Giants

All eyes on Maria Sharapova at U.S. Open

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All eyes on Maria Sharapova at U.S. Open

From Comcast SportsNet Monday, August 29, 2011
NEW YORK (AP) -- When third-seeded Maria Sharapova looks at the list of top contenders for the U.S. Open, here's what she sees: --Serena Williams, seeded 28th and on the comeback trail, and her sister, Venus, unseeded and barely on the radar this year. --A top seed, Caroline Wozniacki, who has never won a Grand Slam and a No. 2 seed, Vera Zvonareva, who has won a total of eight games in her two major finals. --And she won't see the name of two-time defending champion, Kim Clijsters, who last week said she wouldn't be in New York because of a freshly injured stomach muscle. Clijsters' withdrawal was the latest bit of news that -- on paper, at least -- appeared to open things up for Sharapova, a three-time major winner who, of late, has been playing her best tennis since shoulder surgery derailed her in late 2008. "I can't really think like that," Sharapova said when asked how Clijsters' absence might help her chances for a second title at Flushing Meadows. "I don't think that's a mindset of a winner, to be honest. You've got to be ready to face anyone at any given moment." On Monday, Sharapova will open against Heather Watson, the 104th-ranked 19-year-old from Britain making her U.S. Open debut. Also opening play Monday is fifth-seeded Petra Kvitova, who beat Sharapova in the Wimbledon finals earlier this summer, further cementing the argument that there are no sure things, or dominant players, at the current time in women's tennis. "She was able to find an answer, you know, in things that I kind of challenged her with," Sharapova said. "It was a really great match for her at a big stage. That's the only way you can really look at it." And yet, since that 6-3, 6-4 win over Sharapova at Wimbledon, Kvitova has won a total of two matches. "I think she's a good enough player to find her form back here," Sharapova said. After missing the better part of a year with a series of ailments that started when she got cut by glass at a restaurant in July 2010, Serena Williams is rounding into form. Earlier this month, she won tournaments in Stanford and Toronto and is 16-2 since June. Even as the 28th seed, she is widely considered the woman to beat. "I'm just here to play one match, and the next match, and hopefully I can get to seven wins," Williams said last week. Play was set to begin largely on schedule Monday despite Hurricane Irene, which washed out practice days over the weekend. The only exception is in Arthur Ashe Stadium, where the first match will begin at 1 p.m. instead of 11 a.m., as workers prepare the stadium, which had been battened down for the hurricane. Headlining action Monday night are Venus Williams and third-seeded Roger Federer, who is trying to avoid going 0 for 4 in Grand Slams for the first time since 2002. Federer turned 30 earlier this month, which often signals the beginning of the end for top tennis players. Of the past 100 Grand Slam titles, only five were won by a man past his 30th birthday. The last to do it was Andre Agassi at the 2003 Australian Open. Federer, though, said that his age hasn't affected his expectations. "Hasn't changed anything. I'm still as professional. I'm still as hungry. Everything's still completely normal," he explained. "It's just a number that's changed. I'm ready to go." Among Federer's accomplishments: 16 Grand Slam titles and five straight U.S. Open titles from 2004-08. His 40-match winning streak at Flushing Meadows ended in the 2009 final against Juan Martin del Potro. Last year, Federer lost in the semifinals to Novak Djokovic, who comes in seeded first and going for his third major of the season. This will be the first time that neither Federer nor defending champion Rafael Nadal has held the top seed in a major since the 2004 Australian Open. But Djokovic has certainly earned it. He is producing one of the greatest seasons in tennis history. He's 57-2 with nine titles, including at Wimbledon and the Australian Open. He's also 5-0 against Nadal, with all of those matchups coming in tournament finals: two on hard courts, two on clay, and one on grass at the All England Club last month. Djokovic retired from the second set of the final in Cincinnati earlier this month with a sore right shoulder, ending a 16-match winning streak and bringing a little bit of doubt into his health for the upcoming two-week grind at Flushing Meadows. His top two challengers, however, aren't expecting much of a letdown. "He's only lost two matches all year," Nadal said. "For everybody, (it's) surprising, but for me, (it's) no surprise that Djokovic is No. 1. For me, it is not a surprise that Djokovic is able to win Grand Slams, because he's very good."

