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The Memphis Grizzlies are feeling confident back at FedExForum, though facing Damian Lillard and the Portland Trail Blazers has become a more difficult challenge since Mike Conley went down.

With their point guard expected to be out again, the Grizzlies try to finish off Portland and advance to the Western Conference semifinals with their seventh straight home win over the Blazers on Wednesday night in Game 5.

Conley played a leading role in holding the All-Star Lillard to 32 total points and 10-of-37 shooting (27.0 percent) in the first two games at Memphis, won by the Grizzlies by a combined 29 points.

Lillard played better in Game 3 with 22 points and nine assists in the Grizzlies’ 115-109 win at Portland, which Conley left after taking an inadvertent elbow to the face in the third quarter.

He had surgery Monday to repair facial fractures and is expected to miss at least one more game. The Grizzlies will have a more definite timetable after the swelling goes down.

Without the pestering defense of Conley in Game 4 on Monday, Lillard scored 12 of his game-high 32 in the fourth quarter of a 99-92 victory.

Memphis led by double figures in the final period before Portland rallied to deny the Grizzlies’ first playoff sweep. Memphis is looking to move on to a matchup with top-seeded Golden State.

”When you’re up 10 points with (eight) minutes in the game in this league, you got to finish,” said forward Zach Randolph, who had 12 points on 6-of-20 shooting. ”Especially in these circumstances and what we’re playing for. So it’s frustrating.”

Jeff Green’s struggles off the bench aren’t helping matters. Green had seven points Monday – more than six below his average – and went 3 of 10 to leave his shooting percentage for the series at 27.9.

Nick Calathes figures to be back in the starting lineup after finishing with 12 points on 4-of-5 shooting from 3-point range while filling in for Conley on Monday. Backup point guard Beno Udrih added 13 points.

Courtney Lee has been a bright spot in the backcourt, averaging 19.0 points and 70.0 percent shooting in the past three games. Marc Gasol has scored a combined 46 in the last two, though he’s made 37.5 percent from the field over the four games.

Memphis was outscored 42-38 in the paint Monday after holding a 144-102 advantage in the first three contests.

“We’ve got some momentum,” Portland center Meyers Leonard said after scoring a playoff career-high 13. ”We are taking this game-by-game. We are going to go to Memphis and try to get one. Then hopefully back here for Game 6.”

Lillard will try to build on his third career 30-point playoff effort as the Blazers look to pull out their first victory at FedExForum since January 2013. They’ve averaged 89.3 points during the six consecutive losses at Memphis.

C.J. McCollum has totaled 44 points in the past two games after scoring eight on 4-of-21 shooting in the first two.

“Lillard is a heck of a player, but we’ve got serious problems right now with C.J. McCollum,” Memphis coach Dave Joerger said. “He is getting to the rim, to the rim, to the rim on us over and over and over. We have to do a better job of keeping in front of him.”

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The NBA announced its officials erred on noncalls on both of Stephen Curry’s 3-pointers in the final minute of regulation during the Warriors’ 123-119 overtime win in Game 3 against the New Orleans Pelicans.

Curry’s game-tying 3-pointer with 2.8 seconds left that sent the game into overtime Thursday should have also included a foul on New Orleans’ Anthony Davis for making contact before the Warriors guard had landed, according to the league. A foul would have resulted in a free throw for Curry or three free throws for the player if the shot had missed.

Asked Friday if he had been tackled that hard in basketball, Curry said, “That’s why I quit football.”

The league also reported that Curry should have been called for traveling while hitting a 3-pointer with 11.8 seconds left in regulation to cut the New Orleans lead to 107-105. The NBA said Curry moved his pivot foot while avoiding defender Jrue Holiday.

“I thought he traveled, and I started whining about that, and I’m like, ‘C’mon Monty, get over yourself,’ ” Pelicans coach Monty Williams said.

That wasn’t the only last-minute noncall that benefited the Warriors as they made their 20-point comeback in the fourth quarter en route to taking a 3-0 series lead. The league noted that Draymond Green pushed Davis with 32 seconds left, with the play leading to three straight offensive rebounds for the Warriors and a free throw from Shaun Livingston that cut the Pelicans’ lead to 105-102.

It was the 3-pointer Curry hit while falling out of bounds after being clobbered by Davis that raised the most questions from the Warriors. Coach Steve Kerr said he was surprised Curry didn’t get the foul call.

