Bumgarner, Huff lead Giants to 6-0 victory


Bumgarner, Huff lead Giants to 6-0 victory

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) -- Chris Stewart pulled the souvenir out of his locker, moving it around in his hand for all to see: a marked-up ball that took 10 years to earn."It's the best looking baseball I've ever seen," he said.Stewart hit his first major league home run, Aubrey Huff had another solo shot and the San Francisco Giants showed some rare pop in a 6-0 victory over the Pittsburgh Pirates on Tuesday night.Stewart sent the fastball from James McDonald over the left-field wall in the fifth, sprinting around the bases and getting mobbed by teammates in the dugout after his first home run in 140 major league at-bats. He gave the fan who caught the ball in the bleachers an autographed bat, and he'll soon be placing his newest possession on his mantle.After so many almost-homers, the 29-year-old catcher finally had his long ball."I lifted weights this morning," he said, chuckling. "That extra curl got that ball out for me."Madison Bumgarner (7-11) struck out 10 and walked one in seven innings. The lefty was one strikeout short of his career high, which came against Cleveland on June 26.Huff also had an RBI double to help chase McDonald (7-6) after six innings. McDonald allowed three runs and four hits for the Pirates, who had snapped a 10-game losing streak a night earlier.Sergio Romo pitched a scoreless eighth and Santiago Casilla got out of a bases-loaded jam in the ninth to finish off Pittsburgh."I missed my spot in the major leagues, that's what I did, and they put a good swing on the ball," McDonald said. "I tip my hat to them. I've given up home runs my whole career."With Bumgarner having another superb outing, San Francisco finally gave him a rare source of power.Huff followed Stewart's blast with a home run over the brick wall in right in the sixth to go ahead 3-0. The homer was his 11th of the season and a big boost for a Giants team playing without injured slugger Carlos Beltran, nursing a strained right hand for the second straight night.San Francisco's 28 home runs at AT&T Park are the lowest for any team in the majors at home. And perhaps none this season is more special than Stewart's shot."Things like that do pull a club together," Giants manager Bruce Bochy said.Nate Schierholtz, Cody Ross and Orlando Cabrera also drove in a run each to highlight a two-run eighth for the Giants, and they could've had far more. The Giants were 2 for 11 with runners in scoring position.The Pirates had few scoring chances and saw their best one snatched away.Ronny Cedeno had a one-out double in the fifth and moved to third with two outs on McDonald's ground out. Then Giants third baseman Pablo Sandoval made a diving stop to rob Andrew McCutchen of extra bases and save a run.That's sort of how things have gone lately for Pittsburgh, which sat in first place in the NL Central a little more than two weeks ago. Suddenly, they can't string consecutive wins together."You ask me how we beat left-handers? We get hits with runners in scoring position," Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said. "We didn't do that tonight."NOTES: Giants OF Pat Burrell was scheduled to fly to North Carolina on Wednesday to seek a second opinion on his strained right foot. ... Giants 3B coach Tim Flannery sang the national anthem along with "Further" members Phil Lesh and Bob Weir. ... Pirates RHP Jeff Karstens (8-6, 3.05 ERA) will try to rebound from his last start when he takes the mound Thursday opposite Giants LHP Jonathan Sanchez (4-6, 4.10). Karstens allowed nine runs in 3 1-3 innings last week against San Diego. It was the first time he allowed more than three earned runs in a start since April 17.

Injury report: Murray rebounds well after return to Raiders practice


Injury report: Murray rebounds well after return to Raiders practice

ALAMEDA – Latavius Murray will spend this practice week testing himself, to see if he can play after a debilitating bout of turf toe sidelined him the last two games.

He returned to action on a limited basis for Wednesday’s practice, and needed to respond and rebound well to continue his quest back to the playing field.

Early returns have been positive.

I think he got a handful of plays out there (on Wednesday),” offensive coordinator Bill Musgrave said before Thursday’s practice. “I think he’s looking to get better each and every day and hopefully it’s good enough by the time the next game arrives.”

Murray practice a second straight day on Thursday, strengthening his case to play against the Jaguars. That’s extremely likely, barring a setback.

That would certainly strengthen a Raiders running game that has slumped the past few weeks.

“Latavius has his own skill set,” Musgrave said. “Had some explosive runs for us last year. We’ll look forward to getting him back at some point. Hopefully it’s this week.”

Right tackle Menelik Watson practiced for a second straight day and seems in line to re-claim his starting spot against Jacksonville.

Special teams player Brynden Trawick and offensive lineman Vadal Alexander remain out.

It’s possible that Perry Riley will start at middle linebacker over rookie Cory James on Sunday.

Check back for complete participation reports for the Raiders and Jaguars.


Norton: Raiders 'have the right people,' scheme; execution lacking

Norton: Raiders 'have the right people,' scheme; execution lacking

ALAMEDA – Ken Norton Jr.’s defense hasn’t been good all season. It’s only been a hindrance twice in six weeks, allowing the Raiders to brush it under the rug while compiling a 4-2 record.

The Raiders were exposed in Sunday’s 26-10 loss to the Kansas City Chiefs, leaving many to wonder whether this defense has fatal flaws.

The team’s defensive coordinator believes these problems can be fixed without a radical reconstruction.

Norton trusts his scheme. He believes in his personnel. He has faith there are better times ahead.

“It depends on what you believe in,” Norton said before Thursday’s practice. “If you believe in the players, you believe in the coaches and believe in yourself…

“Obviously you’d like the stats to be better. But we are 4-2, in a good place record-wise. The stats need to be better. We need to continue to understand who we are, what we are and get better at what we’re doing.”

“We have the right people. It’s just a matter of getting it done on game day.”

Coaches have cited eye violations (a.k.a misreads) as communication issues reasons why the Raiders give up chunk yards. Their 6.9 yards per play allowed is the league’s worst.

Edge rusher and team captain Khalil Mack said opponents are challenged the Raiders defensive discipline. Misdirection, bootlegs, wacky formations and the like have given the Raiders fits, and will continue to do so until they repair what’s broken.

“It’s all about discipline,” Norton said. “It’s all about angles. It’s all about leverage and tackling and the fundamentals of the game and getting down to the nitty gritty of playing smart and sharp. It’s the ultimate team game. …Everybody’s connected to a successful play. That play has to be successful consistently over a period of 70 plays. Everybody’s watching every single play, so you need consistency and have guys playing together. It will pick up.”

Communication is the latest buzz word attached to defensive miscues. Norton said it’s been corrected, just not consistently enough.

“It’s been fixed, but it will come up some times, at the worst times,” Norton said. “We are continually practicing. There are 16 games, and you need to be obsessed with improvement, and we are. Guys care a lot. They show up early and stay late. The communication, the playmaking, the coaching, all of it will continue to improve.

“Everybody wants to talk about communication but it’s guys consistently playing well over a duration of a game. You have to be sharp.”

The Raiders have used different coverage schemes at times this season and made two lineup changes – it’s also possible Perry Riley starts at middle linebacker this week – to no avail.

“You see things going wrong with missed tackles or balls going over our head, the little things and details need to get taken care of,” Norton said. “There aren’t a lot of differences between us and the good defenses, but they make a lot of plays they’re supposed to make.

“We have the right people. It’s just a matter of getting it done on game day.”