Lincecum's slump continues, Reds rout Giants

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Lincecum's slump continues, Reds rout Giants

June 11, 2011BOX SCORE GIANTS VIDEOMLB PAGE MLB SCOREBOARD
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) As good as it felt to shut out the World Series champions for eight innings, getting a pair of hits against two-time Cy Young winner Tim Lincecum really made Mike Leake's day.Leake held the struggling San Francisco hitters in check and started two rallies with his bat as the Cincinnati Reds gave Lincecum one of his worst beatings ever in a 10-2 victory over the Giants on Saturday."I take pride in my hitting," Leake said. "I don't like to get out. It's more fun to get hits than it is to pitch good sometimes. ... Anytime I'm squaring balls up, it's pretty fun."Brandon Phillips hit a two-run double and scored twice and Joey Votto knocked the San Francisco ace out with an RBI double in the fifth inning to give the Reds their second win in three games in San Francisco.Lincecum (5-5) matched his career worst by allowing seven runs in four-plus innings, marking the first time since his rookie year in 2007 that he had allowed seven earned runs in a game."I was just kind of flying all over the place," Lincecum said. "I didn't have any command of the zone at all. To me, that's just kind of going back to the drawing board and getting my mechanics straight."With the Giants struggling to generate any offense of late, that cushion proved to be more than enough for Leake (6-2), who improved to 3-0 with a 1.93 ERA in four starts since a brief stint back in the minors."Mainly my head is just back on straight a little bit," Leake said. "I think I lost it there for a little."Leake allowed four hits - including an infield popup by Eli Whiteside that third baseman Scott Rolen lost for a single - and struck out a career-high eight. Leake had a 21.21 ERA in two previous outings against the Giants, including giving up six runs while retiring one batter in a relief outing in his final appearance of the season last August.Leake also started a pair of rallies at the plate against Lincecum. Leake doubled to lead a the two-run third inning when the Reds scored on a groundout by Jay Bruce and a wild pitch by Lincecum to make it 3-0.Leake then singled to start the four-run fifth. Drew Stubbs followed with a walk and both players scored on Phillips double to left field. Votto's RBI double ended Lincecum's briefest outing of the season and Rolen added a sacrifice fly to make it 7-0."That was a rare outing by Lincecum," Reds manager Dusty Baker said. "That's a two-time Cy Young award winner. He's one of the best in the business. He wasn't as sharp today as he usually is."Lincecum allowed seven hits and walked four and struck out a career-low one batter. He struggled with his control all afternoon, throwing 37 balls compared to 36 strikes, and had two wild pitches. He generated only two swings and misses all day - both to Stubbs, who struck to open the game.That was the high point of the game for Lincecum who allowed an RBI single to Ryan Hanigan in the second inning, the two runs in the third and four runs in the fifth. Lincecum now has a 7.66 ERA in four starts since throwing 133 pitches in a shutout victory against Oakland last month."More than anything his fastball command's off," manager Bruce Bochy said. "It was an off day for Timmy, I don't know how else to tell you, especially with his command. That's a good hitting ballclub and you're going to pay for it if you're off. There's not much else to it, really. He feels good, he's healthy. He's just having trouble getting the ball where he wants."The Reds, who went just 2-8 on their last road trip, have matched that total in three games in San Francisco. The pitching has had a big part in that with Johnny Cueto and two relievers combining on a 3-0 shutout Thursday night before Leake's strong start. Pat Burrell broke up the shutout with a two-run homer in the ninth off Carlos Fisher - his first longball in 96 at-bats.Cincinnati has gone a season-high four games without a home run, winning two of them.Notes: Leake leads Reds pitchers with seven hits. ... Lincecum allowed seven runs, but only three earned runs, on May 16 against Colorado and seven earned runs to Toronto on June 13, 2007. ... The Giants signed INF Bill Hall to replace injured 2B Freddy Sanchez. Hall entered the game in the fifth inning and walked in his first plate appearance for San Francisco. ... The Reds are the only NL team that Lincecum has not beaten, excluding the Giants. He is 0-1 in three starts against Cincinnati.

