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06/07/2012 - 12:13am
Thunder dump Spurs to reach NBA finals

Kevin Durant had 34 points and 14 rebounds to lead the Thunder to a 107-99 win over the Spurs on Wednesday night and propel Oklahoma City into the NBA finals against either the Heat or the Celtics. The Thunder, which dropped the fist two games of the best-of-seven series, rebounded to win four straight to allow the franchise to play for the NBA title for the first time since 1996, before relocating from Seattle. Russell Westbrook added 25 for the Thunder, which erased a 15-point halftime deficit before pulling ahead to stay in the fourth.


06/06/2012 - 11:16pm
Aviles: AL East 'easily toughest' in baseball

Following their 2-1 loss at the hands of the Orioles, the Red Sox chose to be philosophical about their last-place standing in the American League East. The Red Sox lost their third straight to fall back to .500 at 28-28, four games behind the first-place Orioles in the division. 

"There's not a person in baseball that doesn't know this division is easily the toughest division in all of baseball," Red Sox shortstop Mike Aviles said. "You look at what happens throughout the year, we pretty much all beat up on each other. No one has that record that's unbelievably good. Everyone's really bunched up. That's how it's been the first two months of the season and that's kind of how you expect it to be all year. You take your lumps and bruises and you just keep plugging away and you try to win as many games as possible."

"A good series can change things around, which is a good thing," added David Ortiz. "Like Mike...

06/06/2012 - 10:54pm
Bobby V: Pedroia's 'timing's a little bit off'

Red Sox second baseman Dustin Pedroia went 0-for-4 with a pair of strikeouts in his team's 2-1 loss to the Orioles on Wednesday, and in two games since returning from his six-game absence due to a torn right thumb muscle, he's 0-for-7 with four strikeouts and a walk. This marks just the third time in his career that Pedroia has struck out multiple times in consecutive games.

"He’s giving everything he has. His timing’s just a little bit off, obviously," said manager Bobby Valentine. "You take seven days off without swinging at all, it takes you a little time to get back."

Pedroia is hitting with a brace for his thumb, and see it seemed fair to wonder whether he was adjusting to the presence of a new piece of equipment.

"I don’t know. You’d have to ask him," said Valentine. "Probably takes a little getting used to, but I think it’s more timing."

It is worth...

06/06/2012 - 9:41pm
Wasted: Beckett strong but Sox lose

The Orioles scratched across a pair of runs in the sixth inning and the Red Sox wasted a dominant outing from Josh Beckett in a 2-1 loss Wednesday at Fenway Park. The loss -- the third straight for the Red Sox -- dropped Boston back to the .500 mark at 28-28 and dropped them four games back of the AL East-leading Orioles. Boston has dropped all five games against Baltimore at Fenway this season and is just 2-6 overall against the division-leading O's.

Beckett (4-6) deserved a better fate, allowing just five hits and two runs over eight innings, striking out five and walking none. 

The Red Sox staked Beckett to a 1-0 lead in the third when they finally scratched a run across against Baltimore lefty Wei-Yin Chen. Darnell McDonald, in his first game action since going on the disabled list with right oblique strain, doubled off the Monster in left-center to get the third inning under way. Marlon Byrd followed with a single to right. Third base...

06/06/2012 - 6:26pm
Daisuke scheduled to start on Saturday

With Daniel Bard now in Triple-A Pawtucket, the Red Sox plan to activate right-hander Daisuke Matsuzaka for a start on Saturday against the Nationals. That would mean that Matsuzaka will be making his start precisely 365 days after undergoing Tommy John surgery to repair a torn ulnar collateral ligament last June.

In three starts since a cortisone shot, Matsuzaka has a 1.54 ERA with eight strikeouts, three walks and six hits in 11 2/3 innings. Overall, in eight rehab appearances spanning three levels, he has a 3.65 ERA with 30 strikeouts and nine walks in 37 innings. He tossed 1 1/3 innings for Triple-A Pawtucket and was lifted after 40 pitches on Tuesday in what amounted to a last tuneup prior to his activation.

While Valentine had felt that Matsuzaka was not yet ready to pitch in the majors when he saw him prior to a late-May cortison injection, in his recent outings the right-hander has appeared to find comfort with his delivery.

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