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  • CHICAGO -- The Los Angeles Dodgers offence helped out Ricky Nolasco. Nolasco allowed three solo home runs, but the Dodgers offence led the way in a 6-4 comeback victory over the Chicago Cubs on Thursday. "I made three terrible pitches," Nolasco said. "When those balls leave your hand, you know theyre not coming back." The team arrived at its downtown hotel at 7:30 a.m. on Thursday. "The key is just coming in every day and grinding," Nolasco said. "The guys had a tough flight yesterday, coming in early. But once it becomes game time, everybody knows the job we have to do." Junior Lake and Anthony Rizzo each homered twice for the Cubs, who lost for the fourth time in five games. The Cubs finished with five hits. Yasiel Puig hit a long home run and scored two runs, and Hanley Ramirez and Jerry Hairston each drove in two runs to help pick up Nolasco. It also gave the Dodgers a win a night after having a four-game winning streak snapped and improved their record to 11-2 since the All-Star break. "But, you know, it was a good thing nobodys on. Three bad pitches and those pitches usually go out of any park. I was able to give us a chance to win and Jerry came through with that big hit. The offence is eventually going to come around and score. Its a good feeling." The Dodgers have won 11 straight road games, with their last loss away from home coming on July 6 at San Francisco. "It was a win; thats what I like," manager Don Mattingly said. "It was a little bit of a battle. At the end of the day, if you get a win on a day like this. ... I thought the boys pushed it pretty good." Nolasco (7-9) lasted just five innings. Kenley Jansen struck out the side in the ninth for his 15th save. Things didnt look good early for the Dodgers when the Cubs took a 2-0 lead in the bottom of the first on back-to-back solo homers from Lake and Rizzo. The Dodgers tied it in the top of the third inning on a two-run double by Ramirez, scoring Puig and Adrian Gonzalez. The Cubs reclaimed a 3-2 lead in the bottom half on another solo homer by Lake. Cubs starter Chris Rusin (1-1) was sharp in the fourth and fifth innings, but appeared to get tired in the sixth. He was pulled after allowing a single and a walk to the first two batters. "My stuff was there. I thought in the third inning I left a couple pitches up and they put it down in the corner and scored a couple runs," said Rusin, who allowed four runs in five-plus innings "Theyre a good team. You cant make those mistakes because theyll capitalize on it." Following a sacrifice bunt by eighth-place hitter Tim Federowicz, Hairston pinch hit for Nolasco and singled off reliever Michael Bowden to give the Dodgers a 4-3 lead. One out later, Puig doubled to send runners to second and third and Gonzalez dropped a soft liner into centre to make it 5-3. Cubs centre fielder David DeJesus threw out Puig at the plate with a perfect one-hop throw. Rizzo added another solo homer in the eighth, his second two-homer game of the season, to pull the Cubs within a run, but Puig answered with a long solo blast in the top of the ninth. "Thats what I like about the win, the fact that we come from behind," Mattingly said. "They go back up again and were able to come back again. Jerry gets a big hit. Jerrys hit was huge and then Adrian and Yasiel get us add-ons. We needed every one of them." NOTES: RHP Carlos Marmol returned to Wrigley Field for the first time since being traded to the Dodgers on July 2. "I feel great wearing the uniform," he said before the game. "Im in first place right now. Im so happy." ... The Cubs announced the signing of 16-year-old OF Eloy Jimenez from the Dominican Republic. Jimenez was considered one of the best international prospects available this season. ... Dodgers LHP Hyun-Jin Ryu (9-3) faces LHP Travis Wood (7-7) in the second game of the series. [url=]Nike Free 5.0 Womens Cheap[/url] . Davis and White, who had a comfortable nine-point lead after Saturdays short dance, finished with 186.65 points after the free dance, over 26 points ahead over Italys Anna Cappellini and Luca Lanotte, who were second. [url=]Nike Free 3.0 V5 Womens Black[/url] . -- Now that Josh Hamilton has homered in consecutive games, Mike Trout has found his power stroke and C. [url=][/url] . Hes no longer the Raptors ace in the hole. Hes a known commodity and the league has been paying attention. [url=]Nike Free 5.0 V4 NZ[/url] . -- One thing has remained consistent about Magic coach Jacque Vaughn whenever he is asked how he gauges improvement for his team. [url=]Nike Roshe Run Womens Buy Online[/url] .Y. -- The Buffalo Bills are dealing with several injuries that are testing their roster depth just a couple of weeks into the pre-season.