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News, Scores, Teams, Stories & More on Northeast OH Sports on cleveland.com

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    Fox duo impressed by Cleveland Browns win over Philadelphia Eagles in third preseason game

    CLEVELAND, Ohio -- The Cleveland Browns' defense pitched a shutout against Super Bowl MVP Nick Foles and the Philadelphia Eagles Thursday night, 5-0. 

    The game was broadcast by Fox announcers Joe Buck and Troy Aikman. Both men seemed to be impressed by Cleveland's performance, both on the field and off. They often referred to the new attitude they encountered within the complex and around Cleveland.

    What does it all mean? Maybe nothing - after all, it is still only preseason. It's easy to forget about last year, when the Browns were undefeated in the preseason and hopes were high.

    This time though, the team's success seems genuine. A fan can see the intensity of the defense and the running game along with steady quarterback play carrying over to the regular season and translating into multiple wins.

    Crowquill, by Plain Dealer artist Ted Crow, appears three times a week in The Plain Dealer and on cleveland.com.


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    A year ago, the Browns were 4-0 in the preseason and had a sparking defense. That changed once the games counted. Will it be different in 2018?

    DEFENSIVE FOOL'S GOLD?

    I was fooled.

    A year ago, I raved about the Browns defense.

    "It's real," I wrote at one point.

    This was near the end of training camp, when the Browns finished the preseason with a 4-0 record.

    The defense allowed 14-9-6-0 points in the four games.

    Then came the regular season.

    Gregg Williams can point to improvement in his first season as defensive coordinator.

    They rose from 31st in rushing defense to No. 7.

    They rose from 31st in total defense (yards allowed) to No. 14.

    But they still ranked 31st in points allowed - and 32nd in red zone defense.

    So it was better, especially in the key area of defending the run.

    But overall, it was a bad defense. It also was one that received little help from a dismal offense.

    What about this year?

    The Browns defense looks faster, smarter and more comfortable in its second season with Williams. The starters have allowed only three points in the three preseason games.

    Philadelphia didn't score against them. Buffalo had four consecutive series of 3-and-out. Against the Browns' starters, the Giants only kicked a field goal.

    Williams is blitzing more than most coaches do this time of year. But Williams usually is among the NFL leaders in calling blitzes during the regular season. I don't think the blitzing is why the Browns defense has been dominating.

    I'm going to write those infamous words again: "The Browns defense is real."

    Myles Garrett is healthy and in his second season. You can build a defense around an elite pass rusher such as Garrett.

    General Manager John Dorsey has added veterans to the secondary, along with prized rookie Denzel Ward. As I recently wrote, the Browns linebackers have the most depth and talent of any position on the team. Jamie Collins had an excellent game Thursday night, first time he has stood out in the preseason.

    I've been fooled before. But I also know it's been a long time since I've seen a Browns defense with this much talent.

    ABOUT BAKER MAYFIELD

    Profootballfocus.com reported Mayfield was 7-of-7 passing for 56 yards "from a clean pocket."

    So far, very good.

    "On his eight pressured drop backs, Mayfield was 1-of-5 passing with an interception, two throwaways and two sacks."

    This was the first time Mayfield faced real NFL pressure. A few times, he thought he'd run away from the defensive linemen -- but they surprised Mayfield by tackling the quarterback from behind.

    None of this is to put down Mayfield. It is to say that he's a rookie quarterback who at times looked like...well...a rookie. He held the ball too long. He seemed surprised by the speed of some of the defenders.

    I've been pleasantly surprised by Mayfield, because he has progressed so quickly from the spring. He is a very accurate passer. He tends to move well in the pocket. He has a strong arm, especially on long passes across the field to the sidelines.

    Mayfield is 26-of-45 passing (58 percent) with two TD passes and one interception.

    There's need to rush him into action. But when he does play, I bet he's ready to take over and play the position with skill and confidence.

    I was wondering what DeShone Kizer's stats looked like from the 2017 preseason. He was 25-of-49 passing (51 percent) with one TD and one interception. In other words, accuracy already was in question.

    When it comes to fool's gold and unmet expectations, it's more likely to happen on offense. They have made so many major changes, it's going to take time for everything to begin to flow.

    ABOUT THE BROWNS

    1. The snap count from the Browns' offensive line was revealing. Guards Austin Corbett and Spencer Drango played 100 percent of the snaps. The Browns want Corbett to be the starting left guard. Drango is filling in for the injured Kevin Zeitler at right guard.

    2. Drango's playing time shows he is in the plans, as least as a key backup. Drango and Corbett have played 100 percent of the snaps in the last two games.

    3. Given a chance to be the starting left tackle at the opening of training camp, Shon Coleman played only 13-of-71 snaps. He started at right tackle last season. He is on the bubble to make the team. Backup tackles Greg Robinson (24 snaps) and Desmond Harrison (32 snaps) played far more than Coleman.

    4. In the three preseason games, the blocking has been iffy. But the Browns also have not had their entire offensive line in place as Zeitler is recovering from injuries. He is expected to be ready for the opener. The Browns gave up four sacks and five quarterback hits against Philadelphia.

    5. Before Thursday's game, I was told by an NFL executive (not from the Browns) that the Browns offered Dez Bryant "a pretty good contract." Profootballtalk's Mike Florio reported it was "less than $5 million." My view is $5 million is plenty for a guy who is known for his attitude problems and still out of work with the season only a few weeks away.

    6. Bryant hesitating to sign after spending nearly two days in Cleveland is a clear message: He doesn't want to play here. The last thing the Browns need is another Kenny Britt (recently cut by New England) or Dwayne Bowe, veteran receivers who signed here and immediately showed little interest in reviving their careers with the Browns.

    7. We've heard a lot about Antonio Callaway and saw flashes of his athletic talent in the opening preseason game. But the receiver has had a hard time staying healthy, dating back to the spring practices. He missed Thursday's game with a groin injury. Hue Jackson said he expected Callaway to practice this week.

    8. Rashard Higgins continues to make a bid to start. He's caught a team-high eight passes in the preseason, averaging 14.1 yards per reception. I also thought rookie receivers Damion Ratley (6th round pick) and Derrick Willies (undrafted) have impressed, especially in practices.

    9. The Browns had only one penalty against the Eagles, a big improvement over the first two games. They forced four turnovers. They had none in the first two games. Progress was made.

