Giants face Reds club that 'stinks right now'


Giants face Reds club that 'stinks right now'

July 29, 2011GIANTS (61-44) vs.CINCINNATI (44-57)

Coverage begins at 3:30 P.M. on Comcast SportsNet Bay Area.

CINCINNATI (AP) -- Carlos Beltran was not much of a factor in his debut for the Giants, but his new team is glad to have the star outfielder on board.

Beltran looks for better results when the Giants try to hand the Cincinnati Reds a fifth consecutive loss Friday night at Great American Ball Park.

The six-time All-Star had his string of reaching base safely end at 32 games when he went 0 for 4 with two strikeouts during Thursday's 4-1 win at Philadelphia. Beltran did make a sliding catch to rob Jimmy Rollins of a hit.

Despite totaling eight runs in the three-game series, the Giants (61-44) won the final two against the MLB-leading Phillies.

"These guys have been there before, and everyone knows their role," Beltran said of his new team. "I'm just looking forward to jumping in and doing the best I can to help this team continue to win ballgames offensively and defensively."

San Francisco has won 13 of 18 and owns a four-game lead atop the NL West, and it may have sent a message to Philadelphia by acquiring Beltran from the Mets.

"When you're defending world champions, you do have to try to defend that title any way you can," general manager Brian Sabean said. "Hopefully we show we mean business."

Pablo Sandoval hit a solo homer and Tim Lincecum gave up three hits over six scoreless innings Thursday. With a major league-best 3.06 ERA, the Giants' pitchers may not need Beltran to put up gaudy offensive numbers.

Scheduled Friday starter Ryan Vogelsong (8-1, 2.10 ERA) is 5-0 in 10 starts since losing to Florida on May 26. The All-Star right-hander labored some but limited Milwaukee to two runs in five innings of a 4-2 win Saturday.

Vogelsong allowed two runs and struck out six in six innings but did not factor in the decision of a 3-2 win over the Reds on June 10.

While the Giants are riding high, Cincinnati (50-55) tries to regroup after it was outscored 30-19 while being swept in a four-game series at home by the Mets this week. The reigning NL Central champions are 8-15 in July and are fourth in the division, 6 12 games behind first-place Milwaukee.

"We stink right now," utility man Miguel Cairo said after Thursday's 10-9 loss. "We have to start playing like we know how. ... Everyone on this team has to do better than we are right now."

Reigning NL MVP Joey Votto has held his own by homering in each of the last three games and going 6 for 13 with five RBIs during that stretch. Votto, who has never homered in four straight contests, has batted .371 with two home runs and seven RBIs his last nine games versus San Francisco.

Veteran left-hander Dontrelle Willis (0-1, 3.71) tries to help the Reds get back on track after starting their most recent win. He allowed three runs over 6 1-3 innings of a 4-3 win over Atlanta on Sunday in his third start since being called up July 10.

Willis, who made five Triple-A appearances in the Giants organization last year, is 1-3 with a 5.00 ERA in eight career starts versus San Francisco -- the last coming with Florida in 2007.

Beltran, who went 1 for 6 with two RBIs and three walks in two games this week at Cincinnati for the Mets, is 9 for 31 (.290) with a homer versus Willis.

Walton wins debut as Lakers finish off Rockets


Walton wins debut as Lakers finish off Rockets


LOS ANGELES -- Jordan Clarkson scored 12 of his 25 points in the fourth quarter, and the Los Angeles Lakers won coach Luke Walton's debut, holding off the Houston Rockets 120-114 on Wednesday night.

D'Angelo Russell scored 20 points and Julius Randle added 18 points, seven rebounds and six assists for the young Lakers, who got off to an exciting start in the franchise's first season without Kobe Bryant since 1995.

With a revamped roster coming off the worst season in the 16-time champion team's history, Los Angeles surged in the fourth quarter of an auspicious opener under Walton, the 36-year-old former Lakers forward.

James Harden had 34 points, a career-high 17 assists and eight rebounds for the Rockets, who lost in former Lakers coach Mike D'Antoni's debut on the Houston bench.

The Lakers played an up-tempo, aggressive offensive game under Walton, and nobody seized the moment better than Clarkson, who came off the bench in his first game since signing a $50 million contract. His 3-pointer put the Lakers up 116-112 with 1:48 left, and the Lakers hung on while the Rockets missed a long series of open shots in the final minute.

