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Carter hits 3-run HR in 9th, Astros top Yanks 7-4

Anyone who thought Houston would be a Yankee Stadium pushover hasn’t been paying attention to Chris Carter at the plate.

After striking out four straight times, Carter snapped a ninth-inning tie with a colossal three-run homer Tuesday night that extended his second-half power surge and sent the Astros to a 7-4 victory over the New York Yankees.

“I was just trying to hit it and put it in play. My first four at-bats, I didn’t do anything,” Carter said with a smile. “I went up there in the last at-bat and just tried to forget about it and regroup.”

Marwin Gonzalez knocked in two runs with a pinch-hit single, and the fourth-place Astros (53-73) won for the third time in four meetings with the Yankees this year. Despite a $154 million difference in opening-day payroll, Houston took two of three at home against New York to begin the season.

“Shows us that we’re on the right track,” winning pitcher Josh Fields said. “We’re playing a lot better baseball than last year.”

Brian McCann hit a two-run homer, and Martin Prado had three hits for the Yankees, who wasted their first chance to make up ground in the standings during a six-game homestand against two teams with losing records.

New York began the night three games out of a playoff spot. (more…)

Stanton single in 10th sends Marlins over Rangers

Giancarlo Stanton wasn’t happy with his fielding error in the seventh inning, which helped the Texas Rangers tie the game.

Stanton wanted to make up for his blunder in right field, but walked the next two at-bats before hitting an RBI single on a 1-2 count with with two outs in the 10th inning and the Miami Marlins beat the Texas Rangers 4-3 Tuesday night for their third straight win.

“I didn’t like the sliders that were called so I was already fired up about that, I knew that we were in extra innings because of me so I was already fired up about that, so when I saw (Neftali Feliz) dragging in I was just like, `You put us in this situation, just make sure you’re calm and collected and get us out,” Stanton said.

Miami (63-62) surpassed last year’s total of 62. The Marlins moved over .500 for the first time since June 20.

Jeff Baker reached with one out in the 10th on first baseman Mike Carp’s error. Donovan Solano’s infield single with two outs moved Baker to second.

Neftali Feliz relieved Neal Cotts (2-7) to face Stanton, who singled to right field.

“We had the right guy there and he had a heck of an at-bat and hit a bullet to right,” Marlins manager Mike Redmond said.

Sam Dyson (2-0) struck out the side in the 10th. (more…)

Carr, Claiborne, Melton report progress

With the Dallas Cowboys’ defense needing all the help it can get, three core members of the unit were at different stages of their comeback on Tuesday.

Cornerback Brandon Carr was in pads for the first time all summer. Cornerback Morris Claiborne was in pads, but was kept out of competitive drills because of a shoulder injury. Defensive tackle Henry Melton did resistance training off to the side as he comes back from a groin strain.

All three reported progress.

Carr missed most of the team’s time in Oxnard, California, due to the death of his mother. He returned for the final week of practice, but the coaches kept him out of drills so he could work on his conditioning. Carr went through the whole practice Tuesday and has designs on playing Saturday against the Miami Dolphins.

“I’ll play as much in the game as they want me to and I’ll take reps in practice next week and just get ready for the home opener,” Carr said. “I feel like I’m in pretty good shape. I’m going tax my body this week as far as putting it on myself to get myself in condition for those four quarters and those long drives, but just whatever the coaching staff and trainers is suitable for me to go out there and do I’m all in. So whatever it takes for me to get myself going and whatever they believe it takes for me to get going, I’m going to do it.” (more…)

Lawrence (foot) working on return

By Todd Archer | ESPNDallas.com

IRVING, Texas — Dallas Cowboys rookie defensive end DeMarcus Lawrence is in the early stages of his comeback from right foot surgery and is not ready to say when he will be able to return.

Lawrence, who remains on crutches, will be re-examined on Sept. 4 and is looking at possibly missing three to six regular-season games.

“It feels great,” Lawrence said. “Surgery went well, I’m glad it happened now than later. Just going on a day-to-day basis with the treatment and getting that done so we can get back on the field.”

Lawrence was hurt in a one-on-one pass-rush drill against left tackle Tyron Smith. He said he knew immediately the injury was bad

“Trying to rush the edge, bend the corner and went on the side of my foot wrong and it popped,” Lawrence said.

Lawrence was starting to work in with the first-team defense when he was hurt. The Cowboys lack a true right defensive end without Lawrence. Jeremy Mincey is the starter and the Cowboys will use outside linebacker Kyle Wilber as a pass-rusher in the nickel defense.

“It set me back a little physically, not being out there with the team,” Lawrence said. “I know I’m going to have to be into my playbook and the weight room now. On the mental side, getting into the playbook and learning all the plays and making sure I’m up to date so when I come back I have no problems.” (more…)

Carter not worried about demotion

By Tim MacMahon | ESPNDallas.com

IRVING, Texas — Linebacker Bruce Carter doesn’t believe that the Dallas Cowboys want to demote him from the starting lineup.

There is certainly evidence that Cowboys are trying to push Carter, a major disappointment last season, to the bench. Justin Durant worked with the starters at Carter’s weakside linebacker spot during Tuesday’s practice with Rolando McClain at middle linebacker.

But Carter believes the Cowboys are just trying to give themselves insurance options in their linebacker corps by giving different combinations practice time together, particularly with versatile second-year linebacker DeVonte Holloman potentially out for the season with a neck injury, pending a second medical opinion.

“No, I don’t think so,” Carter said when asked whether the team was trying to demote him. “I just think we need depth. Especially Ro, he needs to get his reps at Mike. … So they’re just trying, I guess, to see what the rotations are going to be. I don’t know.”

