Lincecum tries to lift Giants back to .500


Lincecum tries to lift Giants back to .500

May 4, 2011

GIANTS (14-15) vs.

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

NEW YORK (AP) -- Hitting has been a major problem for the San Francisco Giants, and they're hoping that's about to become a thing of the past.

Tim Lincecum surely feels the same way.

Coming off their best offensive showing in more than two weeks, the Giants will try to give Lincecum some support as he attempts to avoid a personal three-game losing streak by getting his first road win over the New York Mets on Wednesday night.

San Francisco (14-15) is hitting .237 as a team but showed some punch at the plate Tuesday with two homers, including a go-ahead, 10th-inning shot from Aubrey Huff to lift the Giants over the Mets 7-6. The win was a confidence boost for a club that had dropped eight of its previous 11.

"It was big for us to put up some runs," San Francisco right fielder Nate Schierholtz said. "Just a matter of time. ... We're not worried. You go through ups and downs as a team. We had plenty of them last year. Better early than late."

REWIND: Huff's 10th inning blast powers Giants over Mets

The Giants' scoring in the opener of this three-game set was their highest since an 8-1 win at Colorado on April 18, also the last time Lincecum (2-3, 2.90 ERA) got a victory.

The two-time Cy Young Award winner has since lost two starts while getting just one total run of support. He didn't get any help Friday, allowing three runs with seven strikeouts in seven innings while the lineup was five-hit by Jason Marquis in a 3-0 loss at Washington.

Now, Lincecum will try to win in New York after going 0-1 with a 4.26 ERA in his last three starts there.

Production from Huff would surely help.

The first baseman is batting a paltry.190 after hitting 100 points higher while leading the Giants with 26 homers and 86 RBIs last season. His clutch homer Tuesday snapped a 3-for-41 slump over 12 games.

"Hopefully that gets me going," said Huff, who has a .395 average with two homers and seven RBIs in his last 11 games against the Mets.

URBAN: Giants may recall Belt to fix offensive woes

The Giants have won five of six versus New York, including two at Citi Field.

The Mets have dropped four of five following a season-high six-game winning streak, and in Lincecum they'll face a Cy Young winner for the third time in four contests.

"Well, if you're going to win, you've got to face the best there is," manager Terry Collins told the team's official website.

Collins will give the ball to Chris Capuano (2-2, 6.04), who has alternated wins and losses in his four starts. The left-hander gave up four runs and 10 hits in 5 2-3 innings of a 4-3 loss at Washington on Thursday. That performance came a week after he limited Houston to one run in seven innings of a 9-1 home win.

Capuano is 1-3 with a 5.79 ERA in eight games - four starts - against the Giants. However, he hasn't started against them since Sept. 23, 2006, as a member of the Milwaukee Brewers.

Jose Reyes went 3 for 3 Tuesday, and is hitting .367 with four doubles and eight runs over his last 12 games. He's 4 for 9 off Lincecum.

Cubs' Epstein: 'History doesn't really weigh on this club'


Cubs' Epstein: 'History doesn't really weigh on this club'

The Cubs are going to the World Series.

Yes, you read that right.

The Cubs are going to the World Series.

The Curse of the Billy Goat is broken. 

The 71-year drought is over. 

The truly once-in-a-lifetime moment has finally come to Chicago.

Holy cow.

The Cubs punched their ticket to the promised land with a 5-0 victory over the Los Angeles Dodgers and the Best Pitcher on the Planet in front of 42,386 fans in the most euphoric moment in Wrigley Field's history.

Theo Epstein's vision is one step closer to coming to fruition.

"History doesn't really weigh on this club," Epstein said before Saturday's Game 6. "Just trying to win tonight's game. 

"These guys - a lot of them are in their early 20s and they're not burdened by that stuff. The organization isn't. It's just about trying to win and keeping it simple."


