Blue Jays win fifth straight after Pillar’s walkoff homer against Mariners

“But can’t we keep this about the game?”It wasn’t all good news for the Blue Jays, who may have lost another player with an injury.Left fielder Steve Pearce hurt his right calf muscle in the second inning legging out a double and hobbled off the field, not to return. It was Mother’s Day, after all, and Pillar wanted to look good for his coming photo opp.He well knows the damage that testosterone-charged teammates can inflict on a uniform after witnessing the threads get torn off the back of Ryan Goins following his walk-off single on Wednesday against Cleveland.“I wanted to keep my jersey on because I told my mom we’d get a picture after the game,” Pillar explained after his walk-off home run in the bottom of the ninth inning lifted the Blue Jays to a 3-2 win over the Seattle Mariners at Rogers Centre.“I saw what happened to Go-Go [Goins] the other day,” Pillar continued. His winning jack, his fifth home run, was his 48th hit of the season. The team has won three successive series.And with a four-game home-and-home set coming up against the Atlanta Braves, the team with the second-worst record in the majors, the Blue Jays’ immediate future appears rosy.“I tell you what, he’s having some kind of year,” Toronto manager John Gibbons said about Pillar, always a tremendous defender who is starting to turn into a top-flight hitter since sliding into the leadoff spot two weeks into the season.Pillar entered Sunday’s game leading the American League in hits. “His jersey’s not even recognizable any more.”And neither are these Blue Jays, the recent sad sacks of baseball, who are making others take notice of their success.The Blue Jays, 17-21, swept four games from the Mariners to extend their winning streak to a season-best five in a row. Toronto reliever Ryan Tepera, 3-1, got the win. That play came during what was still a runless game and likely prevented a run.The Blue Jays also celebrated the return of pitcher Aaron Sanchez.The AL’s earned-run champion from a year ago has been assailed this season by problems to his right throwing hand, including a broken fingernail that landed him on the disabled list for a second time at the beginning of the month.Sanchez started Sunday, with a limited pitch count, and looked solid in his first outing since April 30, holding the Mariners to just one run and five hits in five innings.Sanchez was yanked after 78 pitches and the Mariners leading 1-0.“It was good, nice to finally get back out there,” Sanchez said. He is hitting .314 through 38 games.“Sometimes when things are going good, you just can’t stop it,” Gibbons said.Pillar also made an exhilarating grab in deep centre field on a line drive by Danny Valencia in the fourth inning with Nelson Cruz stationed at second base. Kevin Pillar was doing the sidestep and was about halfway to first base when he finally relinquished the grip on his bat after realizing neither he nor the Toronto Blue Jays would be needing it again on Sunday.He completed his jubilant home-run scamper around the bases and touched down at home plate into the awaiting arms of his elated teammates, but quickly broke free from the frenzy in order to protect his uniform. Gibbons said he does not know how serious the injury is and that Pearce would be getting an MRI.The Mariners moved in front 1-0 in the fifth when Carlos Ruiz scored on a throwing error by Jose Bautista in right field.Justin Smoak powdered his seventh home run in the sixth, a two-run shot off Seattle reliever James Pazos, to provide the Blue Jays with a 2-1 lead.But the usually power-shy Jarrod Dyson responded in kind in the top of the seventh, lacing his first home run of the season to right off Toronto reliever Dominic Leone to tie the game and help set the stage for Pillar.Pillar’s homer came off Seattle pitcher Edwin Diaz, who took the loss. “It’s been a long time coming.”There was still some blood spurting from the wound but it didn’t seem to be an issue with either the team or Sanchez, who didn’t really want to talk about the injury.“I mean, yeah,” he said, when asked if the finger was bleeding while he was on the mound.