    10. I will be talking Browns and other sports at the Lorain South Library, Sept. 4 at 6:30 p.m. I also will be speaking at the Ashland Library, Sept. 13 at 5:30 p.m. Both events are free.


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    Cleveland Heights High School is well represented on the Philadelphia Eagles in wide receiver Shelton Gibson and center Jason Kelce. Watch video

    CLEVELAND, Ohio - Shelton Gibson Sr. watched his son in Philadelphia and even witnessed the Eagles win last season's Super Bowl, but neither event ignited the emotions he experienced during last Thursday's exhibition game at FirstEnergy Stadium.

    "I felt like crying," Gibson Sr. said. "Seeing [Shelton Gibson Jr.] out there reminded me of when he was a kid playing by himself in front of our house throwing and catching a football. Now to see him grow up and make it to this level is an awesome feeling. This is special because it all started here at home."

    The Browns, however, did not grant a welcome visit for Gibson Jr. and the Eagles as they fell, 5-0, to the Cleveland Browns.

    Gibson is a second-year wide receiver out of Cleveland Heights High School and West Virginia University. He had two catches Thursday for 28 yards, which included a 21-yard reception against the Browns.

    Gibson, selected in the fifth round last year by the Eagles, only had two catches for 11 yards during his entire rookie season, so Thursday's exhibition game was a part of his continued progress.

    But he wasn't exactly satisfied.

    "For me it was terrible because I wanted to play here so bad and I overdid it, instead of just being myself," Gibson said. "I just wanted to play so well because my family was here. I just couldn't wait to get out there."

    Gibson especially can't wait for the regular season. He played in only five games last year, and he has made the best of his opportunity during the exhibition season.

    Gibson caught two passes for 77 yards, which included a 63-yard TD strike, in the preseason opener against the Pittsburgh Steelers. He had five catches for 90 yards, including a 57-yarder, and a touchdown against the New England Patriots.

    Gibson will likely start the season as the No. 5 receiver.

    "I'm a lot better compared to last season," Gibson said. "There are still a lot of things I have to fix, but as long as I'm not staying in one place and continue to progress, I'll be OK."

    Eagles center Jason Kelce - a 2006 Heights High graduate - has also seen improvement.

    "He's having a tremendous preseason and I'm really happy for the kid," Kelce said. "He's come a long way. He's got tremendous talent and obviously being from the same high school, I'm rooting extra hard for him."

    Last year the Eagles wanted Gibson to devote all of his attention to the wide receiver position. This season he'll take on additional duties on special teams. Gibson's familiar with the role. He returned 53 kicks for 1,244 yards and one touchdown at West Virginia. He averaged 30.3 yards on four kick returns two weeks ago against the New England Patriots.

    "The additional role means I'll have to have a lot of conditioning because I'll be using my energy in a lot of different ways," Gibson said. "I'll just go out here and compete at a high level and play with a swagger - that's all I can do."


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    Akron native and past state and national golf champion Justin Lower looks forward to playing where he's had past success in the 2018 DAP Championship at Canterbury Golf Club.

    CLEVELAND, Ohio - Of the approximately 130 golfers playing in the 2018 DAP Championship starting Thursday through Sunday at Canterbury Golf Club, one Akron native in particular is hoping to "lower" the boom on the historic course.

    That golfer is 29-year-old Justin Lower, best known to Ohio golf aficionados as the 2006 Division II state golf champion while at Canal Fulton Northwest High School. He was also an NAIA national champion while at Malone University in Canton in 2011.

    While his current ranking is a rather mundane 62nd on the Web.com Tour, Lower said he is looking forward to playing on a course he has enjoyed past success on and in the Web.com Tour finals, of which Canterbury is the second leg of four. The first leg was last week in Columbus on the Ohio State University Scarlet Course.

    The top 25 money winners on the Web.com Tour have already earned PGA Tour cards for next season based on regular season earnings. Twenty-five more cards will be doled out to the next top money winners in the four Web.com Tour finals - the final two being played in Boise, Idaho (Sept. 13-16) and Atlantic Beach, Florida (Sept. 20-23).

    Lower, who won the Cleveland State Open in 2010 at Canterbury at 1-under par, said a top five finish this week will get him his PGA Tour card. First place winner will get $180,000 in a purse worth $1 million.

    "Ever since high school, I've dreamed of playing on the PGA Tour," Lower said. "I'm happy to be back at Canterbury. A high finish secures a spot for me next year. One good week in the playoffs and you can be on tour.

    "My confidence has started to come back. It was not good before because I was missing half the cuts. I had trouble finishing off some tournaments, and found I needed to stay more patient."

    It's not that Lower was necessarily playing bad golf. A few weeks ago in Salt Lake City, Utah, he was 4-under after two rounds, but missed the cut. Why?

    "The competition is unbelievable on the Web.com Tour," Lower said. "Most courses you have to shoot very low numbers to make the cut, not just shoot under par. I really believe PGA Tour courses are better suited for me and my game, and Canterbury fits that mold. Just making it to the PGA Tour will be a dream come true for me."

    Lower said two of his former college teammates at Malone have played in the U.S. Open - Richie Schembechler at Oakmont and Tyler Light at Erin Hills.

    He said putting is his strong suit in golf, along with a good short game. Lower also said his ball striking can be inconsistent.

    "At times I try to squeeze out extra yardage," Lower said. "It's better to stay in rhythm. I can average 300 yards per drive, and the best driver on tour (Cameron Davis) averages 340, which is imposing."

    Lower played a practice round at Canterbury early in July and noted some changes from 2010.

    "Canterbury is a lot wider than I remember," he said. ""They've taken out a number of trees. But it's still a great golf course and it is fun to play."

    Two other players with ties to Northeast Ohio scheduled to play this week are former Kent State University golfers Corey Conners and Ryan Yip.

    Some familiar names are also expected to compete in the DAP Championship, including nine-time PGA Tour winners Hunter Mahan and Stuart Appleby, five-time winners Jonathan Byrd and Ben Crane, and four-time winners Chad Campbell and Aaron Baddeley. Lucas Glover, the 2009 U.S. Open champion will also compete.

    Following Friday's round, the DAP Championship field will be trimmed to the low 65 scores and ties. This is the final year of a three-year contract the Web.com Tour has with Canterbury, but a club official said talks for extending the contract are in current discussion.


