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KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Nelson Cruz has only two hits in 15 at-bats against the Kansas City Royals this season. Both are home runs. Cruz hit a two-run homer and the first-place Baltimore Orioles beat the Royals 2-1 on Thursday night to snap a four-game losing streak. Cruz homered in the fourth after Chris Davis drew a walk to lead off the inning. It was Cruzs 12th home run, which is second in the American League to the 15 of Chicago White Sox rookie Jose Abreu. Cruzs 35 RBIs are tied for second in the AL. "Hes one of the best power hitters in the American League over the past five or six years," Royals manager Ned Yost said. "Hes hit in a good hitters park in Texas, but hes got power to all fields." Wei-Yin Chen (5-2) limited the Royals to one run and seven hits over 5 1-3 innings with one walk and one strikeout. Chen, who is 5-1 in his past seven starts, was removed in the sixth after Salvador Perez walked and Alex Gordon singled with one out. Darren ODay replaced Chen and struck out Danny Valencia and retried Johnny Giavotella on a fly to right. Royals rookie right-hander Yordano Ventura (2-3) struck out nine and walked one in 6 1-3 innings, allowing two runs and seven hits. After Cruzs home run, Ventura retired the next 10 batters, striking out seven, including six straight at one stretch. "He made a mistake to Nelson Cruz and it wasnt even a mistake," Yost said. "I think he threw a good fastball to Nelson. It was up and over the middle of the plate and he ambushed it." Cruz hit the first pitch out to right-centre from Ventura, who has a fastball that routinely hits triple digits on radar guns. "We know hes got a great fastball," Cruz said. "He can get you quick. Hes got great stuff. It was one of those at-bats that I got what I was looking for. We were trying to be aggressive and he was throwing a lot of first-pitch fastballs. I was looking for a fastball." With a northwest wind blowing 15 mph and gusting up to 28, it was less than ideal conditions to hit a home run. "You could have made some money off me if youd have bet me that somebody could have gotten a ball out of here tonight," Orioles manager Buck Showalter said. Valencias sacrifice fly with the bases loaded in the fourth scored Eric Hosmer for the only run off Chen. "Ventura pitched great," Giavotella said. "We just couldnt back him up with any runs." Left-hander Zach Britton, who had not allowed a run in 7 1-3 innings in his past eight appearances, worked a perfect ninth for his first major league save. Showalter elected to go to Britton after closer Tommy Hunter blew his past two save chances. "Guys graduate," Showalter said. "It was a good start and its good to know that if we need him for a given night hell be ready. Well see how it goes from here." The Royals did not have a baserunner off four Baltimore relievers, who retired 11 straight. "Our pitchers did a really good job and we really needed this win," Cruz said. "Anytime you can win a game by one run its huge. We feel like we can get something going." The Orioles, who went 1 for 9 with runners in scoring position, threatened in the seventh and eighth innings, but came away empty. Gordon, a three-time Gold Glove Award winner, threw out J.J. Hardy at the plate to end the seventh for his fourth outfield assist this season and his 58th since moving to the outfield in 2011. Hardy attempted to score from second on Nick Markakis single. Manny Machado and Adam Jones led off the Orioles eighth with singles off Louis Coleman, the third Kansas City pitcher. Kelvin Herrera replaced Coleman and struck out Davis and Cruz and retired Steve Clevenger on a grounder to strand the runners. NOTES: The Orioles recalled RHP Evan Meek from Triple-A Norfolk and optioned RHP Kevin Gausman, who lost a Wednesday start to Detroit, to the same club. ... Markakis snapped an 0-for-14 skid with three singles. ... Royals RHP Wade Davis has a stiff neck and was not available. Cheap Ecco Shoes China . Zdeno Chara scored with 13 seconds left in regulation after David Krejci tied it late, lifting the Bruins to a 3-2 win over Pittsburgh on Saturday night in a game that saw Orpik taken from the ice on a stretcher. Ecco Sneakers On Sale . Jannero Pargo scored 14 of his 24 points in the fourth quarter to help the Charlotte Bobcats erase a 21-point deficit and rally for an 83-76 preseason victory over the Milwaukee Bucks on Saturday night. http://www.cheapecco.net/. Ribery, who won UEFAs best player in Europe award for the 2012-13 season, helped Bayern Munich win the Champions League and Bundesliga and German Cup titles. Messi, winner of the last four Ballon dOr awards in voting by coaches, team captains and media, was injured late in the season and could not prevent Barcelona from being beaten by Bayern in the Champions League semifinals. Cheap Ecco Shoes Online .Mallais and his team out of Saint John defeated James Grattan 5-4 in Fredericton.The 2015 Tim Hortons Brier from Feb. Wholesale Ecco Shoes . Pistorius denied the allegation that he said to the close friend of the girlfriend he killed: "How can you sleep at night?" The accusation by Kim Myers provided a bizarre twist during the trial of the world-famous double-amputee Olympian, who is facing 25 years to life in prison if convicted of premeditated murder