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Now that was more of the start Nashville was looking for. The finish? Not as much.

Filip Forsberg scored another creative goal, Pekka Rinne rebounded from a rocky performance with 31 saves, and the Predators withstood a furious rally by the Colorado Avalanche for a 3-2 win in Game 4 on Wednesday night to take a 3-1 lead in the first-round series.

"I guess probably some teams, every once in a while, can say everything is perfect. Everything is awesome," Predators coach Peter Laviolette said. "But most times you're trying to work on something, trying to get better at something."

For the first time all series, the Avs were held scoreless in the opening period and the Predators built a 3-0 cushion heading into the final period.

Colton Sissons and Craig Smith also scored for the Predators, who can close out the series Friday when it shifts back to Nashville for Game 5.

"We don't want it to end at all," Avalanche forward Nathan MacKinnon said. "We're still in it. It's not over yet."

Rinne was solid early after being pulled from the last game. Cruising along and up 3-0, the Vezina Trophy finalist allowed Gabriel Landeskog's 5-on-3 power-play goal in the third and another on Alexander Kerfoot's tap-in off a rebound with 8:59 remaining.

Colin Wilson nearly tied with about 2 minutes left when his shot appeared to hit the post. The Avalanche pulled backup goalie Andrew Hammond late, but couldn't get the tying goal. Tyson Jost sent a shot over the net at the buzzer.

"It was a good push by them," Forsberg said.

Forsberg worked his puck-handling magic in the first period by dancing around defenseman Duncan Siemens and juking Jonathan Bernier for his third goal of the series. The ever-creative Forsberg had an artistic goal in Game 1 as well, when he sent the puck through the defenseman's legs before scoring.

"Just tried to use my speed wide and use that speed all the way around the net," Forsberg said.

Bernier allowed three goals on 26 shots before being replaced by Hammond to start the third period due to a lower body injury. Hammond had eight saves.

Forsberg and his crew came out with a little more spring in their skates for Game 4. This may have played a role: The team went through an up-tempo practice the day before. It was a way to avoid a sluggish start like Monday when Colorado scored three times in the first period of Game 3.

The strategy worked. Nashville controlled the tempo except for a frenzied stretch in the third.

"We knew we weren't going to go 16-0," Forsberg said. "We were going to lose a game throughout these playoffs and obviously we were just looking to bounce back."

Now, the Avs are looking to regroup.

"I'm obviously upset at the result, but I loved our third, there's no question," Avalanche coach Jared Bednar said. "But we need to find that urgency earlier."

There was a scary moment in the second period when MacKinnon's stick caught teammate Mikko Rantanen near the eye. Rantanen left with a towel pressed against his face, only to return a few minutes later.

But not before the Predators scored another goal as Smith zoomed out of the penalty box and beat Bernier with a wrist shot to make it 3-0.

From there, things turned a little testy. Landeskog hit a tumbling Ryan Johansen, who headed to the dressing room. He returned in the third period.

P.K. Subban got the crowd fired up early by shooting a puck into Colorado's net in the pregame warmups. He's stepped into the villain's role after delivering a blow to the side of MacKinnon's helmet during Game 3. Subban was booed each time he touched the puck.

The Predators came out firing on all cylinders, even going on an early 5-on-3 power play for 1:20. They but couldn't get anything past Bernier, but they did knock Bernier's mask momentarily out of commission when Viktor Arvidsson's slap shot caught him square him in the cage. Bernier skated over to the bench to grab his backup one. He later returned to his original one.

NOTES: Predators F Calle Jarnkrok returned after missing the last 16 games with an upper-body injury. ... Rinne felt honored to be a finalist for the award that goes to the league's top goaltender. "Even though it's an individual award, I couldn't do it without my teammates," he said. ... Avs D Samuel Girard missed a third straight game with an upper-body injury. ... Avs F Carl Soderberg took a bit hit from RW Ryan Hartman in the third that drew a charging penalty.

Matt Olson singled over left fielder Nicky Delmonico to drive in Marcus Semien with two outs in the 14th inning and the Oakland Athletics beat the Chicago White Sox 12-11 in a wild game that lasted nearly six hours Wednesday.

The A's trailed 6-1, 9-4 and 10-8, then gave up a tying run in the ninth before scoring the winning run off James Shields (1-1) five innings later.

The teams combined for 33 hits and 18 walks —12 by Chicago pitchers — in a game that lasted 5 hours and 48 minutes. It was the third-longest game by time in Oakland Athletics history.

Semien singled with two outs in the 14th and stole second. After Shields walked Jed Lowrie and Khris Davis, Olson lined an 0-1 pitch deep to left, and Delmonico watched it go over his head.