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    St. Ignatius High product Liam Eichenberg is now the starting left tackle at Notre Dame and one key to the Irish offensive success for this season. Watch video

    SOUTH BEND, Indiana - Broad shouldered and barrel-chested Liam Eichenberg is well aware of his role this season to help make Notre Dame a national championship contender.

    "This year, it's help Notre Dame win, national championship and Joe Moore Award, (given to the best offensive line in college football) - send the seniors out the correct way," the product of St. Ignatius High said of his priorities earlier this month.

    Eichenberg, a 6-6, 310-pound junior left tackle, is finally where he expected to be when he committed to play for Notre Dame as a high school junior in 2015.

    Even after being ranked as a Top 100 recruit nationally, and the No. 3 recruit in the state of Ohio, Eichenberg was in for a college shock. He discovered there was a lot more to offensive line play than just pushing and shoving.

    "After my freshman year I was like, 'Oh, wow,''' Eichenberg said. "It was just a learning curve. College football is completely different. A lot more technique involved. A lot more blocking schemes, passing schemes. It just takes time to get everything."

    After a redshirt learning year at Notre Dame followed by two seasons of reserve duties, the curly blond-haired lineman from Westlake grabbed a solid opportunity going into 2018 spring camp. He delivered a strong spring performance that left no doubt Eichenberg was the man for the vacated starting left-tackle job.

    "When we started the spring we weren't certain he can play left tackle,'' Notre Dame  coach Brian Kelly said. "And now we know he can play left tackle. I think that in itself says a lot about Liam seizing the opportunity that he had, with the departure of Mike McGlinchey (a No. 9 pick by San Francisco in the 2018 NFL Draft).

    "Now, it's really development in the football nuances of the position. He's strong enough. He's athletic enough. He's smart enough. But you've got to play the game, you know, and I think he's learning every single day.''

    Notre Dame was one of several schools - Ohio State being the first - that actually offered Eichenberg a scholarship as a 15-year-old high school freshman.

    "You'd think they would want to see some [varsity game] film," said St. Ignatius coach Chuck Kyle told The Plain Dealer at the time.

    By Eichenberg's junior year at St. Ignatius, he had made his college choice. Now that he has found his starting spot on the Irish offensive line, he has more goals.

    Standing next to a replica of the Lombardi Trophy, indicative of being the best college lineman of the year, Eichenberg said he would like to see his name added to the other Notre Dame players on the list.

    "That is definitely a goal for the future,'' he said.

    Of immediate concern for the team coming off a 10-3 season is taking the next step to contend for a national title. The schedule is conducive to getting there, with Top 25 games vs. Michigan, Stanford, Virginia Tech, Florida State and USC. But that also means Eichenberg has to be on his game from the outset and as protector of the blind side for quarterback Brandon Wimbush.

    "Be consistent every day. I can't have ups and downs,'' he said. "There is no room for error.

    "I'm put in a position, I'm not going to say the most important, but one of the most important, is to protect Brandon Wimbush. I love pass blocking, but I love run blocking too. I've always been more comfortable in pass protection, even in high school it came easier to me.

    "I'm looking forward to everything about this season. But it's not about what I want, it's about what my job is. No matter what, you have to make the block. ''

    If Eichenberg is on his job, then Notre Dame could well be on its way to being a college football playoff contender.


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    Check here for the live final-round leaderboard for the PGA Tour's The Northern Trust 2018 on Sunday, Aug. 26, in New Jersey.

    CLEVELAND, Ohio --Bryson DeChambeau (16-under) led by four shots entering the final round of the PGA Tour's The Northern Trust 2018 on Sunday, Aug. 26. The Northern Trust is the first of four events in the FedExCup Playoffs.

    The original field of 125 (119 started at The Northern Trust) will be cut to 100 after The Northern Trust; to 70 after the Dell Technologies Championship; and to 30 after the BMW Championship. The top 30 play in the TOUR Championship.

    PGA TOUR

    THE NORTHERN TRUST
    Site: Paramus, N.J.
    Course: Ridgewood CC. Yardage: 7,385. Par: 71.
    Purse: $9 million. Winner's share: $1,620,000.
    Television: Sunday, noon-1:45 p.m. (Golf Channel), 2-6 p.m. (CBS).
    Defending champion: Dustin Johnson.
    FedExCup leader: Dustin Johnson.
    Last week: Brandt Snedeker won the Wyndham Championship.
    Notes: This is the first of four FedEx Cup playoff events that conclude with the Tour Championship at East Lake. Points count quadruple for the opening three events, then are reset for the Tour Championship. ... Tiger Woods returns to the FedExCup playoffs for the first time in five years. He starts at No. 20. ... Harris English and Nick Taylor moved into the top 125 to qualify for the playoffs and keep full cards for next year. Seamus Power, who missed the cut at the Wyndham Championship, finished at No. 125. ... Rory McIlroy, Rickie Fowler, Henrik Stenson, Bud Cauley and Patrick Rodgers are not playing, leaving the original field at 120 players. ... The top 100 in the FedExCup advance to next week at the TPC Boston. ... U.S. Open and PGA champion Brooks Koepka will have his first shot at reaching No. 1 in the world. ... The field includes Ian Poulter and Paul Casey, both just outside qualifying for the European Ryder Cup team with two weeks remaining. ... Matt Kuchar won at Ridgewood in 2010. ... The tournament returns next year to Liberty National. After that, it will alternate with the TPC Boston. ... Snedeker moved to No. 30 with his victory at the Wyndham Championship.
    Next week: Dell Technologies Championship.
    Online: www.pgatour.com

    (Fact box from Associated Press.)


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    Check here for the live final-round leaderboard for the LPGA Tour's CP Women's Canadian Open 2018 on Sunday, Aug. 26.

    CLEVELAND, Ohio -- Brooke Henderson (14-under) led by one shot entering the final round of the LPGA Tour's CP Women's Canadian Open 2018 on Sunday, Aug. 26. Nasa Hataoka and Angel Yin were tied for second.

    Ariya Jutanugarn, Sung Hyun Park, Jin Young Ko, Minjee Lee, Moriya Jutanugarn, Lexi Thompson, Lydia Ko and Georgia Hall were among other notables in the field at the outset.

