Nolasco, Marlins to test Giants' home dominance

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Nolasco, Marlins to test Giants' home dominance

May 23, 2011
FLORIDA (26-19) vs.GIANTS (27-19)Coverage starts at 6:30 p.m. on Comcast SportsNet Bay Area
(AP) -- San Francisco Giants manager Bruce Bochy knows his lineup has to continue to improve, but right now, he can't complain about how it's performing in the clutch.Looking to match a season high with their sixth straight victory, the NL West-leading Giants will try to extend their longest home winning streak in seven seasons to 10 on Tuesday night when they face the Florida Marlins.San Francisco (27-19) failed to score more than four runs through nine innings for the 16th time in 17 games Sunday, but the defending World Series champions beat Oakland 5-4 in 11 innings to win their fifth in a row."Right now we're starting to swing the bats better, but until we get this offense clicking, it's going to be vital for us to have the pitchers throwing the ball the way they are," Bochy told the team's official website.While their starters have strung together 15 straight games without giving up more than three earned runs, the Giants also have come through at the plate when it matters most. They improved to 11-0 at home in one-run games Sunday when Emmanuel Burriss singled home Darren Ford for the deciding run - the team's seventh walkoff win.San Francisco has won 14 of 18 overall, including a nine-game home winning streak which is its longest since a 9-0 stretch May 25-June 17, 2004.Giving the ball to Matt Cain (3-2, 3.28 ERA) could help San Francisco inch closer to its longest undefeated stretch at its 11-year-old waterfront ballpark, an 11-game run July 7-25, 2003. He's 3-0 with a 1.47 ERA in his last six starts there - three this season and three in last year's playoffs.The right-hander did not earn a decision Wednesday, but he struck out a season-high seven and pitched into the eighth inning for a second consecutive start in an 8-5 victory over the Los Angeles Dodgers.Cain has allowed more than three runs just once in nine starts this year and has never done so in seven outings versus Florida, going 3-0 with a 2.98 ERA.The Marlins (26-19) begin a nine-game trip with right-hander Ricky Nolasco (3-0, 3.32) looking to continue his dominance in San Francisco. The Southern California native is 2-0 with a 0.59 ERA in two starts at AT&T Park and threw the only shutout of his career there Aug. 19, 2008."I've just been able to go there and make pitches," he told the Marlins' official website. "Obviously, they are a good team built around their pitching. They have been playing good as of late, so I'm just going out and try to do the same thing and make pitches."If Nolasco struggles, manager Edwin Rodriguez can turn to a bullpen which is among the league's best with a 2.64 ERA. Florida's relievers threw six shutout innings and struck out a season-best eight in Sunday's 4-0 loss to Tampa Bay.Marlins pitching has held Buster Posey to three hits in 15 at-bats, all during the teams' last series - a four-game split July 26-29 in San Francisco. The reigning NL rookie of the year, who is 1 for 3 against Nolasco, enters this three-game set on an 11-game hitting streak during which he's batting .390.Florida's Logan Morrison will try to reach base safely for the 25th straight game after drawing a two-out, ninth-inning walk Sunday. In his major league debut, Morrison singled off Cain for his first big-league hit in a 6-4 loss July 27.Cain lasted seven innings in that game, surrendering three runs while not earning a decision.

Couture fights through illness to push Sharks over Lightning

Couture fights through illness to push Sharks over Lightning

SAN JOSE – Logan Couture didn’t skate against the Kings on Wednesday night in Los Angeles, but that sure didn’t mean he was feeling all that energetic to play against the Lightning on Thursday.

The 27-year-old center had a pretty rough start to his week. He was unable to finish Monday’s game against Winnipeg, and then couldn’t go on the quick road trip to Southern California on Tuesday, either.

We’ll let him explain.

"I wasn't feeling too well during the [Winnipeg] game, had an IV during that game, and came off. Didn't have enough energy to finish that game. Went home. Started throwing up a bunch and actually went to the hospital, got a couple more IVs. Slept that night, didn't make it through the night, threw up a couple more times. Didn't really get any sleep, so I talked to [Sharks trainer Ray Tufts] and he told me to stay home, and not come on the trip.
 
"Didn't get any food in my throat for about 48 hours. It was a tough little stretch, and finally yesterday I was able to get back to normal. I think it was just a stomach bug, but it hit pretty hard. I think I lost six pounds. So, it was a tough couple days.”

Despite all that, Couture managed to have an impact in the Sharks’ 2-1 win over the Lightning. And not just a minor impact, either, as he scored the game-winning goal early in the third period in a game in which the Sharks as a team were understandably sluggish at times but still found a way.

"I thought he was excellent. Gutsy effort by him coming back in,” said coach Pete DeBoer, who slightly limited Couture’s minutes.

