Melvin calls on rookie to beat Sox, halt A's skid


Melvin calls on rookie to beat Sox, halt A's skid

June 10, 2011
A's (27-37) vs.
WHITE SOX (31-34)

Coverage starts at 4:30 P.M. on Comcast SportsNet California

CHICAGO (AP) -- A change in managers didn't prevent the Oakland Athletics' losing streak from reaching double digits.

The Athletics will try again to give Bob Melvin his first win and halt a 10-game skid Friday night against the Chicago White Sox.

Oakland (27-37) made the majors' first managerial change of 2011 by firing Bob Geren after four-plus seasons Thursday. Melvin, a Bay Area native and former skipper with Arizona and Seattle, will guide the A's for the remainder of the season.

RATTO: Something amiss in dismissal of Geren

He's got quite a challenge trying to wake up a sluggish offense. Heading into the opener of its four-game set with the White Sox (31-34), Oakland was last in the AL with 223 runs and 34 homers, and second to last with a .238 batting average.

Melvin does inherit a pitching staff, led by Gio Gonzalez and Trevor Cahill, that still has the AL's lowest ERA at 3.32 even after being hit hard later Thursday. Cahill yielded six runs in a season-low 2 2-3 innings and spoiled the debut of his new bench boss with a 9-4 loss.

"It's always about winning," said Melvin, who's seven victories short of 500. "It would have been nice to go home tonight and get some sleep knowing that we won a game, but we'll come back out and battle (Friday)."

REWIND: A's fall to White Sox in Melvin's debut

Hideki Matsui had a two-run homer among two hits for last-place Oakland, which looks to avoid losing 11 straight for the first time since a 12-game slide April 19-30, 1994.

To do that, Melvin will go with Graham Godfrey, making his major league debut with Brett Anderson sidelined by elbow soreness.

Godfrey was 7-1 with a 2.50 ERA in nine starts with Triple-A Sacramento, and he also led the River Cats with 45 strikeouts while walking 14 in 50 1-3 innings. Oakland acquired the right-hander in 2007 from Toronto in a trade involving Marco Scutaro.

Athletics starters have a 5.99 ERA over the last 10 games, and Godfrey will be facing a lineup that features the surging Carlos Quentin and Paul Konerko. Quentin is batting .359 in an 11-game hitting streak while Konerko has a 10-game run with homers in five of his last eight contests.

After sitting out for two games to try and clear his head, Adam Dunn went deep at home Thursday for the first time since May 1 - a span of 15 games.

"That felt good. You're out there after having a series off. You're eager to get back in there and be able to contribute," said Dunn, who's hitting .178 and has struck out 11 times in 22 at-bats versus the Athletics this year.

The White Sox, who are looking to win three straight in one season over Oakland for the first time since May 22-24, 2006, will send Edwin Jackson (4-5, 4.50 ERA) to the hill.

The right-hander threw a season high 124 pitches in six innings, but didn't get a decision Saturday against Detroit after yielding two runs and seven hits with four walks in Chicago's 4-2 loss.

He is 2-1 with a 3.48 ERA against Oakland, but has failed to get a win or loss in two starts since joining the White Sox in a trade from Arizona in July. Jackson's shortest outing of the season at U.S. Cellular Field came against the A's on April 12, when he lasted 4 2-3 innings while allowing three runs and seven hits in the White Sox's 6-5 win in 10 innings.

Walton wins debut as Lakers finish off Rockets


Walton wins debut as Lakers finish off Rockets


LOS ANGELES -- Jordan Clarkson scored 12 of his 25 points in the fourth quarter, and the Los Angeles Lakers won coach Luke Walton's debut, holding off the Houston Rockets 120-114 on Wednesday night.

D'Angelo Russell scored 20 points and Julius Randle added 18 points, seven rebounds and six assists for the young Lakers, who got off to an exciting start in the franchise's first season without Kobe Bryant since 1995.

With a revamped roster coming off the worst season in the 16-time champion team's history, Los Angeles surged in the fourth quarter of an auspicious opener under Walton, the 36-year-old former Lakers forward.

James Harden had 34 points, a career-high 17 assists and eight rebounds for the Rockets, who lost in former Lakers coach Mike D'Antoni's debut on the Houston bench.

The Lakers played an up-tempo, aggressive offensive game under Walton, and nobody seized the moment better than Clarkson, who came off the bench in his first game since signing a $50 million contract. His 3-pointer put the Lakers up 116-112 with 1:48 left, and the Lakers hung on while the Rockets missed a long series of open shots in the final minute.

