DUBAI, United Arab Emirates - Henrik Stenson birdied two of his closing three holes to seize a two-shot lead over Rory McIlroy and two others in the second round of the World Tour Championship on Friday. Glenn Hubbard Jersey .Stensons 6-under-par 66 put him at 10 under overall in his bid to defend a title for the first time.The top-ranked McIlroy (70), Scotlands Richie Ramsay (69) and Englands Danny Willett (67) were tied for second on 8 under at Jumeirah Estates.Stenson birdied his opening two holes, dropped a shot at the fourth, birdied the fifth, and picked up more birdies at 10, 13, 16 and the last. He finished in style despite admitting to hitting the wall at the 12th hole.I felt like I was running out of steam. It was difficult mentally from there on. I had to really focus hard and drag myself over the finish line. Im pleased with that, Stenson said.Besides seeking his ninth title, Stenson is working to finish second in the Race to Dubai that he topped last year. McIlroy has already clinched the European money title and, following a six-week layoff, has his sights set on winning the tour finale for the second time in three years.He moved to 8 under with a first-hole birdie but stalled with 10 straight pars and a 12th-hole bogey. McIlroy birdied the 14th and 15th holes, dropped a shot at 16, birdied the 17th, and found water on the last.I just didnt quite have it today, he said. I grinded out a score, which was the main thing. Im still in a good position.Rafa Cabrera-Bello of Spain shot the low round of the day, a 64 that included five birdies in as many holes to commence his round, and an eagle at 14. He was tied for fifth on 7 under, along with Justin Rose (66), Swedens Kristoffer Broberg (67), Denmarks Thorbjorn Olesen (70), and Irelands Shane Lowry (71).Lowry recorded the first hole-in-one in the six-year history of the event, and his first in pro competition when he aced the par-three, 13th. Alex Jackson Braves Jersey .com) - The disappointing Ottawa Senators hope to record consecutive wins for the first time since early November, as they visit the Boston Bruins on Friday for the opener of a home-and-home series. Adam Duvall Jersey . Thats exactly what happened. And they enjoyed every moment. Durant remained sizzling with 33 points, Serge Ibaka added 22 and the Thunder roared back from an abysmal start -- they trailed 22-4 early -- to embarrass the Miami Heat 112-95 on Wednesday night, erasing that big deficit out of the gate by outscoring the two-time defending champions by 43 points over a 33-minute span.The Boston Red Sox are without question the team of the last decade. Theyre won three World Series titles in the last 10 seasons. However the Bosox havent matched the dynastic run of their their most ferocious rivals, the Yankees, who won five Fall Classics between 1996 and 2009 in seven tries over a run of 14 seasons. The most amazing part of that run occurred between 1996 and 2000 when they won four times in five years. The genesis of this run began in 1994, when the Yanks had the best record in the American League going when the season was shut down in August due to a labour dispute that wasnt settled until the following April. In the slightly shortened 05 season, they made the post-season. After going 95-67 under Joe Torre, the Yanks were knocked out by the Angels in the division series. But that was only the beginning. Though their record fell off a bit in 1996 to 90-72, New York was the top team in the American League and ultimately beat Atlanta 4 games to 2 to win their first World Series title since 1978. Four constants in their everyday line-up would emerge in Tino Martinez at first, Derek Jeter at short, Bernie Williams in centre field and Paul ONeill in right. The Yankees starting rotation in 96 was largely made up of star pitchers culled from other teams, such as Kenny Rogers, Jimmy Key, Dwight Gooden and David Cone. The two homegrowns were Andy Pettitte and Ramiro Mendoza. That would change over the next few years as the Yankees developed some of their own and made some big international signings. In their glory years, the Yanks bench was always populated with veteran stars. In 1996, it was the likes of Tim Raines, Darryl Strawberry and Cecil Fielder. Their depth was extraordinary. Though they stumbled in 1997, the Yankees bounced back with their greatest season of this five-year run going 108-54 and sweeping San Diego in the 1998 World Series. By this time Jorge Posada had replaced Joe Girardi as the starter behind the plate, and Chuck Knoblauch had taken over as the second baseman. But Martinez, Jeter, Williams and ONeill were still driving the engine and Mariano Rivera had emerged as a star closer with 36 saves this particular season. The bench was populated with the likes of Chili Davis, Raines and Strawberry and the rotation featured three men who pitched over 200 innings in Andy Pettitte, David Wells and David Cone. They were