Giants tie it, but Padres strike back for 7-5 victory

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Giants tie it, but Padres strike back for 7-5 victory

Aug. 23, 2011BOX SCORE GIANTS VIDEOMLB PAGE MLB SCOREBOARD

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) -- Alberto Gonzalez hit a go-ahead single in the ninth inning, Kyle Blanks had a two-run homer and the San Diego Padres beat the San Francisco Giants 7-5 on Tuesday night for their season-best fifth straight victory.Nick Hundley doubled against Ramon Ramirez (2-2) to start the ninth, then Logan Forsythe sacrificed him to third before Gonzalez singled up the middle. Will Venable followed with a run-scoring single.Erik Hamren (1-0) retired pinch-hitter Miguel Tejada on a lineout to end the Giants' three-run eighth for his first major league win. Heath Bell finished for his 35th save in 39 opportunities.The reigning World Series champion Giants fell two games behind the first-place Diamondbacks in the NL West after Arizona won at Washington.Mat Latos didn't allow a hit until the fifth inning, but the Padres' bullpen couldn't hold a three-run lead.Recent call-up Hector Sanchez singled in the eighth for his first major league hit and RBI, then Orlando Cabrera followed with a tying RBI single that chased Luke Gregerson.But pinch-hitter Carlos Beltran popped out to end the eighth a few hours after he was activated from the disabled list. He received a roaring ovation from the sellout crowd of 41,288 when he stepped into the batter's box.Jesus Guzman and Cameron Maybin each hit an RBI single for the Padres, who kicked off an eight-game road trip and a stretch with 30 straight games against division foes.Blanks' second-inning drive was the first home run allowed by Matt Cain in 13 starts since June 14 at Arizona.The Giants, back in their ballpark by the bay for a season-long 12-game homestand, also hurt their cause with three errors. San Diego overcame two blunders of its own.Chris Stewart broke up Latos' no-hit bid with a bloop single to center leading off the fifth.Latos allowed only Cody Ross' two-out walk in the second before running into trouble in the fourth. The right-hander retired the first two batters, then walked the bases loaded for Aaron Rowand, but he grounded out. Ross hit an RBI double in the eighth.After Maybin's third-inning RBI single, Cain retired the next 10 batters in order before giving up a leadoff single to Orlando Hudson in the seventh.Hudson fouled a ball off his right foot in the eighth and fell to the ground, writhing in pain. He walked it off and drew a walk on the next pitch from Steve Edlefsen.The Giants scored two in the sixth, getting a break on Guzman's gaffe at first base. Guzman fielded Brandon Belt's sharp grounder, held onto the ball trying to freeze the runner and then opted to throw home rather than make the routine out at first. His throw was wild and well up the third-base line for a two-run error.Cain was charged with an error when he apparently missed the bag while covering first on Hudson's grounder leading off the second. Blanks then homered on an 0-2 pitch.The three errors matched San Francisco's season high and gave the Giants 92 on the season.Things aren't going well for the defending champs.San Francisco placed five players on the disabled list during its recent 4-6 road trip and six others missed time with injuries.The Giants added to that list Tuesday but also got some good news with Beltran's return from a strained right hand and wrist. The switch-hitter hopes to start Wednesday night.San Francisco put left-handed starter Jonathan Sanchez on the 15-day DL with a sprained left ankle. Outfielder Nate Schierholtz was in a walking boot for a broken bone in his right foot. There was no timeline for when he might play again.There was another scare early when first baseman Aubrey Huff tried to chased down Guzman's ball in foul territory and right fielder Ross charged in, slid low and took Huff down. Huff was slow getting up but stayed in the game.NOTES: Blanks has hit safely in 14 of his last 18 games since Aug. 5 - getting six homers and 18 RBIs in that span. ... Cain committed his third error of the season, matching the most of his career, also done in 2006. ... Maybin, San Diego's CF who wears No. 24 like Hall of Famer Willie Mays, got to meet the Say Hey Kid at his Bay Area home Tuesday. ... The Giants committed only 73 errors in 2010. ... RHP Tim Lincecum (11-10) pitches Wednesday night for the Giants looking for his third win in four starts this season vs. San Diego. He is 7-4 with a 2.16 ERA lifetime in 16 career starts against the Padres. ... Tim Stauffer (8-9) takes the mound for San Diego looking to improve on his 3-5 road record.

Curry bounces back in blowout, wins point guard battle with Irving

Curry bounces back in blowout, wins point guard battle with Irving

OAKLAND -- No one among the Warriors had a deeper desire to beat the Cavaliers than Stephen Curry, and his performance Monday gave every indication that he wanted it as badly as he needed it.

