Giants ring in ceremony with another walk-off win

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Giants ring in ceremony with another walk-off win

April 9, 2011BOXSCORE GIANTSVIDEOMLBPAGE MLBSCOREBOARD

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) Miguel Tejada galloped around first base like his old Oakland self of a decade ago, thrilled to produce his first game-winning hit for the World Series champion Giants.Tejada hit a two-run double that glanced off the glove of center fielder Colby Rasmus with two outs in the ninth inning and San Francisco rallied late for the second straight day, beating the St. Louis Cardinals 3-2 on Saturday night a few hours after receiving its World Series rings.And, after this dramatic finish, manager Bruce Bochy considered letting his new shortstop sport the ring for a little while."I'm really happy right now," the 36-year-old Tejada said. "I'm going to enjoy the moment. I just need to be aggressive. I'm an aggressive hitter."The Giants celebrated this one as though they had just won the championship all over again, with ace Tim Lincecum among those who sprinted out of the dugout to hug Tejada. Tejada skipped in jubilation after his 15th career game-ending hit.It came against Cardinals closer Ryan Franklin (0-1), who blew his third save in four chances and second in two days. St. Louis lost 5-4 in 12 innings Friday."When you win games like this early it has a little bit of a carryover," Pat Burrell said. "We had the right guy up at the right time. He's a pro. He's been doing this so long. You want him up in a situation like that."Ramon Ramirez (1-0) pitched the ninth for the win and San Francisco secured its first series victory of the season.Franklin allowed Buster Posey's one-out single and then a walk to Burrell. Aaron Rowand flied out to bring up Tejada, who fouled off pitches down each base line before coming through with the big hit off a fastball."I'm just having a rough time right now. I'm doing everything I think I can," Franklin said. "I threw some pitches in and some pitches out and I tried to throw the fastball in and it wasn't where I wanted it."Rasmus ran down Tejada's high drive at the edge of the warning track in left-center, but tried to catch it by his hip and the ball deflected off his glove to the ground. Both runners scored easily."It definitely ruined my evening," Rasmus said. "I felt like I got a real good jump on it."The finish spoiled a solid start by St. Louis lefty Jaime Garcia, who outdueled Matt Cain and struck out a career-best nine batters for the second straight outing this year.Rasmus hit a go-ahead homer leading off the seventh. Cain had gone 32 1-3 innings without allowing an earned run dating to last year before Skip Schumaker scored on a wild pitch in the sixth.Mark DeRosa drove in San Francisco's first run with a single in the fifth while making a rare start.Tejada, the 2002 AL MVP across the bay with Oakland, then gave the sellout crowd of 41,742 even more to cheer about as fans continue to celebrate the city's first title since the club came West in 1958.Garcia threw his first career complete game against San Francisco last Aug. 22, a three-hit shutout in a 9-0 victory at Busch Stadium - and appeared headed for another impressive win. Garcia held the Giants scoreless over 14 innings dating to last year before allowing DeRosa's single.He gave up four hits and one run and walked one in six innings Saturday."I'm happy with the way we're competing but I'm not happy with the results," Cardinals manager Tony La Russa said of his team's 2-6 start.Giants center fielder Andres Torres left in the top of the fourth with a mild left Achilles' strain. X-rays were negative and he is scheduled to be evaluated again Sunday.Torres was hurt after charging in to field Lance Berkman's line drive for the first out, then stayed in as Rasmus popped up to shortstop. But Torres began hobbling in pain and athletic trainer Dave Groeschner hustled out to check on him followed by manager Bruce Bochy.Rowand moved from right to center to replace Torres, and Nate Schierholtz entered to play right. Schierholtz tripled and had a pair of singles.Cain carried a streak of 27 1-3 innings without allowing an earned run into his second outing of the year after he tossed six shutout innings last Saturday against the Dodgers.The right-hander and longest-tenured member of the Giants didn't allow an earned run in 21 1-3 innings during last fall's improbable postseason run."Incredible postseason run he had. It is fitting to have him out there," Bochy said. "What an unsung hero he is with the way he pitched."Six of the first eight games for the Giants (4-4) have been decided by two or fewer runs.Members of the other Bay Area championship teams each threw out a ceremonial first pitch: Steve Young of the NFL's San Francisco 49ers, Al Attles of the NBA's Golden State Warriors, Jim Otto of the NFL's Oakland Raiders and Reggie Jackson representing the Oakland Athletics. Lincecum ran out to greet Jackson with a handshake.The Giants wore commemorative uniforms and caps with gold lettering instead of the standard orange or black.On Sunday, Posey - San Francisco's NL Rookie of the Year catcher - will be presented with his award in yet another pregame ceremony.NOTES: Cardinals cleanup hitter Matt Holliday deemed himself set to return to the lineup for Sunday's series finale against LHP Barry Zito, though La Russa didn't commit. The slugger underwent an appendectomy on April 1. ... Bochy thanked a few of the Cardinals players for their patience waiting through Friday's 50-minute pregame ceremony. ... Giants RF Cody Ross, on the DL with a strained right calf, expects to begin running and fielding flyballs early in the week. He likely will need a short rehab stint in the minors before rejoining the team. ... San Francisco has won nine of its last 14 against the Cardinals at AT&T Park dating to 2007.

