Hughes makes flying start as Southampton reach FA Cup semis


first_imgSouthampton joined Tottenham and Manchester United in the semi-finals, with Leicester and Chelsea meeting in the last quarter-final later on Sunday.It will be Saints’ first appearance in the last four in 15 years. Nevertheless, a trip to Wembley in the semi-finals could provide a welcome tonic as the new manager tries to make his presence felt.It was essential Southampton avoided following in the footsteps of Manchester City, West Ham and Bournemouth — top-flight sides who had all perished against third tier giant-killers Wigan in the FA Cup this season.They achieved that aim thanks to second half goals from Pierre Emile Hojbjerg and Cedric Soares. Wigan, United Kingdom | AFP | Mark Hughes enjoyed the ideal start to his Southampton reign as the struggling Premier League club reached the FA Cup semi-finals with a 2-0 win at Wigan on Sunday.Hughes was hired as Southampton manager this week to replace the sacked Mauricio Pellegrino and the former Saints striker had an immediate impact on his new team.Hughes’ main goal is to help Southampton preserve their top-flight status and they dropped into the relegation zone on Saturday as Crystal Palace won in the league while the Saints were preparing for their quarter-final.center_img “It was an important day for the players today. I have been really impressed with the quality of the talent I have,” said Hughes, who was sacked by Stoke earlier this season.“They have lost a bit of confidence recently but they are good players.“We stood up to Wigan. It was a statement of intent and a start.“We have work to do in the Premier League, but we will enjoy this moment.”Share on: WhatsApp Pages: 1 2last_img read more


Mourinho says Man Utd need Financial Fair Play to compete


first_imgManchester, United Kingdom | AFP | Jose Mourinho says it is vital that UEFA clamps down on Financial Fair Play infringements to level the playing field and enable Manchester United to become serious Premier League title contenders again.Mourinho’s comments appear to be aimed at Manchester City, who are the subject of an ongoing investigation by European football’s governing body into alleged FFP breaches.In November, German magazine Der Spiegel said the Premier League champions had broken rules that dictate how much money owners can put into a club, having purportedly obtained documents from the whistleblowing outlet Football Leaks.City have dismissed those reports as an “organised and clear” attempt to damage their reputation, while UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin said on Tuesday UEFA’s investigation would be concluded shortly.UEFA could ban City from next season’s Champions League in the event of discovering breaches it believes to be serious enough.Mourinho did not mention City directly but made clear he believes that United are not currently competing on even terms at the top end of the Premier League.United have not won the league since Sir Alex Ferguson retired in 2013 and Mourinho acknowledged that he did not know how long it would be before they became champions again.“I don’t know. It depends on our evolution but also the evolution of others,” he said, speaking ahead of Saturday’s home match against bottom club Fulham.“If the ones above us keep going in same direction and if their ambition and investment is continuous, that’s one thing. Another thing is if they stop, or if the Financial Fair Play makes them stop and then we can close the gap a little bit better.”Calculations made from publicly available figures suggest that since the summer of 2016, City have spent around £527 million ($671 million) on players, while United’s outlay has been about £379 million.Asked for his thoughts on the likelihood of City being penalised by UEFA for over-spending, Mourinho said: “The world is full of suggestions and I never know if they are true or not true, and that’s not my job to analyse that.” – Lack of firepower –The United manager has acknowledged that improving on their current league position of eighth is going to be difficult because he is short of natural goalscorers.Romelu Lukaku has scored just once for United since September 15, and was left out of the starting line-up for Wednesday’s 2-2 Premier League draw at home to Arsenal, as Mourinho went with a front three of Anthony Martial, Marcus Rashford and Jesse Lingard.Mourinho was impressed with the work ethic of all three players but suggested that none can be relied on as a regular source of goals.“They work very hard but it’s not about work,” he said. “It’s about natural qualities.“We need to score more goals. I think one thing is team dynamics, with routines adapted to the qualities of the players.“But in the end the most important thing is putting the ball in the net, and goals, points and victories.”Mourinho was reluctant to discuss publicly the reasons for Lukaku’s loss of form but said he is in regular dialogue with the striker as to how to get him back to his best.“That is something I feel comfortable to discuss with him, which I do,” he said. “I am not so comfortable to discuss with you.“I think it is quite an easy job for you to analyse a player and performances, you have knowledge, experience, eyes and data. If you mix all this information, I think you can analyse it.Share on: WhatsApplast_img read more


