10/29/2019 at 12:47 am #28046
EAGAN Will Grier Jersey , Minn. (AP) — several revisions this year.Just past the midpoint of the schedule for the Vikings, Thielen leads the NFL in receptions (78) at a pace that would fall four short of the all-time single-season mark (143). He leads the league with 947 yards. Kirk Cousins, the new prize quarterback with the annual $28 million salary cap hit, without prompting recently called Thielen the best player on this standout-laden team.The accolades of this magnitude might not exist for Thielen, though, without Stefon Diggs.Thielen and Diggs are the only teammates currently in the top 10 in the league in catches, on pace for a combined 242. That would break the record for receptions by a pair of teammates, set in 1995 by Herman Moore and Brett Perriman for Detroit with 231.Opposing defenses are naturally less likely to apply double coverage on Thielen when Diggs is in a pattern at the same time, as evidenced by contrast in a victory over the Lions last week . With Diggs sidelined by a rib injury, Thielen didn’t have much space. He used one of his textbook double moves to beat cornerback Nevin Lawson for a short touchdown , his seventh of the year, but he finished with only 22 yards for his lowest total since the 2016 season.The mutual benefit of this dominant wide receiver duo, though, began on the practice field years ago.“We’re always competing, we’re always having fun, and we’re always giving each a hard time if we’re not performing at the level we know we can,” Thielen said.If Thielen makes a catch in practice, Diggs will often make it a point to create even more separation from the defender the next time he’s assigned to run the same route. That, in turn, frequently triggers playful yet spirited banter between the two.“He’s my brother. He’s a guy I love messing with http://www.panthersauthorizedshops.com/authentic-christian-miller-jersey , love having fun with,” Thielen said. “He’s even one of my best friends.”At a position that has long produced some of the NFL’s biggest personalities, in some cases breeding a disruptive brand of selfish and boorish behavior, Thielen and Diggs are the anti-divas. Part of that is a product of their route, no pun intended, to the league.Thielen was the NCAA Division II player who went undrafted and needed a rookie tryout camp to make the team five years ago. He didn’t become a full-time starter until 2016. Diggs was the fifth-round draft pick who was a healthy scratch for his first three NFL games in 2015.“All the cute stuff, like records being broken and stuff like that, you like it and it’s good to hear, but we always want to win,” Diggs said. “We worry about the win column more than anything. So to see good things happen? Yes, it’s exciting. Yes, you congratulate your guys, because guys work extremely hard, you know? So it’s always good stuff, and it’s good stuff moving in the right direction, but we want to win.”The Vikings (5-3-1) have been doing that more lately after a rough first quarter of the season, entering their bye week a step behind Chicago (5-3) in the NFC North, with a prime-time matchup with the Bears up next on Nov. 18.Cousins has been as advertised, ranking in the top 10 in the league in most of the passing categories, including third in completion percentage despite being prone to a costly turnover here and there. The offensive line has again shown vulnerabilities, though Jordan Scarlett Jersey , and the Vikings have averaged the fourth-fewest rushing yards in the league.Thielen and Diggs have been all the more valuable to the Vikings this fall, with an assist by new offensive coordinator John DeFilippo for aggressive and creative play calling that has helped spring them open so much.“He uses his playmakers, and he just lets them play. So I admire that, and I appreciate that,” Diggs said. “As a player you just want to do the best that you can, and it’s good that he plays to your strengths.”The defense, which led the NFL in fewest yards and points allowed last year, was surprisingly one of the biggest problems in September. After that humbling loss in Los Angeles to the Rams dropped the Vikings to 1-2-1, though, coach Mike Zimmer has helped steer the group back into dominant form.With daunting road trips to Chicago, New England and Seattle looming over three of the next four games, the pressure will be on the offense to do its part.“When you look at it glass half-full, I’m thrilled about our locker room, the chemistry we have on this team, the quality of teammates, the quality of leadership we have in this organization. I think all that has probably even exceeded expectations from me,” Cousins said. “Certainly would have loved to be better than 5-3-1, but I’m grateful we’re not 3-5-1. You can look at it both ways. The point is, we keep saying, everything is in front of us.” Houston’s deep lineup can create all sorts of problems for its opponents.