    LPGA TOUR
    CP WOMEN'S CANADIAN OPEN
    Site: Regina, Saskatchewan.
    Course: Wascana CC. Yardage: 6,675. Par: 71.
    Purse: $2,250,000. Winner's share: $337,500.
    Television: Friday, 10:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. (Golf Channel); Saturday, 3-6 p.m. (Golf Channel); Sunday, 4-7 p.m. (Golf Channel.
    Defending champion: Sung Hyun Park.
    Race to CME Globe leader: Ariya Jutanugarn.
    Previous week: Sung Hyun Park won the Indy Women in Tech Championship.
    Notes: Sung Hyun Park joined Ariya Jutanugarn as the only three-time winners on the LPGA Tour this year. No one else has won more than once. ... Lydia Ko has won three times at the Women's Canadian Open -- the first one in 2012 when she was 15, making her the youngest winner in LPGA history. ... Americans won three of the opening four events on the LPGA Tour schedule. Since then, the only American to win was Annie Park on June 10 at the ShopRite Classic. ... Sung Hyun Park became the third player to eclipse $1 million in earnings, joining Ariya Jutanugarn and So Yeon Ryu. ... Lexi Thompson returned last week after taking three weeks off for emotional and mental fatigue. She tied for 12th. Thompson has gone more than a year without winning. ... The Women's Canadian Open joined the LPGA schedule in 2001, when Annika Sorenstam won. ... Ariya Jutanugarn, Ryu and Ko share the tournament record score of 265.
    Next week: Cambia Portland Classic.
    Online: www.lpga.com

    (Fact box from Associated Press.)


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    A year ago, the Indians began their historic 22-game winning streak. Here's what happened in that game.

    CLEVELAND, Ohio - An anniversary recently passed with little fanfare but one that will bring a smile to Tribe fans: The beginning of the Cleveland Indians' historic 22-game winning streak last season.

    The streak started with a win at home vs. Boston on Aug. 24 and ended with a 10-inning victory against Kansas City on Sept. 14, also at Progressive Field.

    Ten pitchers were used in the game that would spark the streak, with Trevor Bauer getting his 13th win and Chris Sale moving to 14-6 with the loss.

    Giovanny Urshela had four RBIs in the 13-6 win. Jay Bruce and Francisco Lindor hit home runs for the Indians, and Mitch Moreland powered out two homers for the Red Sox. The teams combined for 27 hits, including two triples from Boston's Xander Bogaerts and Cleveland's Yandy Diaz.

    The 13 runs were the most the Indians scored in any one game during the streak.

    At the beginning of the streak, Cleveland was atop the American League Central Division by 5.5 games; 22 games later, they were ahead by 13.5.

    In 1916, the New York Giants went unbeaten for 26 games, but that stretch includes a tie. (Here's what happened in that game, on Sept. 18, 1916.)

    This season, Aug. 24 wasn't as fortunate for the Tribe: Cody Allen let up two consecutive home runs in the ninth inning and blew a save at Kansas City. The Indians lost 5-4.

    The Indians' longest win streak this season is seven games, June 17-June 24, all against AL Central foes. It began with a victory to avoid a sweep at home against Minnesota and was followed by three wins each against Chicago and Detroit.

    The Tribe's longest losing streak this season is four games on three occasions. (If they lose this afternoon - Sunday, Aug. 26 - it will mark their fifth straight loss.)

    The Indians finished the 2017 season with a 102-60 record. This year, they are 73-56.


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    The Indians send rookie right-hander Shane Bieber to the mound on Sunday trying to avoid being swept by the last place Royals at Kauffman Stadium.

    KANSAS CITY -- Here are the starting lineups for today's game between the Indians and Royals at Kauffman Stadium. First pitch is at 2:15 p.m.

    INDIANS

    SS Francisco Lindor.

    LF Michael Brantley.

    3B Jose Ramirez.

    DH Edwin Encarnacion.

    1B Yonder Alonso.

    RF Melky Cabrera.

    2B Jason Kipnis.

    C Roberto Perez.

    CF Greg Allen.

    RHP Shane Bieber, 7-2, 4.36.

    ROYALS

    2B Whit Merrifield.

    RF Alex Gordon.

    DH Salvador Perez.

    1B Lucas Duda.

    3B Hunter Dozier.

    LF Ryan O'Hearn.

    SS Alcides Escobar.

    CF Brett Phillips.

    C Drew Butera.

    RHP Jorge Lopez, 0-3, 3.99.

    UMPIRES

    H Gary Cederstrom, crew chief.

    1B Eric Cooper.

    2B Ramon DeJesus.

    3B Stu Scheurwater.


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    Gregg Williams says he hopes Ward's back injury shocked him into listening to Williams on how to tackle. Watch video

    BEREA, Ohio -- Browns defensive coordinator Gregg Williams attributes Denzel Ward's back spasms from the Eagles game to the 'stupid' way he's tackling and hopes that the injury is a wake-up call.

    "I was glad to hear (it wasn't serious) and maybe he'll finally listen to me and stop doing those stupid things the way he's trying to tackle and tackle the way I tell him to tackle and he won't get hurt,'' Williams snapped in his podium press conference Sunday.

    What has he been telling Ward to do?

    "You can ask that to Denzel,'' he said.


    In this case, he was referring to the 190-pound Ward trying to wrap up 250-pound Eagles tight end Zach Ertz and take him to the ground after a 7-yard catch in the first quarter of the 5-0 Browns victory.

    In the process, Ward got twisted like a pretzel and crumpled to the ground face down with his arm clutching his back. After a few minutes, he walked gingerly to the sidelines and then to the locker room, where he was done for the night.

    An MRI the next day revealed no structural damage, just painful spasms. But Ward was back on the practice field for the next session two days later.   

    "I think this was a good enough shock that maybe he thinks that I might know what I'm talking about,'' said Williams.

    Williams said the 5-11 Ward should've cut the 6-5 mountain of a tight end on the short pass to the right, on which Ward stopped him short of a first down.

     "It depends on the size of the person, and also I'm not worried as much about the wrap-up part of it,'' said Williams. "It's about getting the guy to the ground. A lot of times what you do is you cut the guy. He should have cut the guy at that time right there instead of a 290-pound man running over his face."

    denzel-small-replay.gif 

    The Browns can ill-afford to lose the No. 4 overall pick, so they're not messing around. Ward missed time with a hip flexor in rookie minicamp and an ankle in training camp before the spasms that Hue Jackson said "flares up from time to time.''

    Were those two injuries related to poor-tackling technique?