Growing calls for anti-racism protests as Bayern scent Bundesliga title


first_imgThe Borussia Moenchengladbach striker has scored four times in as many games since the Bundesliga resumed last month to reach double digits in his debut season in Germany.Thuram, the son of 1998 World Cup winner and anti-racism activist Lilian, made a statement of his own in last Sunday’s 4-1 win over Union Berlin, kneeling and bowing his head after scoring the first of his two goals, in a gesture reminiscent of past protests by NFL players in the US against racism and police brutality.Gladbach return to action on Friday at Freiburg as they jostle with RB Leipzig and Leverkusen for Champions League qualification.Key stats86 – Bayern’s league goals this season. No team has ever scored as many times through 29 games of a Bundesliga campaign.17 – seconds Stefan Ilsanker was on the field before scoring against Werder Bremen. The Austria international struck twice in Wednesday’s 3-0 victory after coming on as a late substitute.308 – Bundesliga appearances made by Japan’s Makoto Hasebe, an Asian record he shares with South Korean great Cha Bum-kun.Fixtures (all times GMT)FridayFreiburg v Borussia Moenchengladbach (1830)SaturdayRB Leipzig v Paderborn, Bayer Leverkusen v Bayern Munich, Eintracht Frankfurt v Mainz, Fortuna Dusseldorf v Hoffenheim (all 1330), Borussia Dortmund v Hertha Berlin (1630)SundayWerder Bremen v Wolfsburg (1130), Union Berlin v Schalke (1330), Augsburg v Cologne (1600)Share on: WhatsApp Jadon Sancho calls for justice following the death of George Floyd in the United StatesBerlin, Germany | AFP |  Bayern Munich face one of the final obstacles in their hunt for an eighth consecutive Bundesliga title this weekend as players in Germany contemplate staging collective protests following the death of George Floyd in the United States.The German FA said on Wednesday footballers including Jadon Sancho who paid tributes to Floyd during last week’s games would not be punished, with calls since growing from several Bayern players for further action.“Sport always was and is able to share the power, to try to show to the world we are a community and that we are strong together,” said Bayern forward Thomas Mueller, ahead of Saturday’s game with Bayer Leverkusen.“We have so many different people in the sport, it doesn’t matter the colour. Sports have the power to bring people together to speak with one tongue.”Joshua Kimmich revealed Bayern players have talked about using their platform to reinforce their stance against racism, while World Cup winner Jerome Boateng urged more famous white sportspeople to add their voices to the chorus of outrage over Floyd’s death.Floyd, a black American man, died after a white policeman kneeled on his neck for several minutes. His death has sparked several days of protests in US cities, some of which have turned violent amid accusations of further police brutality used against demonstrators.– ‘We can do much more’ –“Our voices carry, we have a platform and we touch many people,” Boateng, whose father is from Ghana, told Deutsche Welle radio.“All white sportspeople who don’t speak out are obviously not racists, but of course it is desirable that they also use their notoriety for this cause. Many do it, but I think we can do much more.”With five games remaining Bayern hold a seven-point lead over Borussia Dortmund, whose players took a knee during Thursday’s training session in support of the Black Lives Matter movement.Dortmund coach Lucien Favre said he “stood 100 percent behind” Sancho’s call for justice although a number of players including the England winger courted controversy after they were pictured without masks alongside a hairdresser.At the other end of the table, Werder Bremen have slipped back deep into relegation trouble after a 3-0 defeat to Eintracht Frankfurt on Wednesday greatly complicated the task of maintaining their top-flight status.The loss was all the more disappointing for the four-time champions after a 1-0 win at Freiburg on May 23 had given them hope. Werder are now three points from safety and need a positive result at home against Wolfsburg on Sunday.“That was a setback but definitely not a knockout,” Werder coach Florian Kohfeldt said after the Eintracht defeat. “It has become harder but it’s not impossible. We all knew that it would be hard, but we’re going to give it a go.”One to watch: Marcus Thuramlast_img read more