“He got tackled by two different players,” Kerr said. “I don’t understand it.”

Curry told KNBR 680 he felt he was fouled and argued while there was still time left on the clock before an official warned him, “You better get back on defense.”

Curry also noted New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees was in attendance at the game.

“I don’t know if he’s been sacked like that one,” Curry said.

Marreese Speights was on the court to grab a key offensive rebound and dish it off to Curry for the game-tying shot, and he was on the floor because Kerr said he is probably the third-best shooter on the team.

“So at the end of games, if we need a shot, there’s a good chance he’ll be on the floor,” said Kerr, who had Speights in the game despite his 1-for-7 shooting performance.

Said center Andrew Bogut: “He’s like a 6-foot-10 Splash Brother in my opinion, because if he gets it going offensively, he can really change a game.”

Forward David Lee is available to play in Game 4 on Saturday after missing four games because of a lower back strain, according to the Warriors.

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It was always going to be a relatively one-sided affair in the first round of the NBA playoffs between the Golden State Warriors and the New Orleans Pelicans. But the fact that Anthony Davis couldn’t even show off his incredible individual talent for most of this game may have been the precursor for the rest of this series. The Warriors controlled the Pelicans, snuffing out most runs or confidence-building stretches New Orleans tried to put together in this game.

With Golden State showing off their success at home like we’ve seen all season long, they put the Pelicans away with a convincing 106-99 win that probably wasn’t as close as the final score leads you to believe.

Here are three things you should know from Warriors-Pelicans Game 1:

1. THE COMBINATION OF ANDREW BOGUT AND DRAYMOND GREEN CRUSHED NOLA

For as much hype as Anthony Davis (and deservedly so) had coming into his first career playoff series, the duo asked to keep him and Omer Asik away from the rim were stellar. There are reasons that Andrew Bogut is getting Defensive Player of the Year hype despite playing just 23.6 minutes per game this season. There is also a big reason Draymond Green may end up taking the award from him and other deserving candidates. They’re the best defensive combination in the NBA right now and they showed that against the Pelicans.

Davis ended up getting his stats with a late flurry of dunking and scoring inside that left him with 35 points on 13-of-23 shooting.

But in the first three quarters, they held Davis to 15 points on 6-of-13 shooting and five turnovers to just one rebound and one assist. Green had the task of checking Davis and he held him off the boards and out of his comfort zone for most of this game. With Bogut helping down to swipe at dribbles and cheat into passing lanes, the Pelicans just couldn’t get much of a rhythm going until late.

It’s a big part of the reason the Warriors (plus-18 after three quarters) were able to absorb that late run by the Pelicans, which saw New Orleans with a 26-15 run over the final 7:26 of the game. The Warriors were plus-23 with Green on the floor and plus-eight with Bogut on the court. Expect more of those kinds of numbers against the Pelicans throughout this series. This is what this combination does.

2. PELICANS NEED MORE THAN THE ROLE PLAYERS TO STEP UP

Davis was great in the final seven minutes of the ball game (18 points on 6-of-7 from the field), but it was really the role players that kept the Pelicans in position to make a late run to make this close.

Quincy Pondexter did a solid job defending Stephen Curry throughout most of this game and he even chipped in on the offensive end with 20 points on 7-of-14 from the field and 3-of-7 from downtown. He also finished with nine rebounds and six assists. Dante Cunningham came into the game and had a good impact on defense, finishing with a plus-nine that is reflective of his effort on the court. Norris Cole didn’t shoot the ball well making just 3-of-10 from the field but his eight points and six assists were huge for the Pelicans’ bench, especially after Tyreke Evans left the game with a knee contusion.

But where was everybody else for the Pelicans? Where were their high-priced players stepping up outside of Davis’ final seven minutes of the game? Jrue Holiday is still trying to get himself right after coming back from a long injury rehab, but his five points and five minutes with mediocre defense still weren’t enough with Evans out. Eric Gordon struggled for much of the game, finishing with 16 points but shooting just 5-of-14 from the field. He was 1-of-7 on 2-point shots. Ryan Anderson finished 1-of-6 from the field.

Asik couldn’t catch passes cleanly and looked completely lost on defense, which was evident by a minus-18 that was also reflective of how he played. It’s not that you expect the Pelicans to beat the Warriors at Oracle Arena, but you expect a much better effort from the collective than just relying on role players to make up for the lack of consistent production from the players they’re complementing.

