Giants continue downward spiral, fall to Cubs 5-2

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Giants continue downward spiral, fall to Cubs 5-2

Aug. 30, 2011BOX SCORE GIANTS VIDEOMLB PAGE MLB SCOREBOARD
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) -- There's just not much else for San Francisco Giants manager Bruce Bochy to say. Time is running out on his team.Alfonso Soriano drove in two runs and hit one of the longest homers at AT&T Park, leading the Chicago Cubs to a 5-2 win over the Giants on Tuesday night."We were better," Bochy said of the offense. "They started to get it going. It wasn't enough though. We know that."Geovany Soto added a two-run double and Darwin Barney also drove in a run for the Cubs, who won their second straight.
RELATED: Giants Insider gallery: It keeps getting worse
Jeff Keppinger had three hits and drove in two runs for the Giants, who lost their third in a row to fall a season-high six games behind Arizona, which beat Colorado 9-4, in the NL West."There's no other choice but to come out every day and fight our way out of it," Bochy said. "We're digging ourselves too big of a hole."Matt Garza (7-10) lasted 6 2-3 innings in his first appearance against the Giants. He allowed two runs on nine hits, walking one and striking out six. Carlos Marmol pitched the ninth for his 31st save in 39 chances."You go out there and try to keep your team in the game no matter who you're facing," Garza said. "It's just grinding it out. I need to pitch better so I can keep going out there."Ryan Vogelsong (10-5) lost his third straight start in his shortest outing since May 3. He gave up three runs on seven hits over five innings, walking two and striking out three."I'm not off by much," Vogelsong said. "I'm missing pitches by a little bit. I have to get it together in the next four days. There's no time to sit around moping now."
URBAN: Giants need Vogelsong's story to last
Sean Marshall recorded his 29th hold - on his 29th birthday - and is one shy from matching Marmol's club record in 2008.The stagnant Giants failed to score more than three runs for the sixth consecutive contest and have scored two or fewer in 24 of their last 44 games since the All-Star break.Carlos Beltran, acquired in a trade from the New York Mets in an attempt to bolster the offense, was 0 for 4, ending the third, fifth and seventh innings with a pair of runners on each time."They made some good pitches against him," Bochy said. "He's been getting good at bats, it just didn't happen for him tonight."Soriano's second-inning solo shot traveled an estimated 445 feet, bouncing onto the concourse above the left-field bleachers. Only Andres Galarraga has hit one further to left field, an estimated 475 feet on Sept. 18, 2001 off Roy Oswalt."I felt good at home plate and put a good swing on it," Soriano said. "I knew I had hit it good. I don't know how far it went yet."Barney and Soriano each drove in runs in the third to make it a 3-0 lead.After Keppinger doubled home a run in the fifth to pull the Giants to 3-1, the Cubs added two more on Soto's ground rule double with the bases loaded. Only fan interference prevented the Cubs from tacking on another run.Keppinger's double was the Giants' ninth extra-base hit in the first eight games of the homestand. He added an RBI single in the seventh.The Giants are 10-21 since leading the Diamondbacks by four games in the division after play on July 28.NOTES: Giants RHP Brian Wilson will throw one more time before throwing off the mound. ... Castro's nine triples are the most by a Cubs player since Ivan DeJesus had 10 in 1979. ... The Cubs lead the NL with 39 home runs in August. ... LHP Madison Bumgarner pitches Wednesday for the Giants. He's reached the seventh inning in each of his past five starts. Bumgarner is 1-1 in three starts vs. the Cubs. ... RHP Rodrigo Lopez will go for the Cubs in Wednesday's series finale. He's lost his last two starts and is winless in seven starts against the Giants. ... Garza had two hits, his first career multi-hit game, and has five hits on the year. ... The Giants have scored 74 runs in August, their fewest in the month since at least 1946.

Stanford tops North Carolina on PKs, advances to NCAA final

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USATSI

Stanford tops North Carolina on PKs, advances to NCAA final

HOUSTON — For the second straight season, Stanford found itself depending on penalty kicks to advance to the College Cup final.

Like last season, the Cardinal came out on top. After each team converted its first nine attempts in the tiebreaker, Amir Bashti made it 10-for-10 for Stanford. Tar Heels defender Alex Comsia then sent his try over the crossbar to end it, giving Stanford a 10-9 win.

"They had just as many good chances as us, and it could have been a 1-0 game either way," Stanford coach Jeremy Gunn said.

Stanford (14-3-5) will face Wake Forest in the College Cup final on Sunday in search of its second straight national championship.

"It's not his fault. We could have done things in the game to have his back," North Carolina defender Colton Storm said of Comsia's miss. "It could have been any of us."

"It's the nature of the game," North Carolina coach Carlos Somoano said. "Sometimes they go in, sometimes they don't. Sometimes there's moments you seize the moments, and sometimes it runs away from you."