Tolls to Resume on FL Roadways This Week


first_imgThe Florida Department of Transportation has announced that toll collections will be reinstated Thursday, after they were suspended ahead of Hurricane Dorian.On Thursday, tolls on the following roads will be reinstated:– Homestead Extension of Florida’s Turnpike (SR 821)– I-95 Express Lanes– I-595 Express Lanes– I-75 Express Lanes– Alligator AlleyOn Friday, tolls on these roads will be reinstated:– The Turnpike Mainline (SR 91)– Beachline Expressway (SR 528)– Sawgrass Expressway (SR 869)– SR 417– SR 429The Central Florida Expressway Authority will also resume collecting tolls on Friday on the following roads:– SR 408– SR 414– SR 451– SR 453– SR 538– SR 551On Saturday, toll collection will resume on the following roads:– First Coast Expressway (SR 23)– I-295 Express Laneslast_img read more


Girls Golf Rocks is set to inspire new players


first_img Girls Golf Rocks! That’s the message from a group of girl golfers who want to inspire others to follow them into the sport.Twelve members of the Essex County Girls squad have been trained as leaders and mentors for the project to promote the sport with the help of four local golf clubs.Their message is that golf is a fun and sociable game, with health benefits and a competitive edge – and they want other girls to join in. Their recent photoshoot (image © Leaderboard Photography) for the campaign poster shows that golf can be anything but fuddy-duddy.The Girls Golf Rocks campaign tees off with a big taster session in April at each of the four clubs taking part – Little Channels, Crowlands Heath, Playgolf Colchester and The Rayleigh Club. Three county squad girls will be helping out at each club.Following the taster sessions, when local schoolchildren will be welcomed by the PGA professionals, there will be a four-week structured coaching programme provided by the clubs, with the county girl players mentoring the newcomers.The finale will be a competition on the par three course at Channels GC in May, where new young players will enjoy playing holes with their mentors, benefiting from their experience and encouragement on the course.The project is being led by the Golf Foundation and supported by England Golf and Active Essex.Katie Moggan, Regional Development Officer for the Golf Foundation, said: “The Essex County Girls really do deserve great credit for launching Girls’ Golf Rocks and it is very much their project. As young, athletic players who love this game, and who exhibit a great sense of fun when playing golf, you really couldn’t find better ambassadors for this sport.“In terms of breaking down the barriers for new girl golfers, these county players really ‘get it’. They know how to encourage new players and I am sure they will be excellent mentors for young people coming into these clubs.”The project will be directly linked to the national ‘This Girl Can’ promotional campaign on TV and other media (www.thisgirlcan.co.uk) which aims to inspire more women and girls to enjoy exercise. See more also on Twitter at #thisgirlgolfs.Katie praised Lauren Spray, Women and Girls Participation Manager for England Golf, Helen Tarttelin, Essex County Development Officer, Louella Hitchcock, Essex County Captain, and Wendy Cook, County Junior Girls Organiser for Essex, for their “brilliant work” in the organisation for a project which, if successful, may well be tried in other regions of the country. 23 Mar 2015 Girls Golf Rocks is set to inspire new players last_img read more