3-Pointer: What you need to know about Warriors-Pelicans Game 1
By Zach Harper | NBA writer
April 18, 2015 6:39 pm ET

It was always going to be a relatively one-sided affair in the first round of the NBA playoffs between the Golden State Warriors and the New Orleans Pelicans. But the fact that Anthony Davis couldn’t even show off his incredible individual talent for most of this game may have been the precursor for the rest of this series. The Warriors controlled the Pelicans, snuffing out most runs or confidence-building stretches New Orleans tried to put together in this game.

With Golden State showing off their success at home like we’ve seen all season long, they put the Pelicans away with a convincing 106-99 win that probably wasn’t as close as the final score leads you to believe.

Here are three things you should know from Warriors-Pelicans Game 1:

1. THE COMBINATION OF ANDREW BOGUT AND DRAYMOND GREEN CRUSHED NOLA

For as much hype as Anthony Davis (and deservedly so) had coming into his first career playoff series, the duo asked to keep him and Omer Asik away from the rim were stellar. There are reasons that Andrew Bogut is getting Defensive Player of the Year hype despite playing just 23.6 minutes per game this season. There is also a big reason Draymond Green may end up taking the award from him and other deserving candidates. They’re the best defensive combination in the NBA right now and they showed that against the Pelicans.

Davis ended up getting his stats with a late flurry of dunking and scoring inside that left him with 35 points on 13-of-23 shooting.

But in the first three quarters, they held Davis to 15 points on 6-of-13 shooting and five turnovers to just one rebound and one assist. Green had the task of checking Davis and he held him off the boards and out of his comfort zone for most of this game. With Bogut helping down to swipe at dribbles and cheat into passing lanes, the Pelicans just couldn’t get much of a rhythm going until late.

It’s a big part of the reason the Warriors (plus-18 after three quarters) were able to absorb that late run by the Pelicans, which saw New Orleans with a 26-15 run over the final 7:26 of the game. The Warriors were plus-23 with Green on the floor and plus-eight with Bogut on the court. Expect more of those kinds of numbers against the Pelicans throughout this series. This is what this combination does.

2. PELICANS NEED MORE THAN THE ROLE PLAYERS TO STEP UP

Davis was great in the final seven minutes of the ball game (18 points on 6-of-7 from the field), but it was really the role players that kept the Pelicans in position to make a late run to make this close.

Quincy Pondexter did a solid job defending Stephen Curry throughout most of this game and he even chipped in on the offensive end with 20 points on 7-of-14 from the field and 3-of-7 from downtown. He also finished with nine rebounds and six assists. Dante Cunningham came into the game and had a good impact on defense, finishing with a plus-nine that is reflective of his effort on the court. Norris Cole didn’t shoot the ball well making just 3-of-10 from the field but his eight points and six assists were huge for the Pelicans’ bench, especially after Tyreke Evans left the game with a knee contusion.

But where was everybody else for the Pelicans? Where were their high-priced players stepping up outside of Davis’ final seven minutes of the game? Jrue Holiday is still trying to get himself right after coming back from a long injury rehab, but his five points and five minutes with mediocre defense still weren’t enough with Evans out. Eric Gordon struggled for much of the game, finishing with 16 points but shooting just 5-of-14 from the field. He was 1-of-7 on 2-point shots. Ryan Anderson finished 1-of-6 from the field.

Asik couldn’t catch passes cleanly and looked completely lost on defense, which was evident by a minus-18 that was also reflective of how he played. It’s not that you expect the Pelicans to beat the Warriors at Oracle Arena, but you expect a much better effort from the collective than just relying on role players to make up for the lack of consistent production from the players they’re complementing.

3. THE POWER OF STEPH CURRY COMPELS YOU

Steph Curry was a fairly pedestrian 4-of-13 from 3-point range in this game against the Pelicans, as Pondexter did a solid job of crowding him on the perimeter and Davis switched onto him on pick-and-roll plays often. It’s what helped the Pelicans keep Curry from getting comfortable in his record-setting range. But that isn’t necessarily how you stop Curry from beating you; it’s simply how you stop him from burning your team down.

