Giants gain ground with 6-4 victory over Padres


Giants gain ground with 6-4 victory over Padres

SAN DIEGO (AP) -- Rookies Brett Pill and Eric Surkamp had a night to remember, even as their San Francisco Giants are trying desperately to catch the Arizona Diamondbacks.Pill hit a two-run homer in his first big league at-bat, Surkamp earned his first major league win and the Giants had to escape a bases-loaded jam in the ninth inning to beat the San Diego Padres 6-4 on Tuesday night.The defending World Series champion Giants pulled within six games of NL West-leading Arizona with 20 to go. The Diamondbacks lost 8-3 at Colorado. By winning the first two of this three-game set, the Giants clinched their first series victory since Aug. 12-14 at Florida.With Mark DeRosa aboard on a leadoff single in the second, Pill hit an 0-1 pitch from lefty Wade LeBlanc (2-5) that caromed off the balcony of the third level of the Western Metal Supply Co. brick warehouse in the left-field corner at Petco Park and back onto the field. Padres left fielder Kyle Blanks tossed it into the stands, where a man grabbed it. Padres event operations supervisor Rob Arnold negotiated with the fan to get the ball for Pill."Luckily he threw it right to some Giants fans," said Pill, who gave the fan a few signed balls in return for the home run ball."It's something you dream about when you're a kid," Pill said. "I've seen him a few times in the minors, that pitcher, and figured he'd try to throw me a changeup and get me to hit into a double play. He left it up a little bit. When I hit it I kind of knew it was gone, but it was probably the fastest I've ran around the bases in a while. It's just a great feeling."It was the first time a Giants player homered in his first big league plate appearance since Will Clark did so off Houston's Nolan Ryan on April 8, 1986.Surkamp (1-0) allowed three runs and five hits in five innings, struck out two and walked one."It's fun," Surkamp said. "I'm up here, I'm new, it's awesome."Said manager Bruce Bochy: "Nice day for those two young players. It's historic, to hit a home run in your first at-bat. It's nice to see those guys come out and do what they did and help us win a ballgame."With the Giants leading 6-3, Javier Lopez walked Orlando Hudson on four pitches to open the Padres' ninth. Santiago Casilla came on and got two outs before allowing rookie Anthony Rizzo's RBI double off the right-field wall. Casilla hit Cameron Maybin on the right elbow and hit Jason Bartlett on the left hand to load the bases. Bochy turned to Ramon Ramirez, the sixth Giants' reliever, who struck out Jesus Guzman for his fourth save in five chances.Carlos Beltran had three hits and three RBIs for the Giants, who won with three prospects in their starting lineup. Pill's contract was purchased last Wednesday from Triple-A Fresno. Surkamp, called up from Double-A Richmond on Aug. 27, made his second big league start. Justin Christian started in center field and batted leadoff after his contract was purchased from Fresno on Tuesday. Christian appeared in 24 games with the New York Yankees in 2008.Pill, who led the Pacific Coast League with 167 hits, started at first base.Beltran, back after missing Monday's game with food poisoning, hit an RBI single in the third, an RBI double in the fifth and brought in a run with a grounder in the ninth.San Diego's Nick Hundley hit a solo homer off Surkamp leading off the second. Rookie Andy Parrino got his first big league RBI on a sacrifice fly later that inning, and Kyle Blanks hit a sacrifice fly in the third.LeBlanc allowed four runs and eight hits in five innings, struck out one and walked none."Wade got some balls up in the strike zone. He just couldn't get the ball down consistently," manager Bud Black said. "They got the bat head on balls just in front of the plate. Had some hard-hit balls to the left side. Wade wiggled out of some jams, so give him credit for that."NOTES: Injured Giants LHP Barry Zito threw a four-inning simulated game. "We'll see how he comes out of this and see if we need him for relief," Bochy said. ... The Padres recalled RHP Erik Hamren from Triple-A Tucson. RHP Pat Neshek was outrighted to Tucson today. He was designated for assignment on Sept. 1 when the club claimed RHP Jeff Fulchino. ... Padres RF Chris Denorfia, who came off the DL on Monday, was hit in the head as he dove back into second base on a pickoff attempt in the second. He got up and took third before scoring on Parrino's sac fly. Will Venable pinch-hit for Denorfia in the fifth and stayed in the game in RF. ... The series concludes Wednesday afternoon when Giants RHP Matt Cain (11-9, 2.85 ERA) opposes Padres RHP Aaron Harang (12-5, 3.86). Cain is winless in three starts against San Diego this season, going 0-1 with a 4.05 ERA. Harang has gone 1-2 in his last three starts despite allowing only five earned runs.