Spurs beats Man United in stadium finale, locks down Premier League second spot

“If you’ve got the label, you accept it (as a firefighter), but building for the future relieves the stress on you. Tottenham signed out of White Hart Lane, and Hull left the Premier League.Sunday’s results meant there’s only Champions League qualification at stake entering the final week of the season.Tottenham locked down second place by beating Manchester United 2-1 in its final game before leaving its north London home of 118 years. I wouldn’t want to keep fighting relegation at the end of every season. Tottenham’s triumph ended Jose Mourinho’s hopes of United making the top four, leaving three teams chasing the last two Champions League spots: Liverpool, which beat West Ham 4-0 on Sunday, Manchester City and Arsenal.The three relegation spots have also been filled. By the time they are playing in the new home, they’ll hope to have delivered Tottenham’s first league title since 1961.“It’s been a progression from (third) last season,” Kane said. Hull makes an instant return to the League Championship.Hull never recovered after gifting Wilfried Zaha a third-minute goal. Hull joined Sunderland and Middlesbrough in dropping into the second tier after losing 4-0 at Crystal Palace.TOTTENHAM 2, MANCHESTER UNITED 1Tottenham is leaving White Hart Lane after completing its best campaign at the stadium for more than a century. Tottenham’s hopes of catching newly crowned champion Chelsea ended a week ago, but it was still able to secure its highest finish in 54 years. “We’ve just got to keep it going, keep working hard, keep getting better and hopefully next season we’ll finish first.“To finish strong and finish unbeaten here is something special.”It wasn’t so memorable for the “Special One,” with Mourinho’s hopes of qualifying for the Champions League with United now resting on beating Ajax in the Europa League final later this month.“We know that it is a big objective, we know that if we lose the final we don’t play Champions League,” said Mourinho, who has already collected the League Cup. “But we fight for titles and probably other clubs finishing in the top four, probably they would like to be in our position to try to fight for a title.”WEST HAM 0, LIVERPOOL 4Philippe Coutinho set up Daniel Sturridge before adding a superb double of his own. Divock Origi completed the rout with a tap-in as Liverpool ensured it will qualify for the Champions League, regardless of other results, by beating relegated Middlesbrough in next Sunday’s season finale.CRYSTAL PALACE 4, HULL 0Crystal Palace manager Sam Allardyce maintained his status as a survival specialist, having never been relegated in management.“I said to myself this would be the hardest one, given the quality of the teams we had to play on the run-in,” Allardyce said. Spurs are due back on the site in a new 61,000-seat stadium in August 2018, after a season at Wembley.This was the perfect send-off.Victor Wanyama’s sixth-minute header set the tone for a carnival atmosphere and Harry Kane added his 28th goal of the season at the start of the second half. It’s about building for the future.”Marco Silva couldn’t save Hull, though, in his five months in charge. It was followed by Christian Benteke’s header, Luka Milivojevic’s 85th-minute penalty and Patrick van Aanholt’s late strike. United captain Wayne Rooney pulled one back but Tottenham held on to win before a ceremony, featuring past and current players, to bid farewell to the stadium.The players are now looking to the future.