Rewind: Warriors' dominance over Clippers in 'rivalry' continues

Rewind: Warriors' dominance over Clippers in 'rivalry' continues

LOS ANGELES – Once robust, the fabled Warriors-Clippers rivalry is rapidly going the way of the typewriter.

When the Warriors strolled walked into Staples Center Wednesday night and laid a 115-98 mashing on LA, prompting much of the sellout crowd streaming toward the exits in the fourth quarter, it was seventh consecutive time they have throttled the Clippers.

More deflating for the Clippers and perhaps the rest of the NBA is that this much-hyped game, with LA’s new and improved defense ranking No. 1 in the league, was supposed to be more competitive than the previous six losses.

It was, instead, a 17-point victory, the biggest Warriors rout yet.

Though the Warriors shot a respectable 47.7 percent (but only 23.3 percent beyond the arc) and also lost a tight rebounding battle, 46-45, they did most everything else so well the Clippers were done before the first quarter was over.

They had 32 assists and only 11 turnovers. They held LA to 39.6-percent shooting, while forcing 14 turnovers, leading to 16 Warriors points.

“Defensively, that’s where we won the game,” Kevin Durant said.

“If we defend like that and take care of the ball, even on a night when shots aren’t going in, we have a chance to win anywhere,” coach Steve Kerr said. “Even on the road against a great team.”

The Warriors (19-3) locked up star forward Blake Griffin, holding him to 12 points on 5-of-20 shooting – and an unsightly seven turnovers – mostly under the unyielding defense of Draymond Green.

In a game circled on their calendar, the Clippers’ starting five finished with 41 points – less than the combined totals of Klay Thompson (24) and Green (22).

The Clippers (16-7) lost this game on merit, perhaps more than the Warriors won it. Committing nine first-quarter turnovers, which the Warriors turned into 8 points, LA looked like a team that was not prepared to play an NBA game, certainly not under the microscope of national TV.

The game was advertised never materialized, partly because the Clippers were so bad and partly because the Warriors were appropriately ruthless in taking it.

“It happens,” Clippers coach Doc Rivers said. “You go into a game that you really want to do well, things don’t go well for you, and you lose it sometimes.”

Largely thanks to Clippers turnovers, the Warriors smoked LA in paint points, 58-38, as well as fast-break points, 27-11. The Warriors had 12 steals, including a career-high-tying seven by Stephen Curry.

“When we get a steal, especially live-ball turnovers, it’s three-on-one and you’ve got to pick your poison,” Durant said. “We were getting layups, we were getting wide-open 3s – although we missed a lot. But for the most part, when we get out and run that kind of ignites us, no matter if we miss or make the shot.”

So it didn’t matter than Curry failed to make a 3-pointers for only the second time this season, or that Durant endured his worst shooting night as a Warrior, going 5-of-17 from the field.

With Curry, Durant and Thompson all shooting under 50 percent, it was left to Green to operate the efficiency department. He mastered it, going 8-of-10 from the field, including 3-of-5 beyond the arc.

“It was great to get some shots to fall,” Green said. “(My shot has) been feeling good the last couple days, so I said if I got a shot that I would come in aggressive. But still focus in on the defensive end. That’s always my No. 1 focus, especially against a team like this.”

To locate the genesis of the Warriors recent domination of the Clippers, look no further than Green. He suffocates Griffin, who tends to come apart. The Warriors have faced the Clippers nine times since Green was installed as the starting power forward. They’ve won eight of them.

“If you want to take a positive away from this experience, it’s that this isn’t the playoffs,” Griffin said. “So we have some work to do, obviously. It’s a good lesson for us and I think we’ll be better off because of it. We have to allow ourselves to learn from it.”