Giants hammer Taillon, return favor with 11-3 win over Pirates

Giants hammer Taillon, return favor with 11-3 win over Pirates

BOX SCORE

SAN FRANCISCO -- Giants pitcher Madison Bumgarner saw no reason to make a big deal over his first win of the year, even if it came far deeper into the season than anyone expected.

In a season that long ago spun out of control for both San Francisco and its ace, Bumgarner was happier seeing the struggling Giants have one of their best games of the year.

Bumgarner allowed one run over five innings for his first win of the season, and the Giants beat the Pittsburgh Pirates 11-3 on Tuesday night.

"It was nice to be on the board now individually," Bumgarner said. "But that's not what it's about. It's about us winning games, and we played really good tonight."

Eduardo Nunez drove in two runs in his final game with San Francisco as he was traded to Boston for two minor leaguers. The veteran infielder was pulled in the fifth inning and was later seen on television shaking hands with several teammates in the Giants' clubhouse. The deal was announced after a few minutes after the final out.

Bumgarner also singled and scored, Buster Posey had three hits and an RBI and Joe Panik added a bases-loaded triple as struggling San Francisco won for only the fifth time in 16 games.

Josh Harrison singled twice for the Pirates, who fell behind 9-0 and couldn't recover. Pittsburgh stranded seven runners in the first five innings, including four in scoring position.

Making his third start since coming off the disabled list after nearly three months following a dirt bike accident in Colorado on April 20, Bumgarner (1-4) was mostly sharp while quieting a potent Pittsburgh lineup and ending the Pirates' seven-game winning streak at AT&T Park.

Three years after pitching a complete game to beat Pittsburgh in the NL wild card on his way to winning the 2014 World Series MVP, Bumgarner pitched out of a pair of early jams, allowed six hits and had four strikeouts.

"He did a nice job," San Francisco manager Bruce Bochy said. "I'm sure he's glad to get that (first win) taken care of. Once he went five that was enough."

It's the first win by a Giants starting pitcher since July 5.

Jameson Taillon (6-4) took the loss, giving up 10 runs in three innings.

"I didn't make good pitches once they got runners on," Taillon said. "They didn't waste any time. They had a merry-go-round going."

UMPIRE GOES DOWN:
Posey lined a single that hit second base umpire Ed Hickox in the foot and knocked him down in the fifth inning. Hickox slowly got to his feet and was attended to by a member of the Giants medical staff but remained in the game.

TRAINER'S ROOM:
Giants: RHP Johnny Cueto may need to make a rehab start before rejoining the rotation. Cueto has been hindered by blisters on multiple fingers of his pitching hand, an issue that has lingered for much of the past month. The right-hander played catch from 105 feet before the game. Pablo Sandoval moved from Single-A San Jose to Triple-A Sacramento as he continues to try to work his way back into the big leagues. RHP Chris Stratton was recalled from Sacramento and IF Orlando Calixte was optioned down.

UP NEXT:
RHP Jeff Samardzija (4-11, 5.05 ERA) pitches the finale for the Giants seeking to beat Pittsburgh for the second time this season while RHP Trevor Williams (4-4, 4.74 ERA) takes the mound for the Pirates looking for his fourth win in the last five road starts.

Giants trade Eduardo Nunez to Red Sox

Giants trade Eduardo Nunez to Red Sox

Eduardo Nunez's time with the Giants is up as they have traded the third baseman to the Boston Red Sox.

The teams announced the trade shortly after the Giants beat the Pirates 11-3 on Tuesday night.

Fox Sports was the first to report the news.

The Giants will acquire minor league pitchers Shaun Anderson and Gregory Santos.

Anderson, Boston's third-round pick out of Florida in 2016, has a 3.42 ERA in 97.1 innings between Low-A Greenville and High-A Salem this season.

Santos, a 17-year-old right-handed pitcher, was signed by Boston out of the Dominican Republic in 2015. Pitching in the Dominican Summer League this season, Santos has allowed just three earned runs in 30 innings pitched.

Nunez was lifted for pinch-hitter in the bottom of the fifth inning Tuesday night and was seen hugging teammates as he left the dugout.

In 75 games with the Giants this season, Nunez hit .308/.334/.417 with 21 doubles, four home runs, 29 RBI and 17 stolen bases.

Nunez was acquired from the Twins last summer for two prospects.