Brandon Ingram scored nine points in the No. 2 pick's NBA debut for the Lakers. Timofey Mozgov had 12 points and eight rebounds, and Luol Deng had seven points in their Lakers debuts.

After matching the franchise record with 14 first-half assists, Harden tied his career high with his 16th early in the third quarter. The Los Angeles native managed only six points in the fourth quarter, going 1 for 5, and his teammates were a combined 5 for 16.


Hall of Famer Bill Walton proudly wore a purple Lakers T-shirt to his son's official coaching debut. Walton's mother and three brothers also attended the game. "The Walton force will be strong tonight," Luke said with a grin. "There's definitely nerves and excitement right now, but mostly there's no time to think about how incredible this is, and the opportunity. It's more focused on watching film and getting the prep work in for tonight's game."


The Lakers fired D'Antoni after he went 27-55 in 2013-14, the first of a franchise-record three straight non-playoff seasons. When D'Antoni was asked before the game about reflecting on his time in LA, the coach quickly quipped: "I try not to. ... No, I loved it. I actually did. Manhattan Beach is probably the greatest place to stay. Great friends. They treated me nice, (Lakers owner) Jim (Buss) and (general manager) Mitch (Kupchak). It just didn't fit. It just didn't work."


Rockets: Clint Capela, the 6-foot-9 Swiss forward, replaced Dwight Howard in the middle of the lineup.

Lakers: Metta World Peace began his 17th NBA season, picking up three fouls in his first two minutes while guarding Harden. ... Before the game, they solidified their young core by picking up their 2017-18 contract options on Russell, Randle and Larry Nance Jr. ... Jack Nicholson, Denzel Washington, director Peter Berg, YG, Kendall Jenner, Karlie Kloss, Dodgers president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman and NBA Commissioner Adam Silver attended the game.


Rockets: At Dallas on Friday in the opener of a home-and-home series.

Lakers: Open a four-game road trip at Utah on Friday.

Instant Replay: Cousins, Kings cruise in opener vs Suns

Instant Replay: Cousins, Kings cruise in opener vs Suns


The Sacramento Kings rolled into Phoenix’s Talking Stick Resort Arena and blew away the Suns on Wednesday night by a final of 113-94. The young upstart Suns tried to make a game out of it in the early fourth quarter, but Sacramento turned to their veterans who delivered down the stretch.

DeMarcus Cousins got into foul trouble early, but still found a way to drop in 24 points and grab six rebounds in 24 minutes manning the middle. Once he was in the flow of the defense, Cousins came to the aid of his teammates, stepping in and cutting off the baseline on multiple possessions.

Like Cousins, Rudy Gay didn’t look great early, but he still managed to score 22 points in the win. There was a sequence in the third quarter when Gay came alive on the defensive end, blocking back-to-back shots on the same defensive possession..

Starting for Darren Collison, Ty Lawson ran the offense better than expected, posting nine points, six rebounds and seven assists in 35 minutes of action.

Garrett Temple filled in as the reserve point guard spot and added 12 points on 6-for-8 shooting.

Matt Barnes provided a spark off the bench, tossing in 14 points and grabbing seven rebounds.

Eleven of 12 players that stepped on the floor for Sacramento scored and nine players players dropped in six points or more in the win.  

Eric Bledsoe had a nice night for the Suns, scoring 16 points on 5-for-11 shooting with five assists. T.J. Warren chipped in 14 points and five rebounds while playing solid defense on Gay early. Devin Booker added 18 points on 8-of-12 shooting, but he missed all three of his long range shots.  

STANDOUT PERFORMER -- Cousins couldn’t set the tempo early, but when he got it rolling in the third quarter, it was lights out for the Suns. There are plenty of nights that Cousins will be asked to do more, but with a big lead, the Kings didn’t need a typical showing from their All-Star center.

TURNING POINT -- Sacramento finished the first half on a 16-1 run and took a 57-38 lead into the intermission. The Suns kept it within 20 for most of the night and even made a run at the end of third, but the game was decided in the few minutes leading to the intermission.

INJURY UPDATE -- Sacramento enters the season with a full roster of healthy bodies. Matt Barnes struggled with a rib injury during camp, but played a big 27 minutes for the Kings  in the opener.

WHAT'S NEXT -- The Kings return home from Phoenix following the game where the the San Antonio Spurs are waiting for them. Thursday night’s home opener marks the first official game in the new Golden 1 Center as the Kings look to improve to 2-0 on the season.