    "I'm not a doctor. I'm not a trainer,'' said Williams. "He needs to make sure he's doing all the things he needs to do to stay on the field. Otherwise, hey, he's not a football player."

    Is it just bad habits by the former Buckeye?
     
    "No, it's just all young rookies,'' said Williams. "Rookies have to understand this is not a scholarship league. You have to stay healthy and be on the field. If you're not on the field, then you're not helping us, and that's what you have to do. You have to be on the field and play."

    Williams said Ward must do everything possible to stay healthy, including taking care of his body and proper technique on the field. The Browns have admired Ward's toughness and willingness to tackle. But more than anything, they need him healthy, especially with Pittsburgh's Antonio Brown and New Orleans' Michael Thomas, his fellow former Buckeye, up first and second.   

    "He's fighting through it,'' said Williams. "It's the next step. At this level, you have to stay healthy every day. As a pro, you have to understand there are so many things you have to do in a 24-hour day that it's your job to stay healthy.

    "And I tell them all the time, there's two words that begin with the letter A they have to own to be a professional football player. One's accountable. The next one's available. When you're not available, you're working on your training room internships."

    Williams calling Ward out for his tackling comes on the heels of coach Jackson noting that Ward's nagging injuries have been a concern.

    "The thing with him will be durability,'' Jackson said Friday. "He's going to have to be out there on the field competing and playing, because when he's out there, it makes us a better football team."

    Jackson added, "I feel very good about him. Obviously, he has the physical skillset that we want and he's tough. He'll tackle. He'll do all of those things. What he's got to do is be able to make it thought 16 games. Hopefully, we can earn another game and other games after that.''

    Williams is also excited about his shutdown corner, as long as he does what he's told.

    "He's come a long ways,'' he said. "He's done a very good job with what we've asked him to do and it's been a big learning curve for him on understanding some of the zone awareness-type things that he has to have because he hasn't had an opportunity to do very many things like that but locking down and playing man-to-man, that's why he's here.

    "He can do those things. He just needs to stay healthy. He needs to tackle the way I tell him to tackle.''

    Williams noted that Ward will be fine once he takes the coaching points here.

    "The big thing is you've got to get him down whether it's a cut tackle, whether it's a wrap tackle, we talk about a gator tackle where we wrap and twist and get them twisted off their feet,'' he said. "We're a really good tackling football team here and I think we were in the top two or three in the league last year overall at not only that position but all positions.

    "Sometimes, again, at the corner spot, it depends on what college you're at, you don't get much reps at that until you get up here at this level, and sometimes when you get trucked by a big man, you learn to get lower and do something different."

    On a brighter note, Ward has done an exceptional job of playing the ball instead of the man, something the Browns wanted him to do considering he had only two interceptions at Ohio State. In camp, he's had multiple interceptions.

    "He came here and has already shown some people,'' Williams said. "(Ohio State defensive coordinator) Greg Schiano did a great job in teaching some of those things there. And he's been an example from day one on how to play the ball in the air in the man to man, and it's kind of bled through the group.

    "Denzel set that example pretty well back in the spring, and he still does a very good job of playing the ball. He has a very natural way of doing that."
     
    He's also learned to backpedal well, something else he didn't do much of at OSU.

    "Very good. Yeah, he's fine,'' said Williams. "All those things are good."

    Now, if he can just get the tackling down.


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    Garrett played through a nagging high ankle sprain last year, says Williams. Watch video

    BEREA, Ohio -- Myles Garrett in beast mode this preseason no surprise to defensive coordinator Gregg Williams, considering the high ankle sprain he played through last year.

    "Myles Garrett is a very good football player,'' said Williams. "What people don't realize is even when he got a chance to play in games last year how he was still playing through being hurt. That injury that he had, not very many people would've been able to play a snap the rest of the year on how ugly that thing was when he got his leg hurt.''

    Garrett, the No. 1 overall pick last season, suffered the sprained ankle four days before the season opener against Pittsburgh when former Browns center Cam Erving rolled up on it practice. He wore a boot for a few weeks, so the swelling and discoloration weren't visible. But by all accounts, it was a doozy.

    Still, Garrett, a fast healer, was back on the practice field in week five against the Jets, recording two sacks that game and two more in the next two weeks despite not being 100%. By season's end, he had seven sacks in his 11 starts, tied for second among all NFL rookies in 2017, and tied for third-most ever by a Browns rookie.

    "The No. 1 goal for Myles was - as soon as I told him when we met this summer was - make sure that you get to Pittsburgh and how you train,'' said Williams. "He's done a great job of training in practice. He's done a great job of repping in practice in the right ways of the pass rushes. He has a very good feel for pass rush.''

    Against the Eagles, Garrett sacked Nick Foles twice, including touching him down in the end zone for a safety. He also applied good pressure on several other plays, including the one that resulted in a strip-sack of Foles by rookie linebacker Genard Avery. He destroyed backup left tackle Halapoulivaati Vaitai to the point where injured starter Jason Peters went out on the field to coach him up during an injury time out.

    "I got my ass kicked. Myles is a great player," Vaitai told reporters after the game. "I was out of control today. I just got beat today."

    Based off the preseason games and the heat he's been putting on left tackle Joel Bitonio in practice, Garrett looks poised for a monster season.

     "In coverage, we're doing a better job, allowing him to rush,'' Williams said. "The guys on the back end are covering a little bit longer. The quarterback's snap to release is not as fast as it was last year in respect to that of an open receiver, and we haven't been doing a whole lot of pressuring on defense. We have been playing a lot of rush and coverage. It was nice to see that dominance up front of those four guys that were in there each time, even when we rotated some of the other guys in there. That's very positive to see right now. We have to continue to grow from that."

    Garrett has stayed healthy this preseason, and the Browns have done a good job of monitoring his practice time. He's worn a sleeve on his knee from time to time, but coach Hue Jackson has said it's nothing.

    Like Williams said in the spring, if Garrett stays healthy this season, 'watch out.'


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    Manager Terry Francona says moves that look good on paper don't always register in reality. He said he does want to move MVP candidate Jose Ramirez from third to second base because it migh expose him to injury.

    KANSAS CITY - Jason Kipnis is struggling once again at second base for the Indians. The means and players necessary for Terry Francona to make the move he made last season are on hand, but with 32 games left in the regular season he's staying with the status quo.

