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The Chicago

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The Detroit Tigers blew a three-run lead in the eighth inning and eventually lost on a home run in the ninth. Still Clive Walford Color Rush Jersey , this was a day Jose Iglesias and Leonys Martin may look back on fondly for years.

Before Monday’s game against Oakland, the Tigers hosted a ceremony on the field in which a group of people were sworn in as American citizens. Iglesias and Martin, both natives of Cuba, were among them.Obrázek

”I will never forget about my country, but it’s amazing to be part of United States,” said Martin, a 30-year-old outfielder. ”Being able to do it here in the ballpark, right in front of the fans, that was really emotional.”

Martin played for Cuba in the 2009 World Baseball Classic. After defecting, he received a $15.5 million, five-year contract with the Texas Rangers in 2011. This is his first season with the Tigers.

Iglesias Dorance Armstrong Jr. Color Rush Jersey , a 28-year-old shortstop, made his big league debut in 2011 with the Boston Red Sox. He was traded to the Tigers in 2013, and he can look back now at the daunting process of getting used to a new country.

”It’s hard, man. You came. You face a new culture, face a new language, facing new food, new everything,” Iglesias said before the game. ”Still learning. I’ve been here for 10 years, and I’m still learning.”

Iglesias and Martin had their ceremony at a time when a national debate over President Donald Trump’s immigration policy has been dominating the news. Iglesias wasn’t about to wade into that.

”I don’t really have a comment on that. I try to stay away from that,” Iglesias said. ”If there’s anything I can do to help a human being in the end of the day, I will do it Saquon Barkley Giants Jersey , but I try to stay away from politics.”

Manager Ron Gardenhire was excited about the ceremony.

”It’s really cool. These guys are really proud of that. I’m just hoping they can get to Canada,” he said. ”They’ve lost their visas and green cards now once they’ve taken this citizenship, so they have to get a passport so they can go with us to Canada here in a few days.”

The Tigers play a four-game series at Toronto starting Friday night.

For a brief moment, it appeared Monday’s game against the Athletics might unfold in storybook fashion – with Martin driving in Iglesias with the winning run. The score was tied at 1 in the seventh inning, and Martin hit a drive to center. Iglesias raced around from first, but he had to stop at third when the ball bounced over the wall for a double. He was thrown out at home when the next batter hit a grounder.

Nicholas Castellanos hit a three-run homer later that inning for Detroit, but Oakland rallied in the eighth and eventually won 5-4.

No matter. This was still a special day for Iglesias and Martin.

”It’s amazing,” Iglesias said. ”Become an American citizen on a ballpark, and with full uniform and everything. It’s a blessing.”




Jon Cooper didn’t blame Andrei Vasilevskiy for the Tampa Bay Lightning digging a deep hole early in the Eastern Conference final.

Two games and two losses brought plenty of criticism of the young Russian goaltender. Cooper wasn’t thrilled about that.

”The questions were coming from the other side of the table, and I felt it was the questioning of Vasilevskiy,” the Tampa Bay coach said. ”We don’t. He’s been the guy for us.”

Vasilevskiy is the guy who turned the series around for the Lightning Rashaan Evans Color Rush Jersey , who now lead the Capitals 3-2 and can eliminate Washington on the road in Game 6 on Monday night and move on to the Stanley Cup Final against the Vegas Golden Knights. After a 6.00 goals-against average and .839 save percentage in Games 1 and 2, he has a 2.00 GAA and .943 save percentage since as the series’ biggest difference-maker.

”Just tried to stay positive and play my game,” Vasilevskiy said last week. ”It’s very important, especially in the playoffs. Good or bad game, doesn’t matter. Turn the page, start over again and again. That’s how you get success.”

Vasilevskiy has found plenty of success this season, his first as a full-time NHL starter. The 23-year-old is a Vezina Trophy finalist after leading the league with 44 wins and eight shutouts.

But Vasilevskiy hasn’t made it easy on himself. He rarely does.

Cooper saw it during the 2016-17 season when Vasilevskiy struggled during a stretch of 10 consecutive starts when Ben Bishop was hurt and then again late this season when a swoon by him and the entire team almost cost Tampa Bay the East’s top seed. Vasilevskiy bounced back strong each time.

”His ability to be able to turn the page now and understand, `You know what there might be a tough night for you, but I’m going to go out the next night anyway and I’ve got to be there for my team,’ – I think that’s where his growth process has really come in,” Cooper said.

The same happened between Games 2 and 3 in this series. The shy Vasilevskiy who has been reluctant to do interviews told a pool reporter he didn’t make any adjustments from his worst games against the Capitals to his best.

Somehow http://www.dolphinsauthorizedshops.com/authentic-jerome-baker-jersey , he has looked like an entirely different goalie. Chants of ”Vasy! Vasy!” filled Amalie Arena in Game 5 on Saturday night when he stopped 28 of 30 shots, and the highest praise was reserved for inside the Lightning’s locker room.

”He’s a world class goaltender, that’s what he does,” defenseman Braydon Coburn said. ”He battles hard every day in practice all season long, and he’s raised his game in the playoffs here.”

No doubt his teammates have improved their play in front of Vasilevskiy, with defenseman Anton Stralman saying: ”We always feel like we owe him.” But against a star-studded Capitals team led by countrymen Alex Ovechkin and Evgeny Kuznetsov, Vasilevskiy had to raise his game to give Tampa Bay any chance.

Lightning captain Steven Stamkos said confidence in Vasilevskiy never wavered, and he has showed them on the ice evidence of what they’ve seen all season.

”He just expects a lot,” Stamkos said. ”You see his work ethic every day in practice. You guys don’t get to see what goes on in the room, but his mental preparation, his physical preparation Rick Leonard Color Rush Jersey , he wants to be the best all the time. He doesn’t want to give up a goal at all, including in practice. That’s the mentality he has and that’s why he’s so good.”

If the Capitals can crack Vasilevskiy like they did the first two times, there will be a Game 7 on Wednesday night at Tampa Bay. But they’d better figure that out and get an even better game from Braden Holtby because the Lightning are 11-0 in the playoffs when scoring three-plus goals.

That record is thanks to Vasilevskiy, who doesn’t like cameras but loves playoff hockey.

”It’s definitely a fun time,” he said. ”Lot of emotions. Different hockey. It’s pretty fun to play. Just excitement level is pretty high. A different season.”



AP Sports Writer Fred Goodall in Tampa, Florida, contributed to this report.



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