#1 as Toliver was to get her first WNBA title, she also was p von mary123 18.10.2019 07:20

HOUSTON -- In what has already become another tough season, the Houston Astros have had little reason to celebrate. That changed on Monday when Brandon Barnes gave the American Leagues worst team plenty to smile about. Barnes hit a last at-bat, two-out RBI ground-rule double in the 12th inning to lift the Astros to a 3-2 win over the Colorado Rockies in interleague play. Matt Dominguez singled off former Astro Wilton Lopez (1-2) to start the inning. He was replaced by pinch-runner Ronny Cedeno and he advanced to second on a sacrifice bunt. The Rockies intentionally walked Jose Altuve with two outs before Barnes connected on a double which sailed into the corner of right field to score Cedeno and give Houston the win. "It was probably the best time Ive had on a baseball field," said Barnes, who entered the game an inning earlier as a pinch-runner. "It was true joy, true emotion. It was awesome. It was a blast." Paul Clemens (2-2) struck out two in a scoreless 12th for the win. It was the first time Houston had won on a last at-bat this season. Manager Bo Porter hopes it will give his team, which was coming off a three-game sweep by the Athletics, something to build on. "I think these kind of wins are definitely something that can catapult you forward from just an energy standpoint," he said. "Finding a way as a team and to come out on top, that momentum can carry over." Carlos Gonzalez drove in a run with a double in the first, and Jonathan Herrera made it 2-0 with a sacrifice bunt in the fourth. Carlos Pena hit a two-run double for Houston to tie it at 2 in the fourth. The Astros loaded the bases with two outs in the 11th, but Jimmy Paredes flew out to end the inning. Wilin Rosario singled to start the 10th, went to second on a sacrifice bunt and third on a fly out. Houston intentionally walked pinch-hitter Michael Cuddyer and Travis Blackley struck out pinch-hitter D.J. LeMahieu to end the threat. The Rockies had several opportunities to put the game away, but came up empty again and again, stranding 15 batters. "Its difficult to win that way, when you leave over 10 runners on base and not being able to get the big hit," Gonzalez said. "Its frustrating." Houston starter Bud Norris yielded eight hits and two runs in seven innings. Jhoulys Chacin pitched seven-plus innings for the Rockies, allowing five hits and two runs with a season-high nine strikeouts. It was the most strikeouts this season by a Colorado pitcher, and came against a team which leads the majors with 494 this season. Eric Young hit a leadoff double, advanced to third on a sacrifice bunt and made it 1-0 on a double by Gonzalez. Colorado loaded the bases with no outs in the third. But Norris was able to escape the jam by retiring Troy Tulowitzki before Rosario grounded into a force out that left Young out at home and he retired Jordan Pacheco. Nolan Arenado doubled in the fourth and reached third on a sacrifice bunt. Colorado pushed the lead to 2-0 when he scored on a sacrifice bunt by Herrera. Chacin sailed through the first three innings and struck out the side in the second. Houston didnt get a hit until Jose Altuve singled with one out in the fourth. Altuve stole second base before Jason Castro walked in the fourth. Chacin struck out J.D. Martinez, but Altuve stole third base on the play. Penas double sent Altuve and Castro home and tied it at 2-all. Norris ran into trouble again in the fifth when he walked Fowler to start the inning. Tulowitzki singled to send Fowler to third before a wild pitch allowed Tulowitzki to advance to second. The Rockies came away empty-handed when Norris struck out Rosario before a groundout by Pacheco ended the inning. Norris allowed the leadoff hitter to get on base for the fifth time in seven innings when he allowed a single to Young to start the seventh. Fowler followed with a walk, but just as he had several time before, he worked out of the jam, this time by sitting down the next three Rockies. "He was absolutely fantastic today," Porter said of Norris. "Early in the game when he got into the bases-loaded jam, I just felt like he really did a great job of understanding who was in the batters box and how he was going to attack them. He kept his composure and just made quality pitch after quality pitch." NOTES: Martinez tied a single-game franchise record by striking out five times. ... Houston optioned OF Robbie Grossman to Triple-A Oklahoma City after the game. The team said they would make a corresponding move on Tuesday. ... This two-game series wraps up on Tuesday when Colorado left-hander Jorge De La Rosa faces Jordan Lyles. De La Rosa is 4-0 with a 2.31 ERA this month. ... Cuddyer was out of the lineup a day after bruising his right forearm after getting hit by a pitch, but pinch-hit in the 10th inning. ... 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Cheap Air Max 95 Free Shipping . -- There were a lot of firsts for the Edmonton Oilers on Tuesday night. MINNEAPOLIS -- Candace Parker was about to pour some champagne over Nneka Ogwumikes head in a beyond-jubilant Sparks locker room.Candace ... please, no! Ogwumike said, grinning, to which Parker acquiesced, OK, I wont because I love you.Ogwumike, the league MVP, was thrilled to celebrate the first WNBA championship for herself, Parker and the rest the Sparks. But Ogwumike just got her hair done a couple of days ago. She protected it with a shower cap and a plea to her teammates for no direct hit from the bubbly.And just as she did so much else well in this amazing Game 5, Parker made the right move again. It was that kind of night for the Sparks, who are champions again after back-to-back titles in 2001-02.Ogwumike made the winning basket -- a putback with 3.1 seconds left -- as the Sparks stunned the defending champion Lynx and their 19,423 fans at Target Center with a 77-76 victory for the WNBA title Thursday.In a series that went back and forth -- punch, counter-punch -- the Sparks got the biggest rebound and the biggest shot when it counted most. And if you know anything about the personal