Senior men aim to double up on Euro success at Home Internationals


first_img12 Sep 2019 Senior men aim to double up on Euro success at Home Internationals Tags: England Senior Men’s, Senior Men’s Home Internationals England’s Senior Men’s national team will be bidding for their second piece of silverware in the space of a couple of weeks when they take on Scotland, Ireland and Wales at the Senior Men’s Home Internationals at Alnmouth Golf Club in Northumberland on September 17-19. An English team comprising Ian Attoe, pictured, (Worplesdon, Surrey), Richard Norton (Beverley & East Riding, Yorkshire), Paul Wharton (Woodhall Spa, Lincolnshire), Rupert Kellock (Sunningdale, Surrey), Alan Mew (Stoneham, Hampshire) and Rich Jones (Rotherham, Yorkshire) beat both Scotland and Ireland on their way to winning the European Senior Men’s Team Championship in Denmark at the start of the September. They are now joined by Tim Whittaker (Beaconsfield, Buckinghamshire) as they attempt to win the annual quadrangular round robin tournament against the other three home nations.England claimed the title at both Machynys Peninsula in Wales in 2016 and Rosslare in Ireland in 2018 but last year they had to play second fiddle to Scotland in extreme weather conditions at Southerness. England, Ireland and Scotland all won two of their matches so the title was decided on points accumulated across all three matches. Attoe, Kellock, Jones and Norton were all part of that English team.The Senior Men’s Home Internationals is an annual competition held in turn in each of the four home nations. Each individual match between the countries is decided from the results from three foursomes and six singles.Photo: Credit Leaderboard Photographylast_img read more


City Roundup…Schenley states its case to be ‘top dog’ in the city


first_imgSchenley’s Jerome Mathews was the hero of the game against the Perry Commodores for two reasons. Numero uno—he combined with junior running back Shawn Davis to accumulate 109 yards rushing on 33 attempts, 18 of which he carried for 53 yards. Then he intercepted a Greg McGhee pass inside the Schenley 15-yard line within the final minute of the game to seal an 8-6 victory on Friday at Cupples Stadium. The 109 yards the Schenley running back tandem earned matched the total of the entire Perry offense.“We have to go back to the drawing board and completely re-evaluate some things over the next week,” said Bill Gallagher, Perry’s head coach. “Our team has to understand that this is a team game and we have to learn from our mistakes in order to improve.”The first points of the game were scored on a safety when McGhee was tackled in the end zone for a safety by Schenley’s Taylor Campbell with 5:35 left in the opening quarter. Also in the first, Schenley’s junior tailback DeAndre Black scored on a four-yard run to make the score 8-0.“I am impressed right now with the maturity of our kids at this point,” said Schenley’s head coach Jason Bell. “A lot of my underclassmen are stepping up and filling in some roles for some of my veterans.”One of those veterans is senior quarterback Darren Jackson, who was injured in last week’s game against Brashear. He is expected to miss the next two to three weeks with a shoulder injury. His replacement is sophomore quarterback Calvin Beck, who went 6 of 14 passing with 79 yards, no touchdowns, and two interceptions.The Schenley defense was strong. In addition to the total offense they allowed, they also held the Perry passing attack to 0-7 and 26 total yards in the first half. McGhee finished with eight completions on 22 attempts with 55 yards, no touchdowns and two interceptions.“Hats off to Schenley,” said Gallagher. “They play with so much passion and enthusiasm. They are doing such a good job in that system.”The big game coming up this week will be Schenley vs. Brashear. The Bulls were heavy favorites coming into the season after two impressive undefeated seasons in which they rolled over City League competition. However, Perry stopped all that with an upset in the first game of the season, but then lost to Schenley in the second game. This sets up the big matchup this week in which the Spartans will have sole possession of first place if they can pull off the victory. Otherwise a there will be a three-way tie.Other games:Carrick 20, Allderdice 14Carrick opened play in the City League with a win. Carrick’s senior quarterback, Ryan Roeper continues to be one of the stronger passers in the City League. He went 8 of 18 for 100 yards, no touchdowns and an interception.This would, however, be a game that would go down to the wire. With 12 seconds left in the game, Jajuan Thomas caught a 3-yard touchdown pass from Rasheed McKamey. The two-point conversion was made by Roeper. That would be the second score that McKamey was involved in as he scored on a 2-yard touchdown run in the second quarter.Allderdice scored on runs by Patrick Ferguson (two yards) and Mike Pfleger (five yards).Oliver 24, Westinghouse 8This one was won on the hands of Tyrek Morgan, the legs of David Marshall, and the arm of quarterback Dante Jeter. Marshall started of the scoring with a 60-yard sprint to the end zone in the first quarter. Then, Jeter hooked up with Philip Upsher-Ferguson on a 50-yard touchdown pass, also in the first period. Jeter did it again in the second quarter, this time, with Morgan from 30 yards out to make it an 18-0 game going into the half.“Once again we waited too late,” said Westinghouse head coach Monte Robinson. “We need to come up with some faster starts as we go down the stretch. We have a lot of young guys who play with fire and are still learning. They really want to win.”Ryan Lucas of Oliver intercepted a Darrel Cosby pass in the third quarter and returned it 29 yards for a touchdown. Cosby responded and put his team on the board in the fourth quarter on an 11- yard run. He finished completing 14 passes on 30 attempts with 149 yards, no touchdowns and one pick. David Pryor and Marcus Falls each had six catches for 72 and 61 yards, respectively.“I must compliment Westinghouse on the effort,” said Tim Keefer, Oliver’s head coach. “Their kids played hard and hung in the game.”Jeter finished 4 of 9 with 97 yards, 2 touchdowns, and no interceptions.Brashear 61, Langley 0This game had been “mercy-ruled” at halftime with a score of 47-0, all Brashear. On the opening kickoff Manny Reed bolted up the sideline for an 85-yard score on the return. Bruce Patterson looked unstoppable. He finished with 11 rushes for 142 yards and 3 touchdowns, with two in the second half. Quarterback Henri Chatman added two rushing scores of his own including a 40-yard dash up the middle shaking several defenders to get there. He tacked on an 18-yard strike through the middle of the Langley “D” to senior wideout Manasseh Garner in the second half. Victor Bragano capped off the scoring with a 42-yard fumble recovery returned for 6 points late in the final quarter.(Follow our continuing coverage and add your comments of District 8 football to our website at newpittsburghcourieronline.com)(D.W. Howze can be reached at dwhowze@newpittsburghcourier .com.)WEEK 3 SCHEDULEThursday, Friday, SaturdayLangley at Peabody, Thursday, 3:30 p.m., Sept. 17Carrick at Perry Thursday, 7:30 p.m., Sept. 17Allderdice at Oliver, Friday, 3:30 p.m., Sept. 18Brashear at Schenley, Friday, 7:30 p.m., Sept. 18Westinghouse at Central Harrison, Friday, 7:30 p.m., Sept. 18 SCRAMBLING— Dante Jeter from Oliver scrambles away from Devin Palmer. Jeter threw two touchdown passes in the Bears win. last_img read more