He still finished with 34 points on 13-of-25 shooting. Curry seemed more than happy to operate inside the 3-point arc, despite the fact that he took 13 shots from downtown. Whenever the Pelicans tried to take away the arc from him, he’d attack off the dribble and get into the paint where he’s become so deadly. Sometimes it would come in secondary transition opportunities like this one against Alexis Ajinca. He recognized the mismatch and used a crossover to get an easy lay-up opportunity.
Curry also had no problem going against Davis, almost welcoming the switch so often as it allowed other teammates to get easier looks with The Brow gravitating toward the MVP candidate. The Warriors’ star would then attack quickly off the dribble turning the corner on pick-and-rolls or by going right at the star big man in transition.

Inside the arc was not a No Flex Zone for Curry by any means.

3-Pointer: What you need to know about Warriors-Pelicans Game 1
By Zach Harper | NBA writer
April 18, 2015 6:39 pm ET

It was always going to be a relatively one-sided affair in the first round of the NBA playoffs between the Golden State Warriors and the New Orleans Pelicans. But the fact that Anthony Davis couldn’t even show off his incredible individual talent for most of this game may have been the precursor for the rest of this series. The Warriors controlled the Pelicans, snuffing out most runs or confidence-building stretches New Orleans tried to put together in this game.

With Golden State showing off their success at home like we’ve seen all season long, they put the Pelicans away with a convincing 106-99 win that probably wasn’t as close as the final score leads you to believe.

Here are three things you should know from Warriors-Pelicans Game 1:

1. THE COMBINATION OF ANDREW BOGUT AND DRAYMOND GREEN CRUSHED NOLA

For as much hype as Anthony Davis (and deservedly so) had coming into his first career playoff series, the duo asked to keep him and Omer Asik away from the rim were stellar. There are reasons that Andrew Bogut is getting Defensive Player of the Year hype despite playing just 23.6 minutes per game this season. There is also a big reason Draymond Green may end up taking the award from him and other deserving candidates. They’re the best defensive combination in the NBA right now and they showed that against the Pelicans.

Davis ended up getting his stats with a late flurry of dunking and scoring inside that left him with 35 points on 13-of-23 shooting.

But in the first three quarters, they held Davis to 15 points on 6-of-13 shooting and five turnovers to just one rebound and one assist. Green had the task of checking Davis and he held him off the boards and out of his comfort zone for most of this game. With Bogut helping down to swipe at dribbles and cheat into passing lanes, the Pelicans just couldn’t get much of a rhythm going until late.

It’s a big part of the reason the Warriors (plus-18 after three quarters) were able to absorb that late run by the Pelicans, which saw New Orleans with a 26-15 run over the final 7:26 of the game. The Warriors were plus-23 with Green on the floor and plus-eight with Bogut on the court. Expect more of those kinds of numbers against the Pelicans throughout this series. This is what this combination does.

2. PELICANS NEED MORE THAN THE ROLE PLAYERS TO STEP UP

Davis was great in the final seven minutes of the ball game (18 points on 6-of-7 from the field), but it was really the role players that kept the Pelicans in position to make a late run to make this close.

Quincy Pondexter did a solid job defending Stephen Curry throughout most of this game and he even chipped in on the offensive end with 20 points on 7-of-14 from the field and 3-of-7 from downtown. He also finished with nine rebounds and six assists. Dante Cunningham came into the game and had a good impact on defense, finishing with a plus-nine that is reflective of his effort on the court. Norris Cole didn’t shoot the ball well making just 3-of-10 from the field but his eight points and six assists were huge for the Pelicans’ bench, especially after Tyreke Evans left the game with a knee contusion.

But where was everybody else for the Pelicans? Where were their high-priced players stepping up outside of Davis’ final seven minutes of the game? Jrue Holiday is still trying to get himself right after coming back from a long injury rehab, but his five points and five minutes with mediocre defense still weren’t enough with Evans out. Eric Gordon struggled for much of the game, finishing with 16 points but shooting just 5-of-14 from the field. He was 1-of-7 on 2-point shots. Ryan Anderson finished 1-of-6 from the field.

Asik couldn’t catch passes cleanly and looked completely lost on defense, which was evident by a minus-18 that was also reflective of how he played. It’s not that you expect the Pelicans to beat the Warriors at Oracle Arena, but you expect a much better effort from the collective than just relying on role players to make up for the lack of consistent production from the players they’re complementing.