Report: Shanahan 'almost certain' to accept 49ers' offer

Report: Shanahan 'almost certain' to accept 49ers' offer

Atlanta Falcons offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan is reportedly “almost certain” to accept the 49ers’ offer to become head coach.

Shanahan is the lone remaining candidate among the six individuals who interviewed with 49ers executives Jed York and Paraag Marathe. The 49ers plan for a second interview with Shanahan and a job offer, a source told CSNBayArea.com. Shanahan is expected to accept the 49ers’ offer, reports Michael Silver of the NFL Network, citing sources familiar with both parties.

The 49ers continued to work Tuesday evening on the process of narrowing down the general manager choices, a source said. Shanahan is expected to play a role in the select the team’s next GM, sources said.

On Tuesday, Seattle offensive line coach Tom Cable and Seahawks co-director of player personnel Trent Kirchner removed their names from consideration for the vacant coach and general manager positions. The 49ers fired Chip Kelly and Trent Baalke after the 49ers' 2-14 season.

One source said Cable and Kirchner believed the 49ers were using them as leverage to hire Shanahan. Cable interviewed with 49ers co-chair Denise DeBartolo York over the phone on Tuesday, NFL Network reported.

The 49ers are allowed to interview Shanahan for a second time after the Falcons’ NFC Championship game against the Green Bay Packers on Sunday. The 49ers are prohibited from hiring or making a formal contract offer to Shanahan until the Falcons' season has concluded.

The top remaining candidates for the general manager job are believed to be Green Bay executives Brian Gutekunst and Eliot Wolf, Arizona's Terry McDonough and Minnesota's George Paton.

Wilcox embracing challenge, will change the way Cal looks on field

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AP

Wilcox embracing challenge, will change the way Cal looks on field

BERKELEY — With more than a half-century without a Rose Bowl berth, tougher academic standards than most Pac-12 schools and lackluster fan support in a pro-sports focused market, there are plenty of hurdles for a football coach at California.

Coach Justin Wilcox took the job for the Golden Bears because he embraces those obstacles and he wants players who feel the same way as he seeks to rebuild a program that has one winning record in the past five years and no conference championships since 1958.

"When you come here, there are challenges," Wilcox said at his introductory news conference Tuesday. "You don't come here and go through school and just go through the motions. You'll be challenged in the classroom, challenged on the football field and learn to interact in a dynamic society. I believe in that and that helps guys grow."

Wilcox faces many hurdles in his new job replacing the recently fired Sonny Dykes less than three weeks before national signing day. He has to put together a coaching staff, evaluate the players already on campus and try to keep together, and even add to, a recruiting class that committed to a different staff.

Athletic director Mike Williams fired Dykes after four seasons on Jan. 8 because he wanted a coach committed to Cal instead of flirting with other jobs and needed someone who could excite a fan base that often stayed away from Memorial Stadium in recent years as the Bears teamed porous defenses with sometimes exciting offenses while posting a 19-30 record.

Williams had five finalists for the job but chose a former Cal assistant with a defensive background and familiarity with the Pac-12 as an assistant for seven years at three schools in the conference.

"He truly gets this place, he truly gets coaching in the West," Williams said. "He came in and was very organized and thoughtful. He knew what he wanted to do and who he wanted to hire. ... It's a special place and I think he'll treat it as a special place."

While Dykes flirted with job openings at Houston and Baylor this past offseason in part because of his concern about increased academic standards for recruits, the Bears hope Wilcox is someone who wants to stick around after more than a decade of being on a self-described "windy" path as a top defensive coach.

The former Oregon defensive back began his coaching career in 2001 as a graduate assistant at Boise State. He spent three years as linebackers coach under Jeff Tedford at Cal from 2003-05 when the Bears nearly ended their Rose Bowl drought during a 10-win season with Aaron Rodgers at quarterback in 2004.

Wilcox has spent the past 11 years as a defensive coordinator with stops at Boise State, Tennessee, Washington, Southern California and finally Wisconsin, where he helped the Badgers field a top 10 defense and win the Cotton Bowl.

Wilcox has worked and played for many successful coaches, including Tedford, Chris Petersen, Dan Hawkins, Mike Bellotti, and Paul Chryst.

"I've been extremely fortunate to work for and with people I learned so much from," he said. "Each step along the way, I've seen it done a lot of different ways. I'm not trying to be any of those people. I always try to take pieces and make it my own."

Wilcox has begun putting together his staff, having hired former Eastern Washington coach Beau Baldwin as offensive coordinator and longtime Oregon offensive line coach Steve Greatwood to fill that role on the Bears.

The Bears will look very different under Wilcox than Dykes. Wilcox said he will recruit tight ends as Cal moves from the spread "Bear Raid" offense that relied on four receivers almost exclusively to a more balanced offense with tight ends and more power concepts.

While he will delegate most of the offensive responsibilities to Baldwin, Wilcox said he will be more involved on defense where he wants to find players who can fit into his base 3-4 system.

Cal ranked 125th in total defense, 127th in scoring defense and 122nd in yards per play out of 128 FBS teams last season on the way to a 5-7 record.

"Every second is critical right now," Wilcox said. "I will not sacrifice the long-term good of the program for what everyone wants which is certainty. Things will happen quickly. I understand the recruits have some anxiety about the situation and there's emotions involved. That's totally understandable. I'd feel the same way."