North Carolina (14-3-4) had the two best chances of the game. Late in the second half, forward Alan Winn was denied by goalkeeper Andrew Epstein, who made a nice save with his legs.

Later, Epstein made the best save of the match in the final seconds of the second overtime on a shot from forward Tucker Hume. After gaining possession in the right side of the 18-yard box, Hume unleashed a shot that Epstein deflected wide with his legs.

"He made the plays to keep the game at 0, and he deserves credit," Somoano said.

After a flurry of corner kicks and a free kick in an attacking area, Stanford had the best opportunity to score in the first overtime on a header from Drew Skundrich, but he put if over goalkeeper James Pyle, who had six saves. Foster Langsdorf, the Stanford goal leader who scored in the team's first three tournament games and has 15 on the season, had three shots and two on goal but was unable to break the deadlock before the game went to penalty kicks.

"Any result like that is going to be tough to swallow," Storm said. "Stanford's a really good team. We each had our chances. National semifinal, it's going to be tough to swallow no matter what."

While Epstein was unable to stop any of North Carolina's penalties in the shootout, his saves late in the game enabled Stanford to continue its quest for a repeat.

"Andy's never really attracted much attention, but when you're his coach you appreciate him," Gunn said. "You can depend on him."

Stanford has won 15 of its last 18 games after starting the season with three ties and a loss. The Cardinal have yet to concede a goal through four tournament games, while North Carolina's season ends after a third consecutive tournament shutout.

After winning the first national championship in program history last season, Gunn praised his team for continuing to push forward this season.

"It's incredible," Gunn said. "You've always got to be optimistic. There's no point in being anything else. We started the year so well in January. I thought, 'These players are so hungry.'"

Rewind: Sharks fall behind early again, lose 3-2 to Ducks

Rewind: Sharks fall behind early again, lose 3-2 to Ducks

ANAHEIM – Spotting a team the first two goals is a difficult recipe for winning hockey games. That’s even truer when you’re the Sharks, and you’re having tremendous difficulty scoring more than two goals on any given night in the first place.

While the Sharks hung with Anaheim in a closely contested game at Honda Center on Friday night, the Ducks got that extra necessary score. Brent Burns and Kevin Labanc answered first period goals by Rickard Rakell and Antoine Vermette, but Hampus Lindholm’s marker with 5:38 to go in the third period was the difference.

For the fifth time in their last six, and ninth in their last 12, San Jose's scuffling offense couldn’t eclipse the two-goal plateau in a 3-2 defeat.

Coach Pete DeBoer said giving up the first two scores, like they also did on Wednesday in a similar loss against Ottawa, “is not optimal, obviously. But we battled back, and I thought the game could have gone either way. 

“I give our guys credit for battling back. … We didn't hang our head, we battled, and we're just finding a way to lose right now instead of win, which, we've been winning games like that."

For the second straight game, Sharks captain Joe Pavelski had numerous prime chances but couldn’t find a way to get one. An early third period opportunity stood out among the rest, though, when Pavelski was staring at a wide open net in a 2-2 game from close range.

Typically that’s an automatic score for Pavelski, who led the league in game-winners last season. But this time, it went five feet wide.

“Kind of rolls up, catches the blade, and it’s not even close,” Pavelski said. “Those are the moments you’ve got to cash in on. I haven’t done that.”

The Sharks’ best stretch came early in the second period, when they outskated the Ducks and peppered Jonathan Bernier while trailing, 2-1. The Ducks goalie turned them all away until Labanc squeezed one through at 8:40 after the rookie was nicely set up by linemate Logan Couture.

“He didn’t give me much room. You just want to get that off as quick as you can,” Labanc said. “Just took a quick shot, and it went in the net.”

In a game of momentum swings, though, the Ducks outplayed San Jose in the third. They took the lead when Joel Ward gave Lindholm a little too much room to pick his spot on a wrist shot from the top of the circle.

After looking like they were in good shape after two periods, Labanc thought the Sharks were “a little too confident” headed into the third.

“We stopped skating, stopped dumping the puck in, and working hard in the corners,” he said.

Pavelski bemoaned the fact that for the second straight game, a regulation loss in the final minutes, that the Sharks didn't even manage to get the point in the standings for forcing overtime despite fighting back.

"The last few games you have a chance to at least push it to the end," he said. "We're not giving up a whole lot."

The Sharks nearly did tie the game with Martin Jones pulled for an extra attacker, though. After Burns made a pair of remarkable shot blocks on Andrew Cogliano bidding for an empty netter, DeMelo and Ward each had whacks at the puck, but somehow it remained out. 
 
“A bunch of chaos, really,” is how DeMelo described it. “It was really tight. I think we were just inches away from getting the equalizer.”

Again, though, they just couldn’t find a way to get that third score.

“We were close,” DeBoer said, “but not close enough."