3. THE POWER OF STEPH CURRY COMPELS YOU

Steph Curry was a fairly pedestrian 4-of-13 from 3-point range in this game against the Pelicans, as Pondexter did a solid job of crowding him on the perimeter and Davis switched onto him on pick-and-roll plays often. It’s what helped the Pelicans keep Curry from getting comfortable in his record-setting range. But that isn’t necessarily how you stop Curry from beating you; it’s simply how you stop him from burning your team down.

He still finished with 34 points on 13-of-25 shooting. Curry seemed more than happy to operate inside the 3-point arc, despite the fact that he took 13 shots from downtown. Whenever the Pelicans tried to take away the arc from him, he’d attack off the dribble and get into the paint where he’s become so deadly. Sometimes it would come in secondary transition opportunities like this one against Alexis Ajinca. He recognized the mismatch and used a crossover to get an easy lay-up opportunity.

Curry also had no problem going against Davis, almost welcoming the switch so often as it allowed other teammates to get easier looks with The Brow gravitating toward the MVP candidate. The Warriors’ star would then attack quickly off the dribble turning the corner on pick-and-rolls or by going right at the star big man in transition.

Inside the arc was not a No Flex Zone for Curry by any means.

And this is the big reason Curry has become such a dominating player over the years. You have to fear the 3-point shot, but he’s just setting you up to get easier baskets inside. Then once you start guarding against those, he’s launching from downtown and leaving you shaking your head.

How the Pelicans try to defend this seems like an impossible riddle to solve.

Game 2 is Monday in Oakland. Let’s see if the Pelicans can use that late surge as a confidence-builder for the next contest.

SERIES SCHEDULE

Game 1 – Sat April 18
Golden State 106, New Orleans 99, Golden State leads series 1-0

Game 2 – Mon April 20
New Orleans at Golden State, 10:30 p.m. (TNT)

Game 3 – Thu April 23
Golden State at New Orleans, 9:30 p.m. (TNT)

Game 4 – Sat April 25
New Orleans at Golden State, 8 p.m. (ESPN)

Game 5 * Tue April 28
New Orleans at Golden State

Game 6 * Fri May 1
Golden State at New Orleans

Game 7 * Sun May 3
New Orleans at Golden State

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Flyers general manager Ron Hextall said Wednesday he still had not made a decision on Berube’s fate following a season that saw the team miss the playoffs.

The Flyers players gave, at best, lukewarm reviews this week of Berube following a 33-31-18 (84 points) season.

“I’m going to do everything I can to do the due diligence that’s appropriate to make the decision,” Hextall said. “Once I get there, then we’ll let people know. I’m not going to make a hasty decision and look back and regret it.”

The Flyers haven’t won a Stanley Cup since hoisting two straight in 1974 and 1975. Philadelphia lost in the Stanley Cup finals in 1976, 1980, 1985, 1987, 1997 and 2010.

Hextall told Berube on Sunday he would need more time to complete his evaluation of the second-year coach. Berube took over from the fired Peter Laviolette four games into the 2013-14 season and led the Flyers to the playoffs.

The Flyers went 42-27authentic-10 under Berube last season and lost a seven-game playoff series to the New York Rangers. He is 75-58-28 in two seasons.

Berube has one season left on his contract.

“I’m evaluating, but if you’re asking me whether he made any mistakes or not, that’s probably a question for him,” Hextall said. “Some of our players probably didn’t play well enough. I think that’s fair to say.”

Jakub Voracek and Wayne Simmonds bemoaned a lack of leadership in the locker room. Vinny Lecavalier, once one of the best players in the NHL, made it clear he had almost no interest in a third season in Philadelphia if Berube returned. Hextall said he will not buy out Lecavalier.

Voracek and team captain Claude Giroux spent most of the season in the hunt for an NHL scoring title and each finished with some stout stats: Voracek had 22 goals and 81 points (six points behind Dallas’ Jamie Benn) and Giroux had 25 goals and 73 points.

Simmonds led the Flyers with 28 goals and goalie Steve Mason’s .928 save percentage was second-best in team history and his 2.25 GAA was the lowest for a Flyers goalie since 2003-04. Defenceman Mark Streit had 52 points.

The 49-year-old Berube said Monday he was not concerned about the speculation surrounding his future.

“What bothers me is not making the playoffs,” Berube said.

