ENGLEWOOD, Colo. Bryse Wilson Jersey . - The Denver Broncos havent missed tight end Julius Thomas — until they reach the red zone.The Broncos (9-3) have scored just six touchdowns on 15 trips inside the opponents 20-yard line since Thomas sprained his left ankle in the first quarter at St. Louis three weeks ago.That 40 per cent red zone efficiency pales in comparison to the 77 per cent success rate (24 for 31) they had before Thomas got hurt.Julius is one of our top players and when you have one of your top players go out, you are going to miss him, Peyton Manning said Wednesday. We hope to get Julius back out there. Theres no question when hes out there he makes a difference, he makes a lot of plays for us.Thomas leads the league with a dozen TD catches even though he hasnt scored since Nov. 9. He was limited at practice Wednesday and hopes to return to action this weekend against the Buffalo Bills (7-5).Last week at Kansas City, the Broncos settled for five field goals from Connor Barth after stalling at Kansas Citys 4, 6, 11, 14 and 19.Im looking forward to getting back, Thomas said, so maybe my presence can have us kicking a little bit less field goals.Manning called it unfair to blame Denvers red zone woes solely on the absence of Thomas.I cant point it there, said Manning, who lamented his missed connections with Demaryius Thomas and Jacob Tamme last week when the Broncos scored on just one of six trips inside the 20 before a game-ending kneel-down at the 7.Every red zone opportunity has its own story, Manning said. Nobody wants to hear it. They just want to see if you got a touchdown or a field goal. Some way, weve got to find a way — Ive got to find a way — to help us get into the end zone with Julius or without him.Thomas return would add an intriguing challenge not only for the Bills but for the Broncos, who have had success emphasizing the run in Thomas absence.Behind an O-line thats jelling after a midseason shake-up, the insertion of third tackle Paul Cornick and the return of physical tight end Virgil Green, C.J. Anderson has run for 335 yards in back-to-back wins over Miami and Kansas City.C.J. has been awesome the past couple of weeks and its been awesome to watch, Manning said.If Thomas returns to the lineup, I dont really know how its going to change them, Bills coach Doug Marrone said. Obviously, theyve got another great player coming back. They can do so many things. They can hurt you so many ways. Thats a challenge and you have to be careful. If you try to take someone out or you try to take someone away, they have so much talent on that offence that theyll exploit whatever weakness you have whether its by putting too many guys in the box or putting too many in coverage.The Broncos want Thomas on the field but they dont want to take Green out — he was sorely missed in all three of Denvers losses. The game plan was built around him as a fullback and a second tight end at Seattle in Week 3, but he sustained a concussion on the first drive. His calf injury sidelined him at New England and St. Louis.With Green back in the lineup, Denver has piled up 415 yards rushing the last two weeks.Thomas said his return to action wouldnt necessarily mean the Broncos will go back to throwing the ball more. Were going to go with whatevers working well, and for us, weve been able to run that ball consistently well, and if thats the case, well continue to do that when I get back, he said.Green said he cant venture a guess as to what happens upon Thomas return, but he knows one thing: Hes a red zone nightmare.Notes: WR Demaryius Thomas (foot) and C Will Montgomery (knee) were limited Wednesday. ... Bills QB Kyle Orton didnt want to reminisce about his time in Denver. Asked at the end of a five-minute conference call what comes to mind when he thinks about Denver, he replied, The mountains, then added See ya, and hung up.___AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org and www.twitter.com/AP_NFL___Follow AP Pro Football Writer Arnie Melendrez Stapleton on Twitter: http://twitter.com/arniestapleton Luke Jackson Jersey .Y. - For once, Clayton Kershaw was glad to see a long shutout streak end. Custom Braves Jerseys . This game was inside. Adrian Peterson was missing. The stage was set for another step toward the playoffs. KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- It made sense perfect sense that New York Yankees rookie Chase Whitley pushed all the credit toward Brian McCann after earning the first win of his big league career. After all, the veteran catcher not only guided Whitley though a punchless Kansas City lineup, he also drove in three runs with a timely double in the third inning of what turned into a 4-2 victory over the Royals on Friday night. "He told me a game plan before the game and we were able to execute it," Whitley said. "Just follow whatever he has in store because that guy has everything. He does." Brian Roberts also drove in a run for the Yankees, who finally gave their young right-hander some support. Whitley (1-0) had allowed five earned runs in his first four starts, and left two of them with the lead, only for his team to saddle him with a series of no-decisions. Of course, McCann helped take care of that with his bases-loaded double. "Thats a huge hit," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. "Its a tough at-bat. He fouls off a lot of tough pitches, a change-up, a curveball, a real slow curveball, and he got a ball up in the zone and it turned into a double." Dellin Betances worked around a double by Alcides Escobar in the eighth, and David Robertson retired Salvador Perez with runners on first and second in the ninth to earn his 14th save. Jeremy Guthrie (2-6) wound up with the loss, once again getting very little support. Perez and Lorenzo Cain drove in the Royals runs. "I think I threw the ball all right except for the third inning when I gave up a couple of hits," Guthrie said. "I had McCann down to two strikes and couldnt finish him off. I threw a couple of pitches trying to finish him off and wasnt able to do that." Making their only scheduled visit to Kauffman Stadium, the Yankees won their second straight on the heels of a four-game losing streak. They also established some much-needed confidence as they began a 10-game trip that will take them through Seattle and Oakland. The Royaals figured they were catching a break during the four-game series by missing Yankees ace Masahiro Tanaka, who pitched his way to a 2-1 win over the Athletics on Thursday. Wholesale Custom Braves Shirts. Whitley made them wish they were facing the Japanese star. Mixing his fastball with an effective slider and change-up, the former 15th-round draft pick allowed five hits while striking out three without a walk in the longest start of his career. Whitley had never lasted more than five innings in the big leagues. "Yeah, tonights a big night. Were all happy for him," McCann said. "Hes worked really hard to get here, to do this." The Yankees took a 1-0 lead on a single by Roberts in the second inning, and Kansas City promptly answered when Perez followed a double by Alex Gordon with his own RBI single. New York quickly regained the lead in the third. Jacoby Ellsbury and Brett Gardner led off with singles, and Guthrie grazed Mark Teixeira on the shoulder to load the bases with one out. Thats when McCann connected for his double to left, giving the Yankees what turned out to be an insurmountable 4-1 lead. Guthrie kept the Royals in the game, retiring his final nine hitters. His weak-hitting offence even got a run back in the fifth when Cain drove in Gordon with a double. Still, it was not enough for Guthrie to avoid his sixth straight losing decision and his 11th consecutive start without a win. In the last five, the veteran right-hander has received a total of three runs of support. "We just couldnt get that big hit to come through," the Royals Billy Butler said. "We were putting some good at-bats together with no results. Those days are kind of frustrating." NOTES: Yankees SS Derek Jeter got the night off. Asked whether he felt he needed it, he replied: "I never feel like I need a day." ... The Royals traded LHP Justin Marks to Oakland for cash considerations. He was designated for assignment Monday. ... New York RHP David Phelps and Royals LHP Danny Duffy are starting Saturday night. ' ' '