histories of the Sparks players, you knew that their explosion of emotion at games end was built on many years of craving a moment like this.Parker, who was named the WNBA Finals MVP with 28 points and 12 rebounds, kept the Sparks afloat during stretches of the game when Ogwumike was in foul trouble.Parker didnt talk a great deal about all the things that fueled her this season -- not being selected to the U.S. Olympic team;?losing her college coach, Pat Summitt;?not making the all-WNBA first or second teams -- but they definitely kept her fire stoked throughout.Parker, the No. 1 draft pick in 2008, won two NCAA titles with Summitt at Tennessee. On June 24, Parker left immediately after the Sparks victory in Minnesota during the regular season and flew to Knoxville to say goodbye to Summitt, who died four days later from the effects of early-onset dementia, Alzheimers type.Parker, who turned 30 in April, had only one thing left to add to her vast résumé: a WNBA title. She would have loved to do it with Summitt at courtside, cheering her on. Still, Summitt was the first person on Parkers mind when the horn sounded and Los Angeles began to celebrate.Sparks coach Brian Agler played Rocky Top on his cellphone to open the postgame news conference. And Parker talked about how the things Agler implored her to do this season -- especially in the WNBA Finals -- sounded like a cherished voice from the past.This series really was about defense and finishing plays [by] rebounding, and I heard that for four years at Tennessee, Parker said. I think in years past, maybe I was doing a lot and maybe I could have used a little help. But this year, it was on me. My teammates were doing their part, I had to step up and do mine.Actually, Parker had a very good series overall, as she also led the way in the Sparks Game 3 victory. But shes a perfectionist who wasnt happy with how she played in Game 4, when the Lynx prevented the Sparks from celebrating a title on their home floor at Staples Center. Parker came out Thursday determined to return the favor.I think shes one of the most misunderstood players out there, Ogwumike said of Parker. She has a huge heart, and she always wants to do her best. But she needs the right people there to be with her. You know, it wasnt always peachy from the beginning -- but weve grown to develop a relationship and understand each other.Ogwumike was also a No. 1 pick, in 2012, but unlike Parker, she didnt win an NCAA championship. She came agonizingly close, going to the Final Four with Stanford four times. WWhat raced through Ogwumikes mind at the end of Thursdays game was the 2011 national semifinals, when she made a late shot, but eventual champ Texas A&M followed with a basket to win 63-62.ddddddddddddThis time, though, Ogwumike had the last score for a perfect ending to her MVP season.You always have to keep looking on the bright side, and thats something Im really good at doing, said Ogwumike, who finished with 12 points and 12 rebounds. People think Im a little too optimistic, but I dont care. This is why you do it. You have to visualize things before they happen.How many times did this scenario run through Alana Beards head in her 13 years in the WNBA? Beard also did not win a college championship while she was Duke but went to the Final Four twice. Her college career ended, in fact when the Minnesota Gophers -- led then by current Lynx players Lindsay Whalen and Janel McCarville -- upset the Blue Devils in the 2004 regional final.The Sparks Essence Carson also came close to a college title, making the NCAA final with Rutgers in 2007. She lost to Parkers Lady Vols.You carry those things in your heart, Beard said of tough losses that she and her teammates have dealt with. But at the same time, it teaches you how to handle those situations in the future. If I didnt learn from my past experiences, I dont think Id be satisfied with who I am now.Beard missed two WNBA seasons dealing with foot and ankle injuries, and then signed with the Sparks in 2012 hoping to get the title that she never had a chance to win while with the Washington Mystics.This feels exactly like I thought it would, said Beard, who hit the winning shot at the buzzer in Game 1 and had eight points and six assists Thursday. This is something Ive dreamt about for years. Since we started this series, I couldnt sleep. I was waking up at like 4 oclock in the morning with tears in my eyes, like I was starving for something like this.Beard also gave kudos to Parker for what she did this season in empowering the rest of the team.Ive played with Candace for five years, and this was the most growth that Ive ever seen from her, Beard said. She consistently worked on it. And openly worked on it -- she was vulnerable in situations, and thats when you grow. She proved she can be a team player, and she did it this entire season.Sparks guard Kristi Toliver won a college title, hitting a key 3-pointer for Maryland in the 2006 championship game. She made similar huge shots all season for the Sparks. And as pleased as Toliver was to get her first WNBA title, she also was particularly happy for Parker.Now shes won on every level, Toliver said. When I dove on her at the end of the game, I said, You did what you needed to do to get us here. She delivered today.This year, more than any year, Ive seen a change in her with her selflessness, knowing that she cant do it on her own. Understanding that it takes 12. Not all great players will do that. She did, and reaped the benefits.Afterward, everyone with the Sparks -- players and coaches -- wanted a photo with Parker, and she obliged with a huge smile. She had said going into Game 5 that the Sparks always seem to do things the hard way, but it was all worthwhile as she held the championship trophy.Everybody on this team has a story, and this last year has been really tough for me personally, Parker said. My teammates and my coaches were always there for me.I think Im excited because we won a championship, but the journey to get here ... I wouldnt have wanted to do it with anybody else. ' ' '

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