Olympic Swimmer promotes lessons for minorities: Water safety, formal instruction key to preventing fatalities


first_imgby Benjamin KoconisWASHINGTON (NNPA) – Although an Olympic swimmer’s message about the importance of water safety was too late to save a 6-year-old Northeast girl from drowning last month, many others may be saved by his dedication to promote swimming lessons among minority youth nationwide.Cullen Jones, the first African-American swimmer to set a world record and win a gold, made a stop in the District recently where he hosted a series of events to promote “Make a Splash”— a USA Swimming initiative, which aims to promote swimming lessons by providing grant money to lesson providers to advance their programs.Jones’ started his day hosting a breakfast at the Marriott Wardman Park, in Northwest, where he told an audience of nearly 100 about the large numbers of minority children who have inadequate swimming skills – like himself, prior to his mother insisting that he take formal swimming lessons.“I understand how it feels to be afraid of the water,” said the 26-year-old 50-meter freestyle swimmer. “When I was five-years-old I almost drown.”Jones tells audiences in every city he travels to of his own near death experience at Dorney Park & Wildwater Kingdom, a water park, in Allentown, Pa., in 1989. My inner tube capsized, but I was determined to hold on because that is what my dad told me to do—I subsequently blacked out, he said.Mel Stewart, 41, another Olympic swimmer and gold medalist who spoke at the breakfast said swimmers, even of the Olympic caliber, know to respect the water and are often the most protective when it comes to children’s water safety.“We never swim alone. We have all been in positions where we have got a cramp. In an instant you realize it could be your death.”Anyone is capable of drowning, Jones said.“I love asking kids—I’m a gold medalist— I went to the Olympics—how many of you think that I almost drown—they never believe it.”Jones admitted he was slow to get back in the water after his frightening experience at the water park, but said after finding a good instructor he soon gained his confidence back. He advises children who are scared of the water to do the same.“There are certain things I don’t know how to do. I would love to learn how to play guitar, but in order to do that, I need to take lessons.” Jones said the same goes for swimming— if you don’t know how, you absolutely must take lessons.The  “Make a Splash” campaign continued at Turkey Thicket Pool, a Department of Parks and Recreation facility in Northeast Washington, where Jones gave several children swimming lessons. Unfortunately, a dark cloud continues to loom over the public pool where young Yiana-Michelle Ballard drowned on June 23.Special to the NNPA from the Washington Informerlast_img read more