The rotation featuring McClain in the middle and Durant on the weak side certainly came as no surprise.

Head coach Jason Garrett strongly hinted about it during training camp, when he said that Durant’s most natural position was playing the weak side. The Cowboys clearly traded for the twice-retired McClain with the hope that the 25-year-old former eighth-overall pick would win the starting job at middle linebacker.

It’s also telling that owner and general manager Jerry Jones didn’t mention Carter’s name when discussing the linebacker corps during his Tuesday morning radio appearance. (more…)

Source: Darvish, more clear waivers

By Calvin Watkins | ESPNDallas.com

Staff ace Yu Darvish, Adrian Beltre, Shin-Soo Choo and Elvis Andrus of the Texas Rangers cleared waivers on Monday, according to a source.

The Rangers can now trade any of these players and considering their huge contracts an opposing team would have to take a substantial amount of the remaining years of the contract to make a deal happen.

Yu Darvish, who is on the DL with right elbow inflammation, is 10-7 with a 3.06 ERA this season for the Rangers.

The Rangers are 48-76 this season.

Team officials don’t comment on players clearing waivers, however, the moves are interesting with the Rangers looking for high-quality prospects.

Two weeks ago, the team was able to get starting right fielder Alex Rios through waivers, but he has yet to be traded.

Reliever Neal Cotts, another player who could be sent through waivers, has interest from several teams.

The biggest name on this list is Darvish, who is on the 15-day disabled list with inflammation in his right elbow. Darvish is eligible to return Aug. 25 at Seattle, and he most likely would have to throw a pain-free bullpen session to pitch in that game. (more…)

Jerry: Two more preseason series for Romo

By Tim MacMahon | ESPNDallas.com

IRVING, Texas — Dallas Cowboys owner and general manager Jerry Jones anticipates Tony Romo playing approximately two more preseason series.

“Well, I think you’ll probably see him here against Miami about like you did the other night,” Jones said during a Tuesday appearance on 105.3 The Fan. “I don’t know that we ought to do any more than that then really see not only [Brandon] Weeden but our young quarterback can get some snaps out there.”

Romo and the rest of the starters have typically played at least a half in the third preseason game, considered the dress-rehearsal game, and sits out the preseason finale.

The Cowboys planned for Romo to play about 12 snaps Saturday night against the Baltimore Ravens, his first game action since undergoing back surgery to repair a herniated disk in December. He ended up playing 16 snaps, including two plays negated by penalty.

Romo, who sat out one-fourth of the practices during training camp as part of a preventative-maintenance program, completed 4 of 5 passes for 80 yards and a touchdown against the Ravens.

Jones, who declared Romo as “100 percent” during the first week of camp, said he is completely confident in the franchise quarterback’s health and ability to perform all the physical tasks required to play the position.

“He’s shown it throughout our training camp,” Jones said. “I thought he did a great job how he managed himself back in, if you will, his rhythm, if you want to use another word here. But he’s making all the throws and is really cherishing the options that he’s got in the offense.”

Johnny Manziel flips bird to sideline

By Pat McManamon | ESPN.com

LANDOVER, Md. — Cleveland Browns quarterback Johnny Manziel extended his middle finger toward the Washington Redskins bench after a third-quarter incompletion during Monday night’s 24-23 preseason loss.

Manziel flipped the bird toward the Redskins after the play that unfolded in front of Washington’s bench.

Manziel said he had “words exchanged” with the Redskins and that he should have been smarter.

“I felt like I did a good job of holding my composure throughout the night, and you have a lapse of judgment and slip up,” Manziel said.

Asked in his postgame news conference if he thought it was wrong, Manziel smiled before laughing.

“I mean, I didn’t think it was positive,” Manziel said, before adding he couldn’t blame it on distractions, repeating he had simply lost his composure.

Manziel was not penalized, though he could have been for unsportsmanlike conduct or taunting.

The NFL no doubt will review the tape, and Manziel will be subject to an $11,025 fine. He can appeal his first fine, and it can be limited to 25 percent of a weekly check of close to $6,200.

“It did not sit well,” Browns coach Mike Pettine said. “I was informed of it after the game and it’s disappointing. Because what we talk about is being poised and being focused — that you have to be able to maintain your poise.”

The gesture occurred with 2:28 left in the third quarter.

“That’s a big part of all football players, especially the quarterback, that we have to keep our composure,” Pettine said. “So that’s something that we’ll obviously address with him.”

On a second-and-7 play, Manziel dropped back, rolled left to escape the rush and threw across his body just before reaching the sidelines. The pass to Jonathan Krause fell incomplete.

Manziel may have heard something from the home bench, because as he trotted back to the huddle in the nationally televised game he extended his middle finger over his right shoulder toward the bench.

Brian Hoyer, who is competing with Manziel for the starting quarterback job, didn’t seem impressed by the gesture.

“You’ve got to know the cameras are always on you,” Hoyer said.

It wouldn’t have been the first time Manziel was mocked by the Redskins.

Linebacker Brian Orakpo, who called the middle-finger gesture “hilarious,” celebrated a teammate’s sack of the quarterback in the first quarter by giving Manziel’s Drake/money gesture, for which he is well known.

After forcing the Browns to punt with Manziel at quarterback, Orakpo stopped near the yard marker in front of the Redskins sideline and again gave the money sign.

Manziel had struggled throughout the game — going 5-for-13 for 49 yards and one sack before the gesture.

He completed the drive after the gesture with a touchdown that came on a short drop pass that Dion Lewis ran into the end zone.

“I should have been smarter,” Manziel said. “The cameras were solidly on me. I need to be smarter about that.”

Information from ESPN NFL Insider Adam Schefter was used in this report.