Mother’s Day puts playoffs in perspective for some Ottawa Senators

I miss you. But instead, I’ve realized all of my dreams. He came to Canada to play junior hockey and began professional analysis to help work through the demons. I don’t know what word is left to use to describe it. “Bobby’s been one of our best players this playoff run,” he said. “This is probably the first Mother’s Day when I’ve been playing,” he joked.Knowing that his wife and children are in the stands watching gives him what he called “an X-factor” – a bit of inspiration. He’s playing like a man possessed.”Anderson was quick to return the compliment. The father was charged with attempted murder.Out on bail and – it’s complicated, remember – forgiven by his wife, Bob Stevenson decided to run and hide. Love, Bobby.”This past regular season was a struggle for Bobby Ryan, now 30. They left their home in New Jersey and ended up in Southern California, the father calling himself Shane Ryan and the hockey-loving son now known as Bobby Ryan.There was no further violence, but the running away eventually caught up to the small family. They would all “take a little time” this Sunday to reflect on what really matters.“We wouldn’t be here without our mothers,” he added. Every single one. And somehow you also found time to home-school me, make me dinner and teach me how to be a man.“There were a lot of times when I could have screwed up or strayed in the wrong direction. “You got a job as an assistant GM at the rink during the day so that I could skate for free and you worked at the check-in desk for an airline at night so I could fly on standby to go to tournaments with my travel team. Ahead of them, Monday night at the same PPG Paints Arena, would be Game 2 against the defending Stanley Cup champion. But he was not thinking about what a great game he had; rather, about the year he had and how bittersweet it seems on reflection.Up in the morning, he had sent a text to Danielle to wish his wife a Happy Mother’s Day, her first. But Sunday was a day to pause and speak quietly of matters far more important than who wins and who loses in a game best enjoyed by children. Little Riley was born last year, just in time to meet her grandmother, Melody Stevenson, for the first and only time. “And I know my kids wouldn’t be the same without their mom.“It’s definitely a special day for everybody.” And it was all because of you.“I love you so much, Mom. That’s exciting to see as a player, as a team, as a teammate, as a friend.“To see him have some success now and see him get a little bit of his swagger back, it’s a good thing.”Anderson has never gone all the way in the playoffs. Short days later, Melody was dead at 57 from liver cancer.Ryan said he found the day “almost poetic.” This Mother’s Day, he said, was “my first without being able to text my mom. But I woke up this morning and I was able to text my wife because it was hers.“You take the good with the bad on a day like this.”Many people know the story of Bobby Ryan and Melody Stevenson, but for those who do not here is the condensed version of a very complicated story:Bobby Ryan was once 12-year-old Bobby Stevenson.His father, in a rage fuelled by alcohol, attacked Melody so viciously one fall day in 1997 that she ended up in hospital with a fractured skull, broken ribs and a punctured lung. Now essentially a single mom, Melody did everything she could to keep her son in the game he loved, including taking on two full-time jobs.Bobby Ryan decided to stick to the name by which all his teammates knew him. “I think when we traded for him a few years ago, we were expecting the Bobby Ryan we’ve got right now. It was Bobby Ryan who set up the first goal and scored the overtime goal only a few hours earlier. On Mother’s Day, it seemed only natural they would talk about mothers and grandmothers.And pain and redemption.The Ottawa Senators’ unexpected 2-1 overtime victory in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference final against the Pittsburgh Penguins was behind them. … It’s remarkable, I guess. His play slipped and fans began turning on him, particularly in light of the seven-year, $50.75-million contract that makes him the team’s highest-paid player and which runs through the 2021-22 season.His play in the postseason, however, has been stellar, capped off by that dramatic breakaway goal that sealed Game 1.“You can redeem yourself,” he said Sunday. The father was caught and in 2000 began serving a four-year prison term. “With everything that’s been thrown on him and his family this year. When he returned to play, he was always solid, often brilliant.“It’s hard to describe, isn’t it?” said Ryan in admiration. “I look at it as a complete restart.”Not far from where Ryan spoke, goaltender Craig Anderson played in the hotel lobby with his children, 5-year-old Jake and 3-year-old Levi, in for the game with their mother, Nicholle, who was diagnosed last October with a rare cancer found in the throat area.Multiple times this season Anderson was excused from his hockey duties so that he could be with Nicholle as she underwent treatment. Four years ago, in a profile that appeared in Sportsnet magazine, he let out his great secret.Last year, after Melody died, Bobby Ryan penned a heart-breaking tribute to her in The Players’ Tribune, accompanied by a photograph of Melody holding the little granddaughter she would meet but once.“You worked 16 hours a day so that I could realize my dreams of a professional hockey player,” he wrote.