    Last year with Kipnis on the disabled list with a hamstring injury, the Indians moved Jose Ramirez from third base to second base and played Giovanny Urshela and Yandy Diaz at third. The arrangement worked so well that when Kipnis came off the disabled list, he moved to center field.

    The Indians could go a couple of different ways this season if they wanted to do a similar move. Both would result in less playing time for Kipnis.

    They could play utility man Erik Gonzalez at second. But that would leave Kipnis as the utility man and he can't play shortstop.

    Or they could move Ramirez to second and play Diaz, Gonzalez and perhaps Kipnis at third.

    "I think we've talked about everything, as we're supposed to," said Francona on Sunday morning before the Indians finished this seven-game trip through Boston and Kansas City.

    Francona said it comes down to not wanting to move Ramirez, who is in the stretch run of an MVP-type season.

    "I think there's a worry of moving Josie," said Francona. "If somebody slid into second and screwed up Josie's leg, because he hadn't been over there, those are the thing we have to think about.

    "It know it sounds good on paper, and it even sounds good to me on paper. There are other things you have to think about other than just numbers. So that's probably why he's stayed where he is."

    Kipnis went into Sunday's game against the Royals hitting .216 (94-for-435) with 11 homers and 49 RBI. His slash line is .216/.305/.345.

    He went into Sunday's game in a 2-for-31 (.065) skid and is hitting .200 (22-for-110) since the All-Star break.

    It has been a season of stops and starts for Kipnis -- mostly stops

    He hit .199 (42-for-211) through April and May. He was better in June and July, hitting a combined .252 (39-for-155) with seven homers with 21 RBI. But he went into Sunday's game hitting .188 (13-for-69) with one homer and six RBI in August.

    "He hasn't been able to hold it," said Francona. "He'll show up and he'll go, 'Man, my hands. I think my hands are feeling better.' And then the next day he loses it again. He just can't hold it. I know he's frustrated, but I think it's mostly the feeling of his hands at the plate. That's what I hear him say the most."

    Still, for the reasons given, Francona feels the Tribe's best lineup has Kipnis playing second base and Ramirez at the hot corner. Things could change during the winter. The Indians tried to deal Kipnis, signed through 2019 with a club option for 2020, over the winter. This year they talked about adding another infielder before the July 31 non-waiver deadline and could still make a move before the waiver deadline on Friday.

    Francona added that Ramirez hasn't worked out at second base this year.

    "He's been a third baseman," said Francona. "He's one of the best players in the game. If something ever went wrong, if something every happened, we'd be kicking ourselves."


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    Mary Kay Cabot and Dan Labbe talk about the day. Watch video

    BEREA, Ohio -- The Browns were back on the practice field on Sunday. Josh Gordon was on the sideline still, but wearing a helmet and shoulder pads.

    Mary Kay Cabot and I offered an update on Gordon and also talked about defensive coordinator Gregg Williams' curious comments about rookie cornerback Denzel Ward's tackling. We even talked about Baker Mayfield essentially becoming the backup quarterback.


    Get the best Browns news and perspective in your inbox at lunch time every weekday. Sign up for our Browns newsletter.


    Go inside the Browns every week with cleveland.com's Orange and Brown Podcast, featuring Mary Kay Cabot and Dan Labbe. Listen and subscribe here.


    Want more Browns? Subscribe to our Browns YouTube channel for interviews, analysis and more.


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    Check here for the final results, leaderboard for the LPGA Tour's CP Women's Canadian Open 2018 on Sunday, Aug. 26. Canadian Brooke Henderson won.

    CLEVELAND, Ohio -- Brooke Henderson (21-under) won the LPGA Tour's CP Women's Canadian Open 2018 on Sunday, Aug. 26, in Regina, Saskatchewan. Angel Yin finished second at 17-under.

    Henderson, 20, an Ontario native, became the first Canadian to win the event since 1973. She earned her seventh career PGA Tour victory.

    Entering the final round, Henderson was 14-under and led by one shot. Nasa Hataoka and Yin were tied for second.

    Ariya Jutanugarn, Sung Hyun Park, Jin Young Ko, Minjee Lee, Moriya Jutanugarn, Lexi Thompson, Lydia Ko and Georgia Hall were among other notables in the field at the outset.

    LPGA TOUR
    CP WOMEN'S CANADIAN OPEN
    Site: Regina, Saskatchewan.
    Course: Wascana CC. Yardage: 6,675. Par: 71.
    Purse: $2,250,000. Winner's share: $337,500.
    Television: Sunday, 4-7 p.m. (Golf Channel.
    Defending champion: Sung Hyun Park.
    Race to CME Globe leader: Ariya Jutanugarn.
    Previous week: Sung Hyun Park won the Indy Women in Tech Championship.
    Notes: Sung Hyun Park joined Ariya Jutanugarn as the only three-time winners on the LPGA Tour this year. No one else has won more than once. ... Lydia Ko has won three times at the Women's Canadian Open -- the first one in 2012 when she was 15, making her the youngest winner in LPGA history. ... Americans won three of the opening four events on the LPGA Tour schedule. Since then, the only American to win was Annie Park on June 10 at the ShopRite Classic. ... Sung Hyun Park became the third player to eclipse $1 million in earnings, joining Ariya Jutanugarn and So Yeon Ryu. ... Lexi Thompson returned last week after taking three weeks off for emotional and mental fatigue. She tied for 12th. Thompson has gone more than a year without winning. ... The Women's Canadian Open joined the LPGA schedule in 2001, when Annika Sorenstam won. ... Ariya Jutanugarn, Ryu and Ko share the tournament record score of 265.
    Next week: Cambia Portland Classic.
    Online: www.lpga.com

    (Fact box from Associated Press.)


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    Jason Kipnis drives in four runs as Indians avoid three-game sweep by last-place Royals. Watch video

    KANSAS CITY -- The Indians, with the top of the top of the lineup still trying to find itself, received some help from below on Sunday at Kauffman Stadium.

    Slumping Jason Kipnis drove in four runs and rookie Greg Allen added two more RBI as the Indians beat Kansas City, 12-5. The Tribe ended a season-high losing streak at four games and avoided being swept by the AL Central basement-dwelling Royals.

    Kipnis led the Tribe's 13-hit attack with four hits, including a two-run inside-the-park homer in the ninth. It was the 100th homer of Kipnis' career.