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PITTSBURGH, Pa. LeSean McCoy Super Bowl Jersey . - As the game went on, Gerrit Coles fastball got faster, and the San Francisco Giants couldnt catch up. Cole won for the first time in nearly a month, and the Pittsburgh Pirates beat San Francisco 4-3 Wednesday for their second straight win over the Giants. Cole (3-2) beat Tim Lincecum for the second time in his 11-month major league career, allowing three runs and seven hits in eight innings with seven strikeouts and a walk. The No. 1 pick in the 2011 amateur draft, Cole had a fastball clocked at 95-96 mph to begin the game and was 97-98 over his final two innings. "Really solid, solid effort for him," Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said. "Pushing through the eighth inning, the middle of the order, was very impressive. Hes capable of a lot of things out there. You saw the velocity stay at a much higher level today throughout the game, and actually his velocity played bigger later than it did earlier." Fill-in closer Mark Melancon worked a perfect ninth for his second save in three chances. Centerfielder Andrew McCutchen made a diving catch of Brandon Crawfords soft liner to left-centre for the second out. Pittsburgh has won four of six after a 1-7 slide, taking two of three in the series. San Francisco had won 10 of 11 before the Pirates replay-aided walkoff win Tuesday. Pittsburgh scored all its runs over the first two innings Wednesday. "Were starting to click on all cylinders now," said Pirates catcher Chris Stewart, who had two hits. "The pitching is starting to come around, and were starting to get those hits in those big situations that we werent before". Ike Davis had three hits for the Pirates. Brandon Belt hit his ninth home run and drove in all three runs for San Francisco. Cole had been 0-2 in four starts since winning his first two outings. He pitched eight innings for the second time this season, throwing 107 pitches, one shy of his season high. Cole, who went 1 for 3 to maintain a .333 batting average, won his major league debut at home last June 11 against Lincecum, a two-time NL Cy Young Award winner. Lincecum (2-2) allowed four runs, eight hits and two walks in four innings. Opponents are hitting .329 against him. "I wasnt finishing my pitches, especially my secondary pitches," he said. "When I got ahead in the count, the secondary pitchers were just rolling up there and had no bite on them. Im the type of guy whos going to have to get guys to chase pitches, but I cant do that when Im leaving balls up in the strike zone that are so hittable." McCutchen had a run-scoring single in the first and came around on Starling Martes double. Travis Snider made it 4-1 with a two-run single in the second. Belt homered on the first pitch he saw with two outs in the first, then hit a two-run double with two outs in the fifth. But Belt was thrown out at third on the play, ending the threat. "That was a mistake," Giants manager Bruce Bochy said. NOTES: 3B Pablo Sandoval was not in the starting lineup after sustaining what Bochy termed a sprain of his hand or thumb during the final play of Tuesday nights game. He pinch hit for Lincecum in the fifth and singled. ... Neil Walker had a second-inning single has has reached safely in all 15 home games hes played against San Francisco ... The Giants headed to Los Angeles for a four-game series against the Dodgers that starts Thursday. San Franciscos starter in the opener, RHP Ryan Vogelsong, has allowed one earned run over 13 innings in his past two starts. ... The Pirates host St. Louis this weekend in a series that includes the first ESPN Sunday night game in PNC Parks 14-year history. Reggie Ragland Super Bowl Jersey . The 33-year-old defender has spent his entire career at Chelsea, scoring 57 goals in 621 appearances. He regained his regular starting place under Jose Mourinho in the season that ended at the weekend without Chelsea winning a trophy. Sammy Watkins Super Bowl Jersey . -- Atlanta Braves pitcher Tommy Hanson is being checked for a possible concussion after blowing a tire on his way to the first workout of spring training.Chicago, IL (SportsNetwork.com) - Devin Booker scored 19 points and top-ranked Kentucky put on a defensive clinic in an 83-42 obliteration of UCLA in the CBS Sports Classic. The Wildcats opened the game on a 24-0 run and allowed just three field goals on 37 shots from the Bruins in the first half en route to building a startling 41-7 lead at the break. The seven points were the lowest total in a half in UCLAs storied history and the fewest Kentucky has permitted in a period since 1943. UCLA finished a miserable 25. Emmanuel Ogbah Super Bowl Jersey . 4 percent from the field and 1-of-4 from the foul line, committed 15 turnovers and had 13 shots rejected by the Wildcats suffocating defense. Aaron Harrison chipped in 15 points and Andrew Harrison dished out eight assists to help Kentucky (12-0) dominate from start-to-finish. Bryce Alford finished with 13 points and Isaac Hamilton had 12 for UCLA (8-4), though neither scored during the Bruins humiliating opening half. ' ' '