Mario Edwards Jr joins Raiders in Florida

Mario Edwards Jr joins Raiders in Florida

SARASOTA, Fla. – Mario Edwards Jr. has joined the Raiders in Florida. Head coach Jack Del Rio inferred that would happen earlier this week, but the second-year defensive lineman was confirmed to be at the Ritz-Carlton hotel on Thursday morning.

Edwards Jr. has been on injured reserve all season, and hasn’t practiced since suffering a hip injury in the preseason opener at Arizona. The Raiders plan to use their lone return designation to bring him back from injured reserve, but that hasn’t happened yet.

He needs to do side work before being cleared for practice. Edwards Jr. was not seen during open portions of Thursday’s practice, though he could be training away from prying eyes.

He was eligible to start practicing last week, but wasn’t quite ready. He is also eligible to play in a Week 9 game against Denver, though it’s highly unlikely he’d be ready for that return date. The Raiders have a bye scheduled after the Broncos game, giving him time to be ready to play Houston in a Week 11 affair in Mexico City.

“The whole situation with Mario is when he’s cleared, he’ll go,” head coach Jack Del Rio said on Wednesday. “Until then, he’s going to do stuff, whether it’s on the side or with the trainers and the doctors like all players that are in that designation where doctors have control. Once they have the green light, we’ll get him to work. Until then, he’ll work on the side.”

Rewind: Kings display depth in convincing season-opening victory

Rewind: Kings display depth in convincing season-opening victory

It’s just one game, but an outline is taking shape. The Sacramento Kings might be a newly assembled group with plenty of room to improve, but their 113-94 win over the Phoenix Suns in Wednesday night’s opener showed a quality lacking from previous seasons. This team is deep with NBA level talent and whether they win or lose, they look like a team that will give a fight night in and night out.

The Suns won just 23 games last season and they boast a roster with four teenagers and five total players under the legal drinking age. This isn’t a 67 win Spurs team like the Kings will face Thursday night at the Golden 1 Center, but they are still an NBA squad.

For most of the night, the Kings completely overmatched their young opponents on both ends of the floor. Sacramento took a 57-38 lead into the third quarter and looked like they might walk away with a huge blowout win to start the season. They pushed to lead to 26 multiple times, but then let off the gas.

“We didn’t stay consistent with what we’re doing to have the lead that we had, we broke down,” DeMarcus Cousins said following the game.

Phoenix made a run in the late third quarter and early fourth, cutting the Kings’ lead to 10 before Sacramento responded with a 12-1 run to put the game away.

“The funny thing about tonight, we had a spot that was kind of familiar from the past years, where we were up, but we let another team back in and gave them some energy and gave them some momentum going forward,” Cousins told CSN’s Kayte Christensen. “Usually it will turn into a game. But the difference this year is we poised ourself, shut the water off and got some stops”

The Kings didn’t play 48 minutes of quality basketball. They might not have even made it to the 36 minute plateau, but when they needed a big shot to break the Suns momentum someone stepped up. And when they needed a defensive stop, they had the ability to make one.

“We’re helping each other,” Rudy Gay said following the game. “That’s one of the things in camp that we wanted to make known - that we have to help each other, we have to be a team and play team defense and we did that today.”

It’s a mindset that head coach Dave Joerger has brought with him from his time in Memphis. It’s a grit and grind system that has proven to be very effective for the Kings’ new head coach.

“Defensively, when you get after people, 48 minutes is a long game to be locked and have that focus,” Joerger said. “When you just keep banging away at it and banging away at it, it becomes who you are.”

The Kings are working on the defensive identity that Joerger is preaching. It’s a work in progress, but one that has been missing from Sacramento for quite some time. While the starting unit looked a bit lost on the defensive end to start the game, they made adjustments to stop the Suns interior attack. They also held a quality perimeter shooting Phoenix team to just 4-of-16 from long range.

On the offensive end, Sacramento shared the ball as 11 of the 12 players that took the floor scored a basket and nine players scored six or more points.

“I think the biggest difference is everybody is part of the offense,” Gay said. “Obviously we have our guys who can go get buckets, but when everybody has the freedom to attack and be aggressive and know that there’s time when we get ours, but for the most part, they need to be aggressive too.”

Cousins led the way with 24 points on just 6-of-10 shooting from the floor and Gay added 22. Veterans Matt Barnes (14 points) and Garrett Temple (12 points) helped lead a bench unit that outscored the Suns second team 48-34.

The Kings will face a different beast Thursday night in their home opener. San Antonio is fresh off a drubbing of the Golden State Warriors on Tuesday and have been in Sacramento awaiting the return of the home team. Back-to-backs are never easy, but this one feels especially cruel by the NBA schedule makers.