B4 MONDAY. APRIL 30. 2001 SPORTS THE SALINAJOUBNAL T PRO FOOTBALL Wide-open offense appeals to Gonzalez Chiefs' star tight end lool^s to become even more of a weapon By DOUG TUCKER The Associated Press KANSAS CITY, Mo. — He was named to the Pro Bowl for the second year in a row last season, averaging almost 13 yards for every one of his team- record 93 receptions. Only two tight ends in the history of the NFL ever caught more balls in a single season than Kansas City's Tony Gonzalez. Only three ever had more than his 1,203 yards. But that was then. Now, under new coach Dick Vermeil's wide-open, flood-the-field scheme of offense, Gonzalez is ready to break out and have a really big year. "It creates a lot of matchup problems. It doesn't allow T MAJOR LEAGUE BASEBALL "It creates a lot of matchup problems. It doesn't allow teams to set up for me and have a specific defense to defend me. I like it a lot more." Tony Gonzalez Chiefs tight end on Dicl< Vermeil's offensive scheme teams to set up for me and have a specific defense to defend me," Gonzalez said. "I like it a lot more. Now I've got to get in shape." He likes to compare the Chiefs' new offensive philosophy to a fastbreak team in basketball, a sport he played in col lege and still relishes. "To me, it's like getting up and down the court. We're not setting up like Indiana. We're like UNLV," he said. "We run and shoot and try to score a lot of points. I'm pretty excited." Isolating the quick and athletic 6-foot-5 Gonzalez on a safety or linebacker was something the Chiefs tried repeatedly last year, not always with success. Now, if. the receivers can get the hang of things and quarterback Trent Green's gimpy knee heals up, Gonzalez could be poised to reach an even higher level. Some have said the new offense will depress his totals, pointing out the tight end was not featured in the Vermeil offense when he and offensive coordinator Al Saunders ran it in St. Louis. "If you think about it, probably the finest tight end who ever played this game, Kellen Winslow, played in this type of offense," Gonzalez said. "In St. Louis, they really didn't have that type of receiving tight end. But I don't think they'll leave me out too much. I hope they won't." One thing that could hold back the offense is the availability of Green. Instead of taking part in this weekend's minicamp and honing his timing with his new teammates. Green is sidelined by the knee that underwent arthroscopic surgery almost three months ago. Green hopes to be back by the June minicamp, but may not be ready until the Chiefs open camp in Wisconsin in July "That's totally up to us," Gonzalez said. "We're both professionals. We've been here before. It's not like we're young guys just coming into the league. We'll pick it up right away" White Sox end Mariners' streak AP file photo Tony Gonzalez caught a team-record 93 passes last season and could be a greater factor this season for the Chiefs, Walker-led ROUNDUP Konerko delivers again for Cliicago as his single in 14th stops Seattle, 2-1 By The Associated Press CHICAGO — Paul Konerko's second game-winning hit of the week, an RBI single in the bottom of the 14th inning, gave the Chicago White Sox a 2-1 victory Sunday over the Seattle Mariners. Chicago avoided being swept for the fourth time this year and snapped Seattle's nine-game win- n i n g streak. The White Sox were swept two times all last year, when they won the AL Central. The teams were tied at 1 from Bret Boone's leadoff homer in the eighth inning until the 14th, when Magglio Ordonez singled to left with two outs and then stole second with Konerko at the plate. Konerko worked Ryan Franklin (2-1) to a full count before lining one up the gap to score Ordonez. Konerko's solo homer in the 11th inning Wednesday gave Chicago a victory over Oakland. Gary Glover (2-1) allowed only one hit and one wild pitch in three innings. Despite the loss, the Mariners (205) lead the AL West by nine games over Texas. Twins 4, Orioles 0 MINNEAPOLIS — Corey Koskie homered and drove in three runs, and J.C. Romero pitched six shutout innings for his first victory in 12 starts. Romero (1-1) allowed three hits, struck out seven and walked three for his first win since Aug. 11, lowering his ERA from 8.56 to 5.59. Relievers Hector Carrasco, Travis Miller, Bob Wells and La- Troy Hawkins finished the five-hitter. Hawkins got the final out to earn his eighth save. It was Minnesota's first shutout and the third time Baltimore didn't score. Pat Hentgen (1-3) allowed four runs and seven hits in five innings. Yankees 3, Athletics 1 NEW YORK — Roger Clemens struck