augmented by Hideki Irabu of Japan and Cuban Orlando Hernandez. In 98, the Yanks had two players who drove in over 100 runs, another with 98 and yet another with 97. This team was loaded in every sense of the word. In 1999, the Yanks win total fell off from 108 to 98. But they were no less of a force. There was only a little bit of tweaking to the every day line-up, with Ricky Ledee supplanting Chad Curtis in left and Chili Davis taking over the bulk of the DH duties. Roger Clemens, who was searrching for that first World Series victory, was the new face in the rotation. Mike Foltynewicz Jersey. The Rocket had been picked up in a package deal with the Blue Jays that sent David Wells, Homer Bush and Graeme Lloyd to the Jays. Rivera chalked up 45 saves, and the big four of Martinez, Jeter, Williams and ONeill each drove in over 100 runs. The Yankees swept to a second straight World Series victory, taking out Atlanta for the second time in four years. In 2000, the Yankees were bidding to become the first team since the Oakland As from 1972-74 to win three straight World Series. Outside of Shane Spencer taking over the bulk of the DH duties, the Yankees starting line-up was basically unchanged. The starting pitching was starting to fade a bit though. Three of the starters finished .500 or below. David Cone was nearing the end of a fantastic career and finished 4-14. Lefty Denny Neagle strugged in the Big Apple, going 7-7 and Orlando Hernandez was only 12-13. Twenty starts had to be made by plug in pieces including nine by swingman Mendoza and five by Dwight Gooden. The Yankees as always had that power-laden bench. David Justice and Glenallen Hill combined for 36 homers and 89 runs batted in, with Jose Canseco nearing the end of his career and adding six homers and 16 RBI. The Yankees still had enough left in the tanks to get back to the World Series for a third straight year, where they defeated their cross-town rivals the Mets 4 games to 1. No team has even won back-to-back World Series since the Yankees scored their trifecta, though the Giants did win in 2010 and 2012. Ive just got a feeling with the ever-increasing local TV deals and the parity in the game, it will be a very long time if ever, before we see another three-peat. Wishful Thinking This is purely speculation and wishful thinking by the New York media, but Andrew Marchand of ESPN New York wondered aloud over the weekend if there was some way the Yankees could acquire Jose Reyes from the Blue Jays after the coming season to replace the retiring Derek Jeter. The theory being, if the Jays have another rocky season, they just might swing into rebuild mode and be willing to deal Reyes for a package of younger players. Reyes greatly admires Jeter and still makes his off-season home on Long Island, but trading him to the Yankees doesnt make much sense. If Reyes has a great season, you keep him. If he gets hurt again, or simply has a lousy season, his market value would be low and the Yankees wouldnt want or need him anyway. But as I said, stranger things have happened. Tanaka Watch Yankees skipper Joe Girardi has left the door open for Masahiro Tanaka to start either the third our fourth game of the regular season. If it is the third, its against the Houston Astros. However, if it is the fourth game Tanaka would make his Major League debut in the Blue Jays home opener at Rogers Centre. Heres hoping! ' ' '
VANCOUVER -- Trevor Linden hadnt spoken to Jim Benning in 25 years before interviewing his former teammate for the Vancouver Canucks vacant general managers position. Javy Guerra Jersey . It didnt take long for the pair to realize they shared a blueprint for what it will take get the franchise back on track. In his first significant hire since being named the Canucks president of hockey operations last month, Linden officially introduced Benning as the teams 11th general manager on Friday, two days after the club announced the move. "I wanted a builder with similar views that could help us set up the Vancouver Canucks for the next decade and beyond," Linden said at a press conference at Rogers Arena. "What really became apparent during our interviews is how much we connected on our vision and our values and how we see winning organizations in the National Hockey League." Linden and Benning played together with the Canucks for two seasons when the former was just starting his career and the latter was seeing his wind down. "Trevor was a teammate 25 years ago, but when I interviewed with Trevor, I thought we shared the same values and principles," said Benning, who has spent the last seven seasons as an assistant GM with the Boston Bruins. "Hes cut from the same cloth I am. Hes going to work hard, hes going to do everything that he can do to make the organization successful, so I wanted to tie myself to somebody that had the same thoughts and beliefs that I did." The Canucks fired president and general manager