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rawford drew an eight-pitch walk from Choate to begin

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SAINT JOHN, N.B. -- Rachel Homan has confidence, home ice and hammer heading into Sundays final at the Ford Womens World Curling Championship. She intends to turn those assets into gold. Homan, third Emma Miskew, second Alison Kreviazuk and lead Lisa Weagle out of the Ottawa Curling Club will start the championship game against Switzerlands Binia Feltscher with last-rock advantage. Its Canadas reward for their 10-1 record to win the preliminary round and their 8-3 playoff win Friday over the Swiss. None of the other 11 countries at Saint Johns Harbour Station were as effective at scoring more than one point with hammer as Canada, so having it in the first end is an advantage. "Its huge," Homan said. "If you play your game properly, you can control the game." Canada last won a womens world curling title in 2008, when Winnipegs Jennifer Jones claimed it in Vernon, B.C. The wait hasnt been as long for Switzerland, as Mirjam Ott took the title two years ago in Lethbridge, Alta. With spectacular runbacks and raise takeouts, the Canadians drained Switzerlands offence Friday to win the playoff between the tournaments top two teams. That provided the host country a direct route to the gold-medal game, while Switzerland needed a 7-3 win over South Korea in Saturdays semifinal to gain a rematch. Russias Anna Sidorova and South Koreas Ji-sun Kim will play for bronze Sunday in what will be a first womens world curling medal for one of the countries. Homans team had Saturday off, so the skip watched the game in her hotel room and conducted interviews by phone in a raspy voice. "The rest will be good for me," Homan said. "Im glad the final is not today. "Its been a long week and we all need a bit of rest, so were glad that we put in the work and played really well and were able to get this bonus day off. We have some confidence we can take over into the final." Feltscher, 35, won an Olympic silver medal in 2006 playing third for Ott, but Sundays final will be the biggest game of her career as a skip. Third Irene Schori, second Franziska Kaufmann and Lead Christine Urech made their world championship debut in Saint John, so a 9-2 round-robin record and a berth in the final is a surprise. "Weve got nothing to lose tomorrow," Feltscher said via an interpreter. "It would be a great pleasure for us to put that gold medal around our necks." Switzerland was the only country to beat Canada in the round robin. Down 8-4, Homan shook hands after eight ends. Canadian Al Moore, husband of television curling commentator Linda Moore, is one of Switzerlands coaches. "I dont think their expectations were particularly high coming in," Moore said. "My goal coming in was to be in the playoffs. I really thought they could do that. The gold-medal game is a bonus." "They believe they can win. They believe if they go out and play their best, they believe they can win and really thats the difference." Jones and Brad Jacobs gave Canada double curling gold at the Winter Olympics in Sochi last month, with Jones going undefeated en route to the top step of the podium. Homan is on the verge of making it a dominant season for Canadian womens curling. "We have pressure on ourselves as well," Homan said. "You want that gold when it comes down to it. "Seeing Jones and (Brad) Jacobs bring home the gold from the Olympics, I really want to make it a clean sweep for Canada and make sure weve got gold everywhere." The average age of Homan and her teammates is just under 26, but they have big-game experience. Theyve won back-to-back Canadian titles, took bronze in their world championship debut last year in Riga, Latvia, and made it as far as the semifinal in Decembers Olympic trials. Homan was a shot away from making the final last year in Riga, but she missed a double takeout with her last throw of the semifinal to give up a steal and lose 8-7 to Scotland. The travel, time zone and arena were kinder to Homan this time. "Youre going to feel nervous and that comes with the territory and that comes with the sport," Homan said. "We love playing with the pressure and the home crowd. "A little bit different than Latvia. We had about five fans cheering us on. Theres a lot more energy this time around." Coby Fleener Jersey . -- The Florida Gators are first yet again this season. Craig Robertson Jersey . - Mathew Barzal scored 3:47 into overtime as the Seattle Thunderbirds downed the visiting Everett Silvertips 4-3 on Tuesday in Western Hockey League playoff action. http://www.shoptheofficialsaints.com/El ... ts-Jersey/. -- Two-time AL Cy Young Award winner Johan Santana agreed Tuesday to a minor league contract with the Baltimore Orioles as he tries to come back from the second major operation on his left shoulder. Josh Hill Jersey . -- Southern Illinois coach Barry Hinson couldnt hear himself amid the