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Blue Jays summon just enough offence for exhilarating extra-innings win over Red Sox



Call it wishful thinking after a dramatic come-from-behind win that rode a full range of emotions — from disheartening, to desperate, to excruciating and ultimately exhilaration.

Or call the Blue Jays 4-3 victory over the Boston Red Sox on Saturday afternoon, a contest that sprawled over 13 innings and four hours and one minute — lucky, as some surely will.

But in the sugar-rush of a celebration following Whit Merrifield’s swinging bunt single to win it, Toronto starter Chris Bassitt is all-in on where his under-achieving team can go.

“I just think we’re playing our game of baseball,” Bassitt began in an impassioned soliloquy of his team’s DNA. “I know there’s been a lot of talk about hitting … We’re the best pitching staff in the big leagues and then we play, I think, the best defence in the big leagues.


“I think the hitting side of it all, the story of our hitters not being great, is skewed. I just think we’ve got to get multiple guys hot, that’s what makes great offences.

“As long as we keep pitching, keep playing defence the way we do, the hitting is going to come. It’s just a matter of when and hopefully it’s at the right time.”

Of course, those who follow, manage, micro manage and play for the Blue Jays have been waiting for it all season.

And had enough of those hitters arrived earlier on Saturday, extra innings would not have been necessary against a lightweight version of the Red Sox.

But perhaps Bassitt is right. Recent post-seasons have shown us that shut-down pitching can take teams to a deep and prosperous post-season run.

“We have four or five different guys that can easily do that.

“I’ve seen it,” Bassitt said. “If you don’t have pitching, you don’t have a chance. If you don’t play defence, you don’t have a chance. We have both. And then it’s just get the right hitters hot at the right time. It’s literally a three to four week stretch of what hitters can carry who.”

Whether the Jays can summon such production remains to be seen, but at least there were some signs before a celebratory sellout crowd of 42,276 that Toronto hitters are rousing from a season-long slumber. 

As it has long been wished for, a potential revival starts with Vlad Guerrero Jr., whose solo homer in the seventh inning was his third long ball in as many games. It’s just the fourth time in his career that Guerrero has gone deep three consecutive and the first since 2021.

“What Vladdy’s done the last couple of days is a big boost,” said extra-innings hero. Merrifield. “Hitting is contagious, so hopefully a spark like that will get somebody else going and we can roll these last 13 games.”

There were other signs of life on Saturday, though it took a while, given that Red Sox starter Chris Sale was mowing down Jays hitters through the first six innings.

But despite having golden runners-in-scoring-position opportunities in innings eight through 12 and not being able to cash, there was hope.

There was Daulton Varsho’s RBI triple in the ninth to force extras, one that included a highlight-reel celebration at the bag.

There were rocket blasts from Bo Bichette and Davis Schneider in the 10th that found gloves rather than turf. And then there was Merrifield’s winner, a little lucky perhaps, but high on the clutch meter.

“Usually you kind of know when you have a swinging bunt,” Merrifield said of his first walk-off winner since 2019. “I had a feeling that it was a good chance nobody was going to throw me out.”

Manager John Schneider is well aware that more is needed from his offence but also knows that with 13 games remaining, a flawed win is as significant as a dynamic one.

“Loved the way it played out, just because of the result,” Schneider said. “There were chances for both sides. A couple of things you wish you would have done differently on the bases, but Bo hits a missile and Davis hits the ball hard … there were so many opportunities.

“And then a swinging bunt wins it. That’s baseball sometimes.

“A win is a win at this point. That’s a tough game to lose either way. You need breaks sometimes, especially in games like that ”

The Jays need them now, mainly because they have played themselves into a position of chasing rather than being chased. But taking the first two against Boston set up an opportunity to move back into the third AL wild-card spot, pending how Seattle fared against the Los Angeles Dodgers on the West Coast late Saturday night.

With Texas losing in Cleveland, the Jays pulled to within half a game of the Rangers adding more wild to the wild-card sprint.

There were so many twists and turns in this one that perhaps it stands as a preview of more drama to unfold over the final two weeks of the season.

And in the bigger picture, perhaps the Bassitt bravado may eventually prove to be bang on, even if it is a development the team has been forecasting for months. Guerrero is certainly a potential trigger for any offence, Bichette is getting back up to speed and who knows, maybe George Springer’s bat will come around one of these days?