And after losing the point-guard battle to Cleveland’s Kyrie Irving in four successive games, all Warriors losses, it was past time for Curry as the back-to-back MVP to stand up and make a statement.

His response was impressive: 20 points (7-of-20 shooting), 11 assists, four steals and a 126-91 rout by the Warriors. He was plus-23 over 31 minutes.

“He was making shots, it’s as simple as that,” Irving said. “In transition, off pick-and-rolls, doing what he does and that makes him a great player.”

Irving’s response: 17 points (6-of-19 shooting), two assists and a game-high-tying (with teammate LeBron James) six turnovers. Irving was minus-12 over 29 minutes.

“Steph was great,” coach Steve Kerr said. “A phenomenal first half, I think he had 10 assists. His energy was great and he set the tone. He put a lot of pressure on the defense.”

Curry has been playing with renewed vigor lately, his mentality changing shortly after the Warriors on Christmas Day in Cleveland blew a 14-point lead in the fourth quarter, taking a 109-108 loss. Curry took only 11 shots, scoring 15 points.

He was particularly good in the first half, scoring 14 points on 5-of-11 shooting, with 10 assists and three steals. Curry clearly came to destroy.

“It was a great way to start, just a foot on the gas pedal,” Curry said.

Curry’s game, along with the victory, may silence some of the narrative suggesting the Cavaliers have his number. Though he was displeased with one aspect of his game, Curry happily accepted the outcome. Or that Irving hadn't caught up to him.

“I obviously wanted to play well; I didn’t want to walk off the floor with anything more than what I think is a solid, aggressive game,” he said. “I didn’t shoot the ball as well as I wanted to. Some shots I normally make didn’t go down.

But I can live with that knowing I took care of the other stuff I was supposed to do on the floor. Really, what was all in my head was that I definitely wanted to leave this arena tonight with a solid performance and obviously get the win.”

Durant gets personal with stuffing of LeBron, stops any momentum for Cavs

Durant gets personal with stuffing of LeBron, stops any momentum for Cavs

OAKLAND -- There was a single play Monday night that delighted Warriors fans more than any other in a 126-91 win over the Cavaliers, and it was not any of five 3-point bombs dropped by Oracle Arena favorite Stephen Curry.

Nor was it the high-velocity collision between Draymond Green and LeBron James, which resulted in Green being assessed with a Flagrant Foul 1 and the Warriors cranking up their intensity to another level.

No, the most satisfying play of all was on defense, and it was made by offensive wizard Kevin Durant, who sent a resounding message to the Cavaliers and, moreover, to James, Cleveland’s superstar forward.

With 9:48 left in the third quarter and James driving in for a dunk, Durant responded by rising up and cleanly stuffing the shot, sending James sprawling helplessly to the floor as the Warriors gained possession and raced the other way.

“That block at the rim was definitely great,” Draymond Green said. “If LeBron dunks on him right there, the momentum swings, he’s excited and everything can possibly swing. Yeah, he made a stand. Got a big block for us and we got off to the races. That puts momentum completely in our favor.”

With the crowd pumping up the volume, the Warriors, already in control, finished the job. And don’t think Durant isn’t aware of the effect such a play has.

“Yeah, especially when you’re at home, when you get a block against anybody, the crowd is into the game and they really enjoy that,” he said. “Around the league now, in every arena, fans are starting to respect defense. They can sense that it’s a momentum shift when you get a big block or a huge steal or a block.”

It also put momentum, on a personal level, in Durant’s favor. Despite the fact that Curry has won the last two MVP awards, it’s widely believed that James and Durant are the top two players in the NBA.

James has three championship rings, while Durant has none. James has four MVP awards, to one for Durant. When the two met in the 2012 NBA Finals, when Durant was with the Thunder and James with the Heat, Miami won in five games.

Durant, who entered the league four years after James, is at the point in his career that he believes he’s ready for anything James may have. Furthermore, since coming to the Warriors last summer, Durant clearly embraces the opportunity to beat James.

Durant posted 36 points and 15 rebounds when the teams met in Cleveland on Christmas Day, and posted 21 points, six rebounds, five assists, three blocks and two steals on Monday. KD, on an individual basis, is now 2-0 this season against LeBron.

“Guarding one of the best players in the league, and somebody that can score in different ways and impact the game from different ways, whether it’s in transition or the pick-and-roll or (isolation), I just tried to stay locked in and relied on my teammates,” Durant said.