UEFA charges Spain, Russia over fans’ racist abuse


first_imgUEFA said it opened disciplinary cases for “improper conduct of their supporters (racist behavior, racist chanting).”The European football body said its disciplinary panel will deal with the cases Thursday.Spain and Russia will likely receive financial penalties if the cases are proven.Russia has already been fined €185,000 ($230,000) after being charged by UEFA over its fans’ conduct at all three of its group-stage matches in Poland.UEFA also threatened Russia with a six-point deduction in its 2016 European Championship qualifying group after some of its fans attacked stadium stewards in Wroclaw following the Czech match on June 8. UEFA has said the deduction would be enforced if fans repeated their violent behavior. The Russian FA has appealed that sanction.In the first proven case of racist abuse at Euro 2012, UEFA fined the Croatia football association €80,000 ($100,000) for a range of charges including insults directed at Balotelli.Discrimination monitors appointed by UEFA reported that around 300 Croatia supporters made monkey noises at the Italy forward during a June 14 match in Poznan.A Spanish fans’ group previously reported that some Spain followers made monkey noises at Balotelli during a June 10 match in Gdansk. The group, affiliated to the Football Supporters Europe network, said other Spanish fans intervened urging the offenders to stop.Gebre Selassie acknowledged that he was racially abused by Russians during the opening group match but declined to file a complaint.UEFA received reports from monitors supplied by FARE, a Europe-wide fans’ network, and later asked Czech team officials to help provide evidence which could be used to prosecute the case.Russian fans displayed “illicit” imperialist flags and set off fireworks at each match, while a fan carrying a national flag aloft ran across the pitch after the match against Poland in Warsaw on June 12.UEFA pledged a zero-tolerance policy toward combatting racism and discrimination inside Euro 2012 stadiums.Russia was heavily favored to advance from Group A but was eliminated as the Czechs and Greece reached the quarterfinals.On Monday, Russia FA president Sergei Fursenko announced his resignation during a televised meeting with state President Vladimir Putin. STAR FORWARD—Italy’s Antonio Di Natale, left, replaces Mario Balotelli during the Euro 2012 soccer championship Group C match between Italy and Croatia in Poznan, Poland, June 14. (AP Photo/Antonio Calanni) by Graham DunbarKIEV, Ukraine (AP)—UEFA charged the Spanish and Russian football associations on Tuesday for racist chants by fans at the European Championship.The charges follow reports that monkey noises were directed by Spain fans at Italy forward Mario Balotelli, and that Russian fans targeted Czech Republic defender Theodor Gebre Selassie. Both players are Black.last_img read more