Hextall said he expected Philadelphia will be a playoff team next season. The Flyers have been in a win-now mode since the heyday of the Broad Street Bullies, and always believed they were one big trade or marquee free agent away from winning it all.

Hextall, the first-year Flyers GM, said that philosophy isn’t in play this summer.

“Are we going to try and win the Stanley Cup? Yes. Along with the 29 other teams,” he said. “But we are not going to trade top young players for 29-30 year olds to try to take a one-year run at the Cup. That is not going to happen.”

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Raisel Iglesias will make the direct jump to the majors without having pitched in a minor league contest.

The Cuban right-hander, who was signed to a seven-year contract last June, takes the mound for the Cincinnati Reds Sunday afternoon in the finale of a three-game set against the St. Louis Cardinals.

Iglesias defected from Cuba in November 2013 and had been pitching for scouts in Haiti. A converted shortstop, Iglesias pitched during the World Baseball Classic in 2013. He pitched three seasons with Isla de la Juventud in Cuba and went 8-12 with a 3.47 ERA.

In six spring training appearances, the 25-year-old Iglesias was 0-3 with a 3.68 ERA. His first three efforts came in relief and the final three were in a starting role.

Carlos Martinez counters on the hill for the Cardinals. The righty pitched a scoreless seventh inning of relief in the season-opener last Sunday night against the Cubs. This will be his ninth career start.

Martinez, who started in 69 of his 70 minor league appearances, has made 11 relief efforts versus the Reds and is 2-1 with a 2.87 ERA versus them.

On Saturday, Michael Wacha’s strong outing to open his 2015 season led the Cardinals to a 4-1 win. Wacha (1-0), whose 2014 season ended when he allowed a series-ending home run to San Francisco’s Travis Ishikawa in the NLCS, only allowed a run on five hits and a walk with two strikeouts in 6 1/3 innings.

“That team over there, they were very aggressive early on in the count,” Wacha said. “I was able to make some pitches down in the zone and get some weak contact early on. I kept the pitch count down.”

Matt Adams’ first hit of the season was a solo home run that put the Cardinals up for good in the fourth.

Cincinnati starter Johnny Cueto (0-1) was sharp in the Reds’ first loss this season, allowing two runs — one earned — on four hits and a walk with four strikeouts in seven innings.

“He pitched another great game,” said Reds manager Bryan Price. “It looks like he picked up where he left off last year.”

The Reds’ only run of the game came on Todd Frazier’s first-inning home run.

The Cardinals were 12-7 versus the Reds last season, splitting 10 meetings in Cincinnati.

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CHICAGO (AP) Cubs catcher Miguel Montero called Jake Arrieta a freak. Chicago manager Joe Maddon said Arrieta is in such good shape he could record fitness videos, like Jane Fonda used to.

Arrieta also can pitch.

Arrieta allowed three hits over seven innings and Starlin Castro had a go-ahead RBI single in a two-run seventh, leading the Chicago Cubs over the St. Louis Cardinals 2-0 for their first win this season.

Backed by just two hits from Chicago’s offense, Arrieta (1-0) struck out seven and walked three. He was 10-5 with a 2.53 ERA in a breakout 2014 and improved to 3-0 with a 0.74 ERA in six career starts against St. Louis.

”He deserves everything that he’s gotten,” said Maddon, who got his first win as Chicago manager after leaving Tampa Bay.

Phil Coke, Neil Ramirez, Pedro Strop and Hector Rondon combined for hitless relief. Rondon pitched a perfect ninth for his first save of the season for the Cubs, who lost 3-0 to St. Louis on Sunday night’s opener.

Arrieta said he was suffering from jitters and too much adrenaline ahead of his first start of the year at home, especially ahead of a game against rival St. Louis.

”Those things are expected,” Arrieta said.

Lance Lynn (0-1) struck out nine in six-plus innings but Castro’s single chased him in the seventh. Montero hit a sacrifice fly off Kevin Siegrist.

Anthony Rizzo was hit by a pitch leading off the seventh and advanced when Lynn’s pickoff throw was wide of Matt Adams at first for an error. Castro then singled, ending the Cubs’ 15-inning scoreless streak at the start of the season, and took second on the throw.

”When it’s all said and done, it’s a loss,” Lynn said. ”So I’ve got to pitch better.”

Lynn allowed both runs – one earned – and two hits

”He had good movement, worked both sides of the plate and did what we teach our guys to do – mix it up, and there’s nothing you can necessarily sit on,” Matheny said.

