Bumgarner tosses gem, Giants sweep Dodgers


Bumgarner tosses gem, Giants sweep Dodgers


LOS ANGELES (AP) Madison Bumgarner finally got his first victory of the season - in his ninth start. He needed a little help from Nate Schierholtz, who made a game-saving circus catch to preserve it.Bumgarner came within an out of his first major league shutout and Freddy Sanchez drove in two runs to help lead the San Francisco Giants over the Los Angeles Dodgers 3-1 on Thursday night."It feels like a playoff win, it's been so long," Bumgarner said. "I'm just glad to finally get that first win out of the way. The last few games, I felt like there's been a big difference from the first four, even though it didn't work out for me. But it taught me a lot and what I need to focus on."Bumgarner (1-6) allowed a run and six hits, including a first-pitch RBI double with two outs in the ninth by rookie Jerry Sands. The 21-year-old left-hander struck out three and walked two in his ninth start of the season. Bumgarner has a 1.32 ERA over his last five outings.
URBAN: Bumgarner earns win No. 1
Bumgarner is one of only three pitchers in history to start in a World Series game and then go winless in his first eight starts the following season, along with St. Louis' Anthony Reyes in 2007 and Hall of Fame electee Bert Blyleven of the 1980 Pittsburgh Pirates.The only other Giants starter to lose his first six decisions of a season since Terry Mullholland's 0-6 start as a rookie in 1986 was Barry Zito, who began 2008 with an 0-8 record."I just tried to ignore that and go on," Bumgarner said. "I feel good about throwing a good game and keeping us in there. Wins and losses are something you really can't control, so I tried not to focus on that."All-Star closer Brian Wilson walked pinch-hitters Jay Gibbons and James Loney to load the bases, but escaped with his 13th save in 15 attempts. Schierholtz made a diving grab of Jamey Carroll's line drive in short right field on a 2-2 pitch for the final out."I was pretty far in for that situation, because if he hits it over my head or down the line, the game's probably over," Schierholtz said. "I just reacted off the bat and went for it. I play in on Carroll, so when I saw the point of contact, I broke in on it and didn't hesitate at all. It was risky, but I was confident I was going to make the play. It felt good to come up with it, especially because Madison pitched a good game and deserved to win it."Manager Bruce Bochy had coach Roberto Kelly signal Schierholtz to play more shallow than normal for Carroll to guard against a possible line-drive single that would tie the game."We were gambling by playing in like that, but I told Roberto that we were going for the win here," Bochy said after the Giants completed a 3-3 road trip.The save came one night after Wilson blew a three-run lead in the eighth for Matt Cain and was credited with the victory, thanks to a three-run homer in the ninth by Cody Ross."His command is a little off," Bochy said while Wilson took refuge in the trainer's room. "I don't know if his ankle's bothering him, but he says he's fine. The big thing with Brian right now is that he's not quite getting the ball where he wants."Chad Billingsley (2-4) gave up three runs and six hits in six innings and struck out four. The right-hander, who lost his previous start 1-0 against Arizona despite giving up only one hit over eight innings, has a 2.23 ERA over his last seven outings, but has only one win."Chad's been pitching great, and he hasn't gotten any runs," manager Don Mattingly said. "I felt like he was frustrated tonight and kind of fought himself. But he battled. That was a frustrating one."Facing the defending World Series champions for the third time this season, Billingsley fell behind 1-0 in the second inning when Buster Posey led off with a double and scored on Mike Fontenot's two-out double.Bumgarner led off the Giants' third with a double to the wall in right-center, his second extra-base hit in 56 career at-bats to that point. Andres Torres advanced the runner with a bunt in front of the plate, and was credited with a hit after beating Billingsley's throw to first. Sanchez followed with a sacrifice fly, then drove in the Giants' third run with sixth-inning single.Billingsley, whose only 1-2-3 inning was the first, issued four walks and plunked two during a stretch of 12 batters. The pitch that probably kept him in the game a little longer was his 96th - a called third strike he slipped past Fontenot with the bases loaded to end the fifth. By contrast, Bumgarner used only 64 pitches through the first five innings.NOTES: The announced attendance for the two-game set between these rivals was only 64,669 - compared to the season-opening four-game series at Dodger Stadium that attracted 192,539. ... Since winning their last pennant and world championship in 1988, the Dodgers are 48-38 against NL teams coming off a World Series title. But they are 61-94 since '88 against NL clubs that won the pennant the previous season and lost the World Series. ... Sanchez posted his first multi-RBI game since April 16. ... The Giants open their interleague schedule Friday night, as the Oakland Athletics cross the Bay Bridge. The Dodgers go to Chicago for a three-game set that will rekindle memories of their triumph over the White Sox in the 1959 Fall Classic.

Cubs' Epstein: 'History doesn't really weigh on this club'


Cubs' Epstein: 'History doesn't really weigh on this club'

The Cubs are going to the World Series.