Kelly: As Premier League dynasties fall, so too do their kings

Three of them are rookies.That rate of turnover creates organizational chaos, moreso when each new man is expected to change every single thing about his organization and succeed immediately. In return, Mourinho’s given it a season no more inspiring than the one that got his predecessor canned. They’re the sorts of people who can make the team’s assistant nutritionist sound like Thomas Edison.When Pep Guardiola arrived at Manchester City – a lavishly funded club that hadn’t won anything important in a very long time (i.e. Ten or so were happy to survive. For maybe six months.The urbane Spaniard may have mastered the intellectual style of management, but Wenger created it. “The past gives regrets. Two or three others picked at the edges. Under Conte, it was a good side, but often not a pretty one.The difference in outcome seemed to be that Conte is that rare modern manager who does not arrive in a new job handing out copies of his book, My Philosophy (or, Why Everything You’ve Done Until Now is Wrong). The overall level of play in the EPL is getting worse at the same time the league is getting more interesting.The two emblematic figures of that change are managers – Chelsea’s Antonio Conte and Arsenal’s Arsène Wenger.Conte won the league title in his first year on Friday. Losing to win. Girded by his Barcelona and Bayern Munich trophy cases, Guardiola’s job is safe. And the future uncertainties.”Twenty years on the job, he’s only just now about to learn how true that is. – they thrived.All his contemporaries at the top are conspicuously deep thinkers and tinkerers – either about tactics, man-management, formations, training methods, or just about anything anyone asks them about. Despite his long history of achievement, he’s already looking shaky.Winners get the spoils, meaning this year’s fair-haired boys are Conte , (who makes a miserly $11-million and is in line for a doubling of his salary) and Tottenham Hotspurs’ Mauricio Pochettino – the newest genius (until he slips an inch and has his professional head cleaved off).With the exception of Wenger, no manager in the EPL’s top six has been on the job for more than three years. This gave the league a strong (and often tedious) sense of order. This is why they call the position goalkeeper and not ball-kicker.City will finish third or fourth. Conte managed to win in large part because his team’s poor previous season freed it of European commitments. Manchester gave him a lot of money and latitude. Sadly, however, he could not stop the ball from going into his own net. Wenger’s best player, Alexis Sanchez, is likely to leave in the summer, possibly to a direct rival. Four teams dominated. He let good players play in an easily understood, consistent system and – wonders! Three or four were the chum everyone else got fat on.The four on top went through to the Champions League, massively boosting revenues and exposure, which in turn allowed them to lure and afford the best players. It is hard to imagine dynasties any more, not when kings are constantly being dragged out to the chopping block after a couple of seasons.“The only moment of possible happiness is the present,” Wenger once said. With the notable exception of midfield Dyson vacuum N’golo Kanté, this team wasn’t much different from the Chelsea squad that failed miserably last year. Instead, they are expected to arrive ready-made, transformed overnight through the brilliance of the man on top.United’s Jose Mourinho arrived in Manchester this year with a reputation as the game’s greatest pragmatist. Even that might not do it.If and when Wenger goes, the notion of the coaching lifer goes with him. It was a self-sustaining system.It isn’t any more. Wenger never failed – players failed him.That sort of thing was sustainable when Wenger’s contemporaries were bilious screamers or oafish brutes, but as the Wenger mystique became more fashionable, the man himself has become less so.Arsenal will almost certainly finish outside the top four this season, creating a cascading financial disaster. He has one last chance to save his job – by beating Conte’s Chelsea in the FA Cup final in two weeks. It’s infected soccer as well.The beneficiaries of all this change are player agents (because new bosses are in constant need of shiny new talent) and neutral supporters.The complacent oligarchy that ruled the league through most of its modern incarnation is finished (or, at least, pleasingly expanded). The quartet in question turned over every now and again, but almost always included Arsenal and Manchester United. In this case, the sub-par ball-handling skills of his goalkeeper. He’s engaged in a public knife fight with the club’s CEO over control of soccer decisions.The harder Wenger grips the reins, the more erratic his horses and their supporters get. This didn’t make a whole lot of sense, but through the magic of saying something weird often enough, Guardiola made it plausible.City brought in another goalkeeper who was a silkier passer in the completely empty space between the goalmouth and the fullback. For 20 years at Arsenal, he has given the impression there are patterns in the game only he can see. It was a weekend of farewells in the English Premier League – to White Hart Lane (1899-2017), to Wayne Rooney as an elite player, to the notion of the manager in perpetuity and, in some important ways, to an era.The Premier League thrived over its first quarter century as a big-four establishment. His real magic was maintaining the con while his sides were losing. The trade-off for being paid ludicrous amounts (Guardiola is reportedly on $26-million per year) is that the life cycle of a manager has been reduced to guppy lengths.The world’s elite clubs will no longer wait for great teams to be built. two years) – he fixated immediately on the fundamentals. The Premier League has turned into a scintillating free-for-all in its upper third, and proof that the highest possible quality does not always equal the most watchable sporting product.

