Again? Braves walk off on Giants for 2-1 win

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Again? Braves walk off on Giants for 2-1 win

Aug. 16, 2011BOX SCORE GIANTS VIDEOMLB PAGE MLB SCOREBOARD
ATLANTA (AP) -- The Atlanta Braves keep coming up with new things to throw when they celebrate.This time, they went with the resin bag."I tried to get away," Martin Prado said, breaking into a smile after his two-out single in the 11th inning gave the Braves their second straight last at-bat win over San Francisco, 2-1 Tuesday night. "They got me with dirt, the resin bag, everything. That's fine. It's a great win for the team."Randall Delgado had already dressed by the time the Braves won, but he sure did his part. The 21-year-old rookie allowed no hits through six innings in his second big-league start. He was lifted after giving up his lone hit - Cody Ross' leadoff homer in the seventh that tied the game at 1.
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Delgado insisted that he never thought about a no-hitter, but he knew how well he pitched. That's going to make it even more difficult to return to the minor leagues; he was called up to fill in for injured Tommy Hanson, and will head right back to Triple-A with Jair Jurrjens coming off the disabled list on Wednesday."That was pretty exciting," Delgado said. "I'm so proud of myself."Pinch-hitter Brooks Conrad sparked the winning rally with a ground-rule double. He moved over to third on a ground out and came home on Prado's opposite-field single to right off Javier Lopez (5-2).Prado's teammates charged out of the dugout and caught up him around second base, pelting him with all sorts of stuff in what has become a familiar team tradition. They lead the NL with 22 wins in the last at-bat.On Monday, the Braves rallied from a 4-2 deficit in the ninth inning, beating the Giants 5-4 on Freddie Freeman's two-out, two-run single off Brian Wilson."This is what I really love about this team," Prado said. "We always go all the way to the end. If we lose, we lose battling."The Giants put two players on the disabled list before the game, then lost starting pitcher Jonathan Sanchez to a sprained ankle in the third. Four relievers combined to allow only six hits and one earned run in eight innings.
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That's a tough one but I'm proud of the staff," manager Bruce Bochy said. "They fought hard, man. They were into it."Twenty-year-old Arodys Vizcaino (1-0) picked up his first big league win with two scoreless innings. Manager Fredi Gonzalez gave him the game ball and the lineup sheet the Braves put up in their dugout."My first game, I was nervous," Vizcaino said through a translator. "Now I feel like I'm part of the team because the guys make me feel so comfortable."Delgado, a 21-year-old prized prospect from Panama, looked right at home, too. He faced the minimum through six innings, the only baserunner reaching in the fourth when Mike Fontenot walked with one out, only to be erased on a nifty double play by the Braves.Second baseman Dan Uggla went to his knees to field a grounder by Pablo Sandoval, wheeled around and threw to second, where shortstop Alex Gonzalez made the relay throw while leaping over a sliding Fontenot.Gonzalez had hoped to get six innings out of the rookie, who made his major league debut on June 17 against defending AL champion Texas. Delgado was a bit shaky in that one, giving up seven hits and three earned runs in four innings, taking the loss in a 6-2 setback.He pitched like a veteran against the team that beat Texas in the World Series, mixing a mid-90s fastball with breaking pitches that had the Giants lunging. Chris Stewart was so fooled while striking out in the sixth, he flung his bat into the stands behind home plate. No one was hurt, fortunately.But Ross finally got to Delgado in the seventh. The right-hander threw three straight balls, managed a strike, then served up a 92 mph pitch that Ross launched deep into the left-field seats for his 10th homer."I was like, 'Wow, that was a bad pitch,'" Delgado said. "He made me pay."As soon as Ross finished circling the bases, Gonzalez popped from the dugout to switch pitchers. Delgado threw 74 pitches and received a standing ovation as he walked slowly off the field.The Giants may soon be out of players.Sanchez sprained his left ankle when he slipped in front of the mound while fielding Delgado's sacrifice bunt. He managed to make an awkward throw to first base from the ground, barely getting Delgado, but threw only one more pitch.
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After delivering one that was nearly over the head of Michael Bourn, Sanchez limped off the mound and was replaced by Guillermo Mota. The left-hander was on crutches after the game; he hopes to try out the ankle in a couple of days to determine if he can make his next start."It's disappointing what happened," Sanchez said. "When I pressed on my ankle, I couldn't go."The Giants, mired in a skid that knocked them out of first place in the NL West, began the day putting outfielder Carlos Beltran and reliever Sergio Romo on the 15-day disabled list. Three other players were nursing less-serious ailments that kept them out of the lineup.After replacing Sanchez, Mota gave up a two-out single to Bourn that drove in speedster Jose Constanza, the surprising sparkplug of the Braves offense. The 27-year-old career minor leaguer reached on a bunt single and is hitting .403 since coming up to Atlanta in late June, playing so well that he's starting ahead of last year's rookie star, Jason Heyward.The Giants cut off the throw home and got Bourn in a rundown - and what a rundown it was. Bourn drew five throws running back and forth before getting tagged out on a weary, headfirst slide into first.NOTES: IF Miguel Tejada was supposed to do a rehab stint in the minors, but the injury situation forced the Giants to put him straight in the lineup at third base. ... Braves 3B Chipper Jones batted sixth, the lowest he's hit in the Atlanta order since 1997. ... Jurrjens will be making his second career start against the Giants. He's 1-0 with a 3.00 ERA in his only other appearance. ... Matt Cain will get the nod for San Francisco in the series finale. He's 2-2 with a 4.03 ERA in five career starts vs. the Braves.