No. 82: Pirates’ 1-0 win at Texas clinches winning season


first_imgPedro Alvarez (24) follows through on a run-scoring double off of Texas Rangers’ Yu Darvish in the seventh inning of a baseball game, Monday, Sept. 9, 2013, in Arlington, Texas. (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez)  by Stephen HawkinsAP Sports WriterARLINGTON, Texas (AP) — Pittsburgh Pirates manager Clint Hurdle had no special message for his team and there was no big celebration after what was a special victory for their long-suffering fans.With their 1-0 victory at Texas on Monday night, the Pirates clinched their first winning season since 1992. But victory No. 82 was really just another step toward their goal of getting into the playoffs.“It’s going to touch a lot of people on a lot of different levels. We are aware of it,” Hurdle said. “Everybody’s here for a reason, and that’s to knock down things we haven’t done in a long time.”Before rookie right-hander Gerrit Cole (7-7) threw seven scoreless innings with a career-high nine strikeouts to win a pitcher’s duel against Yu Darvish, the Pirates hadn’t had a winning season in more than two decades — since the last of their three consecutive NL championship series appearances under manager Jim Leyland. Their last postseason before that was the 1979 World Series championship team.“We don’t really understand what the fans have been through. I know it definitely puts a smile on their face when they see that No. 82 up there,” Cole said. “We’re extremely happy to be able to make them feel like we’ve got a winning team out there. But we’ve got a few weeks ahead and those are going to be some real big games.”Pittsburgh had lost a season-high four games in a row since getting their 81st victory last Tuesday at Milwaukee.The Pirates (82-61) didn’t get a runner to second base against Darvish (12-8) until Marlon Byrd’s two-out double in the seventh. He came home when Pedro Alvarez, mired in a 5-for-41 slump over 12 games, followed with a double.They finally have their winning season after taking the opener of a three-game interleague series between wild-card leaders.“It’s a huge deal for me. It certainly thrills me to be a part of that,” said Pirates hitting coach Jay Bell, the shortstop on that 1992 team.“I understand the significance of this game, the 82nd win, more than probably at least most of the players here,” said second baseman Neil Walker, the team’s first-round pick in 2004. “As big as this win is for the city of Pittsburgh and the organization, and as big a deal as the media is going to make out of it, we still have a lot of baseball to play. We’ve got a lot of games we need to win, we’re in a tight race.”The Pirates moved within a game of NL Central-leading St. Louis, which swept Pittsburgh in three games over the weekend.Texas lost for the fourth time in five games, and still needs one more win to clinch its fifth consecutive winning season. The Rangers dropped two games behind idle AL West-leading Oakland.Darvish is 0-3 his last five starts, all Rangers losses. The Japanese right-hander struck out six while allowing one run and four hits over seven innings. He threw a season-low 81 pitches before coming out because of cramping in his right leg.Manager Ron Washington said the move was precautionary.“We needed him to step up and he stepped up tonight, he really threw the ball well, he moved the ball around well, he kept it down in the zone, he did a good job,” Washington said. “He’s in great shape. It’s just something that flared up. If that’s all that’s wrong with him, and the way he pitched out there tonight, I’ll take it.”Cole got out of a self-induced jam in the sixth after consecutive walks to Elvis Andrus and Alex Rios, his only walks in the game. Andrus got his 38th career stolen base — the Rangers pulled off a double steal when Rios reached before Adrian Beltre grounded out.“The sixth inning could have gotten out of hand,” Cole said. “I was just able to get the ball down on them.”Tony Watson pitched a perfect eighth, his 14th consecutive scoreless outing. Mark Melancon worked the ninth for his 12th save in 14th chances to close out Pittsburgh’s 16th shutout of the season.The Rangers said Darvish started feeling the cramps during the seventh. There was a short delay after the Rangers took the field in the eighth before Tanner Scheppers came out of the bullpen.“It’s minor,” Washington said. “No level of concern.”NOTES: It was the 14th 1-0 game ever at Rangers Ballpark, which is in its 20th season. It was the second this season, both Rangers losses. … Pirates CF Andrew McCutchen had a leadoff triple in the ninth. He was thrown out trying to score on Justin Morneau’s chopper to second baseman Ian Kinsler. … Rangers LF Jim Adduci left the game after his at-bat in the fifth inning, when he sustained a right biceps strain while striking out. … Darvish upped his major league-leading strikeout total to 246. … Beltre was 1 for 22 over six games before his two-out single in the ninth.last_img read more