(Sports Network) - Raise your hand if you had the Texas Rangers squaring off with the St. Louis Cardinals your preseason World Series picks. If you did Im sure you were in select company, but that is where we are as we get ready to open the 107th edition of the Fall Classic on Wednesday at Busch Stadium. The Rangers are back in the World Series for the second straight season after losing in five games to the San Francisco Giants last year in their first- ever appearance. After their second straight AL West title and a franchise-record 96 wins this past season, the Rangers disposed of the Tampa Bay Rays in the ALDS before "Cruz-ing" to a six-game win over the Detroit Tigers in the ALCS, as outfielder Nelson Cruz set the all-time mark for most home runs (six) and RBI (13) in a postseason series on his way to MVP honors. "Behold, here we are with another opportunity," Rangers manager Ron Washington said. "They deserve a ton of credit. They got so much character in that clubhouse, so much drive. And as I said, we are a team, and thats the way they handle their business -- as a team." St. Louis, meanwhile, is the National Leagues version of the New York Yankees, as they are back in this round for the 18th time in team history following impressive wins over the Philadelphia Phillies in the NLDS and the Milwaukee Brewers in the NLCS. Of course, the Cardinals needed all 162 games to even reach the postseason, as they rallied from a 10 1/2 game deficit in late August and secured the wild card spot on the final day with a win over Houston coupled with the Phillies completing a three-game sweep of the Atlanta Braves. "We thought we had good character, not just good talent," St. Louis manager Tony La Russa said. "That means you cant quit and cant give up. We did get to the end, and a lot of it was our character. This one here has its own mark, because coming from that far back is historic." Armed with the best hitter in the game in Albert Pujols, it has been the Cards bullpen that has carried them here in October, as St. Louis became the first team to advance in a postseason series without having a starter go more than five innings in any game of its series with the Brewers. St. Louis last won a World Series back in 2006 and its 10 titles are the most by any NL team. With that in mind, lets take a look at the matchups at each position: CATCHER Tampa manager Joe Maddon dubbed this season the "Year of the Napoli". Mike Napoli has been a terrific addition to this Rangers club and has hit safely in eight of 10 postseason games and is hitting .316, while providing some quality defense behind the plate. Widely regarded as the top defensive catcher in the game, Yadier Molina had his best offensive season this past year, hitting .305 with 14 home runs and 65 RBI. Hes hit .279 here in the postseason, but has continued to be a stud behind the plate and will keep the Rangers speedsters honest in this series. FIRST BASE Michael Youngs season started with a trade demand, but ended with him being in the discussion for American League MVP, as he was the Rangers best player all season long, hitting .338 with 106 RBI. Hes now playing his third position with the team and remains one of the classiest and most underrated players in the game. Mitch Moreland will likely play first base when these games are played in Arlington. Perhaps playing his final set of games with the Cardinals, Albert Pujols remains the best player in the game. The three-time NL MVP had a down year by his standards, but has been tremendous this postseason and hit .478 against the Brewers with a pair of home runs and eight RBI. SECOND BASE Ian Kinsler had a terrific bounce back season after a disappointing 2010. The gritty second baseman hit 32 home runs and scored 121 runs. Hes hit .275 this postseason with nine RBI, while crossing the plate 11 times too. Skip Schumaker had been the Cards everyday second baseman, but suffered a strained oblique muscle in their Game 5 win over the Phillies and was left off the NLCS roster. Schumaker might be added to the World Series roster, but if he cant go then Nick Punto will handle the duties, as he did against the Brewers. However, he only had two hits in 15 NLCS at-bats. If Schumaker cant go and Punto continues to struggle at the plate, dont be surprised if La Russa goes to Ryan Theriot. Then again if Schumaker can go, Theriot will likely be left off the WS roster. THIRD BASE Aside from a three home run effort in the ALDS clincher Adrian Beltre has been quiet at the plate this postseason, going just 10-for-42 (.238) with six RBI. Hes still one of the best defenders at his position in the game, though. How many Cardinals would you have named before you got to David Freese in picking an NLCS MVP before the series started. Freese was tremendous, though, as he totaled 12 hits with three home runs and nine RBI versus the Brewers. He is hitting .425 this postseason with four homers after batting .297 in the regular season with only 10 home runs. SHORTSTOP Last postseason was Elvis Andrus coming out party to the baseball public. This year, though, hes had a tough go of it at the plate, batting just .205 while being caught stealing twice. He did swipe 37 bases on the season and could be a valuable weapon should he get on base in this series. Hes also an A+ defender. Rafael Furcal may not possess the same speed or range that he had in his heyday with the Atlanta Braves, but his October experience has proven to be a terrific asset to this Cardinals team. Even though he is only hitting .204 this postseason, he is still one of the better defensive shortstops in the game. LEFT FIELD David Murphy has been an invaluable asset to the Rangers, filling in when needed for both Josh Hamilton and Nelson Cruz this season. Hes hit .391 here in the playoffs with three RBI. Washington also likes to use the defensively- minded Endy Chavez here too. Matt Holliday appears to be fully healed from a finnger injury that cost him the end of the regular season and most of the NLDS.ddddddddddddHolliday swatted 22 home runs during the regular season and has hit .375 here in the playoffs with five runs batted in. CENTER FIELD Hamilton didnt quite have the MVP season he had last year, but is still one of the more feared left-handed bats in the game. Hes yet to hit a home run this postseason, but has driven in seven runs. Jon Jay is another of La Russas