for shooting dead Steenkamp, a 29-year-old model, at his home last year. ALLEN PARK, Mich. -- Jim Schwartz was hired to turn around the Detroit Lions and he did it for three seasons. He failed to keep the Lions going in the right direction the next two years -- and it cost him his job. The Lions fired Schwartz on Monday, one day after their late-season slide ended with a loss at Minnesota. He had two years and nearly $12 million left on his contract. Schwartz informed the players of the decision during a team meeting. "I feel awful for him," Lions centre Dominic Raiola said. "I feel like we let him down." Team President Tom Lewand said the search has begun for what he thinks is one of the most -- if not the most -- attractive opportunities for a head coach in the NFL. "I can verify that by the number of calls we have already gotten since the announcement was made," Lewand said. "Going through a thorough process is extremely important. That doesnt necessarily it has to be a long process." San Diego Chargers offensive co-ordinator Ken Whisenhunt is among the potential candidates. Whisenhunt led the Arizona Cardinals to the Super Bowl during a six-year run as their coach and Lions general manager Martin Mayhew is a former Washington Redskins teammate. The Lions also let offensive co-ordinator Scott Linehan and wide receivers coach Tim Lappano seek other jobs, saying the rest of the staff is under contract, including some assistants for the 2014 season. Detroit flopped to a 7-9 record this year after a 6-3 record start put the franchise in a position to win a division title for the first time since 1993. "That is the reason we are sitting here having this conversation," Lewand said. Schwartz was 29-51 over five seasons, including a 10-6 mark in 2011 that lifted the Lions to their only post-season appearance this century. The former Tennessee Titans defensive co-ordinator was hired in 2009 when Detroit was coming off the NFLs first 0-16 season. "Jim inherited a very tough job," Mayhew acknowledged. Schwartz led the Lions to two wins in his first year, six the next and to double digits in victories two years ago for the first time since 1995 to help them end an 11-year post-season drought. The Lions lost their last eight games last year after a .500 start. They collapsed again this season with four straight losses and six in a seven-game stretch -- blowing fourth-quarter leads in each setback -- after they took control of the NFC North race. Detroit and the 2000 San Diego Chargers are the only NFL teams since 1940 to lose fourth-quarter leads in seven games in a season, according to STATS. "From where we were in 2008 to where we are now its a big differencce," quarterback Matthew Stafford said.dddddddddddd. "We owe a lot of that to him. Hes a really smart guy and helped us get to where we are. Obviously, we didnt win as many games as we needed to or as we should have this year." The Lions took on the personality of their demonstrative and emotionally charged coach and that wasnt always good news for them. When Detroit ran the ball instead of having turnover-prone Stafford throw late in regulation of its 23-20 overtime loss to the New York Giants in Week 16, the crowd reacted with a loud chorus of boos. Schwartz responded by looking away from the field and screaming something toward the stands. Schwartz negated a video review and was called for unsportsmanlike conduct by angrily throwing a challenge flag last season when Houstons Justin Forsett scored after two Lions tackled him, leading to a defeat during an eight-game, season-ending slide. The previous year, Schwartz had a heated exchange with San Francisco coach Jim Harbaugh and had to be separated following their postgame handshake. "The stuff that happened with Harbaugh just was an incident," Detroit guard Rob Sims said. "The stuff with the fans just was an incident. Thats not an everyday occurrence." Schwartz was 12-32 in games in November or later for a .273 winning percentage that was the worst for a coach in five-plus straight seasons with a team since Denvers Lou Saban won one-quarter of those late-season games from 1967-1971, according to STATS. His .363 winning percentage overall with the Lions is the worst by an NFL coach in his first five full seasons since John McKay won fewer than 30 per cent of his games with the expansion Tampa Bay Buccaneers from 1976-1980. The Lions gave Schwartz an extension entering the 2012 season, when he had one year left on his four-deal worth about $11 million. The second contract made him the longest-tenured coach the franchise has had since Wayne Fontes led the Lions from 1988-96. Bobby Ross, Gary Moeller, Marty Mornhinweg, Steve Mariucci, Dick Jauron -- on an interim basis -- and Rod Marinelli all had a chance to lead a franchise with only one playoff victory since winning the 1957 NFL title before Schwartz got a shot to be a head coach for the first time at any level. The Lions would like to hire someone, who runs a 4-3 defence and has head coaching experience, but theyre not going to overlook assistants who fit the profile theyre looking for. "The goal isnt to hire the biggest name or the most popular candidate and win the next press conference," Lewand said. "Its to win football games in 2014 and to win a championship." ' ' '

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