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Facing trouble, Michael Wacha did his best to slow down the game. He (General)

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ST. LOUIS -- Facing trouble, Michael Wacha did his best to slow down the game. He certainly frustrated New York Mets hitters who had him on the ropes. Wacha escaped a pair of jams with strikeouts, and the St. Louis Cardinals snapped a fifth-inning tie en route to a 5-2 victory on Tuesday night. "I hadnt been doing that in my last three starts," Wacha said. "It was nice to be able to start making pitches and being able to execute." Daniel Murphy couldnt deal with the changeup when he struck out with runners on second and third to end the fifth inning. "I dont think I swung at a single strike the at-bat I struck out," Murphy said. "He threw the ball well to me, and I helped him out." Murphy wasnt alone. "I dont think there are too many right-handers with a better changeup," Cardinals manager Mike Matheny said. "I think thats accepted league-wide." Yadier Molina hit his first homer since May 24 for the Cardinals, who have won eight of nine and will go for a three-game sweep on Wednesday. They have won a season-best five in a row and are a season-best seven games above .500. David Wright hit his first homer since May 28, and Lucas Duda also connected for the Mets, who have lost 11 of 14. "Theres many sleepless nights," Wright said. "I wont lie and say its easy or it doesnt bother me, but you have to understand theres not too many players, if any, that can go through a whole season and ride that roller-coaster ride a little bit." Mets manager Terry Collins batted the pitcher eighth, with Eric Young Jr. hitting ninth, for the second straight game in an effort to stimulate the offence. During the 14-game slump, the Mets have scored two or fewer runs seven times. Daisuke Matsuzaka worked a scoreless seventh inning in relief of Mets starter Jonathon Niese (3-4). Matsuzaka left Sundays start against San Diego after one inning because of a severe upset stomach. Wacha (5-5) gave up a run and five hits in six innings. Fanning Murphy preserved a 1-all tie, and he struck out Ruben Tejada with two on to end the sixth when the Cardinals led 3-1. Wacha had a career-best 10 strikeouts on April 23 at New York but also had a career-worst five walks and lasted four innings in a loss. Jon Jays RBI triple with two outs in the fifth gave the Cardinals the lead, and Matt Holliday followed with an RBI double. Pinch-hitter Kolten Wong and Peter Bourjos added RBIs in the sixth, with both runs unearned after second baseman Murphy dropped Daniel Descalsos slicing, looping liner with a man on and two out. "I just misplayed it," Murphy said. Jay is batting .405 (15 for 37) in his last 12 games with four multi-hit games. It was his first RBI since May 30. "Hes on a real good run at the plate," Matheny said. "The way hes taking his at-bats ... weve seen this before. You just see him go, and its fun to watch him go." Niese allowed five runs, three earned, in six innings. The lefty has made 18 consecutive starts allowing three or fewer earned runs. It is the longest active streak in the majors, extending to last September, but he is just 5-5 during that span. Wright entered the game 3 for 43 in his last 13 games. He leads the Mets with 34 RBIs, but has just four this month. The home run was his first on the road this season. Duda hit his ninth homer of the season leading off the ninth against Jason Motte to make it 5-2, and Anthony Recker doubled, but Pat Neshek retired the next three for his second save in four chances. NOTES: Lance Lynn (7-4, 3.16) faces Bartolo Colon (6-5, 4.15) in the series finale on Wednesday. Lynn worked eight scoreless innings in his last start. ... The Cardinals are 20-2 at home against NL East opponents the last two seasons. ... The attendance of 42,209 was St. Louis 19th sellout in 35 home games. Cheap Swingman Cavaliers Jerseys. 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Both the top-seeded Djokovic and sixth-seeded Fish took relatively easy paths, with the Serb winning when opponent Jo-Wilfried Tsonga retired in the second set with a sore arm and Fish dominating Janko Tipsarevic in two quick sets.Scott Cullen breaks down the opening night of the NHL playoffs, including Daniel Briere looking good for the Habs, the supporting cast coming through for the Penguins and the Stars comeback coming up short in Anaheim. WEISE THE HABS OT HERO A game that went back-and-forth on the scoreboard, though was controlled territorially by Montreal, ended in overtime when Dale Weise buried a pass from Daniel Briere at 18:08 of overtime, giving the Canadiens a 5-4 overtime win in Game One. The goal was Weises fourth in 18 games for the Canadiens since he was acquired from Vancouver, after scoring 10 goals in 135 career games prior. Lets not go changing expectations for Dale Weise the goal-scorer, however; hes still not generating many shots (0.71 per game with Montreal in the regular season), but when it comes to overtime winners, always take em where you can get em. Perhaps more interesting for Montreal is that Daniel Briere had a strong game for Montreal, playing a season-high 18:48 (in a 78-minute game), recording strong possession stats (65.4% Corsi) and, of course, setting up the winning goal. That assist gave Briere 110 points in 109 career playoff games, and his acquisition was touted for his playoff productivity, but it took a lot of patience as he struggled his way to 25 points in 69 regular-season games. If Briere can be a quality contributor in the playoffs, that will add a new dimension to the Canadiens attack. The game featured shoddy defensive play both ways, with Montreal outshooting Tampa Bay 44-25 (67-47 5-on-5 attempts), an unusual development considering that Tampa Bay had decidedly better possession numbers during the regular season. The line doing the most damage, in terms of controlling play, was the number one unit of Max Pacioretty, David Desharnais and Thomas Vanek and they did it while matched most frequently against Tampa Bays