    Rookie Shane Bieber earned his eighth win despite allowing a career-high three home runs, including one by Whit Merrifield to start the first inning. Bieber (8-2, 4.52) allowed four runs on six hits in 5 1/3 innings.

    The Indians, trailing 1-0 against rookie right-hander Jorge Lopez, took control with a five-run fourth. Six straight batters reached base against Lopez (1-3, 4.86) as Melky Cabrera and Kipnis drove in runs. Allen, hitting ninth, had a bloop two-run double for the big hit of the inning.

    "It felt good," said Kipnis, who entered the game in a 13-for-73 (.173) skid. "Obviously, every day I'm working to snap out of it. And I definitely know how the last month's gone, sure. It's been ugly to watch. It's even been more painful to go through."

    The Tribe ended this seven-game trip through Boston and Kansas City with a 3-4 record.

    In Saturday night's 7-1 loss, the top four hitters in the Tribe's lineup went 1-for-15. After the game manager Terry Francona said the Indians "looked tired" and needed to show up Sunday and find a way to win a game.

    Francisco Lindor, Michael Brantley, Jose Ramirez and Edwin Encarnacion -- the top four hitters in Francona's lineup -- were better Sunday.  They went 5-for-20 with a homer and four RBI, but some of that damage was done after this game had been decided.

    "I know today that we needed to find a way to show up (and win) -- whether it was ugly, however," said Francona. "We have a day off tomorrow. We hadn't won for four days. So, that was a good thing. Now, we can regroup tomorrow and get ready to come home and play some better baseball."

    Still, with the way the offense has been going of late -- nine runs in the four-game losing streak -- every run helps. Such as Lindor's two-run single in the sixth for a 7-2 lead. It didn't look big at the time, but when Lucas Duda hit a two-run homer in the sixth to end Bieber's afternoon, it meant Indians pitchers still had room for error.

    Encarnacion broke out the parrot in the eighth inning with a two-run homer to make it 10-5. It was Encarnacion's third homer since coming off the disabled list on Wednesday and his 28th for the season.

    In the ninth, Kipnis hit a ball off the top of the wall in the right field corner. It bounced high into the air and landed in right center field. It was the second inside-the-park homer by the Indians this season. Encarnacion did it on April 2 against the Angels.

    Kipnis has two inside-the-park homers in his career and both have come at Kauffman Stadium.

    What it means

    It's looking more and more like the Indians will be packing their bags for Houston or Oakland to play the ALDS in October.

    The AL-West leading Astros maintained a six-game lead over the Indians for home-field advantage in the best-of-five playoff series by completing a three-game sweep of the Angels on Sunday. Houston also maintained its 1 1/2 game lead over the second-place A's, who beat the Twins on Sunday to take three out of four games at Target Field.

    Things, of course, could change. The Astros and A's meet in a three-game series at Minute Maid Park starting Monday night. Regardless of who wins the West, the Indians' rfour-game losing streak, which they ended Sunday, has put them behind the eight ball when it comes to hosting the ALDS.

    The pitches

    Lopez threw 79 pitches, 48 (61 percent) for strikes. Bieber threw 84 pitches, 59 (70 percent) for strikes.

    The Milk Men Cometh

    Four fans, dressed in old-time white milk men uniforms, sat behind the Tribe's dugout on Sunday in honor of Melky "The Melk Man" Cabrera. He played two tours with the Royals and obviously made some fans.

    When Cabrera singled in the sixth inning, he waved to The Milk Men.

    "They started following me when I played in San Francisco," said Cabrera. "When I played here they would show up, but I haven't seen them for a while. I waved to them and threw them a ball."

    Thanks for coming

    The Indians and Royals drew 18,575 to Kauffman Stadium on Sunday afternoon. First pitch was at 2:17 p.m. with a temperature of 91 degrees and a heat index of 99.

    Next

    The Indians are off on Monday before the Twins come to town for a three-game series starting Tuesday night. The Twins and Indians have split 16 games this season, with the Tribe going 4-3 at home.

    Carlos Carrasco (15-7, 3.55) will face the Twins and right-hander Kyle Gibson (7-10, 3.63) on Tuesday at 7:10 p.m. SportsTime Ohio, WTAM and WMMS will carry the game.


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    Hue Jackson said he proved Thursday night against the Eagles that Baker Mayfield is his backup. He later dialed that back just a tad.

    BEREA, Ohio - Two weeks ago, coach Hue Jackson said he'd have a "heck of a decision'' to make at backup quarterback if Tyrod Taylor went down early on in the season.

    Would he turn the team over to Baker Mayfield, who's the future of the franchise but still learning the pro game? Or 12th-year pro Drew Stanton, who has an 11-6 record as a starter?

    The answer came Thursday night against the Eagles when Taylor left the game in the first quarter with a left hand injury. Jackson didn't even hesitate to send Mayfield into the game.

    "I think that I already proved who that is,'' Jackson said. "It's Baker (Mayfield). Baker is there. We haven't played a regular-season game yet, so we will see how that all unfolds. I feel good about the things that Baker went in and did in the game."

    Jackson then dialed that back a little, realizing that he'd like to tell the players before the media.

    "I pretty much have my mind made up on where that is,'' he said. "I haven't set it officially so you guys can write it. I like to tell my team first before I make those decisions on what we're doing. We will kind of go from there."

    In two series in the first half in relief of Taylor, Mayfield completed 2-of-5 attempts for 19 yards and a 51.2 rating. On Mayfield's next drive, the Browns converted a Nick Foles strip-sack into a 54-yard field goal by Zane Gonzalez, overcoming a sack-fumble of Mayfield on that four-play drive.

    Taylor finished out the first half and then Mayfield took over again in the second, playing three more series. But he failed to generate any points, and was yanked from the game after throwing a red-zone interception and being sent to the medical tent by the NFL's "eye in the sky" for a concussion check.

    Mayfield was cleared and grabbed his helmet to go back in, but Jackson wouldn't let him.

    He finished the game 8-of-12 for 76 yards with no TD and one pick for a 49.3 rating. Afterward, he said he was "disappointed in myself'' for not making the most of his initial first-team reps, and for the pick at the end.

    Fortunately for Mayfield, he has a chance to get the taste of that performance out of his mouth. Jackson has said he wants to see him play in the preseason finale in Detroit Thursday night.