roar in Koch Arena, so he kept stomping on the floor in a fruitless attempt to get his teams attention. Delvin Breaux Jersey .com) - Real Madrid claimed its 20th consecutive win across all competitions by cruising to a 4-1 victory at Almeria on Friday.SAN FRANCISCO - A wild pitch, a wide throw and an 18-inning marathon.These playoff-tested Giants keep finding wacky ways to win in another special October.An errant throw by reliever Randy Choate on a bunt allowed Brandon Crawford to score the winning run in the bottom of the 10th inning, lifting San Francisco over the St. Louis Cardinals 5-4 on Tuesday for a 2-1 lead in the NL Championship Series.Everybodys saying: How are the Giants doing it? How are the Giants winning games? said Gregor Blanco, who laid down the sacrifice. We just really believe in each other. We play together.Crawford drew an eight-pitch walk from Choate to begin the inning, ending a stretch of 16 straight Giants retired since Tim Hudsons two-out single in the fourth. After failing on two sacrifice attempts, Juan Perez singled to bring up Blanco.Blanco fouled off a bunt try, too, but then pushed one to the third-base side of the mound and the left-handed Choates side-arm throw sailed past lunging second baseman Kolten Wong, who was covering first base.We had trouble getting the bunt down, Crawford said. So I was happy he got it down. He put it in a great spot and made those guys make a play, and fortunately (we) saw the throw go wide.Randal Grichuk tied it with a solo homer in the seventh that chased Hudson.Game 4 in the best-of-seven series is Wednesday night, with Ryan Vogelsong pitching for the Giants against fellow righty Shelby Miller.Choate blamed himself. He has done pitcher fielding practice for decades.He did exactly what I wanted him to do, the pitcher said. It was easy. It was right there and I blew it. The ball just sailed on me.This walkoff win came 12 years to the day after Kenny Loftons single in the ninth inning ended the 2002 NLCS against the Cardinals and sent the Giants to the World Series. It also came on a day Hall of Famer Willie McCovey surprised players with his return to the ballpark after a long stint in the hospital nursing an infection.Is this a rule we cant hit a home run? a relieved manager Bruce Bochy joked, sitting back in his office chair.In the Division Series clincher only a week earlier against Washington, Joe Panik scored the go-ahead run in a 3-2 win on Aaron Barretts bases-loaded wild pitch. That came after winning Game 2 2-1 in 18 innings.The Giants also scored the tying run in the ninth inning Sundayy on a wild pitch, a 5-4 loss in Game 2 of the NLCS.ddddddddddddWe play interesting baseball, especially late in games, said Jeremy Affeldt, who pitched 1 2-3 innings in relief of Hudson.Playing without injured catcher Yadier Molina, the Cardinals had their chances. They squandered Wongs double in the second before he delivered a wind-aided, two-run triple in the fourth.Javier Lopez got the first two outs of the 10th before Jon Jays single, just the third hit by a left-handed batter against Lopez since he joined San Francisco in 2010. Two of those are by Jay this series.Sergio Romo entered and retired Matt Holliday on a full-count grounder to third that Pablo Sandoval snared and fired to first.We dont do anything easy, Bochy said. We might have got a little lucky there with Perez when he couldnt get a bunt down and he gets a base hit. But Blanco laid down a beauty.A.J. Pierzynski went hitless in four at-bats starting as Molina nursed a strained left oblique. St. Louis returned to AT&T Park in the post-season for the first time since losing Games 6 and 7 of the 2012 NLCS, which it had led 3-1.Journeyman Travis Ishikawa hit a three-run double in the first to stake Hudson to a 4-0 lead in the right-handers first post-season start beyond the division series in a 16-year career.Hunter Pences RBI double off John Lackey got things started in the first, the first time the Giants scored in the initial inning this post-season. Buster Posey and Sandoval hit consecutive two-out singles and Ishikawa followed an intentional walk to Brandon Belt to load the bases with his double.The four runs were the Giants most in the first inning in the post-season since scoring six against Joe Wood of the Red Sox in Game 7 of eight in the 1912 World Series.UP NEXTCardinals: Miller, making his second career post-season start and fifth appearance, faced the Giants twice in relief during the 12 NLCS, losses in Games 2 and 6 at AT&T Park.Giants: Vogelsong has a 1.19 post-season ERA, and the Giants have won all five of his starts. He started the Division Series clincher against the Nationals, allowing one run in 5 2-3 innings.PLUNKEDHudson hit Lackey with a pitch on his left elbow in the fifth, making Lackey the first pitcher to be hit by pitch in the post-season since Steve Carlton was plunked by Tommy John in the 1977 NLCS. 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