out five in T'/s innings to move past Gaylord Perry into sixth place on the career list as New York completed a three-game sweep. The Associated Press Chicago White Sox's Magglio Ordonez slides into home with the game-winning run after Paul Konerko's single in the 14th inning of Sunday's game against the Seattle Mariners. The White Sox won, 2-1. Clemens, pitching on the 15th anniversary of his first 20-strikeout game, passed Perry when he struck out Jeremy Giambi in the seventh for his 3,535th career strikeout. Clemens (3-0) allowed one run, four hits and walked two for his first win in four outings. Oakland starter Barry Zito (3-2) was hurt by two unearned runs in the fourth inning. Indians 9, Rangers 2 CLEVELAND — Bartolo Colon dominated the AL's best-hitting team for eight innings, and Juan Gonzalez and Marty Cordova each had three RBIs for Cleveland. Colon (3-2) allowed just five hits and threw 132 pitches to win at home for the first time in four starts. He struck out a season-high 10 against a Texas team leading the league in average, hits, doubles and runs. Gonzalez, among the league leaders in eight offensive categories, went 3-for-4 and has 20 RBIs in his last 17 games. Cordova hit a three-run homer in the fifth inning when the Indians scored four runs and chased starter Doug Davis (2-2), who had his shortest outing this season. Tigers 6, Devil Rays 1 DETROIT — Dean Palmer hit a three-run homer in his first game back from the disabled list to lead Detroit. Palmer, who had been out since April 12 with right shoulder inflammation, boosted Detroit's struggling offense. The Tigers, who entered the day 12th in the AL in scoring, got 10 hits and six runs against Tampa Bay ace Albie Lopez (3-2). Lopez entered the game with a 1.66 ERA, the best in the AL. Jeff Weaver (2-4) pitched eight strong innings and was helped by sound defense in gaining his first win since April 8. Fred McGriff hit a solo homer off Weaver in the fourth — the major league-record 38th ballpark he's homered in. McGriff broke a tie with Mark McGwire, who has hit home runs in 37 parks. Palmer, playing his seventh game of the year, hit a 427-foot homer in the first inning to give the Tigers a 3-0 lead. Blue Jays 2, Angels 0 TORONTO — Steve Parris pitched seven scoreless innings, and Jeff Frye hit his-first homer since July for Toronto. Anaheim starter Scott Schoeneweis (2-2) allowed just three hits through six innings before Frye ended a O-for-16 slump with a first- pitch homer. Frye also hit an RBI single off Shigetoshi Hasegawa in the eighth. Parris (1-2), who entered the game with a 10.45 ERA, allowed seven hits and one walk. Kelvim Escobar pitched the eighth for Toronto, and Billy Koch pitched the ninth for his seventh save. Unbalanced schedule benefits slow starters By JOSH DUBOW The Associated Press There is at least a bit of good news for slow starters like the White Sox, Mets and Oakland. Their early holes in the division race, aren't nearly as imposing than they would have been a year ago. Baseball's new unbalanced schedule makes it much easier for teams to make up ground by winning head-to- head matchups. "We've dug ourselves a good hole," said Oakland's Jason Giambi, whose team entered the weekend 10 games behind Seattle in the AL West. "But the good thing is that you can also make up a lot of games fast by playing well in head-to-head competition. We can trv to work our way out of that." Seattle has propelled its way to an eight-game lead in the division behind a 15-4 mark against Texas, Anaheim and Oakland. Unfortunately for the Mariners, they have 38 division games remaming. "It would mean a lot more if we didn't have to play those teams so much," manager Lou Piniella said. "That third time around gives teams a chance to play catch-up." That's just what baseball wanted. Tired of seeing some division rivals wrap up their head-to-head meetings before Labor Day baseball revised its schedule for this season. Teams will play their division rivals 18 or 19 times each — two more series than in previous years. "If you wind up in a bad situation, you want the chance to play the team ahead of you," said Yankees manager Joe Torre, whose team dropped eight of 13 gams to division rivals Toronto and Boston so far. It's very hard to catch up when you're watching the scoreboard all the time." But not everyone likes the new schedule which leaves some teams and their superstars making one trip instead of two into many cities. "I don't part particularly like it," Atlanta manager Bobby Cox said. "I like to go to certain cities. I think the fans get cheated a bit because they only will