Energized Ducks beat Predators to even Western Conference final

Louis in the first two rounds on the way to the first conference finals in franchise history.Two days after Nashville’s 3-2 overtime victory at Honda Center in the series opener, Johansen and Neal scored in the opening 8:32 of Game 2.The Ducks finally awakened at the prospect of their second straight 0-2 series deficit and replied with high-octane hockey – and a few fortunate bounces – that was too much even for Rinne, who hadn’t given up four goals in a game since March 13.Ritchie, the power forward making his first career playoff run, scored the winning goal in Game 7 against Edmonton. Anaheim’s power play was scoreless in 21 straight attempts dating to Game 2 of the second round against Edmonton, but Vatanen beat Rinne cleanly with a slap shot for his first goal of the post-season.Silfverberg evened it in the opening minute of the second period, cashing in Rickard Rakell’s pass on the back side of Rinne for the ninth goal of the Swede’s outstanding post-season.The Predators took another lead when Forsberg cashed in a rebound of a breakaway by speedy Viktor Arvidsson, who had two assists.The Ducks pulled even again on the first career playoff goal for Kase, the aggressive Czech rookie, who slipped a puck through traffic. Four days later, he got his next major goal on an exceptional high shot that appeared to glance off Rinne’s mask on the way in.Anaheim hung on through a frenetic third period, surviving a few mad scrambles before captain Ryan Getzlaf got his third assist of the night on Vermette’s empty-netter. Nick Ritchie scored the tiebreaking goal late in the second period, and the Anaheim Ducks roared back from an early two-goal deficit to even the Western Conference finals with a 5-3 victory over the Nashville Predators in Game 2 on Sunday night.Jakob Silfverberg, Sami Vatanen and Ondrej Kase also scored while the Ducks cracked imposing goalie Pekka Rinne with a thrilling surge of four goals in less than 19 minutes. The Ducks also got several good saves from Gibson, who has raised his level of play from the first two rounds.Although Honda Center was much fuller and louder than it was for the traffic-affected series opener, the Ducks’ knack for slow starts at home remained constant.After Johansen scored on a breakaway just 4:18 in, Neal doubled the lead on a power play with one of the easiest goals in recent history, escorting the puck unimpeded into the net when Gibson completely lost sight of the play.The now-familiar ominous hush fell over Honda Center, but the Ducks got going in an unlikely scenario. John Gibson stopped 30 shots, and Antoine Vermette had an empty-net goal for the Ducks.Ryan Johansen, James Neal and Filip Forsberg scored for the Predators Game 3 is Tuesday night in Nashville.Rinne made 22 saves for the Predators, who faced relatively little adversity while steamrolling Chicago and St. The Predators hadn’t allowed four goals in any game during their excellent Stanley Cup playoff run before Anaheim finally got rolling for its sellout crowd.

