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Blue Jays throw it away in another dispiriting loss as Tigers' Miguel Cabrera hits milestone – Toronto Sun

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Blue Jays players who have spent some time around the Rogers Centre in the past are fondly familiar with how fans respond to the booming of bats.

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They know that a crowd of 14,000 can sound like 40,000 when the runs come in win-delivering bunches.

On a steamy August Sunday afternoon at the downtown ballpark, they got a taste of it when aging Detroit Tigers slugger Miguel Cabrera made history with his 500th career homer.

As for the home team that established itself as a playoff contender early in the season with its offence … not so much as would-be roars have turned to groans.

Stone-cold bats have the Jays reeling, the latest blow a 5-3 loss to the Detroit Tigers in 11 innings, a game they literally threw away in the top of the ninth.

A hitting attack with the raw ability to cover up other frailties is making life far more trying than usual these days, leading to yet another dispiriting defeat against a team with an inferior record.

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“We always talk about hitting being contagious, but because nobody is swinging the bats right now, everyone is swinging harder,” a surely frustrated manager Charlie Montoyo said following the latest one that got away. “We didn’t expect this from a good offensive lineup. Everybody’s struggling right now.”

The fallout has been staggering, really, given the optimism following a 9-2 start to the Rogers Centre season on July 30th. Over the past five games, they’ve gone 1-4 to the Nationals and Tigers. According to Sportsnet Stats, since Aug. 13 the Jays are hitting an infinitesimal .088 with runners in scoring position.

If this defeat at the hands of the Tigers was more painful than the others in recent days, it was because the agony was extended through 11 innings, almost an extra hour of added angst brought on by a bumbling of one of the most routine plays by one of the Jays’ most reliable defenders.

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The boxscore will show that the Tigers won it on back-to-back, run-scoring doubles in the 11th allowing the visitors to take two of three in the weekend series. The visuals showed another, that of sure-handed Marcus Semien easily fielding a two-out grounder in the ninth only to throw it in the dirt in front of first baseman Vlad Guerrero Jr. Instead of a game-ender, the resulting error leading to the equalizer.

The faces in the Jays dugout showed as much as the groans from the crowd of 14,685. And what has become sadly predictable of late did in fact materialize as the Jays’ record in extra-innings games plunged to 2-9.

Fighting to move beyond the fringes of the American League wild-card race, the Jays have now dropped seven of their past nine, many of those against perceived inferior opposition.

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The team now has lost three consecutive series for the first time this season and just as the schedule approaches its most critical time.

  1. Hyun Jin Ryu throws a pitch during the second inning against the Detroit Tigers on Saturday.

    Blue Jays snap losing skid thanks to Ryu

  2. Vladimir Guerrero Jr.  and Bo Bichette of the Toronto Blue Jays talk things over during batting practice prior to Tuesday's game against at Nationals Park in Washington, D.C.

    Young Blue Jays Bichette and Guerrero working through the grind of the longest season of their professional careers

  3. Washington Nationals' Victor Robles slides safely into second base as Blue Jays' Marcus Semien looks on during the first inning at Nationals Park on Wednesday, Aug. 18, 2021.

    Homer-happy Blue Jays not enough to make up for reeling bullpen in loss to Nats

How dry had it been in these parts?

The Jays offence has been stalled in neutral for a while now, managing three runs or fewer in seven of their past 10 games — and all three vs. The Tigers.

Time and time again the team has left players on the basepaths, too often in critical late-inning situations.

When Lourdes Gurriel Jr.’s clutch RBI scored a run in the eighth, it ended a run of 24 consecutive Jays hitters who had failed to bring home a runner in scoring position. Over the course of the game, the Jay left a staggering 14 runners on base over the three hours and 59 minutes to took to complete this one.

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“Our offence is struggling right now, but you have to fight,” Montoyo said when asked about the mental toll the struggles have been taking on his team. “We’ve got a good group in there. We’re in every game still. We’ve just got to step back and relax and hopefully when somebody gets going it’s going to get going through the lineup.”

Miguel Cabrera of the Detroit Tigers celebrates after hitting his 500th career home run in the sixth inning against the Blue Jays at Rogers Centre on Sunday, Aug. 22, 2021 in Toronto. VAUGHN RIDLEY/GETTY IMAGES
Miguel Cabrera of the Detroit Tigers celebrates after hitting his 500th career home run in the sixth inning against the Blue Jays at Rogers Centre on Sunday, Aug. 22, 2021 in Toronto. VAUGHN RIDLEY/GETTY IMAGES

GAME ON

The Jays took the lead in the third inning when a Teoscar Hernandez grounder found the five-hole on Tigers third baseman Jeimer Candelario and rolled into left field. Bo Bichette scored from third on the error … Tigers starter and former Jay Drew Hutchison went 4.1 innings and allowed four hits and only the unearned run … Trent Thornton came on in relief of Jays starter Steven Matz and allowed a double but survived the inning thanks to a pair of strikeouts … Add to the maddening trends for the Jays: Over the three games against the Tigers, Jays starters combined to allow just two runs over 21.0 innings (0.86 ERA) with one walk and 17 strikeouts. But with minimal run support, it mattered not.