Yes, you read that right.

The Cubs are going to the World Series.

The Curse of the Billy Goat is broken. 

The 71-year drought is over. 

The truly once-in-a-lifetime moment has finally come to Chicago.

Holy cow.

The Cubs punched their ticket to the promised land with a 5-0 victory over the Los Angeles Dodgers and the Best Pitcher on the Planet in front of 42,386 fans in the most euphoric moment in Wrigley Field's history.

Theo Epstein's vision is one step closer to coming to fruition.

"History doesn't really weigh on this club," Epstein said before Saturday's Game 6. "Just trying to win tonight's game. 

"These guys - a lot of them are in their early 20s and they're not burdened by that stuff. The organization isn't. It's just about trying to win and keeping it simple."


Rewind: Sharks slow, sloppy and undisciplined in loss to Wings

Rewind: Sharks slow, sloppy and undisciplined in loss to Wings

DETROIT – The Sharks had just one scheduled practice on their 10-day road trip, set to take place on Friday in Detroit prior to the fifth and final game against the Red Wings. It was canceled, though, as the coaching staff opted for rest rather than work.

The result was a 3-0 loss to the Red Wings in which the Sharks were sloppy in their own zone, were smoked in the faceoff circle, surrendered a plethora of odd-man rushes, and took eight minor penalties. They just couldn’t keep pace with a Detroit team that was playing its second game in as many nights. 

San Jose looked like a club that has held just a single solitary practice since the season began on Oct. 12.

“Some breakdowns, guys not being above [the puck], some giveaways in our own end, we’re kind of leaving [the defensive zone] early,” Logan Couture said. “We just don’t seem like we’re dedicated to defense like we were at the end [of] last year.”

[KURZ: Instant Replay: Sharks blanked by Wings, end road trip with thud]

“It wasn’t very good tonight,” added Martin Jones, who lost his third in a row in goal. “Too many penalties, too many turnovers. Just wasn’t very good tonight.”

The start was actually a decent one, as the Sharks were attempting to put Thursday’s third period collapse in Pittsburgh behind them, but Detroit eventually took over. Gustav Nyquist broke the scoreless tie four minutes into the second period, and added to the Red Wings’ lead with a second marker about 11 minutes later.

On the first, Paul Martin was caught flat-footed in the offensive zone, leading to a two-on-one rush by Detroit. Nyquist abruptly stopped on the faceoff dot in front of Justin Braun, and rifled a shot though. On the second, Matt Nieto had control of the puck and was headed up the ice before he stumbled and turned it over to Ryan Sproul, who found Nyquist in the slot. 

A bad line change resulted in Andreas Athanasiou powering a slap shot to Jones’ far side six minutes into the third period, giving Detroit a commanding three-goal lead. 

“We were late everywhere tonight,” Pete DeBoer said. “When you’re a step behind a good team they expose you, and I think that was the story. We’ll have to go back and figure out why, and get our game back in a better place.”

“We played into their hands. They’re a transition team, a speed team, and if you’re going to play east-west and turn the puck over they’re going to make you pay for it. We talked about it, but we still fell into that trap. Obviously the penalties didn’t help, and we’re playing catch up all night.”

Among those penalties was a double minor to Joe Pavelski for spearing Steve Ott, just a few seconds after Athanasiou’s goal. The captain seemed agitated for much of the night.

Pavelski said he didn’t think he got a whole lot of Ott with his stick, but “it’s a play you don’t want to make.”

DeBoer didn’t take issue with the play which nullified what would have been a Sharks power play after a Drew Miller interference.

“Pav is a competitor. He was probably our best player tonight. He’s competing right until the final buzzer,” DeBoer said. “I don’t have a problem with that. It doesn’t bother me.”

The power play, though, is one area that the coach may need to focus on when the Sharks finally get a practice in on Monday at home. Despite being together for so many years, the top unit seems tentative with the puck and is misfiring on passes that are typically routine.

On one power play in the second period when the game was still scoreless, Pavelski was open in front of the net, but Patrick Marleau missed him on what would have been a tap-in goal. The Sharks finished 0-for-4 with a man advantage and have just one goal in a manned net this season during five-on-four play.

What has to change?

“Quite a few things,” Couture said. “We’re breaking in fine, [but] we’re too stationary, I think. I don’t know if we’re moving the puck well enough. Not attacking holes, not shooting the puck and getting it back.”

The Sharks will open up a three-game homestand on Tuesday with the Ducks. There is work to do before that.

“We’re 3-3. That’s the good news,” DeBoer said. “I think we’ve played some good hockey, but we have a lot of things we’ve got to clean up, too.”

Jones said: “Obviously it wasn’t the way we wanted to end the road trip. We’ll bounce back, and we’ve got a lot of games left.”