Like deciding whether to pitch to Jose Altuve or Carlos Correa.
Correa hit a game-ending RBI single in the 12th inning after Altuve was walked intentionally, sending the Houston Astros to a 4-3 win over the Kansas City Royals on Saturday night.
”He’s been a very clutch hitter David Montgomery Jersey ,” Houston manager A.J. Hinch said. ”I’ve seen that base hit to right-center a handful of times during his short career. It does not surprise me that he put a good swing on a fastball away.”
George Springer led off the 12th with a walk, and Alex Bregman followed with a bloop single into shallow right field that fell between three players. An error by Ryan Goins allowed Springer to advance to third.
”We had the shift on,” Royals first baseman Hunter Dozier said of the bloop single. ”Just perfect placement. We all tried, but we just couldn’t get there.”
After Altuve was awarded first, Correa singled into the gap in right-center against Justin Grimm (1-3).
”You get in that situation you have to intentionally walk one,” Grimm said. ”Bases loaded and no outs, just battling with that guy. He put a good swing on a fastball in the outfield. It happened how it happened.”
Correa said he was trying to drive the ball to get a sacrifice fly or something to the outfield. It was his sixth career game-ending hit and first since August 1, 2016, against Toronto.
”I don’t know how many career walk-offs I have,” Correa said. ”Every single time they walk Altuve. They walk him because the best hitter in the game is hitting in front of me, but at the same time, it’s not an easy task to walk him and get me out.”
Collin McHugh (3-0) pitched a perfect inning for the win. Houston’s bullpen combined for six shutout innings.
”Everybody up and down the staff, we know that our job is to get outs no matter what time of the game it is called upon us to do it,” McHugh said.
Kansas City carried a 3-2 lead into the ninth, but Houston rallied against Brandon Maurer. After Yuli Gurriel and Josh Reddick singled with one out, Evan Gattis hit a tying sacrifice fly to left. Marwin Gonzalez then walked, but Brian McCann grounded out to end the inning.
The Royals wasted a solid start by Ian Kennedy in their 10th loss in 11 games. Kennedy allowed two runs and four hits in seven innings.
Kansas City jumped in front on Dozier’s three-run homer in the fourth, but Correa hit a sacrifice fly and Gurriel homered to trim the Royals’ lead to 3-2 in the bottom half of the inning.
”Hunter gave us a big lift with the three-run jack,” Kansas City manager Ned Yost said. ”We just couldn’t really muster anything outside of that. If we could just find a way to tack on a run here or there it would be beneficial for us.”
Houston right-hander Lance McCullers Jr. struck out nine in six innings. He permitted four hits and walked two.
ALTUVE MOVING UP THE CHARTS
Altuve tied Terry Puhl for seventh in Astros history with 1,357 hits with his double in the fourth. Altuve tied Bill Doran for ninth place in franchise history with 611 runs when he scored in the fourth.
HE SAID IT
”He’s going to do that 99 times out of 100. He did exactly what I thought he would.” – McHugh on Correa’s game-ending hit.
Royals: 1B Lucas Duda (right foot) was recalled from his rehab assignment with Triple-A Omaha and started at designated hitter. He went 1 for 4 with a ninth-inning single. OF Paulo Orlando was optioned to Omaha to make room on the roster for Duda.
Royals: RHP Jason Hammel (2-8) will make his 16th start of the season Sunday in the series finale. Hammel has a 2.85 ERA in nine appearances – eight starts – against the Astros.
Astros: RHP Gerrit Cole (8-1) will make his 16th start of the season looking for his seventh straight win. Cole walked a career-high five and allowed four runs for a second straight outing in earning a no-decision Monday against the Rays.
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