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has made all the difference for Jordan Ly
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DENVER -- A different team and a new season has made all the difference for Jordan Lyles. Lyles pitched effectively into the ninth inning, Troy Tulowitzki homered twice, and the Colorado Rockies beat the Texas Rangers 8-2 on Monday night. Nolan Arenado also homered to extend his hitting streak to 25 games. It is the longest in the majors this season. Lyles (4-0) stole the spotlight from his teammates with another outstanding performance. He came to the Rockies from Houston in the off-season, where he had a career ERA of 5.35 in 72 games and 65 starts. After Mondays gem hes carrying a 2.62 ERA in seven starts, three of which have come at hitter-friendly Coors Field. "The biggest thing is making better pitches when guys are in scoring position. I dont know the numbers but I can figure I wasnt too good in the past," he said. "Thats the biggest key." He also got plenty of offensive support. Tulowitzki, who was named the NL Player of the Month for April before the game, had his first multi-homer game of the season and the ninth of his career. He hit a two-run shot off Texas starter Martin Perez in the fifth and hit another two-run homer off reliever Shawn Tolleson to give Colorado a 7-1 lead in the seventh. Both homers came after Drew Stubbs had doubled. Tulowitzki had a chance for a third home run when he came to bat in the eighth but he walked. "If there was a good pitch to hit I was definitely going to offer," Tulowitzki said. "You do think about three home runs but its not like I was trying to go deep, I was trying to put together a good at-bat." It was more than enough for Lyles (4-0), who came within three outs of the second complete game of his career. He had struggled in six previous starts against Texas but held the Rangers in check a night after they had 14 hits and nine walks in a 14-3 win over the Angels. He worked out of trouble in the third and the Rangers first run came on a ground out to shortstop in the sixth. Texas had runners on first and second in the eighth but Lyles got Josh Wilson to ground into the third double play of the night to end the inning. "He was not the same guy we faced last year," Texas catcher Robinson Chirinos said. "Today he was keeping the ball down and getting ground balls." Manager Walt Weiss sent him out for the start of the ninth but Lyles left to a standing ovation after giving up a leadoff single to Adrian Beltre. He allowed two runs on seven hits and struck out five in his longest outing since throwing a complete game against Milwaukee on Sept. 30, 2012. "He threw a heck of a game and it was a way to try to reward him for what hes done and show confidence in him for what hes done," Weiss said. "I told him it was going to be a short leash sending him out there." Perez (4-2) struggled for the second consecutive start after hurling 26 straight scoreless innings. He allowed five runs on seven hits over five innings. In his past two games he has been touched for 13 runs in 9 2-3 innings. "When he made a mistake out over the plate, they made him pay for it," Texas manager Ron Washington said. "Hes only human. Hes going to have some starts that dont go in his favour." Perez had not surrendered a home run for 46 innings dating back to last season when Arenado went deep on him in the second. After Carlos Gonzalez led off the second with a double to left, Arenado drilled a 93-mph fastball into the tunnel in left field to make it 2-0. It was Arenados sixth of the season and fourth during his streak. The hitting streak is the second-longest in Rockies history. Gonzalez made it 3-0 in the third when his ground out to first scored Brandon Barnes. Notes: Rockies manager Walt Weiss appealed an out call at first base in the second inning and the call was reversed upon review. ... Tulowitzki hit .364 with seven home runs and 22 RBIs in April. The only other time Tulowitzki won the NL Player of the Month award was September 2010. ... The Rockies selected the contract of RHP Nick Masset from Triple A and optioned INF Ryan Wheeler to Colorado Springs. ... Texas will send Robbie Ross Jr. (1-2, 3.86) against Colorados Juan Nicasio (3-1, 4.19) on Tuesday. Tomas Tatar Canadiens Jersey . -- Coyotes coach Dave Tippett thinks of one thing when he watches Eastern Conference teams struggle against Western opponents before they get to Phoenix: His team must keep pace. Mats Naslund Jersey . "Canada," Bolland said with a smile. "Is that a question?" One day earlier, though, fellow Toronto Maple Leafs centre Nazem Kadri wasnt so sure his home and native land could pull off the win against the United States in the semi-finals of the Olympic hockey tournament. http://www.canadienssale.com/authentic-d...ns-jersey/ . Tyrell appeared in seven games with the Lightning this year, he had no points in those appearances. The 24-year-old has seven goals and 17 assists in 132 career NHL games, all coming with the Lightning. He was selected in the second round, 47th overall, of the 2007 draft. Saku Koivu Canadiens Jersey . The 30-year-old Moore played in 13 games for the Saints last season, catching 37 balls for 457 yards and two touchdowns. Jonathan Drouin Canadiens Jersey . According to TSN Edmonton reporter Ryan Rishaug, agent Rick Valette met with Oilers senior VP of hockey operations Scott Howson and general manager Craig MacTavish on Monday to kick off the talks. MONTREAL -- Troy Smith is ready to hear Anthony Calvillos name mentioned every time he lines up at quarterback for the Montreal Alouettes. The Heisman Trophy-winning pivot, who joined the Alouettes midway through last season, will be