Lincecum shuts down Phillies; Giants take series

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Lincecum shuts down Phillies; Giants take series

July 28, 2011BOX SCORE GIANTS VIDEOMLB PAGE MLB SCOREBOARDPHILADELPHIA (AP) -- The San Francisco Giants may not need much offense from Carlos Beltran if they play the Phillies again in the postseason.Tim Lincecum threw six scoreless innings, Pablo Sandoval hit a solo homer and the Giants beat Philadelphia 4-1 on Thursday night in their first game with Beltran.
URBAN: Beltran doesn't change Giants formula
The All-Star outfielder was 0 for 4 with two strikeouts in his debut with the defending World Series champions, who won two of three against the major league-leading Phillies in a rematch of the NLCS.Lincecum and Matt Cain dominated the Phillies last October, and they did so again in this series."Our pitchers did a great job and we got the hits when we needed," manager Bruce Bochy said. "They're a great club."Lincecum (9-8) showed no negative effects from the stomach illness that forced him to push his start back two days. The two-time NL Cy Young Award winner allowed three hits, struck out six and worked around four walks."I felt fine, a little fatigued but I just tried to keep a good pace," Lincecum said.The Phillies hadn't lost consecutive games since June 4. They went a club-record 45 straight games without dropping two straight.Sandoval gave the NL West leaders a 1-0 lead when he led off the second inning with an opposite-field shot to left. It was Sandoval's 10th homer, becoming the first Giant to reach double digits this season. Beltran hit 15 for the Mets before he was traded to San Francisco for pitching prospect Zack Wheeler.The addition of Beltran should bolster a sagging offense that's near the bottom in the major statistical categories. Beltran started in right field and batted third. He contributed defensively, making a sliding catch to rob Jimmy Rollins of a hit on a shallow fly in the fifth. Beltran's streak of reaching base safely was snapped at 32 games."I'm not going to lie. I took a deep breath when I saw him slide and the turf flew up," Bochy said of Beltran's catch. "He plays hard. That's how he is. He's very athletic."Phillies starter Kyle Kendrick (5-5) gave up four runs - three earned - and six hits in 6 1-3 innings.The Giants went up 2-0 in the fourth when Nate Schierholtz ripped an RBI single. Aubrey Huff hit a two-out double and scored on Schierholtz's liner to right-center.In the seventh, the Giants had runners at first and third with one out when pinch-hitter Aaron Rowand hit a grounder to third. Michael Martinez bobbled it and then made a wild throw to first base. Schierholtz scored from third and Chris Stewart came all the way around from first, sliding in safely on a close play at the plate to make it 4-0.Ramon Ramirez took over for Lincecum to start the seventh. He gave up a double to Carlos Ruiz. Chase Utley drove him in when he hit a double off Jeremy Affeldt later in the inning.Brian Wilson finished for his 33rd save in 37 chances.Before the at-bat against Affeldt, Utley had stranded five runners, including three in scoring position, in his first three times up.The Phillies had a runner on third with one out in the first after Rollins led off with a double and advanced on a bunt. But Utley popped out to shortstop and Ryan Howard struck out. Utley struck out with men on first and third to end the third. He struck out with two runners on to end the fifth."We can beat them," Phillies manager Charlie Manuel said. "I know we can. They're not in our head."A crowd of 45,646 on Fireworks Night was the 192nd straight sellout, including postseason play, at Citizens Bank Park. They gave Beltran an earful of boos when he batted in the first.Notes: Roy Oswalt (back) is expected to make another rehab start before possibly rejoining Philadelphia's rotation. ... All-Star 3B Placido Polanco is moving closer toward returning to the Phillies. He's scheduled to play nine innings for Triple-A Lehigh Valley on Friday. ... Rollins snapped an 0-for-19 slump with his double. ... The Giants designated INF Bill Hall for assignment and optioned UTL Emmanuel Burriss to Triple-A Fresno. ... San Francisco is 8-1 in rubber games of series.

A's position outlook: Will three catchers make Opening Day roster?

A's position outlook: Will three catchers make Opening Day roster?

The A’s have options at the catcher position, and with those options come decisions to make.

Figure that manager Bob Melvin and the rest of Oakland’s front office will use the length of spring training to evaluate their catching corps, and the decisions that eventually come down will impact the rest of the roster.