MUCH ADO ABOUT NOTHING?

Cubs pitcher Jon Lester said his habit of not throwing over to hold runners at first base is ”something that I think is getting blown out of proportion right here.” On Sunday, St. Louis stole three bases against Lester, who hasn’t thrown to first since 2013. ”Right now there’s nothing really to talk about at the beginning of the year, so we need to talk about all the negative stuff,” Lester said.

TRAINER’S ROOM

Cardinals: Because the Cardinals did not alter their rotation order after Tuesday’s rainout, RHP Michael Wacha will get one more day before his first start of 2015. Wacha, slowed by shoulder problems last year, will pitch Saturday in Cincinnati.

Cubs: Chicago slightly changed its rotation, scheduling LHP Travis Wood to pitch Friday and RHP Jason Hammel on Saturday against Colorado. Before Tuesday’s rainout, Hammel was slated to pitch Wednesday and Wood was to throw Friday. Maddon said the decision to push back Hammel was made to keep Wood on schedule. ”Nobody’s ill, nobody’s hurt,” Maddon said.

UP NEXT

The Cardinals are off Thursday before traveling to face the Reds in Cincinnati. John Lackey is scheduled to face former Cardinals pitcher Jason Marquis in his Cincinnati debut. Marquis didn’t pitch last season. Chicago is also off Thursday and will play the Rockies in Denver, when Travis Wood starts for Chicago.

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Missouri State infielder Dylan Becker (27) swings at a pitch during the Bears’ Missouri Valley Conference baseball game against Dallas Baptist University at Hammons Field in Springfield on April 4, 2015. (Photo: Guillermo Hernandez Martinez/News-Leader)

For a team that lost a 13-inning heartbreaker, there was still some spring in Missouri State’s emotions as Saturday sunlight turned to wind-chilled shadows.

“We won the series and that kind of wears this down a little,” third baseman Jake Burger said after Dallas Baptist ended the Bears’ eight-game winning streak with a 5-4 marathon victory at Hammons Field.

Daniel Salters’ one-out home run in the 13th proved the difference. Missouri State won one-run games the two previous days.

The teams picked to finish 1-2 in the Missouri Valley Conference did not disappoint.

“It stinks that we didn’t sweep,” Burger said after a brief post-game team huddle. “We had a great weekend. It could have been a fabulous weekend.”

Missouri State (20-8 overall, 4-2 Missouri Valley Conference) was one hit away from sweeping the No. 13 Patriots (24-5, 6-3), who reign atop the Ratings Percentage Index with the Bears No. 8.

Justin Paulsen grounded out with the bases loaded for the final out. And it was Dallas Baptist’s turn to celebrate a one-run victory after the Bears had grabbed the first two games by the slimmest of margins.

“That game was fun and we really wish we could have won it,” said Missouri State center fielder Tate Matheny, whose eighth-inning single tied it. He threw out the go-ahead runner at home in the 12th.

“That’s a great ballclub over there and we feel like we can stick with them,” Matheny said. “It really stinks because we missed a lot of opportunities today.

“We left a lot of guys on base. I don’t even know the number. I don’t want to know.”

To be exact, it was 18 runners stranded. Three times, including in the 13th, the Bears loaded the bases and did not score.

“I’m sure we’ll watch this game later on. We wanted the sweep, bad. But two out of three against a ranked opponent, we’re proving to ourselves and everybody else we can play with anybody.”

The Bears battled back from a 3-0 deficit and caught the Patriots in the eighth on Matheny’s two-out RBI single off all-Valley closer Brandon Koch.

Missouri State nearly won it in the ninth. Burger doubled into the right-fielder corner and Spencer Johnson, running from first, was stopped at third by coach Keith Guttin after the Patriots handled the relay flawlessly.

Koch then retired Matt Fultz on a grounder behind third base to send it to extra innings for the second straight day.

Burger said he thought he had won the game with his opposite-field liner.

“Right off the bat I did, but I trust coach ‘G’ over there. He’s been in this game a lot longer than I have,” Burger said.

Guttin said he had no regrets.

“If I send him he’s out probably 40 feet,” Guttin said. “When the relay was clean, I stopped him.

“I’m not afraid to get a guy thrown out, but he was going to be out by a lot.”