the clubs first opening-game starter other than Calvillo in 15 years when Montreal plays its first game of the 2014 CFL regular season at Calgary on Saturday. They are massive shoes to fill, with Calvillo having retired in the off-season as the leagues all-time passing leader. "Ill never stop hearing those references," Smith said this week. "I think its great to be mentioned with a great name like that. "I havent done nearly the things he has, and just holding onto his coattails a bit has been fun so far. But as a man, I definitely want to make my own path. Thats why Im here." Smith takes over the key position on a team that was a powerhouse for most of Calvillos time behind centre, but which has been sliding in recent seasons. And even though they remain well-stocked with top talent at many positions, the Alouettes are perceived as a team in decline. Last season was a disaster, with the inexperienced Dan Hawkins fired as head coach only five games into the season, followed shortly by a season-ending, and career-ending, injury to Calvillo. They finished 8-10, tying their worst record since they returned to Montreal after a 10-year gap in 1996, and lost to Hamilton in the East Division semifinal. This season hasnt started well either, with team architect Jim Popps bid to keep the head coaching as well as general managing job turned down. Tom Higgins, who was out of coaching since 2007, was named the new head coach, but the offensive co-ordinator he hired, Rick Worman, was fired midway through training camp. Then the club lost both its pre-season games, including a 26-10 setback at home against expansion Ottawa in which they failed to score a touchdown with new OC Ryan Dinwiddie calling the plays. Smith was not sharp while playing just over half of that game, but neither were backups Tanner Marsh and Alex Brink. All three got starts last season, with Smith emerging as the most promising to take over the top job. Now he has to play well enough to keep it. "I dont look at it as a transition year," said Popp. "That was last year. "Theres going to be a transition, but we were faced with this starting in Game 6, and we played two thirds of the year without Anthony Calvillo, knowing he probably wasnt coming back. "We had four different quarterbacks that won games and the team realized they could win without Anthony. That was a big hurdle. Its a little nerve-wracking, but like with all great players you lose, you just have to march on. Its not so much to replace that guy, but to find someone you can win with. How great theyll be, well find out." There were two main positives to come out of the off-season. One was the return of Larry Taylor, who gives them a kick return threat they havent had in recent seaasons.dddddddddddd Another was the signing of former NFL star receiver Chad (Ochocinco) Johnson, who so far looks to have a positive influence on and off the field. The 36-year-old Johnson has been out of football for two years, but Popp said he showed up in shape and has been a "great fit." "I think he can do great things for us," Popp said. "Every time we play somebody, their attention is on him, and not on S.J. Green and Duran Carter. So if hes an attention grabber and everyones talking about him, great. Chads used to that. And Chad, with each game and experience he has in this league, is only going to get better as the season goes along." Smith will have an impressive set of receivers with Green, Carter, Johnson, Taylor, Brandon London, Eric Deslauriers and the repatriated Dave Stala. Gone are Jamel Richardson, who had a knee injury and was cut, and veteran Arland Bruce. "Weve got the best receiving corps in the league," said Popp, who is particularly high on Carter, the son of former NFL great Cris Carter, who gained 909 yards in only 12 games after making his CFL debut in August. "All I say is CFL, enjoy what youre watching because youll be watching him in the NFL next season, Hell have the majority of NFL teams after him, and were not talking about as a third or fourth receiver. He can go in and have an impact like Cam Wake. Hes at that level." There is a first-rate running back in Brandon Whitaker and a solid offensive line anchored by left tackle Josh Bourke, despite the retirements of Scott Flory and Andrew Woodruff and the departure of Michael Ola to the NFL. The defence lost starting middle linebacker Shea Emry to Toronto, but should remain among the leagues best under defensive co-ordinator Noel Thorpe with veterans like rush end John Bowman and linebacker Chip Cox leading the unit. The Alouettes kick teams have been weak for the last three seasons, including when Marc Trestman was head coach and didnt name a full-time special teams co-ordinator. But they looked good both on returns and kick coverage in the pre-season and they may be a key area of improvement. Taylors ability to avoid the first wave to pick up extra yardage should be a bonus. It will likely take some time for the offence to jell. And if it turns out that Smith doesnt have what it takes to be a regular CFL starter, it could be a long season indeed. Starting the campaign against Calgary, followed by a home game against B.C., should give Higgins and idea of what it will take to re-establish Montreals reputation as a Grey Cup contender. "Every indication is that Troy Smiths going to be our guy, but sometimes there are growing pains," said Higgins. "If you look at Anthonys career, at the start it wasnt as stellar as it was at the end. "All that being said, (Smith) comes with good intangibles. Hes from a good program. Hes got the system down. Practices are going good. So lets see him get measured up against the best." ' ' '
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