Brandon Ingram scored nine points in the No. 2 pick's NBA debut for the Lakers. Timofey Mozgov had 12 points and eight rebounds, and Luol Deng had seven points in their Lakers debuts.

After matching the franchise record with 14 first-half assists, Harden tied his career high with his 16th early in the third quarter. The Los Angeles native managed only six points in the fourth quarter, going 1 for 5, and his teammates were a combined 5 for 16.


Hall of Famer Bill Walton proudly wore a purple Lakers T-shirt to his son's official coaching debut. Walton's mother and three brothers also attended the game. "The Walton force will be strong tonight," Luke said with a grin. "There's definitely nerves and excitement right now, but mostly there's no time to think about how incredible this is, and the opportunity. It's more focused on watching film and getting the prep work in for tonight's game."


The Lakers fired D'Antoni after he went 27-55 in 2013-14, the first of a franchise-record three straight non-playoff seasons. When D'Antoni was asked before the game about reflecting on his time in LA, the coach quickly quipped: "I try not to. ... No, I loved it. I actually did. Manhattan Beach is probably the greatest place to stay. Great friends. They treated me nice, (Lakers owner) Jim (Buss) and (general manager) Mitch (Kupchak). It just didn't fit. It just didn't work."


Rockets: Clint Capela, the 6-foot-9 Swiss forward, replaced Dwight Howard in the middle of the lineup.

Lakers: Metta World Peace began his 17th NBA season, picking up three fouls in his first two minutes while guarding Harden. ... Before the game, they solidified their young core by picking up their 2017-18 contract options on Russell, Randle and Larry Nance Jr. ... Jack Nicholson, Denzel Washington, director Peter Berg, YG, Kendall Jenner, Karlie Kloss, Dodgers president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman and NBA Commissioner Adam Silver attended the game.


Rockets: At Dallas on Friday in the opener of a home-and-home series.

Lakers: Open a four-game road trip at Utah on Friday.

Instant Replay: Cousins, Kings cruise in opener vs Suns

Instant Replay: Cousins, Kings cruise in opener vs Suns


The Sacramento Kings rolled into Phoenix’s Talking Stick Resort Arena and blew away the Suns on Wednesday night by a final of 113-94. The young upstart Suns tried to make a game out of it in the early fourth quarter, but Sacramento turned to their veterans who delivered down the stretch.

DeMarcus Cousins got into foul trouble early, but still found a way to drop in 24 points and grab six rebounds in 24 minutes manning the middle. Once he was in the flow of the defense, Cousins came to the aid of his teammates, stepping in and cutting off the baseline on multiple possessions.

Like Cousins, Rudy Gay didn’t look great early, but he still managed to score 22 points in the win. There was a sequence in the third quarter when Gay came alive on the defensive end, blocking back-to-back shots on the same defensive possession..

Starting for Darren Collison, Ty Lawson ran the offense better than expected, posting nine points, six rebounds and seven assists in 35 minutes of action.

Garrett Temple filled in as the reserve point guard spot and added 12 points on 6-for-8 shooting.

Matt Barnes provided a spark off the bench, tossing in 14 points and grabbing seven rebounds.

Eleven of 12 players that stepped on the floor for Sacramento scored and nine players players dropped in six points or more in the win.  

Eric Bledsoe had a nice night for the Suns, scoring 16 points on 5-for-11 shooting with five assists. T.J. Warren chipped in 14 points and five rebounds while playing solid defense on Gay early. Devin Booker added 18 points on 8-of-12 shooting, but he missed all three of his long range shots.  

STANDOUT PERFORMER -- Cousins couldn’t set the tempo early, but when he got it rolling in the third quarter, it was lights out for the Suns. There are plenty of nights that Cousins will be asked to do more, but with a big lead, the Kings didn’t need a typical showing from their All-Star center.

TURNING POINT -- Sacramento finished the first half on a 16-1 run and took a 57-38 lead into the intermission. The Suns kept it within 20 for most of the night and even made a run at the end of third, but the game was decided in the few minutes leading to the intermission.

INJURY UPDATE -- Sacramento enters the season with a full roster of healthy bodies. Matt Barnes struggled with a rib injury during camp, but played a big 27 minutes for the Kings  in the opener.

WHAT'S NEXT -- The Kings return home from Phoenix following the game where the the San Antonio Spurs are waiting for them. Thursday night’s home opener marks the first official game in the new Golden 1 Center as the Kings look to improve to 2-0 on the season.