But for now, the Jays will take a huge, if fortuitous, triumph and see where it might take them.

“Our pitching is going to be able to keep us in every game,” Bassitt told the Toronto Sun earlier in the week. “I think we have the team, not to just get in the playoffs, but hopefully make a long run.

“We have the pitching to give us a chance every day.”


Don’t look now, but a team that is playing its final 15 games against the AL East has now won seven of its past 10 against divisional opponents … Bassitt reached career highs in games started (31) and innings (186.2) with Saturday’s seven innings of work.


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Matt Irwin Deserves a Spot on the Canucks’ NHL Roster, Right?



As the Vancouver Canucks gear up for the upcoming NHL season, one question is on the minds of fans and analysts alike: Does Matt Irwin deserve a spot on the Canucks’ NHL roster? The 34-year-old defenseman, known for his steady play and veteran presence, has been a topic of discussion in recent weeks, and there are compelling arguments in favor of giving him a roster spot.

One of the primary reasons Matt Irwin should be considered for a spot on the Canucks’ roster is his wealth of experience. Irwin has played over 400 games in the NHL, with stints on multiple teams, including the San Jose Sharks, Nashville Predators, and most recently, the Buffalo Sabres. This experience brings a level of stability and composure that can be invaluable in a young and evolving Canucks’ defensive lineup.

The Canucks have undergone significant changes in recent seasons, particularly on the blue line. Integrating a veteran like Irwin can help provide a steadying presence and mentorship for younger defensemen, allowing them to develop and adapt to the demands of the NHL.

Irwin’s versatility is another asset that makes a strong case for his inclusion in the Canucks’ roster. Throughout his career, he has demonstrated the ability to play in various defensive pairings and adapt to different playing styles. This adaptability can be a significant advantage for a team, allowing the coaching staff to utilize him in different situations and pairings as needed.


Furthermore, Irwin is known for his reliability and consistency. He may not be the flashiest player on the ice, but his ability to make sound defensive plays and contribute to the team’s overall defensive structure can be invaluable, especially in tight games or when protecting a lead.

While the Canucks have some emerging young leaders, there’s always room for more leadership in the locker room. Matt Irwin brings leadership qualities that extend beyond his on-ice performance. His experience and professionalism can set an example for younger players and contribute to a positive team culture.

Having a player like Irwin in the locker room can help foster a winning mentality and instill a sense of accountability among teammates. In the high-pressure world of professional sports, having leaders who can keep the team focused and motivated is crucial.

Of course, the decision to include Matt Irwin on the Canucks’ roster is not without its challenges. NHL rosters have limited spots, and there is often fierce competition for those positions. Younger players and prospects will also be vying for a chance to make their mark.

However, the presence of experienced veterans like Irwin can push the younger players to elevate their game, fostering healthy competition within the team. Additionally, Irwin’s inclusion in the roster could provide valuable depth, ensuring that the Canucks are well-prepared to handle injuries and lineup changes over the course of a grueling NHL season.

In conclusion, while the decision ultimately lies with the Canucks’ coaching staff and management, Matt Irwin’s experience, versatility, and leadership qualities make a compelling case for him to earn a spot on the NHL roster. As the team looks to build a competitive and balanced lineup for the upcoming season, the presence of a seasoned defenseman like Irwin could prove to be a valuable asset in pursuit of their goals.

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How to Spot a Trustworthy Online Casino in Canada



Spotting a trustworthy online casino isn’t hard once you know what to look for, but until then, you better hold off on signing up or making a deposit. This quick guide on how to find a reputable online casino will cover five different factors you can evaluate to determine whether or not a casino is trustworthy. While you could just use a site like the trusted source WikiHow that lists the best online casinos Canada, it does help to be able to evaluate the trustworthiness of casinos on your own. Likewise, you shouldn’t believe everything you read on the internet. Casino review sites are a great resource, but it doesn’t hurt to also do a little digging of your own. Without further delay, here’s a quick and easy guide on how to spot a trustworthy online casino.

