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Liriano dominates, Pirates beat Cardinals 5-1

Sports

August 15th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

ST. LOUIS (AP) — Francisco Liriano was dominant coming off the worst outing of his career and the Pittsburgh Pirates got home runs from Pedro Alvarez and Garrett Jones in a 5-1 victory over the St. Louis Cardinals on Wednesday night. The win snapped a season-worst four-game losing streak and gave Pittsburgh a three-game lead in the NL Central.

The Pirates had a five-run cushion after four innings against rookie Shelby Miller (11-8), who didn’t miss a turn five days after getting drilled on the elbow and lasting just two pitches against the Dodgers.

Liriano (13-5) allowed four hits with six strikeouts and needed just 94 pitches to beat the Cardinals for the second time this year. He is 3-0 in his career against St. Louis. His last time out, the lefty was punished for 10 runs in 2 1-3 innings at Colorado.

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ST. LOUIS (AP) — St. Louis Cardinals catcher Yadier Molina expects to be in the lineup today (Thursday), the first day he’s eligible to come off the 15-day disabled list from a right knee strain. He wants to play every day again, too. Molina worked out on the field for the third straight day before Wednesday’s game against the Pirates and said everything felt good. He said now is no time to rest. The Cardinals had been 6-7 without their perennial All-Star and trailed Pittsburgh by two games.

Molina was second in the National League with a .330 average, along with eight homers and 54 RBIs. Backup Tony Cruz was batting .219 with a homer and 11 RBIs. Matt Holliday was in the lineup after rolling his right ankle injury retreating to first base from a lead. Manager Mike Matheny said Holliday was “scared more than anything else.”

Iowa’s Kirk Ferentz Faces Intense Scrutiny

Sports

August 14th, 2013 by Jim Field

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Iowa’s Kirk Ferentz made nearly $1 million a win last season and yet kept his job — likely for years to come, too.

The Hawkeyes have been left to hope that Ferentz can prove he’s worth all the money they owe him.

Iowa is about to enter its 15th season under Ferentz, a coach who is signed through 2020 with a prohibitive buyout at roughly $3 million a year — with nonexistent national expectations. The Hawkeyes collapsed last season, losing their last six games to finish 4-8.

But Ferentz has the unquestioned support of athletic director Gary Barta, and he’s also made a number of coaching changes in hopes of reversing a disturbing three-year slide.

Iowa opens the season on August 31st when it hosts defending MAC champion Northern Illinois.

Softer Schedule Should Help Cornhuskers in Big Ten

Sports

August 14th, 2013 by Jim Field

LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) — If the schedule is an indication, Nebraska’s initiation to the Big Ten is over and the Cornhuskers are set up to make hay.

Coach Bo Pelini starts his sixth season in Lincoln with one of the nation’s most dynamic offenses and a young defense that will benefit from playing its first five games at home.

UCLA is the only real non-conference test. Big Ten favorite Ohio State and three-time defending champion Wisconsin drop off the regular-season schedule and are replaced by Illinois and Purdue.

It probably will be November before anyone knows how good the Huskers are, after they play Northwestern at home and Michigan and Penn State on the road.

The Huskers open the season Aug. 31 at home against Wyoming.

Royals Acquire INF Bonifacio from Blue Jays

Sports

August 14th, 2013 by Jim Field

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — The Kansas City Royals have acquired versatile Emilio Bonifacio from the Toronto Blue Jays for cash or a player to be named later.

The Royals announced the move before their game Wednesday against Miami.

Bonifacio was traded to the Blue Jays from the Marlins last offseason, and was hitting .218 with three homers and 12 stolen bases. He’s played all three outfield spots but can also play second base and third base, two positions of importance for the Royals.

Third baseman Mike Moustakas is out with a strained left calf, while Miguel Tejada went on the disabled list on Sunday with a strained right calf. Tejada was transferred to the 60-day DL to clear space on the 40-man roster for Bonifacio.

Bonifacio’s younger brother, Jorge, is an outfield prospect in the Royals organization. He is currently at Double-A Northwest Arkansas.

Iowa, Iowa State, Creighton Among Men’s Hoops Attendance Leaders

Sports

August 14th, 2013 by Jim Field

The NCAA announced the national attendance leaders in men’s division 1 basketball for the 2012-13 season.  Creighton was sixth on that list, with Iowa in at number 21 and Iowa State at number 22.  Creighton and Iowa State have drawn well over the last several years.  This marks a significant upturn in Iowa’s attendance numbers.