The winning goal came when Couture’s linemates, Kevin Labanc and Joonas Donskoi, fought for a loose puck behind the Tampa Bay net. Labanc managed to poke it to Couture, who had pushed away from Tyler Johnson and found just enough space inside the far post with his shot to break a 1-1 tie on the opening shift of the third period.

Goalie Aaron Dell made it hold up, making some clutch third period saves on Ondrej Palat and Valtteri Filppula, in particular.

After allowing a bad goal in Calgary last week that cost the Sharks at least one point in the standings, Dell was outstanding on a night that his teammates needed him.

"I've given up a lot of goals in my life. I think it's pretty easy to let it go now, but I really wanted to come back and make a good impression after that,” he said.

Ryan Carpenter, familiar with Dell from their days on the Barracuda together last season, said: “He made some big saves tonight. That’s just what he does. Whenever he plays, he always does well somehow. It’s nice to be a part of it, and see him get that one tonight.”

Carpenter played a role, too, getting the Sharks a 1-0 lead with his second career NHL goal five minutes into the middle frame. He was the beneficiary of a long shift by the Sharks in the Tampa Bay end, firing in a Paul Martin feed off of Nikita Nesterov’s leg.

"That was just off a line change,” DeBoer said. “He got out there a little bit early and made a great play. Big goal for us."

The Sharks were in survival mode earlier in the game, one day after recording one of their more satisfying, complete wins of the season over the rival Kings. Tampa Bay recorded eight of the first nine shots on goal, and San Jose was having particular trouble moving the puck out of their own end and through the neutral zone. 

After Carpenter’s goal, and a remarkable power play score by Jonathan Drouin tied it, the message in the dressing room in the second intermission was to go out and win the third period.

"Guys did a good job in the locker room going out in the third and just understanding what’s at stake," Joe Pavelski said. "There’s two big points, it doesn’t matter your opponent that you’re playing, you’ve got to go find it."

They did, courtesy of Couture, even if his pads were a little looser than normal from his sudden and unexpected diet.

Humphrey scores 21 to help Stanford beat Oregon State 62-46

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AP

Humphrey scores 21 to help Stanford beat Oregon State 62-46

CORVALLIS, Ore. — Michael Humphrey had 21 points and Marcus Allen added a career-high 12 to lead Stanford to a 62-46 victory Thursday night over Oregon State, keeping the Beavers winless in Pac-12 conference play.

It was the third straight win for the Cardinal (11-8, 3-4 Pac-12), coming off a pair of victories at home last week against the league's Washington schools.

Stephen Thompson Jr. led the Beavers (4-15, 0-6) with 15 points. Oregon State, which trailed by as many as 17 points late after jumping out to an early nine-point lead, has lost six straight games.

The Cardinal were without Reid Travis, the team's top scorer and rebounder with averages of 16.6 points and 8.9 rebounds per game. Reid injured his right shoulder in Stanford's 76-69 victory over Washington last Saturday. He had missed the previous two games with a similar injury.

The Beavers have struggled without top scorer Tres Tinkle, who was averaging 20.2 points a game before he broke his right wrist on Nov. 25 against Fresno State. Tinkle has missed 13 games.

But Oregon State did have forward Drew Eubanks, who was a game-time decision because of a thigh injury. Eubanks was averaging 14.6 points going in. He finished with eight points against Stanford.

Beavers coach Wayne Tinkle tweaked his starting lineup, giving sophomore Gligorije Ravocevic his first career start. Ravocevic replaced Matt Dahlen, who had started the last 10 games.

At least at the start, the Beavers had spark, going up 16-7 on three consecutive 3-pointers — two by Thompson and a third by JaQuori McLaughlin. Thompson hit another 3 to give Oregon State a 19-11 lead.

But Stanford closed the gap, pulling within 20-17 on Marcus Sheffield's jumper with a little more than five minutes left before the break.

Humphrey's dunk got Stanford within 25-23, and Allen's layup tied it. Humphrey made two free throws to give the Cardinal a 27-25 halftime lead.

Sheffield's 3-pointer made it 37-32 with 12:35 left as the Cardinal began to pull away. Humphrey's layup stretched the lead to 45-36 with 8:20 left.

BIG PICTURE

Stanford: The Cardinal won six of the previous eight meetings with Oregon State. ... Allen was making his first start of the season.

Oregon State: The Beavers have been hurt by injuries this season. Players have missed more than 40 games, including center Cheikh N'diaye, who has missed 10 games and is out indefinitely with an injured left shoulder.

UP NEXT

Stanford: The Cardinal visit No. 11 Oregon on Saturday. The Ducks defeated California 86-63 on Thursday, but preseason All-America forward Dillon Brooks injured his lower left leg late in the first half and did not return.

Oregon State: The Beavers host the Golden Bears on Saturday night.