MIGGY MOMENT

Cabrera electrified the crowd of 14,685 with his homer that just cleared the wall in centre, earning him a spirited standing ovation from the visiting crowd.

While we’re sure the veteran would have preferred to have the historic blast take place at Tiger Stadium, the classy response from the Rogers Centre crowd also earned a curtain call — even though the blast equalled the score at 1-1.

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Cabrera became the 28th player to reach the 500-homer club and the first two do so while wearing a Tigers uniform. He became just the sixth player born outside of the U.S. to reach the mark.

AROUND THE BASES

Alek Manoah rejoined the Jays on Sunday following a bereavement leave and is scheduled to start the first of four against the White Sox beginning on Monday night … The Jays will have their top for starters for the Chicago South Siders, runaway leaders of the AL Central. Jose Berrios gets the start on Tuesday followed by Robbie Ray and Hyun-Jin Ryu

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Hockey Canada's strategy of deflecting serves no one but its disgraced leadership – The Globe and Mail

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Witnesses Scott Smith, Hockey Canada President and Chief Operating Officer, left, and Hockey Canada Chief Financial Officer Brian Cairo, appear at the standing committee on Canadian Heritage in Ottawa on Wednesday, July 27, 2022.Sean Kilpatrick/The Canadian Press

A while back, I had a job in a movie theatre. The theatre at the foot of an atrium in an open-plan tower. We plebs could look up at the offices and hallways above, where the corporation’s big wigs worked.

The biggest wig in our world would often lean over a balcony and stare down at us, like a gargoyle in pinstripes. If you were caught loafing, a call would be made and you’d hear about it.

One day, there was a commotion from several floors above – a lot of screaming and banging. The biggest wig had been fired. His reaction was to go back to his office and barricade himself inside it.

The banging was security kicking in the door. The screaming was him being dragged to the elevators. It was a different time.

But the lesson therein is timeless. Nobody likes being canned. But people in charge take it particularly hard.

Right now, 2½ months into Hockey Canada’s sex-abuse scandal, we’re at the barricade stage.

In any other country, this would be over now. Through a combination of popular outrage and political panic, the Hockey Canada edifice would have been burned to the ground.

But in this country we continue to believe shame will do the job for us. That the people in charge of this world-class gong show will get the message and slink off home.

But Hockey Canada’s leadership is not operating on Canadian rules. They’re pulling from the American handbook on how to survive a scandal. Shamelessness is a prerequisite.

Their first job was deflecting.

In terms of an absolute defence, the deflecting’s gone about as well as a guy trying to push off bullets by waving his hands around. But it bought time. The men in charge knew they could count on Ottawa to a) quickly promise to take decisive action and b) take absolutely forever to decide what that decisive action looks like.

Deflecting has another virtue – it dilutes outrage. No matter how awful, people can only read about a story for so long without becoming bored. And there’s always a fresh outrage to divert us.

This week, Hockey Canada hired someone to head an investigation into the workings of Hockey Canada. You could’ve written out this person’s CV long before the name was made public – retired judge, history of public service, member of the new Family Compact, etc.

Finding people is not hard. There are a whole bunch of them out there twiddling their thumbs, itching for someone to stick a microphone in front of them.

But after two months of withering pressure, Hockey Canada is just now figuring out who will set up the Slack group to discuss how to begin discussing their problems. Let me guess that if they’d been bleeding cash instead, organizing some sort of working committee would have taken two hours.

But this is how you do it, American-style. Pretend it’s a live broadcast with screen time to fill before commercials – stretch. Continue talking about nothing. Don’t stop speaking. It’s the silence that kills.

While you’re stretching, keep your eye on the horizon. That’s where the sports are. If you can make it to sports, you might be okay. The same people who wanted your head paraded in the town square yesterday might be distracted by a waving flag.

On Tuesday, the world junior hockey championship begins in Edmonton. Over the weekend, there will be a barrage of publicity about the tournament that launched a thousand official denials. We’ll rehash the particulars of this ugly affair and assess where we’re at. This column is part of that.

By Tuesday, the usual outlets will be talking about hockey. How’s Canada’s top line measuring up? Where’s the United States at? Whither the Olympic team?

This is how you erect a modern, media barricade.

Having seen a million of these things go down in recent years, you know you’re not going to talk your way out of your problem.

Bottom-line: You were in positions of authority at a public institution when something abhorrent happened. The integrity of that institution cannot be maintained if you continue to lead it.

This is obvious. But in our rush to definitively nail someone, anyone, we have skidded past the obvious. Now we’re all deep in the weeds, hacking away.