Stephen Vogt and Josh Phegley could form a natural left-right platoon, as they did to begin last season. But Phegley is coming off right knee surgery that ended his 2016 season in July and proved more problematic than anticipated as he recovered. His status can’t be adequately judged until camp begins and he’s behind the plate testing his mobility.

Adding intrigue to the catching puzzle was last season’s emergence of Bruce Maxwell, who hit .283 after making his major league debut in July and shows defensive upside.

Might the A’s keep three catchers to begin the season? Melvin acknowledged that possibility when asked about it during the winter meetings. Vogt has played first base and the outfield in the past, so he provides a little flexibility. But keeping him, Phegley and Maxwell would short the A’s roster elsewhere.

There are decisions to make, but a full Cactus League exhibition season should influence how things shake out at catcher.

STARRING CAST: Maxwell’s emergence, and the fact he hits left-handed, made the 32-year-old Vogt a potential trade piece this winter. But the veteran is still an Athletic and has been an All-Star in back-to-back seasons, though his 2016 stats didn’t jump off the page. He hit .251 with 14 home runs and 56 RBI, delivering a much better first half than second half offensively. But Vogt’s biggest value comes with his clubhouse leadership and ability to connect with his pitchers. He’s the unofficial team spokesman, always willing to stand in front of the cameras after a tough loss. His steadying presence is even more important on a team that annually undergoes such heavy roster turnover.

CAMP COMPETITION: Phegley, 28, missed time in May with a strained right knee, then underwent surgery in July to remove a cyst from the knee. That seemed a rather minor procedure, but Phegley was hospitalized in August after developing a case of synovitis, or inflammation in the knee joints. A’s general manager David Forst said recently that Phegley’s offseason rehab has gone well, but Phegley will remain a question mark until he shows he’s full strength throughout camp.

Maxwell, 26, hadn’t played above Double-A before last season. But he impressed at Triple-A Nashville both with his bat and overall defensive skills. After a slow start in the majors, Maxwell hit .367 over his final 20 games. He began showing flashes of the potential the A’s saw when they made him a second-round pick in 2012 out of tiny Birmingham Southern College.

“Bruce is a guy that maybe in the season you didn't expect to see (before) September, and he’s a guy that came in and made an impact defensively and offensively,” Melvin said during the winter meetings. “It's exciting to have a young catcher like that, especially that hits from the left side of the plate to give Stephen some days off. Stephen is a versatile guy where you can DH him some too, maybe even play him at first base on a day that Yonder (Alonso) gets a day off.”

Could the A’s simply go with Vogt and Maxwell at catcher, though both hit left-handed? Again, Phegley’s health could factor prominently.

PAY ATTENTION TO: A catcher the A’s drafted in the third round last summer, Sean Murphy. He’s a non-roster invitee to big league camp. Murphy, who attended Wright State, is said to be a gifted catcher defensively, with mlb.com’s Jim Callis saying last June that Murphy had the strongest arm of any catcher in the 2016 draft.

Raiders name former Chargers DC as assistant head coach-defense

Raiders name former Chargers DC as assistant head coach-defense

Raiders head coach Jack Del Rio has hired former Chargers defensive coordinator John Pagano, the team announced on Monday evening. He will be the team’s assistant head coach on the defensive side of the ball.

Pagano has spent most of his coaching career in San Diego, working with the Chargers in various capacities since 2002. He was promoted from linebackers coach to defensive coordinator in 2012, where he led that unit for five seasons.

Pagano and Del Rio worked together in 1997, when Pagano was a New Orleans Saints defensive assistant and Del Rio was the assistant strength coach.

Pagano was a longtime linebackers coach before becoming a play caller. He has worked with several quality pass rushers and has proven to be adept at creating pressure.

The Raiders created a position for Pagano, who will help a defense that ranked 26th in yards allowed and dead last in sacks. Pagano was looking for a different gig after new Chargers head coach Anthony Lynn hired Gus Bradley as his defensive coordinator. 

Ken Norton Jr. remains defensive coordinator, but Pagano will bring experience and creativity to the game-planning process.

He has worked within a 3-4 defensive scheme, but has experience in all formations. The Raiders run multiple defensive fronts.

Pagano is the assistant coach on defense, while offensive line coach Mike Tice has a similar title on the offensive side. The Raiders have a vacancy on the staff, and are looking for a new defensive backs coach.

John Pagano is the younger brother of Indianapolis head coach Chuck Pagano.