top line of Steven Stamkos and Tyler Johnson, with Victor Hedman and Sami Salo on defence. Desharnais was 3-for-17 (17.6%) on face-offs. Tampas top line took a hit early in the third period when LW Ondrej Palat left the game with an upper-body injury. Palat was hit hard by Columbus D Jack Johnson Friday, and was forced to leave the game, so hes hurting. If Palat isnt ready for Game Two, Killorn should continue in that spot, while a veteran like Tom Pyatt might make sense as an addition lower on the depth chart. There had been some talk, prior to the playoffs, that Lightning RW Steven Stamkos hadnt been in top form as he had missed nearly four months with a broken tibia, but he played a season-high 27:18 in Game One, scoring a pair of goals. Killorn, the second-year forward out of Harvard, had a goal and an assist for the Lightning. Montreals multi-point efforts came from unusual sources. C Lars Eller had a goal and an assist; he finished the regular season with three points in the last two games, but had a horrible run of three points in the 33 games before that, so if the Habs are going to get offence from him now, thats a bonus. D Alexei Emelin recorded a pair of assists, while he and Andrei Markov spent most of their night matched up against Stamkos and Johnson. Emelin previously had three multi-point games in 164 career games. That Montreal put five past Lightning G Anders Lindback isnt a huge surprise, but it was slightly more concerning that Canadiens G Carey Price surrendered four goals on 25 shots. They werent all Prices fault, to be sure, but a goaltender in the midst of a big playoff game might stop at least one that managed to get by Price in Game One. The good news for Montreal is that they earned a series-opening win without needing Price to carry them. PENS GET IT DONE Penguins C Brandon Sutter scored the game-winner in the third period, and Pittsburgh escaped with a 4-3 win over Columbus in Game One. While the game wasnt Pittsburghs best, they could take some positives because on a night that Sidney Crosby was held to one assist, and a minus-2 rating, the Penguins got ccontributions from the supporting cast.dddddddddddd RW Beau Bennett and D Matt Niskanen each had a goal and an assist while C Evgeni Malkin had two assists as did defencemen Paul Martin. The Blue Jackets can also take some positives, in that they were competitive on the road against the Penguins and the game was winnable if G Sergei Bobrovsky (28 saves on 32 shots) had been at his best. In their attempt to neutralize Crosby, the Blue Jackets kept Brandon Dubinsky matched up on No. 87 as often as possible. Dubinsky had a game-high nine hits, a highlight-reel assist and led Blue Jackets forwards with 20:29 time on ice. The Crosby line also shuffled during the game, with Brian Gibbons replacing Bennett on right wing. Given the number of guys that have rolled through that spot since Pascal Dupuis was injured this year, it should come as no surprise that the revolving door continues. Columbus D Jack Johnson contributed a goal and an assist. For all the criticism lobbed at Johnson, and he and partner Fedor Tyutin didnt fare well in the possession game in Game One, Johnson now has 14 points in 13 career playoff games. Whats troubling for Columbus, even if they were competitive with the Penguins, is that they lost a game in which they limited Crosbys contribution and it was the Penguins supporting cast that came through. If a team is going to pull off an upset, it would help matters to win in the games that they manage to be reasonably effective against Crosby. FIRST QUACK After racing out to a 4-0 lead by the midway point of the game, the Anaheim Ducks held on for a 4-3 win against the Dallas Stars in Game One. The rally for the Stars started with a second-period 5-on-3 power play goal and then Tyler Seguins third-period goal made for an interesting finish, but it wasnt enough, and despite a situation in which score-effects could have easily led to Dallas getting more shots in the third period, the Ducks outshot Dallas 13-8 in the final frame. Anaheim had contributions throughout the lineup, but the line of Teemu Selanne, Mathieu Perreault and Patrick Maroon was ridicuously dominant in terms of puck possession. Perreault was on for 13 shot attempts for and one against in 5-on-5 play. The most effective Ducks line, in terms of scoring, was their No. 1 line of Ryan Getzlaf, Matt Beleskey and Corey Perry. Both Getzlaf and Beleskey had a goal and an assist, and both left the game with injuries. Beleskey suffered a lower-body injury and didnt play after the midpoint of the third period, then Getzlaf took a Tyler Seguin slapshot in the mouth in the final minute. Early indications on Getzlaf are that he should be okay to play, but if Beleskey happens to be out, there will be an opportunity for someone -- perhaps Kyle Palmieri, who scored the first goal in Game One -- to move up the depth chart. The Stars top line of Jamie Benn, Tyler Seguin and Valeri Nichushkin was effective in the possession game and spent the night matched against Getzlafs line in a head-to-head situation. At the other end of the spectrum, Stars veterans Ray Whitney, Shawn Horcoff and Erik Cole struggled, as did defencemen Sergei Gonchar, who took a couple of penalties in limited (11:28) ice time, and Aaron Rome. If the Stars can get D Brenden Dillon back from a lower body injury soon, Rome or Gonchar could easily be bumped from the lineup. Up front, Nichushkin was replaced, for a few shifts, by RW Colton Sceviour, who finished the game with a goal and an assist to lead the Stars. While coming up short on a comeback attempt doesnt do the Stars all that much good, they were more competitive than the score showed early, and a close finish has to be preferable to getting blown out in Game One -- that was looking entirely possible at the midway point. Scott Cullen can be reached at Scott.Cullen@bellmedia.ca and followed on Twitter at http://twitter.com/tsnscottcullen. For more, check out TSN Fantasy on Facebook. Wholesale Jerseys ' ' '

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