Mike Gillis and head coach John Tortorella in the wake of a nightmarish 2013-14 season that saw the club tumble down the standings and miss the playoffs for the first time in six seasons. Tortorella spent just one campaign behind the bench after his puck-pressure, shot-blocking style woefully failed to mesh with a Vancouver roster that had been more free-wheeling under former head coach Alain Vigneault. Apart from preparing for the NHL draft where the Canucks hold the sixth pick at the end of June, Benning will be looking to hire a coach that shares his and Lindens thought process on how the game should be played. "This organization needs to play an up-tempo, fast-skating, skilled game," said the 51-year-old Edmonton native. "Before last season, this team had almost a relentless attitude about them that they were going to skate and to wear teams down and to score, and for whatever reason that didnt happen last year." Benning was one of the architects of a Bruins organization that defeated the Canucks in seven games in the 2011 Stanley Cup final. He said he had never heard of the "Boston model" in terms of building a team before arriving in Vancouver, but added that he wants the Canucks to incorporate younger players into the lineup with a level of both physicality and skill. "We want to become a four-line team," said Benning. "You watch the playoffs now, the final four teams that are playing, they have four lines that contribute. We want our third and fourth lines to have an important role in the team winning. "We have some work to do there in getting to that point, but we want to be a four-line, six-(defencemen) complete team." Tortorella leaned hard on Vancouvers top players and it cost the team in the second half of season when injuries and fatigue started to pile up. With that in mind, Benning said he specifically wants more out of the clubs bottom-six forwards. "Im not talking about fighting, but Im talking about between the whistles getting in on the forecheck, hitting, playing with a little bit more grit to take some of the heat off the first two lines," said Benning. "Theyre skill guys and let them play, but when the third and fourth line plays, lets get some offensive zone time and spend some time in the other teams end." Tortorella criticized the Canucks roster as being "stale" and in need of new blood in his last press conference before getting axed by Linden, but Benning said that despite last seasons performance, he still believes the core group of veterans can be part of a quick turnaround. "Theyre high-character people. When Trevor did the exit meetings with them, they felt bad about what happened this last year," said Benning. "Were going to try and help them out by having more depth on our roster, playing four lines and (hiring the right coach). "Some of the players, for whatever reason, just didnt have a good year last year. Its a good team, its a talented team and I feel confident that these guys are going to have a good year next year." The Canucks have been criticized for a poor draft record in recent years, however Benning pointed to 2013 first-round pick Bo Horvat as an example of a player who might be ready to step in. "I think hes a player that is going to be an important guy around here for us going forward," said Benning. "Vancouver plays in maybe the toughest division in the league. To win our division and keep going, were going to have to go through the (L.A. Kings, Anaheim Ducks and San Jose Sharks). "Theyre big heavy teams so when we talk to our scouting staff, one of our mandates is Lets try to get a little bit bigger, lets get a little more rugged so we can play both styles -- we can play a skilled skating style when need be, but when its a rugged physical game, we can play that game, too." Linden made a point of thanking the Bruins for allowing Benning to leave the club prior to the NHL draft, a situation that could have made for some uncomfortable conversations. "I was surprised that it wasnt a longer process. It actually moved quicker than I thought it would," said Linden. "I know it was not an easy situation to have someone knocking on your door wanting to talk to someone whos important to your organization." The Canucks job is Bennings first as a general manager and he said he has a type of coach in mind for his new team. While past success is key, experience in the league is not necessarily a prerequisite. "We want a coach thats firm but fair (and) has good communication skills so he can relate to the players," said Benning. "We want a coach thats going to play a structured style of game when we dont have the puck, but give the players the freedom to skate and create when they do have the puck." Meanwhile, a number of Canucks have no-movement clauses in their contracts, but Benning said those should not be an impediment to improving the roster. "Weve got to do whats right for the organization," said Benning. "If we feel