One down -- Beltran slugs Giants past D'backs


One down -- Beltran slugs Giants past D'backs

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) -- Matt Cain sensed a different energy around the San Francisco Giants with August in the rear view at last.A vibe much like that of the 2010 club that propelled itself into the postseason with a stellar September.Carlos Beltran hit a go-ahead, two-run homer among his four hits, Cain calmly recovered from a rough first inning and the Giants beat the first-place Diamondbacks 6-2 on Friday night to snap Arizona's season-best nine-game winning streak.Cody Ross hit a two-run homer and made a nice play with his glove as the reigning World Series champions pulled within five games of Arizona in the NL West race. San Francisco figures it must take the series to stay in the chase for a chance at defending its division title.
RATTO: Playoff atmosphere returns, Giants thrive
"That's the energy we needed, the way we needed to start off September," Cain said. "This is the time to do it, obviously. We only have a month left."The Giants began last September with a four-game division deficit behind San Diego, which gives this group hope of pulling off another unlikely run.Jeff Keppinger added an RBI double off Joe Saunders (9-12) for the Giants, who denied the D-backs brass a trip to the barber shop. San Francisco won a series opener for the first time in its last 13 chances since taking Game 1 on July 18 against the rival Dodgers.Cain (11-9) won for only the second time in seven starts, escaping a bases-loaded jam in the first with minimal damage.Whether this crucial victory will help save San Francisco's season remains to be seen."This is fun as a ballplayer. You want to be in a situation where every game is meaningful, every game is worth something," Beltran said. "I heard they played well in September. We're looking forward to that."
It is Tim Lincecum (12-11) vs. 17-game winner Ian Kennedy on Saturday night in a marquee pitching matchup. Lincecum has two NL Cy Young awards, Kennedy is vying for this year's honor.Arizona won't be pulling out those razors this time.First-year general manager Kevin Towers and team president Derrick Hall vowed to shave their heads if the club's win streak reached 10 - a little friendly bet they had going with manager Kirk Gibson."We made some mistakes which were very uncharacteristic of the way we have been playing baseball," Gibson said. "We walked six people tonight and we gave them some added opportunities. They outplayed and outpitched us tonight. We'll be back tomorrow."The D-backs beat both Cain and Lincecum in consecutive games during their trip here a month ago. That after Arizona dropped three games all by one run at AT&T Park from May 10-12.This one wasn't close.Beltran added an RBI single in the fifth and singled again in the seventh to match his career high with four hits. It was his 20th career four-hit game and first since June 30, 2007, at Philadelphia while with the Mets.The slugger finally produced the way the Giants hoped he would when they acquired him in a July 28 trade from New York, showing the power stroke that has defined his 14-year big league career. The six-time All-Star recently spent a stint on the disabled list with an injured right hand and wrist.
VIDEO: Cody Ross postgame
Ross, one of those castoffs and misfits who shined last September and during an improbable championship run, connected in the seventh. Then, he made a spectacular diving catch on Justin Upton's sharply hit fly to start the eighth. Ross caught the ball in fair territory and slid face-first into the dirt in foul territory.Ross also snapped an 0-for-16 stretch with his fifth-inning double.Cain appeared to be in trouble right away but wound up going eight innings, allowing two runs and five hits. After striking out Ryan Roberts to start the game, he allowed Aaron Hill's single, a walk to Upton then Miguel Montero's RBI double. Chris Young drew a free pass one out later to load the bases for Gerardo Parra, but Cain retired him on a fly ball to left."We had a good opportunity in the first inning to score two runs but we didn't," Montero said. "We had the opportunity but we couldn't make it happen. Today was a little rough for us."Santiago Casilla gave up a single to Parra in the ninth before striking out pinch-hitter Geoff Blum to end it.Keppinger's double off the left-field wall in the third tied the game at 1, then Beltran followed with his 17th home run. Keppinger has eight RBIs in his last nine games.Beltran hit just his second clout in 21 games since joining the Giants. He came into the game in an 0-for-11 funk and was hitless in his previous three games. He also had been unsuccessful in his last eight at-bats with runners in scoring position and was 2 for his last 20 with chances to drive in runs."We had some big hits, the longball, two-out hits," Giants manager Bruce Bochy said. "We've been missing that for a while. Better late than never."
VIDEO: Bruce Bochy postgame
Saunders fell to 0-3 lifetime against the Giants, all the losses this year. He never found a rhythm with a sellout crowd of 40,948 on their feet cheering on a night fog swirled above the outfield in the early innings and wind whipped the ballpark flags right off the bay.The Giants are the only NL West team Saunders is yet to beat. Hill added a sacrifice fly in the fifth for Arizona's other run.Pat Burrell was back in the San Francisco lineup and playing left field after he missed 43 games with a strained right foot. He struck out and walked twice before being replaced.NOTES: These teams meet for three games at Chase Field in the season's final week. ... Beltran tripled in the first. The homer was No. 297 of his career. He is batting .500 (14 for 28) with a homer, three triples, a double and four RBIs in seven games against Arizona this season. ... Lincecum is 0-1 in two starts vs. the D-backs this season despite a 1.20 ERA. He has allowed two earned runs and seven hits with 17 strikeouts and five walks over 15 innings. The loss came here Aug. 2. ... Kennedy beat Cain on Aug. 1 during his stretch of seven straight winning starts. ... The Giants are 45-9 when scoring four or more runs.

Rewind: Klay drops 60, finds a zone most never experience

Rewind: Klay drops 60, finds a zone most never experience

OAKLAND – The shots kept falling, splashing through the net from all over the court, jumpers from 20 feet, from 25, from 30, layups from one side of the bucket, then the other. Klay Thompson was tap-dancing all over the Indiana Pacers.