Rewind: Sharks slow, sloppy and undisciplined in loss to Wings

Rewind: Sharks slow, sloppy and undisciplined in loss to Wings

DETROIT – The Sharks had just one scheduled practice on their 10-day road trip, set to take place on Friday in Detroit prior to the fifth and final game against the Red Wings. It was canceled, though, as the coaching staff opted for rest rather than work.

The result was a 3-0 loss to the Red Wings in which the Sharks were sloppy in their own zone, were smoked in the faceoff circle, surrendered a plethora of odd-man rushes, and took eight minor penalties. They just couldn’t keep pace with a Detroit team that was playing its second game in as many nights. 

San Jose looked like a club that has held just a single solitary practice since the season began on Oct. 12.

“Some breakdowns, guys not being above [the puck], some giveaways in our own end, we’re kind of leaving [the defensive zone] early,” Logan Couture said. “We just don’t seem like we’re dedicated to defense like we were at the end [of] last year.”

[KURZ: Instant Replay: Sharks blanked by Wings, end road trip with thud]

“It wasn’t very good tonight,” added Martin Jones, who lost his third in a row in goal. “Too many penalties, too many turnovers. Just wasn’t very good tonight.”

The start was actually a decent one, as the Sharks were attempting to put Thursday’s third period collapse in Pittsburgh behind them, but Detroit eventually took over. Gustav Nyquist broke the scoreless tie four minutes into the second period, and added to the Red Wings’ lead with a second marker about 11 minutes later.

On the first, Paul Martin was caught flat-footed in the offensive zone, leading to a two-on-one rush by Detroit. Nyquist abruptly stopped on the faceoff dot in front of Justin Braun, and rifled a shot though. On the second, Matt Nieto had control of the puck and was headed up the ice before he stumbled and turned it over to Ryan Sproul, who found Nyquist in the slot. 

A bad line change resulted in Andreas Athanasiou powering a slap shot to Jones’ far side six minutes into the third period, giving Detroit a commanding three-goal lead. 

“We were late everywhere tonight,” Pete DeBoer said. “When you’re a step behind a good team they expose you, and I think that was the story. We’ll have to go back and figure out why, and get our game back in a better place.”

“We played into their hands. They’re a transition team, a speed team, and if you’re going to play east-west and turn the puck over they’re going to make you pay for it. We talked about it, but we still fell into that trap. Obviously the penalties didn’t help, and we’re playing catch up all night.”

Among those penalties was a double minor to Joe Pavelski for spearing Steve Ott, just a few seconds after Athanasiou’s goal. The captain seemed agitated for much of the night.

Pavelski said he didn’t think he got a whole lot of Ott with his stick, but “it’s a play you don’t want to make.”

DeBoer didn’t take issue with the play which nullified what would have been a Sharks power play after a Drew Miller interference.

“Pav is a competitor. He was probably our best player tonight. He’s competing right until the final buzzer,” DeBoer said. “I don’t have a problem with that. It doesn’t bother me.”

The power play, though, is one area that the coach may need to focus on when the Sharks finally get a practice in on Monday at home. Despite being together for so many years, the top unit seems tentative with the puck and is misfiring on passes that are typically routine.

On one power play in the second period when the game was still scoreless, Pavelski was open in front of the net, but Patrick Marleau missed him on what would have been a tap-in goal. The Sharks finished 0-for-4 with a man advantage and have just one goal in a manned net this season during five-on-four play.

What has to change?

“Quite a few things,” Couture said. “We’re breaking in fine, [but] we’re too stationary, I think. I don’t know if we’re moving the puck well enough. Not attacking holes, not shooting the puck and getting it back.”

The Sharks will open up a three-game homestand on Tuesday with the Ducks. There is work to do before that.

“We’re 3-3. That’s the good news,” DeBoer said. “I think we’ve played some good hockey, but we have a lot of things we’ve got to clean up, too.”

Jones said: “Obviously it wasn’t the way we wanted to end the road trip. We’ll bounce back, and we’ve got a lot of games left.”