Instant Replay: Sharks allow six to Stars, losing streak now at five

Instant Replay: Sharks allow six to Stars, losing streak now at five

BOX SCORE

DALLAS – Entering the game with their longest regulation losing streak of the season, and playing against what should have been a tired opponent that is already out of playoff contention, the Sharks were obliterated by the Stars on Friday at American Airlines Center, 6-1.
 
From the drop of the puck, the Sharks looked like they had no interest in competing against a Dallas team that had played in Chicago on Thursday night, and had already beaten San Jose earlier in the week.

The loss stretched the Sharks’ losing streak to five, and it is the longest in more than six years when they dropped six in a row from Jan. 3-13, 2011. After enjoying a nine-point lead on the rest of the Pacific Division on March 14, the Ducks can tie San Jose in points with a win over Winnipeg later on Friday.
 
Adam Cracknell, who paced the Dallas offense with a hat trick, opened the scoring with his first of three goals. He drove the puck to the net while fighting off Brenden Dillon, and Micheal Haley inadvertently kicked the loose puck through Aaron Dell at 8:30 of the first period.
 
Prior to that score, it took the Sharks more than seven minutes to register their first shot.
 
San Jose escaped down just 1-0 at the first intermission, but it quickly got worse. Brett Ritchie was left open by Dillon and whipped in a pass from Tyler Seguin at 1:58, and then Dallas’ third goal really set off coach Pete DeBoer.
 
Joe Pavelski lost a defensive zone draw, and Brent Burns inexplicably vacated the front of the net, where Jamie Benn was wide open. Benn had all kinds of time to freeze Aaron Dell and slip through his 25th goal at 5:19.
 
DeBoer called timeout at that point, and was as visibly upset at his bench as he has been in his two seasons as head coach, barking away at the stunned Sharks skaters.
 
It didn’t help. Cracknell made it 4-0 off of a rush less than two minutes after the timeout, and although Joe Thornton got one back on the power play, the Stars scored two more times in the third period. 
 
Dell misplayed a puck on a Sharks power play, sliding it right to Cracknell for a breakaway in which he finished off a hat trick at 4:59. Just 21 seconds later, John Klingberg converted a two-on-one with Jason Spezza – who had three assists on the night – to make it a 6-1 Dallas lead.
 
The five-game winless streak is their worst since they went 0-6-1 from Dec. 1-12 last season.
 
San Jose has just five goals in its last five games.
 
The Sharks had Jannik Hansen back for the game, after the recent addition had missed the last two games with a head injury. Marc-Edouard Vlasic, though, was not able to finish the game, for reasons that were not immediately clear.
 
Special teams 
 
Thornton’s goal was his first on the power play all season, as the Sharks went 1-for-2. Dallas was 0-for-2.
 
Cracknell’s shorthanded goal was the fourth the Sharks have allowed this season.
 
In goal
 
Dell suffered his worst game of the season, and his NHL career, allowing six goals on 29 shots. He played all three games against Dallas, stopping 48 of 50 shots in the first two.
 
Kari Lehtonen, who shut out the Sharks with 30 saves on Monday in a 1-0 win, made 20 saves on Friday. He has played in 10 straight games.
 
Lineup
 
Timo Meier came out of the lineup for Hansen, while Danny O’Regan was reassigned to the Barracuda earlier in the day.
 
Burns snapped out of his seven-game scoreless streak with an assist on Thornton’s goal, but still has no goals in his last 15 games.
 
