a two-out triple to right field, just out of reach of a diving Nate Schierholtz, and Matt Carpenter followed with an RBI double to left-center.
Castro closed the score to 3-2 with a lead-off homer in the eight, but the Cubs would get no closer, stranding seven runners in the game.
The Cubs are 12-8 in their last 20 games, and are 3-5 vs. St. Louis thus far this season. They faced the best team in baseball for the second straight week. Last weekend, they took two-of-three from the Pittsburgh Pirates, who had the major leagues' best mark at the time.
NOTES: Cardinals LF Matt Holliday was held out Friday with right hamstring tightness and is day-to-day. . In addition to signing first round draft pick Kris Bryant, the Cubs also inked 12th round RHP Trevor Clifton and 19th round C Will Remillard. . Saturday's pitchers will be the Cards' Lance Lynn (11-3, 3.67) vs. Matt Garza (5-1, 3.22) for the Cubs. Garza has been the subject of trade rumors in recent days. "He's obviously throwing extremely well and he's very healthy and there are teams out there looking for pitching who are going to call and try to acquire him," Cubs president Theo Epstein said before Friday's game. "He's helping us win games right now, there's a chance to possibly retain him beyond this year, so we'll just balance all that out and do what's best for the organization." . The Cubs have used 42 players thus far this season, a pre-All-Star break team record. . The Cubs came into Friday's game leading the National League with 293 extra-base hits. . Attendance was 37,322.
CHICAGO (AP) -- Edwin Jackson earned his third straight win, combining with four relievers on a four-hitter, and Anthony Rizzo drove in all the runs to lead the Chicago Cubs to a 3-0 victory over the St. Louis Cardinals on Thursday night.
St. Louis had the tying run at the plate in the ninth inning after Kevin Gregg dropped a throw covering first on Allen Craig's grounder, and David Freese walked.
Alfonso Soriano made a shoestring catch on Jon Jay's liner to end the game. Cardinals manager Mike Matheny was then seen arguing vehemently with plate umpire Dan Bellino and appeared to make contact with him.
The Cubs escaped with the win, and Gregg got his 16th save in 18 chances.
St. Louis' five-game winning streak ended.
Jackson (6-10) struck out five without a walk in seven innings. Starlin Castro added three singles and scored two runs for the Cubs, who won for the fifth time in six games.
The Cardinals lost Matt Holliday to tightness in his right hamstring when he ran out a grounder in the fourth inning.
Rizzo delivered an RBI double in the first inning after Castro singled with one out and made it 3-0 in the third off Jake Westbrook (5-4), poking a two-run single to left past a drawn-in infield.
That was enough for Jackson, who didn't give up either a run or a walk for the first time this season. He also matched his longest outing of the year and improved to 5-2 in his last seven starts after opening 1-8.
The Cubs also made some crisp plays behind him, including Brian Bogusevic's leaping catch against the center-field wall to rob Matt Adams of an extra-base hit leading off the seventh.
The Cardinals had runners on first and second in the eighth after Blake Parker gave up a leadoff single to Jay and walked pinch-hitter Daniel Descalso with one out. James Russell then retired Matt Carpenter on a liner to center, and Pedro Strop threw a wild pitch to put runners on second and third, Carlos Beltran struck out swinging to end the threat.
It was just what the Cubs were looking for one night after matching a season-high for runs allowed and setting one by giving up five homers in a 13-2 loss to the Los Angeles Angels.
Westbrook went seven innings, allowing three runs and seven hits. But it was a tough night for the NL Central leaders, particularly with Holliday leaving the game.
He came up clutching his hamstring halfway to first base on a grounder to short in the fourth. He walked off gingerly after being tended to by a trainer and didn't go out to left field in the bottom half.
NOTES: Beltran played in his 2,000th game. ... The Cubs' Scott Baker threw a bullpen session at Wrigley Field on Thursday and will begin a minor league rehab stint with Class A Kane County on Sunday. The right-hander signed a one-year deal with the Cubs after undergoing Tommy John surgery and sitting out last season with Minnesota, then had a setback in spring training. Chicago manager Dale Sveum said he will make at least four rehab starts before joining the Cubs. ... RHP Joe Kelly (0-3, 4.15 ERA) starts Friday for the Cardinals, with RHP Carlos Villanueva (2-4, 3.63) going for the Cubs.
The St. Louis Cardinals announced today that they have recalled right-handed pitcher Carlos Martinez from Memphis (AAA) and optioned right-handed pitcher Michael Blazek to Memphis following last night’s game.
Martinez, 21, is joining the big league club for the second time this season after making seven relief appearances (0-0, 4.50 ERA, 8.0 IP, 9 SO) for the Cardinals in May.
Martinez joined the Memphis starting rotation following his option on May 27, going 3-2 with a 1.98 ERA in eight starts. He struck out 35 batters in 41.0 innings pitched, walked just 16, and allowed only one home run. He was recently named the Cardinals Minor League Pitcher of the Month for June.