Toronto FC to lose Giovinco for up to three weeks, Hagglund for longer

Moor, who has been out since mid-April due to a irregular heartbeat, is back training. He declined to link the crammed calendar to Saturday’s injuries but said improvements are needed if the league wants to show off the best possible product on the field.Giovinco scored Toronto’s first goal Saturday in the 20th minute from the penalty spot. That led to a 62nd-minute penalty after Toronto wingback Raheem Edwards was called for handball.Minnesota scored to tie the game at 2-2, prompting Vanney to change his choice of substitution. Three minutes later, after heading a ball out for a corner, he went down again and hobbled off the field for good in the 60th minute.Things got somewhat chaotic after that with Toronto down to 10 men. He also missed a March game in Vancouver after his right thigh was injured in a hard tackle by Philadelphia defender Oguchi Onyewu the previous match,Hagglund was hurt in the 57th minute Saturday when six-foot-three, 195-pound goalkeeper Alex Bono inadvertently crashed into his knee going after a low Minnesota cross.The 24-year-old defender immediately went down clutching his left knee, his face contorted in pain. He pulled back defender Justin Morrow in favour of Vazquez, who eventually made it on the field in the 65th minute.Toronto scored the go-head goal in the 77th minute via Ricketts’ header. He tried to keep going but his movement was limited. Giovinco has been diagnosed with a quad strain and is expected to be out for up to three weeks.The news is worse for Hagglund, who has a torn medial collateral ligament in his left knee. But he came off in the 44th minute, complaining of tightness in his quad. But things got more complicated for league-leading TFC on Monday with unwanted injury news about striker Sebastian Giovinco and defender Nick Hagglund. Hagglund has been a major part of Toronto’s back three, especially in the absence of injured veteran Drew Moor.On the plus side, Vanney has some ready replacements.Forward Tosaint Ricketts has scored three times in the last two matches, including both game-winning goals. The corner conceded by Hagglund led to another corner, thanks to an Armando Cooper miscue. And veteran Jason Hernandez, subbed out at halftime Saturday due to a bout of food poisoning, has been steady when needed.Vanney has dipped deep in his roster during the recent busy spell, using 19 players during the current win streak.“I think we have an incredibly deep team with players capable of starting on a lot of teams around this league that don’t always get to start for us every weekend,” Vanney said after the Minnesota game.On Saturday, he had five of his starters from the 2016 MLS Cup final on the bench as well as Spanish playmaker Victor Vazquez, who leads the league in assists.Toronto is just the third MLS team since 2007 to post a regular-season win streak of six or more games.According to the league, Sporting Kansas City won seven games — over 39 days — to open the 2012 season and New England won six straight (over 46 days) in 2015.Toronto, which notched its six wins in just 22 days, faces another busy stretch with the Red Bulls game the start of another five-game 15-day run.Captain Michael Bradley, who has played every minute this season, has called on the league to improve its scheduling. He is expected to miss eight to 12 weeks.Both were forced to leave Saturday’s 3-2 victory over Minnesota United.Giovinco is tied with Jozy Altidore for the team lead in goals with six. Toronto FC’s depth, which has helped Greg Vanney’s team to a franchise-record six wins in a row, is about to get tested some more.After a hectic stretch of five games in 15 days, Toronto (7-1-4) was looking forward to a quiet week before Friday’s game at the New York Red Bulls. He soon had an icepack attached to his left thigh.It’s the latest of a string of minor injuries for the 30-year-old Italian star over the first 12 games of the season.He had missed the two games prior to Saturday with a heel contusion suffered May 3 against Orlando.

Gambling ad with disgraced Ben Johnson sparks outrage in Australia

(but) we make no apologies for injecting some humour into advertising,” a Sportsbet spokesman told News Ltd media.The proliferation of gambling advertising at sport venues and on television has raised alarm bells in Australia, where nearly $23-billion (Australian) was lost in all forms of legal wagering in the 2014-15 financial year, up nearly eight per cent on the previous year, according to government statistics.Earlier this month, Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull confirmed the government would ban gambling ads from live sporting events before 8:30 p.m. and for five minutes before and after the start of play. A TV ad for a gambling company that features disgraced sprinter Ben Johnson making light of doping has sparked outrage in Australia, with politicians and sports officials demanding it be pulled from the air.The Sportsbet ad has Canadian Johnson, who was stripped of his 100 metres gold medal in the 1988 Seoul Games after testing positive to a banned steroid, promoting a “juiced-up” mobile phone app. “It tested positive for speed and power again and again,” says Johnson in the ad, which includes other doping-related puns and muscular athletes touting the app.Federal sports minister Greg Hunt criticized Sportsbet and said the company should pull the ad.“To use a known drug cheat such as Ben Johnson to advertise their product is utterly inappropriate,” local media quoted Hunt as saying on Monday.Independent senator Nick Xenophon called upon the national media watchdog, the Australian Communications and Media Authority, to take action.“It is just wrong on so many levels – glorifying a drug cheat, tying it in with gambling and promoting it to kids in a lighthearted way,” Xenophon said.Australia’s anti-doping watchdog said the ad sent “completely the wrong message.”“This advertising campaign belittles the achievements of clean athletes and denigrates those who work to protect clean sport across the world,” the Australian Sports Anti-doping Authority said in a statement.Outspoken Australian swimmer Mack Horton, who sparked controversy at the Rio Olympics by calling a Chinese rival a “drug cheat”, was also disapproving.“This is naht cool,” the Olympic 400 metres freestyle champion wrote on Twitter.Sportsbet said it would not pull the ad.“Sportsbet does not condone the use of performance enhancing drugs …