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Mitch's Sports Report: Price Good, Tillman Better As O's Edge Sox; Iceland Rocking Euros

The 2016 Baltimore Orioles remind me of a lot of the Boston Red Sox squads I watched in the 80's and 90's. They don't run much, and win by relying on the long ball. No American League team has hit more home runs than the Orioles this season. But those old Red Sox teams that had that same modus operandi didn't have what these O's seem to: strong pitching to go with all that power. That was evident last night at Fenway Park as the Orioles edged the Red Sox 3-2 despite a fantastic start by Sox ace David Price.

Price struck out eleven over eight innings and at one point retired nineteen straight batters. The problem was of the five hits Price did allow, two of them were home runs by Manny Machado and Jonathan Schoop, and the Orioles had their ace Chris Tillman on the mound, and he was a tad batter than Price, striking out seven and allowing just one run on a homer by Jackie Bradley Jr. while giving up just three hits overall to improve to 9-1 on the year.

If the Orioles bullpen was suspect at all, Baltimore might not have won this game, or be in first place in the division as they have been for much of the season, but they have one of the best closers in the game in Zach Britton and he came on with one out in the eighth to get a five-out save after Hanley Ramirez had closed the gap to within a run with an RBI single off Mychal Givens. So the Orioles take game one of the series and move a game ahead of Boston for first place. Game two is tonight with knuckleball specialist Steven Wright taking the hill for the Red Sox.

In Colorado, the NY Yankees were getting rocked by the Rockies, trailing 12-3 going into the eighth inning before the Yankees put a scare into them by scoring seven runs in the top of the frame, but the late rally fell short and the Rockies held on for a 13-10 football score win. Carlos Gonzalez homered off the nearly untouchable Andrew Miller to lead off the bottom of the eighth and take the momentum back from the Bronx Bombers. Tough start for the Yankees' Nathan Eovaldi, who had been on a good run of late. But the thin Denver air often has a way of making good pitchers look bad and Eovaldi gave up six runs on eight hits, failing to get out of the fifth inning. Ivan Nova will try to get the Yanks back on track getting the start in game two tonight.

The Pittsburgh Pirates were in the midst of an ugly five-game losing skid, but they turned to a rookie to put a halt to that. Making just his second major league start Jameson Taillon was more than a little impressive for Pittsburgh, taking a no-hitter into the seventh inning before a Curtis Granderson single and broke it up, and the Pirates beat the NY Mets at Citi Field 4-0. Taillon was the second pick overall in the 2010 draft but sat out the last two seasons recovering from Tommy John surgery, and the Pirates are now finally seeing their selection coming to fruition. He gave up just two hits overall and outpitched Jacob deGrom who gave up two a two-run homer to Jung Ho Kang and Starling Marte also hit a two run shot in the eighth off Mets reliever Jim Henderson.

In the NECBL the Vermont Mountaineers got a good start from Jon Stiever, who went five innings, giving up just one run on four hits, but the bullpen faltered in the late innings against the Winnipesaukee Muskrats in an 8-5 loss at Recreational Field in Montpelier. The Mountaineers take tot the road for their next game in Danbury against the Westerners.

The Upper Valley Nighthawks are on a winning streak, now at three games after a dramatic walk-off win in the bottom of the ninth against the New Bedford Bay Sox last night at Maxfield Sports Complex in White River Junction. A.J. Walden had the game-winning RBI single in the ninth to deliver the Nighthawks a 6-5 win. The Nighthawks could be a Cinderella story. They're a non-profit team playing their first full season this year in the NECBL.

Two days of decathlon competition at UVM ended with high school state titles yesterday for Katherine Cowan of St. Johnsbury and D.J. Snide of Bellows Falls. The sophomore Cowan won the womens' competition and Snide, a junior from Bellows Falls, won the mens' event.

In what they call football outside the U.S. the European Championship is underway and last night Hungary beat Austria 2-Nil, while Portugal and Iceland ran to a 1-1 tie,which is a bit of a shocker given Portugal's status as a world soccer power featuring one of the best players on Earth in Cristiano Ronaldo. But the Icelanders have been beating the odds for a while now, topping other football stalwarts including the Netherlands, twice. If you like underdogs, consider this: with a total population that's about half that of the state of Vermont, Iceland is the smallest country ever to qualify for and compete in a Euro championship.

The Copa America tournament is also ongoing, with Chile defeating Panama 4-2 while Argentina shut out Bolivia 3-Nil.

A graduate of NYU with a Master's Degree in journalism, Mitch has more than 20 years experience in radio news. He got his start as news director at NYU's college station, and moved on to a news director (and part-time DJ position) for commercial radio station WMVY on Martha's Vineyard. But public radio was where Mitch wanted to be and he eventually moved on to Boston where he worked for six years in a number of different capacities at member station WBUR...as a Senior Producer, Editor, and fill-in co-host of the nationally distributed Here and Now. Mitch has been a guest host of the national NPR sports program "Only A Game". He's also worked as an editor and producer for international news coverage with Monitor Radio in Boston.
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