    "There's value in seeing Mayfield play,'' Jackson said. "I don't know about most of the game. I've seen quite a bit of him. I like what I've seen. He's done a good job."

    In 17 preseason series, Mayfield has produced three touchdowns and two field goals. The TDs included a 10-yard pass to David Njoku and a 54-yard pass to Antonio Callaway, both in the preseason opener against the Giants.


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    Check here for the final results, leaderboard for the PGA Tour's The Northern Trust 2018 on Sunday, Aug. 26, in New Jersey. Bryson DeChambeau won.

    CLEVELAND, Ohio -- Bryson DeChambeau (18-under) won the PGA Tour's The Northern Trust 2018 on Sunday, Aug. 26, in New Jersey. Tony Finau finished second at 14-under.

    The Northern Trust is the first of four events in the FedExCup Playoffs.

    DeChambeau, who turns 25 on Sept. 16, earned his second PGA Tour victory of the season and third career. He joins Jack Nicklaus, Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson as the only golfers to win an NCAA Championship, U.S. Amateur and at least three PGA Tour events before their 25th birthday.

    Entering the final round of The Northern Trust, DeChambeau was 16-under and led by four shots.

    The original field of 125 (119 started at The Northern Trust) will be cut to 100 after The Northern Trust; to 70 after the Dell Technologies Championship; and to 30 after the BMW Championship. The top 30 play in the TOUR Championship.

    PGA TOUR

    THE NORTHERN TRUST
    Site: Paramus, N.J.
    Course: Ridgewood CC. Yardage: 7,385. Par: 71.
    Purse: $9 million. Winner's share: $1,620,000.
    Television: Sunday, noon-1:45 p.m. (Golf Channel), 2-6 p.m. (CBS).
    Defending champion: Dustin Johnson.
    FedExCup leader: Dustin Johnson.
    Last week: Brandt Snedeker won the Wyndham Championship.
    Notes: This is the first of four FedEx Cup playoff events that conclude with the Tour Championship at East Lake. Points count quadruple for the opening three events, then are reset for the Tour Championship. ... Tiger Woods returns to the FedExCup playoffs for the first time in five years. He starts at No. 20. ... Harris English and Nick Taylor moved into the top 125 to qualify for the playoffs and keep full cards for next year. Seamus Power, who missed the cut at the Wyndham Championship, finished at No. 125. ... Rory McIlroy, Rickie Fowler, Henrik Stenson, Bud Cauley and Patrick Rodgers are not playing, leaving the original field at 120 players. ... The top 100 in the FedExCup advance to next week at the TPC Boston. ... U.S. Open and PGA champion Brooks Koepka will have his first shot at reaching No. 1 in the world. ... The field includes Ian Poulter and Paul Casey, both just outside qualifying for the European Ryder Cup team with two weeks remaining. ... Matt Kuchar won at Ridgewood in 2010. ... The tournament returns next year to Liberty National. After that, it will alternate with the TPC Boston. ... Snedeker moved to No. 30 with his victory at the Wyndham Championship.
    Next week: Dell Technologies Championship.
    Online: www.pgatour.com

    (Fact box from Associated Press.)


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    Check here for the FedExCup Playoffs 2018 standings through The Northern Trust, which ended Aug. 26. The Northern Trust is the first of four playoff events.

    CLEVELAND, Ohio -- Bryson DeChambeau, Dustin Johnson, Justin Thomas, Tony Finau and Brooks Koepka are the top five in the FedExCup Playoffs 2018 standings through the PGA Tour's The Northern Trust on Sunday, Aug. 26. The Northern Trust is the first of four events in the FedExCup Playoffs.

    The original playoffs field of 125 (119 started at The Northern Trust) is cut to 100 after The Northern Trust; to 70 after the Dell Technologies Championship; and to 30 after the BMW Championship. The top 30 play in the TOUR Championship.

    DeChambeau's victory at The Northern Trust propelled him from ninth to first in the standings entering the Dell Technologies Championship next week.

    Phil Mickelson and Tiger Woods remain in the top 25 entering the Dell Technologies Championship. Silver Lake's Ryan Armour is in the top 45.


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    The magic number for the RubberDucks (74-58) to clinch a playoff spot is one.

    kyle dowdy.jpgKyle Dowdy 

    AKRON, Ohio -- Daniel Johnson homered in the ninth and Akron was unable to respond in the bottom of the inning as the RubberDucks lost, 4-3, to the Harrisburg Senators on Sunday at Canal Park.

    The magic number for the RubberDucks (74-58) to clinch a playoff spot is one. An Akron win or Harrisburg loss over the final eight games of the season will put Akron in the postseason.

    The RubberDucks trailed, 3-1, entering the seventh but put together a rally to tie the game. Andrew Calica and Tyler Krieger each had RBI singles.

    Akron had a chance to take the lead with two runners on base and one out, but Nellie Rodriguez and Ka'ai Tom struck out to end the inning.

    Akron right-hander Kyle Dowdy was solid through five innings but left with one out in the sixth after giving up two runs.

    The RubberDucks trail the first-place Altoona Curve by one game in the Western Division of the Class AA Eastern League.

    Box score from the game.


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    On this episode of the Wine and Gold Talk Podcast, Joe Vardon and Chris Fedor are joined by former Cavaliers general manager David Griffin.

    CLEVELAND, Ohio -- The Cleveland Cavaliers made it abundantly clear earlier this summer: they don't intend to let their playoff streak end -- even with LeBron James in Los Angeles and the rest of the NBA counting them out. 

    But getting to the postseason this season would be unprecedented.

    The Cavs crumbled without James -- four years of futility that rivals the worst four-season stretch in franchise history. Even the Miami Heat fell out of the playoff mix when James came back to Cleveland in 2014. 

    Despite the odds, former general manager David Griffin is a believer in Cleveland's off-season approach, explaining why "blowing it up" would've been the wrong move during this special edition of the Wine and Gold Talk Podcast with Joe Vardon and Chris Fedor. 

    The guys also chat about Griffin's time in Cleveland, what would be different had he stayed with the Cavaliers, why he believes this will be Kevin Love's best season, how the Cavs will look different under Tyronn Lue and why Rodney Hood remains unsigned. 

    Download this episode of the Wine and Gold Talk Podcast

    Wine and Gold Talk Podcast on iTunes

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    Subscribe to the Wine and Gold Talk Podcast here via the RSS feed.


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