Martinez began his 2013 season at Springfield (AA), where he was 1-0 with a 2.31 ERA in three starts, striking out nine batters in 11.2 innings pitched.
A native of Colinas Del Sur, Dominican Republic, Martinez was signed by the Cardinals as a non-drafted free agent in April of 2010. He has posted a career mark of 19-14 in the minors with a 2.63 ERA in 63 games (62 starts) and fanned 312 batters in 300.2 innings pitched.
The 6-0, 185-pound right-hander was a combined 6-5 between Palm Beach (A) and Springfield (AA) last season and ranked third amongst Cardinals minor league pitchers in ERA (2.93) and opponent’s batting average (.236)
Martinez will join the Cardinals for tonight’s series opener at Chicago and will wear uniform # 62.
ST. LOUIS (AP) -- Matt Carpenter hit a two-run home run and Matt Holliday drove in two with a two-out hit to help the St. Louis Cardinals beat the Houston Astros 5-4 on Wednesday night.
Carpenter's ninth homer of the season in the seventh gave the win to Seth Maness (5-1). Tony Cruz got hit by starter Jordan Lyles' first pitch of the inning and one out later Carpenter put a 2-1 pitch into the right field stands off reliever Wesley Wright (0-3).
Maness gave up two hits and a run in two innings of relief. He struck out three.
Edward Mujica earned his 25th save in 26 tries. He has appeared in six consecutive games, going 1-1 with four saves.
Lyles gave up four runs and six hits in 6 1-3 innings. He struck out two and walked two. Lyles hasn't won a game since beating Milwaukee on June 18.
Shelby Miller used 94 pitches to labor through five innings. He gave up three earned runs, walked five and struck out five. He had a total of six full counts, coming back to strike out Jason Castro and getting Brett Wallace to ground out.
Wallace, who had four hits and scored a run, drove in Jose Altuve in the seventh to give Houston a 4-3 lead. His only out was a grounder in the fifth that led to Houston's third run.
Holliday's single in the fifth tied the score at 3-3. His slap to right field drove in Cruz and Shane Robinson, who had a pinch hit single in place of Miller.
Allen Craig walked to open the second and scored on Matt Adams' single. Adams has five RBIs in in his past six games.
After going in order to start the game, the Astros put their leadoff batter on and had a runner reach scoring position in three of the next four innings against Miller.
Chris Carter hit his 18th home run just over the right field fence to open the second. Houston then used a Wallace single, two walks and an error for a 2-0 lead. It took a 3-1 lead after Jason Castro hit a ground rule double and J.D. Martinez drove him in with a single in the fifth.
NOTES: Cardinals C Cruz got his third start in the past four games in place of All-Star catcher and league-leading batter Yadier Molina who is nursing a sore right knee. He's gone 3 of 9 in that span. ... Molina struck out as a pinch hitter in the seventh. ... Wallace, former first-round pick of the Cardinals, is 7 for 18 with five RBIs and four runs in four games this season against St. Louis. ... Jake Westbrook will start the Cardinals' first game after the All-Star break, July 19 against the visiting Padres, manager Mike Matheny said. Westbrook will be followed by Lance Lynn and Adam Wainwright. Following an off day on July 22, Miller will start against the Phillies in St. Louis. Because of the off day, the Cardinals do not plan to use Joe Kelly until July 27. ... Astros manager Bo Porter said before the game he had not yet finalized his team's rotation plans for its series at Tampa Bay this weekend. ... The Astros have lost 13 of their past 15 games against their former NL Central division rivals.
ST. LOUIS, MO – St. Louis Blues Executive Vice President and General Manager Doug Armstrong announced today the club has acquired forward Magnus Paajarvi and a 2nd round pick in the 2014 NHL Entry Draft in exchange for David Perron.
“Magnus is a well-rounded player who has good size and great skating ability,” said Armstrong. “He is just coming into his own and this will open up more ice time for Jaden (Schwartz) and Vladimir (Tarasenko). I would like to thank David for his time in St. Louis and wish him well in Edmonton.”
Pääjärvi (pronounced Pie-ARE-Vee), 22, was originally Edmonton’s 1st round pick (10th overall) in the 2009 NHL Entry Draft. The 6’3” left wing, recorded 16 points (9g, 7a) last season in 42 games after recording 15 goals and 34 points in his rookie season in 2010-11, which was 6th on the Oilers in scoring. He recorded a hat trick in his first NHL preseason game in 2010.
In the 2010 World Championships he led Sweden in scoring and was selected to the All-Tournament Team. Pääjärvi became the youngest player ever to play for Sweden during the 2008 World Junior Hockey Championships. He assisted on Mikael Backlund’s overtime goal vs. Russia to put Sweden in the Finals.