Dallas Baptist did lose the potential winning run at the plate in the 12th. Matheny came up firing after fielding Chase Lynch’s single on one hop and made an on-the-fly throw to Fultz to nab a sliding Trevin Sonnier.

“I just came at it full speed and threw it as hard as I could,” Matheny said. “Luckily, it was on line.”

Dallas Baptist broke through in the 13th when Salters hit one over the right-field fence off Andy Cheray (3-3).

Meanwhile, Dallas Baptist reliever Chance Adams (4-0) was fabulous. He struck out seven in three innings — but narrowly escaped when the Bears loaded the bases on singles by Joey Hawkins, Aaron Meyer and Johnson.

“We showed a lot of grit coming back and continued to battle,” Guttin said, noting that winning the series will look good on the Bears’ resume when NCAA bids are discussed later this spring.

“Any time you can have wins over a high RPI team, it’s going to help you in every way fashionable,” Guttin said. “Winning the series was critical. Winning today would have been great.”

The Bears play host to Southeast Missouri State at 6:35 p.m. Tuesday.

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One prominent media outlet rates the rebuilding, remodeling or revamping (choose your adjective) Braves as the second-worst team in the majors, ahead of only the Phillies. Another predicts they could lose 100 games after trading away three of the best four hitters from what was the second-worst offense in baseball.

Of the seemingly countless publications and outlets covering or otherwise opining on baseball, not a one that we’re aware of picks the Braves to make the playoffs.

Which makes the mood within the organization and in the clubhouse all the more conspicuous in contrast.

Folks, these Braves don’t just believe they’ll avoid embarrassment this year; they think they will be competitive.

Nevermind aiming to be merely respectable, they believe they can start a new era of winning in the organization. Not only do they have self-respect, they have, dare we say, a little swagger. And they don’t mind if people know.

Taped to Julio Teheran’s locker stall in the Braves’ spring-training clubhouse is 10-by-12 inch laminated poster with “SWAG-LANTA” inscribed above the familiar cursive ‘A’ logo, which has a muscular arm extending from it, clutching a tomahawk. Below the ‘A’ is this: “Putting the Swagger back in the Braves, 2015”.

It’s just one innocuous poster hanging from one player’s locker, but it’s also not something that anyone is likely to ask Teheran to take down. Because the Braves feel good about themselves and want that to continue.

There’s been a positive, upbeat attitude throughout the organization this spring, and team officials certainly prefer that to players buying into all the negative stuff being written and said about their chances this season.

If there’s been an infusion of swagger, a big reason for it has been the arrival of veteran Jonny Gomes, a World Series champion with Boston in 2013, who said upon reporting to Braves spring training: “I’m here to win, and I’m here to win it all. That’s where I’m at.”

The Braves brought in Gomes in part because of his playoff experience, and the energy and aggressiveness he exudes.

Here’s what he had to say recently about the team’s performance and the mood in the clubhouse this spring:

“I don’t think anything’s really jumped out at me that I didn’t see coming, to tell the truth. It’s worked out pretty good out of the gate. (Rookie second baseman) Jace Peterson has shown up; I didn’t know him. But you’ve got to be careful right now, like in spring, everything you see, everything on the positive side is, ‘OK that’s really good,’ but everything on the negative side is, it’s only spring. So you don’t put a lot into it.

“All 30 teams are excited right now,” Gomes continued. “There’s no team that’s panicking. Everyone has swag right now. So you just have to keep yourself in check, keep your team in check, and just keep grinding every day to get better at the game.”

Still, that hard-to-define intangible, clubhouse chemistry, has been as good this spring as the Braves could possibly have hoped for from a team with so many new faces. They made a lot of their moves with that in mind, seeking to bring in players they believed would help build team unity and enthusiasm, knowing those are things they lacked a year ago and that could help get the Braves during the 162-grind that begins Monday.

Former Cardinals pitcher Shelby Miller, in his first year with the Braves, was asked recently about the clubhouse vibe.

“Oh, man, it’s much better than probably what’s predicted or what fans or other people think,” Miller said. “The locker room’s great. Great guys in the locker room. Great veterans, great leadership, and everybody seems to get along great. We’re building a chemistry and building one pretty fast. I think we all have a pretty good idea what we want to do. For 2015 I know we’re probably not projected to be the best, but we think we’re the best, and that’s how you’ve got to play every single game. Laying it all on the line. And whatever happens, happens.”