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Orioles use key HRs to beat Rays

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Manny Machado hitting a three-run homer . Kevin Gausman pitching seven shutout innings. The Orioles winning in blowout fashion. Three things Baltimore was counting on happening a lot this season finally occurred in unison Sunday in a 7-1 win over the Tampa Bay Rays. The Orioles (40-41) concluded the first half of their schedule with a victory that was particularly special because of the contributions from Machado and Gausman, two key players who have thus far failed to reach their potential. Machado…

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Rays to end disappointing month of June in Baltimore

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When the time comes to look back on the 2017 season, the Tampa Bay Rays should remember June as a month filled with missed opportunities. While they can still make some noise in the second half of the season, they missed a good chance to establish themselves as a bona fide contender for a playoff spot. Heading into June, Tampa Bay had every reason to be optimistic. They finished May with a winning record, including a 10-4 mark on the…

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Rays part of American League’s parade of “parity”

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The late Pete Rozelle was known to strive for “parity” during his days as NFL Commissioner. Perhaps the first 26 games of the Buccaneers’ franchise, when they went 0-26, influenced his mindset. Rozelle and the NFL tweaked schedules to help more teams reach 8-8 and make it harder for teams to regularly go 14-2. While the elite teams mostly remained elite for a reason, the end result saw most teams in the playoff hunt as the seasons reached their final…

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New Year’s poll: Americans hopeful for a better 2017

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Emotionally wrenching politics, foreign conflicts and shootings at home took a toll on Americans in 2016, but they are entering 2017 on an optimistic note, according to a new poll that found that a majority believes things are going to get better for the country next year. A look at the key findings of the Associated Press-Times Square Alliance poll: ___ SO HOW WAS 2016? Americans weren’t thrilled with the year. Only 18 percent said things for the country got…

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On Election Day, let’s talk baseball …

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Grumpy and possibly jealous old men — some with newspaper columns — disapproved of Saturday’s comedy debut of Anthony Rizzo, Dexter Fowler, and Tallahassee homeboy David Ross. Fresh off their World Series win, the trio swung by Saturday Night Live to sing “Go Cubs Go” with superfan and trained professional comedian Bill Murray, and to bump and grind with Benedict Cumberbatch in a tasteless-by-design sketch starring cast member Aidy Bryant, a gifted practitioner of physical comedy who makes anyone who shares her stage look terrific. The Chicago Tribune’s Phil Rosenthal dissed the…

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With help from above, Cubs finally win a title

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The fleeting storm along Lake Erie couldn’t have come at a better time for the Chicago Cubs. It was as if the gods finally cut this snake-bit franchise a long overdue break. One hundred and eight years overdue. Shell-shocked after blowing a three-run lead with four outs to go in Game 7 of the World Series, the Cubs looked more like deer staring into headlights as they headed to extra innings against the Cleveland Indians. A series of head-scratching moves…

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World Series managers already face second-guessing

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Joe Maddon and Terry Francona are among the most highly regarded managers in Major League Baseball. If Maddon and the Chicago Cubs win tonight, he joins the exclusive club of guiding a World Series Champion. A victory by the Cleveland Indians would mean a third World Series ring for Francona, having won with the Boston Red Sox in 2004 and 2007. Despite their high stature, both managers will be open to second-guessing for decisions made in Game 6, depending on…

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