unheralded stars, as he was a consistent contributor during the season, batting .297 with 10 home runs and 37 RBI. RIGHT FIELD Cruz was bothered for a lot of the regular season by hamstring injuries, but has caught fire here in the playoffs. He put on a record-setting performance in the ALCS, belting six home runs and 13 RBI to help oust the Tigers. Lance Berkman turned out to be one of the best free agent signings of last offseason, as he earned NL Comeback Player of the Year honors after batting.301 with 31 homers and 94 runs batted in this season. Hes only hitting .237 here in October, though, and had just two RBI in the series win over the Brewers. DESIGNATED HITTER Young will slide back to his DH role at the start of this series. However, Washington could go with Murphy and leave Young at first for the beginning of this set since Moreland has just two hits in 19 postseason at-bats. Allen Craig hit .315 for the Cardinals this past season with 11 home runs and 40 RBI in 75 games. He hasnt hit much this postseason (.222) but La Russa will not hesitate to insert him into the DH role when the series shifts to Rangers Ballpark. STARTING PITCHING The Rangers lost a big piece of their starting rotation last offseason when Cliff Lee bolted as a free agent. Left-hander C.J. Wilson did an admirable job in assuming the role as staff ace and won a career-best 16 games, while earning his first-ever trip to the All-Star Game. Hes been atrocious in the playoffs, though, losing two of his three starts and failing to get out of the fifth in the other. Wilson has allowed 14 runs in 15 2/3 innings (8.04 ERA) and has walked eight batters in that span. But he hasnt been alone. Lefties Derek Holland and Matt Harrison and righty Colby Lewis were downright awful against the Tigers, as the group as a whole combined for an ERA of 6.59 in the ALCS. They also own just one quality start in the 10 games they have played in the playoffs. St. Louis starting staff hasnt been much better, as the Cardinals became the first team to win a postseason series when their starters failed to go more than five innings in any of the six games. The exception to the rule is righty Chris Carpenter, who is the best starter in the series. A former NL Cy Young Award winner, Carpenter, of course, outdueled Roy Halladay in a decisive fifth game to get the Cards to the NLCS, and beat the Brewers in his only NLCS start, albeit a five-inning, three run performance. BULLPEN The Rangers strengthened their bullpen at the trade deadline, acquiring right- handers Mike Adams and Koji Uehara. However, it has been a starter from this season who has dominated in the bullpen here in October for the Rangers. Right-hander Alexi Ogando, who won 13 games and earned a trip to the All-Star Game in his first year as a full-time starter this season, has been exceptional out of the bullpen in the postseason, allowing just a run and four hits, while striking out 12 in 10 1/3 innings of work. Ogando picked up two wins in the series against the Tigers, as Rangers starters C.J. Wilson, Colby Lewis, Derek Holland and Matt Harrison combined for a 6.59 ERA in the ALCS. The rotation also has just one quality start in 10 postseason games. With Uehara (33.75 ERA) struggling, Ogando was called upon time and time again to help set the bridge to Adams and closer Neftali Feliz, who has surrendered just one run in the postseason. St. Louis bullpen, which ranked 21st in the majors in the regular season with a 3.95 ERA, pitched in just over 54 percent of the teams innings -- the fifth-highest percentage ever for an LCS -- and contributed a 1.58 ERA. La Russa also broke his own NLCS record by making 28 pitching changes. The bullpen was spearheaded by a pair of mid-season acquisitions in lefty Mark Rzepczynski and Octavio Dotel, who along with righty Edwin Jackson came over from Toronto as part of the Colby Rasmus deal. Closer Jason Motte, the fifth such pitcher to be used in that role, has also found his rhythm, as he converted eight of nine saves in September and has saved four games in the playoffs without allowing a run in eight innings. BENCH Outfielder Craig Gentry will be used as a pinch-runner and defensive replacement in late game situations. Moreland will also offer some pop off the bench when the games are in St. Louis. Its kind of veiled as to who is a starter and who isnt with some of the Cardinals, as La Russa cant help himself with the mixing and the matching. When not being used as a DH, though, Craig will be his top bat off the bench with the versatile Theriot finding himself some at bats as well, especially if Punto continues to struggle and Schumaker cant go. MANAGERS Tony La Russa is one of two managers to win World Series championships in both leagues. He is third all-time in managerial victories and with another postseason win he will tie Atlantas Bobby Cox for the second most all-time. This is also the third St. Louis team he has taken to the World Series in the last eight seasons. He may drive you crazy with all his little moves, but at the end of the day La Russa is one of the best managers to ever manage a Major League Baseball game. Washington has his team back in the World Series for the second straight season and with a better team than the one that lost in five games last year to the San Francisco Giants. Players love playing for him and he has made all the right moves here in October. Being in last years Fall Classic will certainly help, as Washington wont get overwhelmed in the moment.   [url=]cheap jerseys[/url] [url=]cheap nhl jerseys[/url] ' ' '