Anderson brilliant, A's gain split with Angels

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Anderson brilliant, A's gain split with Angels

May 26, 2011

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ANAHEIM (AP) The Oakland Athletics, starved for runs most of the month, finally got some, with every player notching a hit against the Los Angeles Angels.Brett Anderson tossed three-hit ball over eight scoreless innings and Andy LaRoche drove in three runs to help the last-place A's win 4-3 on Thursday.The A's split their four-game series with the second-place Angels, who fell to 4-7 in their past 11 games."It's good to finish the series with two out of three wins," LaRoche said. "Hopefully, it will give us some momentum going home and it will carry over. We're starting to see signs of life from our offense. As long as our pitchers continue to do the same job they've been doing, hopefully our offense will start to liven up a little bit."
GUTIERREZ: Anderson breaks through
Anderson (3-4) struck out four and walked three to beat the Angels for the first time in six career starts."My stuff wasn't particularly better today than it was on other days, I just mixed and matched well," he said. "I can't give enough credit to my defense behind me, it was unbelievable. The defense was spectacular all day."The left-hander had been 0-3 in his previous five starts. Anderson finally got some run support from his teammates, who had supplied two runs or less in seven of his previous 10 starts this season."He's not overpowering, but he can sneak his fastball in there a little bit," said Mark Trumbo, who was 0 for 3 against Anderson. "In the sixth, I was just a rally-killer - chopping a ball to third base. I didn't really stick with my game plan, and that hurt us right there."But Trumbo helped the Angels avoid the shutout, hitting a three-run homer off Grant Balfour with two outs in the ninth.The Angels' Torii Hunter, who had a hit and an RBI in each of his previous six games, failed to extend the longest such stretch of his career, going 0 for 3 with a walk.The Angels' only hits off Anderson were a single by Erick Aybar in the second inning, a double by Maicer Izturis in the sixth and a single by Alberto Callaspo in the seventh."Anderson pitched a good game and kept us down all afternoon," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. "He just was ahead in the count all game. We had some opportunities to chip into their lead and we just couldn't get one or two runs across early."Joel Pineiro (2-1) gave up 11 hits and four runs in 6 1-3 innings - the same three totals he had in his previous start against Atlanta. The 11 hits are the most allowed by an Angels starter this season. The right-hander struck out three and walked none for the second straight game while falling short in a bid to notch his 100th career victory."After he had given up a couple of runs, his stuff picked up a little bit and he looked like he got his second wind," Scioscia said about Pineiro. "But I just don't know that he had the command that he's shown us, and he definitely missed some spots in that inning where they bunched those three runs."The A's extended their lead to 4-0 with three runs in the fourth. Josh Willingham led off with a single before Mark Ellis singled with two outs. LaRoche followed with a double to left field, scoring Willingham and Ellis. He scored on Cliff Pennington's single.Oakland led 1-0 in the second on LaRoche's groundout to third that scored former Angel Hideki Matsui, who singled to lead off the inning.Notes: The Angels placed INF Howie Kendrick on the 15-day DL with right hamstring tightness, and signed INF Russell Branyan to a contract for the season. Branyan pinch hit in the ninth. ... Angels INF Kendrys Morales underwent a second surgery in Vail, Colo., on his left ankle to clean out scar tissue, degenerative cysts and debris in the area. He won't return this season. ... The A's closed their seven-game trip with a 2-5 record. ... Oakland starters have allowed one earned run or less in seven of the past eight games and have a 1.61 ERA over that span.

49ers, McDonald agree to five-year extension

49ers, McDonald agree to five-year extension

The 49ers signed tight end Vance McDonald to a five-year contract extension through the 2021 season, the team announced late Friday.

The deal is worth $35 million, including $16 million in guaranteed money, ESPN reported.

McDonald ranks third on the 49ers with 24 catches for 391 yards and four touchdowns. He has touchdown receptions this season of 75 and 65 yards.

"Vance has shown consistent growth throughout his four-year career and his production this season is the result of his dedication and hard work,” 49ers general manager Trent Baalke said in a statement. “We believe he has only scratched the surface of what he will be able to accomplish in his career. Vance is a tremendous ambassador for the 49ers, and his passion for helping others provides a wonderful example for this organization. We look forward to his continued contributions to this organization, both on and off the field.”

McDonald is in the final season of his original four-year, $3.99 million contract he signed as a second-round draft pick in 2013.

In McDonald’s three previous seasons, he caught just 40 passes for 475 yards and three touchdowns.

McDonald spoke last week about the greater chances he's gotten to prove himself since the 49ers traded Vernon Davis last season.

“I just always look back at the opportunity when Vernon went to (Denver),” McDonald said. “Just being able to have the trust and the opportunity to start games and play every down.”

Said 49ers coach Chip Kelly, "He’s one of our weapons on the offensive side of the ball and he runs better than most tight ends in this league. So really depends on week to week what people have available at the safety spot to kind of match up with him. But he’s certainly someone that I think people defensively have to game plan for.”

 

 

Sharks' Thornton not concerned with his offensive numbers

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Sharks' Thornton not concerned with his offensive numbers

ANAHEIM – When you have a guy on your roster that just broke into the NHL’s top 25 in scoring, it’s probably difficult to tell him how to play the game.

Still, Joe Thornton is not putting up offensive numbers he’s accustomed to. Through 26 games, Thornton has just two goals and 14 assists for 16 points. Somewhat shockingly, both of his goals have come into an empty net, meaning he has yet to beat a single goaltender with a shot with nearly one-third of the schedule already in the books.

Coach Pete DeBoer remarked on Friday morning, “I think every coach that he’s ever played for would like him to shoot more.”

But has DeBoer told Thornton, who has 27 shots, to shoot more?

“I haven’t recently,” he said. “We’ve had conversations like all coaches do about it, but I pretty much let him play his game. I think most of the conversations we have are about other parts of the game.”

"For me, he does so many things so well for us that we’re not piling on that he needs to score or shoot more. He’s got to play his game, and the offense will come. He stirs our offensive drink, so to speak, and he does it well. I’m not worried about the fact that he doesn’t have goals, no.”

There’s reason to believe Thornton will pick up his production. In fact, his start this season is nearly identical to last year, when he had 15 points (3g, 12a) through 26 games. Over the final four months he up 66 points after Dec. 15, tied for Sidney Crosby for the most in the NHL.

The alternate captain indicated the Sharks’ short summer, combined with his playing for Team Canada in the World Cup, might have taken a toll on his 37-year-old body.

“Going deeper in the postseason I think, it just starts a little bit different – plus the World Cup started earlier. You just kind of jam it in,” he said. “I feel good lately, and hopefully [I’ll] continue it.”

Not surprisingly, the famously laid back Thornton isn’t concerned with the fact he doesn’t have any non-empty netters yet.

“They’ll eventually go in. It’s no secret I’m more of a pass-first guy,” he said. “When you don’t expect it, that’s when they usually come. I haven’t been squeezing my stick or anything.”

“It comes at the strangest times. For whatever reason, you get hot for little stretches of time. I’ve never been one to worry too much.”