2013 Division I Basketball Attendance Leaders

(Rank, School, Average Attendance, Percentage of Capacity)

  1. Kentucky, 23,099 (100.4%)
  2. Syracuse, 22,439 (64.0)
  3. Louisville, 21,571 (98.0)
  4. North Carolina, 19,350 (88.9)
  5. Indiana, 17,412 (99.6)
  6. Creighton, 17,155 (99.3)
  7. Wisconsin, 16,843 (97.6)
  8. Tennessee, 16,635 (76.7)
  9. Ohio State, 16,524 (87.8)
  10. Kansas, 16,438 (100.8)
  11. Memphis, 16,336 (88.7)
  12. North Carolina State, 16,299 (82.7)
  13. BYU, 15,986 (76.4)
  14. UNLV, 15,196 (82.1)
  15. Marquette, 15,033 (80.8)
  16. New Mexico, 15,022 (97.4)
  17. Illinois, 15,013 (90.3)
  18. Michigan State, 14,341 (97.1)
  19. Arizona, 14,157 (97.3)
  20. Arkansas, 13,750 (71.6)
  21. Iowa, 13,625 (88.4)
  22. Iowa State, 13,393 (93.1)
  23. Minnesota, 12,580 (86.0)
  24. Kansas State, 12,528 (100.0)
  25. Maryland, 12,489 (69.5)

(podcast) 8-a.m. Sports (8/14/13)

Podcasts, Sports

August 14th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

With Jim Field….

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(Podcast) 7:20-a.m. Sports, Wed. (8/14/13)

Podcasts, Sports

August 14th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

With KJAN Sports Director Jim Field….

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Special teams feeling special again in Kansas City

Sports

August 14th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

ST. JOSEPH, Mo. (AP) — Special teams haven’t been all that special for the Kansas City Chiefs the last few years, at least, when it comes to the punt and kickoff return teams. The Chiefs haven’t brought a punt back for a touchdown in more than two years, and they haven’t had a kick return touchdown in nearly four. They aim to change all that under the guise of Dave Toub.

He was hired by new Chiefs coach Andy Reid after a successful run in Chicago, where Toub helped to turn Devin Hester into one of the most dangerous return men in the game. The special teams overhaul paid off in the preseason opener. Dexter McCluster had a 55-yard punt return and Knile Davis returned a kickoff 79 yards on a banner day for them.

Cardinals beat Pirates 4-3 in 14 innings

Sports

August 14th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

ST. LOUIS (AP) — Adron Chambers singled home the winning run in the 14th inning as the St. Louis Cardinals outlasted the Pittsburgh Pirates and cut into their NL Central lead with a 4-3 victory on Tuesday night. Sam Freeman (1-0) allowed a walk in a scoreless 14th for the Cardinals, who saddled the Pirates with their fourth straight loss and pulled within two games of them with a win in the 4-hour, 55-minute game.

Pittsburgh had four hits the first time through the order against Adam Wainwright and led 3-0 after two innings on homers by Andrew McCutchen and Jordy Mercer. They had six hits the rest of the way. Both teams had chances in extra innings before the Cardinals, who had dropped four of five, cashed in.

Jon Jay singled off Jared Hughes (2-3) with one out in the 14th with his fourth hit. Jay stole second and then raced home and beat left fielder Starling Marte’s throw.

Beltran in Cardinals lineup vs. Pirates

Sports

August 13th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

ST. LOUIS (AP) — Carlos Beltran was in the St. Louis Cardinals for the opener of their series against NL Central-leading Pittsburgh, making a quick recovery from a bruised right foot. Beltran was taken out in the sixth inning Sunday after fouling a ball off the foot. The Cardinals had a day off Monday and Beltran and the team had been hopeful he could return.

Beltran was batting .305 with a team-leading 20 home runs and 62 RBIs. The switch-hitter was hurt batting right-handed and he was batting left-handed against the Pirates’ Charlie Morton, lessening the chance of aggravating the bruise with another foul ball.

The Cardinals added a hitter to the bench, recalling infielder Jermaine Curtis from Triple-A Memphis and demoting right-handed reliever Michael Blazek.