Lou Trivino (1-0) pitched three innings for his first major league win. He made his big league debut in a 10-2 win over Chicago Tuesday.

The White Sox fell to 4-11, matching their worst start since 1997.

Both bullpens got depleted. Shields was scheduled to start against Houston on Friday but instead became the 10th pitcher used by White Sox manager Rick Renteria.

The A's were down to their last reliever and even had outfielder Jake Smolinski warming up to pitch at one point.

Olson finished with four hits and three RBIs, Lowrie also drove in three and Mark Canha homered to help the A's complete the three-game sweep of the White Sox. Stephen Piscotty added two hits to extend his hitting streak to eight games.

Chicago lost its fourth straight despite a big day by leadoff hitter Yoan Moncada. Moncada hit his first career grand slam, scored three times and matched his career high of four RBIs.

Jose Abreu had three hits, two RBIs and was hit by a pitch early in the game for Chicago. Delmonico had three hits, and Matt Davidson added two singles.

Moncada's slam off right-hander Andrew Triggs capped a five-run second inning. Moncada also singled, stole a base and scored in the first, then walked and scored in the fourth.

The game between the St. Louis Cardinals and Chicago Cubs on Wednesday was called off because of wintry weather, the 25th postponement in the first three weeks of the major league season.

The total matched 2007 for the most weather-related postponements through April since Major League Baseball started keeping records in 1986. There were 26 postponements through April in 2007, but one was caused by the death of St. Louis pitcher Josh Hancock.

With temperatures in the mid-30s and rain and snow in the forecast, the game was called about 4½ hours before the scheduled first pitch and rescheduled for Thursday afternoon.

Chicago's Jon Lester and St. Louis' Luke Weaver had their starts moved back a day.

The postponement was the fourth on the Cubs' first homestand, and third in four days. Sunday's series finale against Atlanta was rescheduled for May 14 because of rain and Monday's game against the Cardinals is to be made up as part of a day-night doubleheader on July 21.

The Tennessee Titans have announced they will exercise their fifth-year option on quarterback Marcus Mariota.

The move keeps Mariota under contract through the 2019 season.

Titans general manager Jon Robinson made the announcement ahead of the May 3 deadline to declare a fifth-year option for players drafted in 2015.

The Titans selected the 2014 Heisman Trophy winner from Oregon with the second overall pick in the 2015 draft. Mariota has made 42 regular-season starts over the last three years and has completed 61.8 percent of his passes for 9,476 yards with 58 touchdowns and 34 interceptions.

He threw 13 touchdown passes with a career-high 15 interceptions last season but also led the Titans to their first playoff victory since January 2004 .

Christian Yelich quickly made an impact in his return from the disabled list.

The Milwaukee center fielder made a snazzy sliding catch on a fly ball that deflected off the glove of left fielder Hernan Perez, and the Brewers beat the Cincinnati Reds 2-0 on Wednesday.

"I thought they really went at it the right way with one guy sliding," Brewers manager Craig Counsell said. "They weren't going to run into each other."

Yelich, Perez and shortstop Orlando Arcia converged on a low fly by Alex Blandino in the top of the second.

Perez cut in front of the sliding Yelich as the ball glanced off the left fielder's glove 243 feet from the plate. Yelich tracked the ball, which hit off him, and showed why he was the 2014 NL Gold Glove winner by making the catch as he regained his feet.

Collison avoided.

"There are going to be those balls — and they're always dangerous — that have three guys going to the same spot," Counsell said. "I think it just kind of landed on his leg and popped right up to him."

Yelich, acquired from the Miami Marlins during the offseason, played for the first time since April 4 after recovering from a strained right oblique. He was not in the clubhouse to speak with reporters after the game.

Eric Thames hit a two-run homer for the second straight day in a 2-0 win, and Zach Davies (1-2) allowed three hits over 6 1/3 innings to win for the first time in four starts this season.

Reds manager Bryan Price intentionally walked Thames to bring up Yelich with two outs and the bases loaded in the fourth.

"That's not a comfortable feeling, either," Price said. "You got Yelich, one of the better young hitters in the game."

Yelich, who was activated Tuesday but did not play, went 1 for 2 with a strikeout and a pair of walks.

Thames homered on a slider from Tyler Mahle (1-3) in the third inning, his team-leading seventh home run and 12th against the Reds in two seasons. Thames hit 10 home runs last season against the Reds, the most by any NL player against an opponent.

"He's their offense against us the last two days with the home runs," Price said. "We make a mistake and he makes us pay for it."

Mahle, the only rookie to begin this season in the Reds' starting rotation, gave up seven hits and four walks — one intentional — in five innings. He walked Thames intentionally with two outs in the fourth to load the bases, then struck out Yelich.