Dallas’ Tyler Seguin was skating in his 500th career NHL game.
 
Up next
 
The Sharks conclude their road trip Saturday in Nashville, their only appearance there in the regular season. In the first two games of the season series in San Jose, the Sharks won on Oct. 29, 4-1, but dropped a 3-1 decision on March 11.

A's spring training Day 39: Melvin applauds team's hitting approach

A's spring training Day 39: Melvin applauds team's hitting approach

MESA, Ariz. — Gaudy run totals in spring training usually don’t mean a whole lot once the regular season hits.

For A’s manager Bob Melvin, it’s the manner in which the A’s are going about things offensively that’s encouraging to him.

Oakland jumped on another opponent early, scoring five runs in the first Friday and rolling to an 8-2 victory over the Chicago White Sox. Granted, Chicago scratched starter Carlos Rodon in the morning and had to piece the game together with its bullpen.

But that only takes so much luster off the way the A’s are going about their business right now. They’ve won four in a row, and over their past five games they’ve racked up 71 hits and are averaging more than eight runs per contest in that span.

“The good thing is it’s contagious throughout the lineup,” Melvin said. “In the first inning alone we had four situational at-bats and four situational plusses. That’s something Bushy (hitting coach Darren Bush) really has been stressing all spring. We’ve had a lot of games where we just pass it on to the next guy, and if we’re gonna be successful this year, that’s what we’re gonna have to do is get contributions throughout the lineup.”

It’s interesting to watch how Melvin utilizes Matt Joyce. Early on he said he prefers the right fielder batting third when he’s in the lineup. But Joyce also is drawing starts at leadoff, as he did Friday, and the No. 2 spot. Increasing on-base percentage is a big need for the A’s, and Joyce entered Friday tied for the Cactus league lead with 10 walks.

He singled to spark a five-run first that included RBI singles from Trevor Plouffe, Yonder Alonso, Mark Canha and Chris Parmelee.

ELITE COMPANY: Melvin threw out some big-time names when asked who young third baseman Matt Chapman reminds him of.

One was Melvin’s former Giants teammate, Matt Williams, a five-time All-Star and four-time Gold Glover.

“The defense, Matty was as good as anybody I've seen over at third base,” Melvin said. “The power, there are a lot of similarities. That’s probably the best comp I could think of.”

Melvin also mentioned current Rockies star third baseman Nolan Arenado, who has won four consecutive Gold Gloves and posted back-to-back 40-homer seasons.

Not a bad couple of guys to be compared to.

“That’s exciting,” Chapman said. “It’s always nice to have people speak well of you. Those are two guys that I’m aware of how good they are.”

NOTEWORTHY: It was another start Friday where Kendall Graveman seemed to be on auto pilot, retiring hitters with ease and holding the White Sox to one run over seven innings. All the more impressive was that A’s hitters put together some very long half-innings, where Graveman had to make sure he stayed loose.

He simply took it as a good challenge to prepare for all those cold night games at the Coliseum. Named the A’s Opening Night starter just a day earlier, Graveman also used this start to focus on his cutter, being that his sinker has been locked in.

“It was good to have some innings where you have to sit for a while and go back out there,” Graveman said.

His ERA is 2.29 through five starts. He has one more tune-up before the April 3 opener against the Los Angeles Angels.

HEALTH UPDATES: Outfielder Jaff Decker continues to progress from his oblique injury. Now the key is whether he can return to games in time to make a final push for the 25-man roster. Alejandro De Aza appears to be his biggest competition to be the fifth outfielder, if the A’s end up carrying five.

“It just depends on when he gets in a game,” Melvin said of Decker. “I mean, he’s done enough obviously to make a big impression on us. But whether or not he’s even healthy enough at the end, we’ll see.”

ODDS AND ENDS: Ryon Healy swatted his fifth homer of the spring, a two-run shot, in the second inning. Entering Friday evening, Healy was tied for the major league lead in RBI (16) with Boston’s Pablo Sandoval. … Plouffe is on a recent tear and has lifted his average to .395. … Parmelee, a non-roster outfielder, is impressing in under-the-radar fashion. The left-handed hitter is batting .367. … Melvin is having a heck of a time getting switch hitter Jed Lowrie at-bats from the right side. He purposely switched things up to have Lowrie face the lefty Rodon on Friday, only to have Rodon get scratched. The A’s face lefties each of the next two days, and Melvin also mentioned sending Lowrie over to face minor league lefties if need be.