that we need to approach a player about asking him to waive his no-trade clause, were willing to do that. "I want to do everything I can to make this team successful. Its a different style team than Boston, but that doesnt mean the recipe for building the teams going to be any different." Notes: Apart from helping to shape a Bruins Cup-winning team in 2011, Bennings managerial resume also includes 12 seasons with Buffalo Sabres, with eight of those spent as that clubs director of amateur scouting. ... Selected sixth overall by Toronto in the 1981 NHL draft, Benning played nine seasons with the Maple Leafs and Canucks, collecting 52 goals and 191 assists in 610 career games. Andrew Stevenson Jersey . PETERSBURG, Florida – Its been almost seven years since the Blue Jays last won a series at Tropicana Field. Matt Adams Jersey . Seth Smith hit a towering drive for a tying homer leading off the eighth and Chris Denorfia singled home two runs to give the Padres a 3-1 victory against the rival Dodgers in baseballs North American opener Sunday night. CHICAGO -- Starlin Castro is working hard to overcome the perception that he doesnt care. After making an error that led to three unearned runs in the first inning, the Chicago Cubs shortstop was determined to atone for the mistake. "I just wanted to try and pick up my teammates," Castro said. "Its my fault that I made an error." Castro went 3 for 4 with three RBIs to offset his miscue and help the Cubs outlast the New York Mets for a 5-4 win in a mistake-filled game that featured a combined 13 pitchers and 15 walks. "Starlin had a couple of nice at-bats making up," Chicago manager Rick Renteria said. "He was really upset that he wasnt able to make the play. He thought he should have made the play." Anthony Rizzo went 1 for 2 with two walks and two runs scored for the Cubs. Lucas Duda had a two-run double to lead a Mets offence that again failed to get the clutch hit. New York loaded the bases in the fifth and sixth innings without scoring. The Mets have dropped two straight after winning three in a row and are 8-18 in one-run games. Cubs starter Edwin Jackson (4-5) was victimized by his defence and his own lack of command, but managed to get through five innings, giving up five hits and five walks. Just one of the four runs he surrendered was earned. Hector Rondon pitched the ninth for his seventh save in eight chances. Mets starter Daisuke Matsuzaka didnt make it through the fifth, allowing four runs on four hits and five walks in 4 1-3 innings. Reliever Dana Eveland (0-1) gave up a run in 2-3 of an inning to take the loss. "We got off to a good start," New York manager Terry Collins said. "We just havent been able to add on. Weve had opportunities to put games away. We had the bases loaded several times and were getting guys on so its not like were not getting on base. Were just not hitting with guys on base, which has been the tune thus far the way we started the season." The Mets scorred three unearned runs in the first inning thanks to Castros error. Koda Glover Jersey . With two on and two out, Bobby Abreu hit a sharp grounder up the middle. Castro was playing behind second base in the shift, but booted the ball to allow a run to score. Duda then compounded the Cubs woes by doubling to left field to drive in two runs for a 3-0 lead. The Cubs answered in the bottom of the inning with a pair of runs. Castro plated the first with a run-scoring single and the next batter, Nate Schierholtz, drove in the other with a groundout to first. The Mets stretched the lead to 4-2 in the fourth when Ruben Tejada drilled a 2-0 pitch from Jackson six rows into the left-field bleachers. The solo shot was Tejadas second home run in less than a week. He homered Saturday in Philadelphia to snap a streak of 552 homerless at-bats, the longest active streak in the major leagues at the time. The Mets had a chance to tack on runs in the fifth after loading the bases with two out, but Anthony Recker popped out to first base to end the threat. Jackson threw 110 pitches and was happy that he was allowed to finish the fifth. "When the coaches have an opportunity to come pull you out and the bullpen is ready and they leave you out there," he said, "you feel like you kind of owe it to them -- whatever the situation -- to get through it." The Cubs then pushed across three runs in the bottom of the inning for a 5-4 lead. Fittingly, the winning run scored on a wild pitch from reliever Jeurys Familia. The Cubs bullpen then made it hold up as six relievers combined to keep the Mets scoreless in the final four innings. NOTES: After the game, the Mets designated RHP Buddy Carlyle for assignment. OF Andrew Brown arrived in Chicago on Wednesday and will be activated on Thursday. . Renteria was ejected in the third inning by home plate umpire Todd Tichenor for arguing balls and strikes from the dugout. It was Renterias fourth ejection of the season. ' ' '