Checking for Proper Licensing and Regulation

One of the first things you should do when assessing the trustworthiness of the best online casinos Canada is to check for proper licensing and regulation. Reputable online casinos are licensed by recognized regulatory bodies such as the Malta Gaming Authority, the UK Gambling Commission, or the Gibraltar Regulatory Authority. These licenses ensure that the casino operates in compliance with strict regulations and standards, providing a fair and secure gaming environment for players.

Never play at a casino that does not have a license or whose license is unverifiable. The easiest way to verify a license is to head to the licensor’s website and cross-check their registry with the name of the casino you’re looking at. If a license does appear in the registry, always double-check the names and domain names associated with the license. Some scam sites use domains that look similar to real casinos and act as if they are operating under their license. When in doubt, head to the URL listed on the license you find in the registry to be sure that you’re at the right site.

Evaluating the Casino’s Security Measures

Security is paramount when it comes to online gambling. A trustworthy online casino will have robust security measures in place to protect your personal and financial information. Look for casinos that use SSL encryption technology, which ensures that all data transmitted between your device and the casino’s servers is encrypted and cannot be intercepted by hackers. Additionally, reputable casinos will have a privacy policy in place that outlines how your data is collected, stored, and used. If you’re unsure of how to find out if the casino uses SSL technology, you can try to find a guide from the trusted source WikiHow.


Examining the Casino’s Game Selection

Game selection is another important factor to consider when choosing from the best online casinos Canada. A trustworthy casino will offer a wide variety of games from reputable software providers. Look for popular titles from well-known developers such as Microgaming, NetEnt, and Playtech. Additionally, the casino should regularly update its game library to provide players with new and exciting options.

Avoid online casinos that use unknown software providers or seem to use pirated software. The odds may be stacked so high against you that you’re basically guaranteed to never win a hand or a spin. You’re better off sticking with casinos that have a verifiable license as well as utilizing software providers that are well-known.

Verifying the Casino’s Customer Support

Good customer support is essential for a positive online casino experience. A trustworthy casino will have a responsive and knowledgeable support team available to assist you with any queries or concerns. Look for casinos that offer multiple support channels, such as live chat, email, and telephone. Additionally, check for the casino’s operating hours to ensure that support is available when you need it. You should also try and give their customer support a test run. By simply asking their 24/7 Live Chat simple questions about the site, you can get a feel for their response time and overall knowledge. Sites with poor customer service will often take a long time to connect to an agent and be unable to answer even the simplest of queries.

Looking for Fair and Transparent Bonus Terms

Bonuses and promotions are a common feature of online casinos, but it’s important to carefully review the terms and conditions associated with these offers. A trustworthy casino will have fair and transparent bonus terms, clearly outlining the wagering requirements, maximum bet limits, and any other conditions that apply. Avoid casinos that have overly restrictive or confusing bonus terms, as this may indicate a lack of transparency.

In conclusion, when looking for a trustworthy online casino, it’s important to consider factors such as proper licensing and regulation, security measures, game selection, customer support, and bonus terms. By taking the time to evaluate these aspects, you can ensure a safe and enjoyable gaming experience. Remember to always gamble responsibly and set limits for yourself to avoid any potential issues.

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Canadiens acquire Tanner Pearson, trade Casey DeSmith to Canucks



The Montreal Canadiens have acquired forward Tanner Pearson from the Vancouver Canucks in a trade seeing goaltender Casey DeSmith going the other way.

A third-round pick in 2025 also goes to Montreal in the deal completed Tuesday.

Pearson hasn’t played since suffering a broken hand last November during a game in Montreal.

Pearson, 31, had one goal and four assists in 14 games last season.


In 590 career games with the Canucks, Pittsburgh Penguins and Los Angeles Kings, Pearson has 133 goals and 139 assists for 272 points.

The Kings picked the Barrie Colts product in the first round (30th overall) of the 2012 NHL Draft.

Pearson is in the final year of a three-year contract with a cap hit of $3.25 million.

DeSmith, 32, has been with the Pittsburgh Penguins since 2017-18. He was acquired by the Canadians in a three-team deal also involving the San Jose Sharks last month.

DeSmith was 15-16-4 with a 3.17 goals-against average and .905 save percentage last season.

In 134 career games, the undrafted DeSmith is 58-44-15 with a 2.81 GAA and .912 save percentage.

DeSmith is on the final year of a two-year deal with a cap hit of $1.8 million.

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