It didn’t seem logical that a self-respecting NBA team like the Pacers would allow one man to put on a personal showcase, with them as the victims.

That’s precisely what Thompson did Monday night, before the 200th consecutive sellout crowd at Oracle Arena, pouring in 60 points – more than he has ever scored in a game, more than anyone in the NBA his scored this season – in a 142-106 crushing of Indiana.

“Klay did do a good job of moving without the ball,” Pacers coach Nate McMillan said. “Tonight, he was moving and they were finding him.

“We needed to get more help, and we didn’t. He lit us up.”

In scoring 60 points in only 29 minutes – he exited with 1:22 left in the third quarter and did not return – Thompson found a zone above even the most ethereal zones. He happened upon a place even the most hallowed most NBA players never get the privilege of experiencing.

“That’s a feat I would put money on to probably never be touched ever again in the history of basketball,” said Stephen Curry, the reigning scoring champion as well as back-to-back MVP.

“I don’t even know what to say,” said Kevin Durant, the four-time scoring champ who also has an MVP trophy to his name. “I’ve never seen anything like it.”

With Thompson raining shots, his teammates standing and clapping and boogieing to the roar of the crowd, the Pacers were helpless witnesses to their own dismantling. As Thompson sizzled, and their defense fizzled, one thing became clear: There would be no double-teaming of the hottest shooter in the NBA this season.

How do you double-team Thompson, who plays mostly without the ball, when he’s sharing the court with Curry and Durant? You don’t. You take your chances and hope. And if Thompson is stroking it, you’re in trouble.

The Pacers tried numerous defenders on Thompson and none was up to the challenge. The Warriors, smelling the Pacers’ futility, went after them with a vengeance.

“You could see that once he got hot, Steph was looking for him and Draymond (Green) and KD and Andre (Iguodala) and Zaza (Pachulia), they were all looking for him,” Warriors coach Steve Kerr said.

“I’ve said this before, but I really believe the strength of our team the last few years offensive is the number of guys that can pass and make plays. What’s really gratifying as a coach is when you see that type of unselfishness.”

By the time Indiana’s superstar, Paul George, took the assignment, trying to cool Thompson, it was well into the third quarter, much too late. Thompson had made 21 of his 33 shots, including eight of his 14 launches from beyond the arc. He had become the first player in the shot-clock era (beginning in 1954-55) to score 60 points in fewer than 30 minutes.

He had hung the Pacers on a wall.

“I will celebrate this tonight,” said Thompson, whose previous career-high was 52 points. “It’s a feat I never really thought I would be able to do growing up.”

Asked if could have scored 80 points, Thompson barely skipped a beat.

“Maybe. I think I could have,” he said. “And maybe one day I will have the opportunity. 60 points in 29 minutes is not bad. I’m satisfied with that.”

His teammates were beyond satisfied. They were delighted. Enchanted. Durant scored 20 points and was agape at Thompson’s performance. Curry had 13 points, 11 assists and zero turnovers and was unusually demonstrative in recapping Thompson’s night.

“We just kept feeding him and feeding him, and he was knocking down some unbelievable shots,” Durant said.

“It was just so much fun to watch,” Curry said. “We appreciate that entertainment value as his teammates to see what he was able to do tonight. It was crazy.”

This was Thompson, taking full and extravagant advantage of both his own shooting skill as well as the benefit of teammates too lethal for any defense to ignore.

All of which left the other 29 teams around the NBA watching and wondering where on earth do they turn if any Thompson or Curry or Durant enters a zone.

This is quite the quandary, and it’s precisely what the Warriors had in mind when they hired Durant.

Instant Replay: Klay erupts for career-high 60, Warriors destroy Pacers

Instant Replay: Klay erupts for career-high 60, Warriors destroy Pacers


OAKLAND – As the Warriors on Monday night celebrated their 200th consecutive sellout crowd at Oracle Arena, All-Star guard Klay Thompson gave 19,596 fans an evening they’ll never forget.

Thompson scored 60 points, a career-high for him and the most any player has scored in the NBA this season, to carry the Warriors to a 142-106 victory over the Indiana Pacers.

Thompson scored 17 points in the opening period, 23 in the second – for 40, representing a career-high for points in a half – and closed out his night with 20 in the third quarter.

So hot was Thompson that only no other teammate exceeded 20 points. Kevin Durant totaled 20, Stephen Curry had 13 and Ian Clark finished with 11.

Curry posted a season-high 11 assists, and Draymond Green recorded 10 as the Warriors were credited with 45 helpers overall.

With a 116-83 lead after three quarters, Warriors coach Steve Kerr went to his reserves for the entire fourth quarter.

Thompson, who took possession in the first half and locked it up in third quarter.

Thompson’s line: 60 points (21-of-33 from the field, 8-of-14 from deep, 10-of-11 from the free throw line). He played 29 minutes and finished plus-37 for the night.

When a Monta Ellis layup pulled the Pacers within seven (46-39) with 8:14 left in the second quarter, the Warriors went on a 24-3 run to go up 70-42 with 2:34 remaining in the half.

They went into intermission with an 80-50 lead, and Indiana got no closer than xx for the rest of the game.

The Warriors trailed for all of 12 seconds (in the first five minutes) in the game.

Warriors: No injuries were listed and none was reported.

Pacers: No injuries were listed and none was reported.

Rookie C Damian Jones is on assignment with D-League Santa Cruz.

The Warriors travel to Los Angeles, where on Wednesday night they face the Clippers at Staples Center. Tipoff is scheduled for 7:30.