It’s a theme very similar to that which was expressed the last time the Clippers lost to the Warriors, as well as the time before that, and so on and so on and so on, going back to the days when this was a real rivalry.

The Warriors simply take the W and keep quiet. No gloating. Maybe that will come in the playoffs.

Rewind: Sharks show no rust from layoff, fall to Sens anyway

Rewind: Sharks show no rust from layoff, fall to Sens anyway

SAN JOSE – Against Ottawa on Wednesday night, the Sharks showed no ill effects from their recent respite. They controlled play in the offensive end for long stretches, earned six power plays, and outshot and out-chanced the Senators for the majority of the three periods. 

There was no rust to speak of despite no games since Friday and no practices or meetings on Saturday or Sunday. From the opening puck drop, the Sharks were the better team.

It didn’t earn them a win, though, or even a single point in the standings. Justin Braun couldn’t prevent a bouncing puck from getting past him with about one minute left in regulation of a tie game, and Chris Kelly squeezed a shot through Martin Jones while holding off Marc-Edouard Vlasic. The Sens added an empty netter, beating San Jose for the fifth straight time, 4-2.

Braun offered his perspective of the game-winner.

"It was just bouncing in the neutral zone,” he said. “I feel [Kelly] coming on me, and I'm trying to whack it over to [Joe Thornton and] miss. Miss with my feet. … You want to have that one back. Other than that, I think the boys played pretty well."

While Braun could have played that one differently, the Sharks probably deserved better than to be tied at 2-2 at that stage. They outshot Ottawa, 37-17, and out-attempted the Senators a whopping 78-36.

Despite a strong first period, they fell behind 2-0.

On an early power play, Mark Stone was the beneficiary of a deflected puck in front of the net, when Mike Hoffman’s shot hit both Paul Martin and Brent Burns before squirting to Stone. Erik Karlsson increased the lead to 2-0 with a wrist shot through a screen a few minutes later.

“Take a penalty, they get a lucky bounce, they score a goal, [then] they go up two on a shot through traffic,” Logan Couture said. “I thought we had most of the chances in that first.”

No one had better chances throughout the night than Joe Pavelski, who was the best player on the ice. The Sharks captain was robbed in front of the net twice late in the first period, rang a shot off the crossbar in the second on a breakaway, and in the third his desperation attempt on a loose puck just outside of the blue paint was snared by Ottawa goalie Mike Condon.

Pavelski finished with a game-high seven shots, and 10 shot attempts altogether.

“That’s the way it goes,” he said. “We’ve won games 2-1, 3-2. Tonight we didn’t find that extra one, and some of the chances we had, we have to get it.”

The power play got one in the second period, courtesy of Couture, but could have had more on its six opportunities. That 1-for-6 stood out on the scoresheet to coach Pete DeBoer.

“I thought the power play maybe could have won us the game,” he said.

Even with wins in six of their last seven entering Wednesday night, though, the Sharks are still struggling to score. They have two or fewer scores in eight of their last 11 games, although they’ve managed to go a respectable 6-4-1 over that span.

They continue to get goals from the usual suspects like Couture (seven goals in 10 games) and Brent Burns, who had the game-tying goal in the third period (his fifth in eight games), but the depth scoring just hasn’t shown up nearly one-third into the season. It’s clearly becoming an issue as evidenced by DeBoer’s constantly shuffling his lines, which he did again late Wednesday.

The coach downplayed a suggestion that the depth scorers aren’t holding their water, though.

“We've been managing to find ways to win games and get enough goals to win,” DeBoer said. “Just didn't happen tonight, even though the shots and most of the play was in our favor. We just didn't win."

While the shot and scoring chance discrepancy was encouraging, the last minute loss meant it was all for naught.

“You’re never happy when you lose, especially [when] you give up a late goal, you want to at least get a point out of that game,” Couture said. “I thought we were the better team, start to finish. It’s unfortunate we couldn’t find a way to get the third one.”