see guys like Mark McG wire and Sammy Sosa once in some cities." The early series between rivals like the Red Sox and Yankees, and Braves and Mets have provided some of the best theater early this season. But it remains to be seen how excited Brewers fans will be for Pittsburgh's third trip to Milwaukee. Also, extra meetings could mean extra animosity built up between players and teams — which isn't a bad thing according to White Sox manager Jerry Manuel. "If you play each other enough, you get tired of seeing some guys," he said. "When you get tired of seeing someone, you might have a tendency to have an argument. That's a good thing." Miller time Wade Miller of the Houston Astros might be one of the only people not surprised by his remarkable start this seasons Miller, a hard-throwing 24-year-old right-hander, is 3-1 with a 2.35 ERA and 40 strikeouts in four starts. "I'm not all that surprised by my start, as a couple of teammates and coaches might be," Miller said. "I felt at the end of last year I was doing what I'm doing now. "Last year, I was a little nervous going out there but then I got used to going out there every five days. I expect if for myself. I don't have pressure from my team or anyone else. I have pressure from myself." Miller's strength is a wicked sinking fastball that some compare to former Astros ace Mike Scott's famed split-fingered fastball. "It's like a spitball or something," manager Larry Dierker said. "It's 90- something miles per hour and it moves down eight inches or more right at the last minutes and that's unhittable." ROUNDUP Colorado slows Reds Outfielder cracks two-run double during six-run sixth as Rockies win series finale By The Associated Press DENVER— Larry Walker's two-run double highlighted a six-run sixth inning, and Colorado salvaged the final game of a three-game series against the Cincinnati Reds, 14-7. Walker finished with three RBIs, and Neifi Perez had three hits and two RBIs. The Reds, who put Ken Griffey Jr. on the 15-day disabled list Sunday because of a left hamstring injury, had won nine straight games on the road and five straight overall. John Wasdin (2-0) got two outs for the win. Jose Jimenez earned his sixth save of the year. Cardinals 12, Mets 1 ST LOUIS — Darryl Kile (4-2) threw eight strong innings and had two hits, including a two-run double, as St. Louis overpowered New York. The Cardinals matched their season bests for hits (18) and runs. It was the second blowout in the three-game series for St. Louis, which won 9-0 Friday The Mets, who beat the Cardinals in the NLCS last faU, have dropped five of six and are in last place in the NL East after completing a 3-6 road trip. New York catcher Mike Piazza was ejected and left fielder Benny Agbayani committed three errors in the first four innings. Brewers 10, Expos 0 MILWAUKEE — Geoff Jenkins homered twice, tying a major league record with five home runs in two games, and Jamey Wright (3-2) pitched his first career shutout as the Milwaukee Brewers beat the Montreal Expos. Jenkins, who had three home runs and six RBIs on Saturday hit a two-run homer in the first and a solo shot in the sixth inning off Javier Vazquez (2-3) to become the 22nd player to hit five in two games and the first NL player to do it in 10 years. Marlins 11, Astros 5 HOUSTON — Charles Johnson hit two home runs, and Preston Wilson and Mike Lowell also had three RBIs each to lead Florida. Wilson went 3-for-4 with a home run, Lowell added a two-run shot. Cliff Floyd had two doubles, and Eric Owens had three hits as the Marlins had season highs for runs, hits (19) and tied the club record for home runs (four) in a game. Diamondbacks 7, Braves 5 PHOENIX — Jay Bell and Mark Grace hit home runs to power Arizona past Atlanta. The Braves were 12-14 in April, their first losing opening month in eight years. Luis Gonzalez hit a towering RBI triple off the center-field wall to give the Diamondbacks a 6-3 lead in the seventh inning. Cubs 11, Giants 2 SAN FRANCISCO — Sammy Sosa ended a seven-game homer drought with a three- run shot as Chicago beat San Francisco. Manny Aybar (2-1), making his first start since 1999, did not allow a hit until Barry Bonds' two-out solo home run in the fourth inning. Dodgers 4, Phillies 1 LOS ANGELES — Chan Ho Park held Philadelphia hitless through the first e'/i hitless innings and doubled home a run as Los Angeles completed a three-game sweep. Padres 6, Pirates 1 SAN DIEGO - PhU Nevin hit a homer and drove in three runs, and Woodv Williams pitched 7% solid innings as SP» Diego beat Pittsburgh.
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