Uncovering the minutiae about who said what to whom at what board meeting may absorb reporters and politicians, but it only serves Hockey Canada’s current leadership.

While we’re Inspector Clouseau-ing this thing, we’re also avoiding the clear end point. The longer we spend doing that, the more likely it is that these fish all get off the hook.

This was the goal all along. Deflect, get to the world juniors, hope that Team Canada wins and that everyone is too exhausted by the end of it to keep taking pops at you. By the time your judge wraps up his report – let me guess ‘Mistakes were made but there is a clear plan forward’ – maybe you’ll have successfully run your gauntlet.

It’s not a plan, as such. As with Hockey Canada’s in-camera board meetings, nobody’s written it down. It’s instinctive process based on observation. In scandals as in sports, the mission is getting through today.

It’s not going to work. That’s also obvious. No matter what the eventual report says, it will reignite outrage.

The names of the players involved in the two alleged assaults will come out, probably during the NHL season. That will reignite outrage.

At any moment, the alleged victims could make fulsome public declarations. That will reignite outrage.

Any way you go, the outrage is going to leak out again. The only way to contain it is to blow this down to the foundations. Eventually, everyone’s going to realize that.

Really, all that’s being decided now is how you want to get to the elevators – walking under your own power, or being dragged there screaming by the rest of Canada.

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Rafael Nadal announces he will not be playing at the Canadian Open

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Montreal, Canada- 22 Grand Slam champion, Rafael Nadal, has announced that he will not be playing at the Canadian Open which kicks off this weekend.

Nadal cited that the reason to abandon the Canadian Open was a result of an abundance of caution regarding injury concerns.

“From the vacation days and my subsequent return to training, everything has gone well these weeks. Four days ago, I also started training my serve and yesterday, after training, I had a little discomfort that was still there today.

We have decided not to travel to Montreal and continue with the training sessions without forcing ourselves. I sincerely thank the tournament director, Eugene, and his entire team for the understanding and support they have always shown me, and today was no exception.

I hope to play again in Montreal, a tournament that I love and that I have won five times in front of an audience that has always welcomed me with great affection. I have no choice but to be prudent at this point and think about health,” said the Spaniard.

Last month, Nadal was forced to withdraw from his Wimbledon semifinal against Nick Kyrgios due to an abdominal injury.

Meanwhile, Novak Djokovic has also withdrawn from the Canadian Open as his status as unvaccinated against COVID-19 means he cannot enter the country.

Djokovic is also unlikely to play at the US Open after organizers said they would respect the American government rules over travel for unvaccinated players as the United States (US) requires non-citizens to be vaccinated against COVID-19 to enter.

“Per the Grand Slam Rule Book, all eligible players are automatically entered into the men’s and women’s singles main draw fields based on ranking 42 days prior to the first Monday of the event.

The US Open does not have a vaccination mandate in place for players, but it will respect the US government’s position regarding travel into the country for unvaccinated non-US citizens,” read a statement from the US Open which is set to take place in New York from the 29th of August to the 11th of September, 2022.

Nevertheless, Novak Djokovic will be joining Rafael Nadal, Roger Federer and Andy Murray to play for Team Europe in the Laver Cup.

The event, which pits six European players against six from Team World over three days, will take place in London between 23 and 25 September 2022.

“It’s the only (event) where you play in a team with guys you are normally competing against. To be joining Rafa, Roger and Andy, three of my biggest all-time rivals, it’s going to be a truly unique moment in the history of our sport,” said Djokovic.

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Canada beats Sweden to claim gold in Hlinka Gretzky Cup – Sportsnet.ca

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RED DEER, Alta. — Canada scored early and often and also stayed out of the penalty box en route to a 4-1 victory over Sweden in the gold-medal final of the Hlinka Gretzky Cup.

Tanner Howe, Ethan Gauthier, Calum Ritchie and Brayden Yager scored for the Canadians, who held period leads of 2-1 and 3-1 at the Peavey Mart Centrium on Saturday. Riley Heidt also chipped in with two assists for the champions.

Hugo Pettersson scored for Sweden, who were outshot 36-26. Each team received eight minutes in penalties.

Canada had beaten Sweden 3-0 on Aug. 3.

“Three weeks ago, we put this roster together and I felt right away this was a tight group,” said head coach Stephane Julien. “It’s not easy when you have this much talent, but everyone accepted their role and I’m so happy for them.”

The win is Canada’s first gold medal since 2018, the last time this tournament was held in Canada.

“I’m so happy for this group,” added Julien. “They haven’t had it easy in their careers the last two years with the pandemic, but now they have this, a gold medal and something they are going to remember for the rest of their career.”

Canada advanced to the final with a 4-1 win over Finland, while Sweden defeated Czechia 6-2. Finland beat Czechia 3-1 in Saturday’s bronze-medal final.

The Hlinka Gretzky Cup will shift to Europe in 2023, returning to Breclav and Piestany, Czechia for the first time since 2021. 

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