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Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Indians Win Again - Dale Earnhardt Jr. close to extension - RIP Macho Man Randy Savage

RIP Macho Man

A great article on Macho Man click here

Dale Earnhardt Jr. close to extension

CONCORD, N.C. -- Hendrick Motorsports is close to finalizing a multiyear extension with Dale Earnhardt Jr., team owner Rick Hendrick said Saturday at Charlotte Motor Speedway.
Hendrick hopes to announce the deal within the next month. He would not give specifics, saying most of the major points are agreed on and the extension would keep NASCAR's most popular driver at HMS for another three to five years after the current five-year deal expires in 2012.
"We know we want to be together and we just want to get this over with," said Hendrick, who told ESPN.com last year he was working on the extension. "It shows I'm committed to him and he's committed to us."
Hendrick has been committed to making Earnhardt a champion since the driver left Dale Earnhardt Inc., after the 2007 season to join his organization. He made a major move during the offseason, moving Earnhardt into the same shop with five-time defending Sprint Cup champion Jimmie Johnson and pairing him with Steve Letarte, Jeff Gordon's long-time crew chief.
Asked about the extension following the preliminary to the All-Star race, Earnhardt said, "Whatever [Hendrick] says is probably true.''
"I'm excited to be where I am," Earnhardt continued. "From my heart, it's an amazing organization. There are some great, great people there. I've learned a lot being around there. It's made me a better person. We've still got a lot of things we would like to accomplish on the racetrack. If I get an opportunity to stick around I'm excited about that.
"We've just been talking about it. I don't think we'll have any trouble."
Earnhardt was fourth in points heading into Saturday's All-Star race.
"He and Stevie ... it's just that magic right now," Hendrick said. "They have confidence in each other and like each other. So much of this thing is confidence and getting the right guys to communicate. The team believes in him and he believes in them."
Hendrick said Earnhardt's decision to call a team meeting to apologize for a pit road violation that cost the team a top-10 finish following the recent Darlington race was another sign of a renewed dedication.
"There is a tremendous change," Hendrick said. "There's a tremendous confidence level. When he got all the crew together after the race and said, 'Hey, I made a mistake and I'm sorry,' I never saw Dale do that. He'd go to the coach."
Hendrick said from the outset the pressure was on him to make Earnhardt, who has said he would like to retire at HMS, a winner. He believes they're headed in the right direction.
"I took on a big challenge and felt like I failed," he said of making the crew chief change after Earnhardt missed the Chase the last two seasons. "It's amazing when you think all the equipment is the same. So what's the big difference? The big difference is communication and confidence.
"You can't just tell somebody that. They've got to feel it and believe it. So I'm looking for a great finish [to the season] and I just think they''e going to get better and better every week."

Indians Win Again!

CLEVELAND -- For the first time this season, a national TV audience finally experienced the Indians' late-inning karma.
Funny enough, Cleveland's manager watched it on the tube, too.
Asdrubal Cabrera's two-out RBI double in the eighth inning -- the latest big hit delivered by Cleveland's shortstop -- rallied the Indians to a slippery 3-2 win over the Red Sox on Monday night, another dramatic victory for a team that believes there is no deficit too big to overcome.
"We're just going out and winning ballgames," Indians starter Justin Masterson said. "It's a different person every night. It's been a lot of fun."
With a steady rain falling, Cabrera, who went 5-for-5 with two homers and five RBIs on Sunday, drove his double off reliever Daniel Bard (1-4) to the wall in left field, scoring Michael Brantley and helping the Indians win their fourth straight and improve to 19-4 at home.
The win was the Indians' eighth in their last at-bat at home this season.
"It's kind of what we do," Masterson said with a shrug.
Cabrera also homered in the fourth, and has nine hits in his last 11 at-bats.
Joe Smith (2-1) got one out in the eighth, and closer Chris Perez got out of a first-and-third situation in the ninth by getting Carl Crawford, one of the toughest players in baseball to double up, to bounce into a game-ending double play for his 13th save.
"Who would have thought that you would get a double play on Carl Crawford?" asked Indians manager Manny Acta, who had to watch the game on a TV adjacent to Cleveland's dugout after being ejected in the eighth. "These guys always feel like they have a chance to win."
Trailing 2-1 and being held in check by Boston starter Clay Buchholz, the Indians came up with another does of late-inning magic.
They tied it when Jack Hannahan singled, pinch-runner Adam Everett moved up on a groundout and scored on Brantley's two-out RBI single off Bard. The Indians then took the lead on Cabrera's double.
Cleveland has continued to win despite not having two of its top players, Grady Sizemore and Travis Hafner, who are on the disabled list.
"We have to scratch and claw and do everything we can until those two big guys are back," Acta said. "We need to hang in there."
The loss could have been doubly costly for the Red Sox, but the team got a positive report afterward on All-Star second baseman Dustin Pedroia, who injured his left foot in the eighth and had to come out.
Pedroia hurt the foot he had surgery on in September when he fell over second base while trying to go to third in the eighth. He was rounding second on Adrian Gonzalez's single to right when he slipped on the wet base and fell awkwardly. He scrambled on his belly back to the base safely. Pedroia laid with his face in the dirt as a team trainer and manager Terry Francona jogged out to check on the former AL MVP.
"It's kind of like a stinger," Pedroia said. "It took a little while to get the feeling back in my leg. It stinks, man."
Francona will stick with his previous plan and have Pedroia sit out Tuesday.
Crawford homered for the Red Sox, who lost for just the second time in 10 games and missed a chance to move into first-place in the AL East.
Buchholz allowed just two runs and four hits in 7 1/3 innings, but Bard couldn't hold the Indians.
Boston was making its second visit to Cleveland this season. The Red Sox were swept in a three-game series in early April, dropping them to 0-6. But they've recovered from the awful start and are finally playing like the team many predicted would win it all in 2011.
Just not against the Indians.
A major, $142 million-over-seven-years disappointment so far with the Red Sox, Crawford snapped a 1-1 tie in the fifth with just his second homer. He turned on a 1-1 pitch from Masterson, driving it over the wall in right for his first homer since April 27.
He had a chance to be a hero in the ninth, but Crawford hit a hard grounder right at second baseman Orlando Cabrera. He flipped it to Asdrubal Cabrera, who fired to first for the double play.
"He hit it right on the nose," Francona said. "But it was in the one place they could turn a double play."
As hot as any hitter in the game, Cabrera tied it 1-1 with his 10th homer. It was Cabrera's seventh straight hit, four shy of the team record held by Hall of Famer Tris Speaker in 1920. Cabrera flied out in the sixth to end his streak.
The Red Sox went up 1-0 in the third on a perfectly executed hit-and-run single by Pedroia.

Game notes
Gonzalez is just the fourth Red Sox player since 1920 to have at least 65 hits and 40 RBIs through the club's first 40 games. The others: Ted Williams (1948), Jim Rice (1978) and Manny Ramirez (2001). Gonzalez came to Boston in a December trade from San Diego. "It's nice to see it in person," Francona said. "You make a trade of that magnitude, you've got a pretty good idea of what a guy can do, but when you see a really good hitter in the midst of a good streak, it is fun to watch." ... The Indians said Cabrera on Sunday joined Cincinnati's Roy McMillan (1960) as the only shortstops since 1946 to go 5-for-5 with two homers and five RBIs in a game. Cabrera leads all AL shortstops in runs, hits, homers and RBIs.

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