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05/07/2012 - 7:50am
Mashup: Hamels admits to beaning Harper

Phillies pitcher Cole Hamels sent a message to Nationals rookie Bryce Harper in the first inning of Sunday night's game, hitting him in the back with a fastball. In case the message wasn't received, Hamels admitted after the game that it was no accident.

"I was trying to hit him," Hamels said. "I'm not going to deny it."

Explained the veteran hurler: "That's something I grew up watching, that's kind of what happened. So I'm just trying to continue the old baseball because I think some people are kind of getting away from it. I remember when I was a rookie the strike zone was really, really small and you didn't say anything because that's the way baseball is."

Harper got his revenge later in the inning, stealing home when Hamels made a pickoff attempt to first base. Then in the third inning, Nationals starter Jordan Zimmerman hit Hamels in the leg, drawing a warning to both teams from the umpire.

Read more...

05/07/2012 - 1:44am
Lineup: Gonzalez batting fifth vs. Royals

One day removed from his 0-for-8 performance, first baseman Adrian Gonzalez has been bumped down from cleanup to fifth in the lineup as the Red Sox prepare to face a pitcher who is particularly tough on lefties in Royals starter Jonathan Sanchez. Sanchez and Gonzalez faced off 43 times while residing in the NL West -- Gonzalez with the Padres, and Sanchez with the Giants -- with Sanchez holding Gonzalez to a .231/.302/.385 line with three doubles and a homer.

With Sanchez on the hill, the Red Sox will feature catcher Kelly Shoppach in the lineup as well as Darnell McDonald in left field as Ryan Sweeney and Jarrod Saltalamacchia (who caught all 17 innings on Sunday) get the day off. Mike Aviles is back in Kansas City for the first time since the Royals traded him last July for Yamaico Navarro and Kendall Volz.

For complete batter vs. pitcher matchup histories,...

05/07/2012 - 12:21am
Hawks Smith, Horford expect to play Game 5

Hawks star bigs Josh Smith (knee) and Al Horford (torn pectoral) both returned from injuries in Sunday's Game 4 blowout loss to the Celtics, and both expect to be ready for Game 5 in Atlanta when the C's attempt to close out their first-round series on Tuesday.

"I'm gonna play," Smith said. "I'm gonna play. It's a must-win game. I know we're fighting the odds right now, but there shouldn't be no quit in this team. We have to go out on Tuesday and establish ourselves early, and we have to get a win to try to force a sixth game."

After sitting out Game 3 with a sprained left knee, Smith recorded his third double-double in as many games this series, totaling 15 points (5-of-13 field goals) and adding 13 rebounds. He played 31 minutes in his return.

Meanwhile, teammate Al Horford played his first minutes since Jan. 11. He missed the final 55 games of the regular season and the first three games of the series with a torn...

05/06/2012 - 10:59pm
Pierce: 'I think the knee is going to be fine'

After spraining his left knee in Sunday morning's shootaround and aggravating it during the Celtics' 101-79 blowout win over the Hawks in Game 4 hours later at the Garden, Paul Pierce said he's hoping to be ready for Game 5 on Tuesday in Atlanta. 

"I kind of sprained it [Sunday] morning and then I aggravated it in the game," said Pierce, who led the Celtics with 24 points in just over 16 minutes of game time. "I'm glad we were able to get a win like this to give me some rest, give me a couple of days off and get some treatment, and hope it feels good on Tuesday."

Realizing fans would be concerned about his status for Game 5 on Tuesday in Atlanta, Pierce tweeted after the game, I think the knee is going to be fine glad I didn't have to play a lot of minutes tonight to rest it good win tonight fellas. 

Pierce was red-hot before and after running into Josh Smith on a screen late in the second quarter...

05/06/2012 - 9:28pm
No doubt: Rondo, Pierce lift C's past Hawks

Paul Pierce hit 10 of his 13 shots on the night, including 4-of-6 from 3-point range, and finished with 24 points in 18 minutes while Rajon Rondo added 20 points and 16 assists as the Celtics blew out the Hawks, 101-79, Sunday night in Game 4 at TD Garden. Kevin Garnett added 13 points while Ray Allen added 12 off the bench for the Celtics, who take a commanding 3-1 lead in the best-of-seven Eastern Conference quarterfinal series. The series shifts back to Atlanta, where the Celtics can clinch the series Tuesday night in Game 5. 

The Celtics appeared to catch a big break, as Pierce injured his left knee in the second quarter but returned for the third quarter. With the game not in question, the Celtics were able to rest their superstar, who rescued them in Game 2 in Atlanta. 

Pierce and Rondo led a first-half assault on the Hawks. Pierce hit five of his seven shots in the opening quarter and led the Celtics with 10 points. Rondo had...

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