Sliding A's send Outman to the hill to face Halos

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Sliding A's send Outman to the hill to face Halos

May 23, 2011

A'S (22-25) vs.
LA ANGELS (24-24)

Coverage begins at 6:30 P.M. on Comcast SportsNet California

LOS ANGELES (AP) -- The last time Jered Weaver faced the Oakland Athletics, he capped a stellar six-start run with his second consecutive complete game.

Weaver hasn't been nearly the same since, and this time around he'll be looking to avoid the worst skid of his career.

The right-hander takes the mound Monday night when the Los Angeles Angels host slumping Oakland to begin a four-game set.

Weaver (6-4, 2.45 ERA) has never lost five consecutive starts, though he'll likely need to recapture his form from the beginning of the season in order to end his personal losing streak.
NEWS: MLB headlines

Weaver pitched a shutout and struck out 10 against Oakland on April 25, improving to 6-0 with a 0.99 ERA. In four starts since, he's 0-4 with a 5.25 ERA while going six innings in each. In Weaver's first six starts, he never pitched less than 6 1-3 innings.

He allowed three runs and seven hits Wednesday in a 3-0 loss to Seattle.

"When you get off to a roll like that, everybody expects you to keep it going," Weaver said following his most recent loss. "We've had some rough ones here lately, not too rough, it hasn't been too bad. Nothing to hang my head about, but I haven't got deep into games like I wanted. I'm having a bad month. It's bound to turn around."

The Angels (24-24) are hoping for the same after a 4-1 win Sunday against Atlanta, their second victory in eight games. Torii Hunter hit his first home run in 99 at-bats and went 2 for 4.

"I can't remember that far back," Hunter said about his last home run, which came April 21 against Boston. "I hadn't seen one of those in a while. I've seen them on TV and in the movies, but it's a lot of fun to get one out of the way for this month."

Los Angeles has dropped six of seven to AL West opponents, including two straight to the A's last week. That was also the last time Oakland (22-25) won a ballgame.

The A's have lost five straight since beating the Angels 14-0 last Tuesday and fell 5-4 in 11 innings against San Francisco on Sunday. They've scored nine runs during their losing streak, and reliever Brian Fuentes has been charged with three of the defeats.

REWIND: Giants complete sweep of A's

"Anytime you lose a close game it's tough, but the guys had a lot of energy," manager Bob Geren said. "It's one you have to shake off and start over. Hopefully the offense the last half of this game takes that momentum down to Anaheim."

Oakland will turn to left-hander Josh Outman, who was called up to make a spot start in place of the injured Brandon McCarthy. Outman hasn't pitched in the majors since 2009 after Tommy John surgery, causing him to miss all of 2010.

RELATED: A's recall Outman; reliever Blevins DFA

Though Geren has yet to see Outman pitch this season, he said scouts have told him Outman is throwing the ball hard. He's 4-1 with a 4.78 ERA in eight starts for Triple-A Sacramento.

"Before he got hurt, he was a power pitcher," Geren told the team's official website.

Outman started against Los Angeles on May 18, 2008, allowing three runs in 4 1-3 innings of a 6-4 loss.

Angels manager Mike Scioscia missed Sunday's game to attend his son's college graduation, but he's expected to rejoin the team Monday.

Curry bounces back in blowout, wins point guard battle with Irving

Curry bounces back in blowout, wins point guard battle with Irving

OAKLAND -- No one among the Warriors had a deeper desire to beat the Cavaliers than Stephen Curry, and his performance Monday gave every indication that he wanted it as badly as he needed it.

And after losing the point-guard battle to Cleveland’s Kyrie Irving in four successive games, all Warriors losses, it was past time for Curry as the back-to-back MVP to stand up and make a statement.

His response was impressive: 20 points (7-of-20 shooting), 11 assists, four steals and a 126-91 rout by the Warriors. He was plus-23 over 31 minutes.

“He was making shots, it’s as simple as that,” Irving said. “In transition, off pick-and-rolls, doing what he does and that makes him a great player.”

Irving’s response: 17 points (6-of-19 shooting), two assists and a game-high-tying (with teammate LeBron James) six turnovers. Irving was minus-12 over 29 minutes.

“Steph was great,” coach Steve Kerr said. “A phenomenal first half, I think he had 10 assists. His energy was great and he set the tone. He put a lot of pressure on the defense.”

Curry has been playing with renewed vigor lately, his mentality changing shortly after the Warriors on Christmas Day in Cleveland blew a 14-point lead in the fourth quarter, taking a 109-108 loss. Curry took only 11 shots, scoring 15 points.

He was particularly good in the first half, scoring 14 points on 5-of-11 shooting, with 10 assists and three steals. Curry clearly came to destroy.

“It was a great way to start, just a foot on the gas pedal,” Curry said.

Curry’s game, along with the victory, may silence some of the narrative suggesting the Cavaliers have his number. Though he was displeased with one aspect of his game, Curry happily accepted the outcome. Or that Irving hadn't caught up to him.

“I obviously wanted to play well; I didn’t want to walk off the floor with anything more than what I think is a solid, aggressive game,” he said. “I didn’t shoot the ball as well as I wanted to. Some shots I normally make didn’t go down.

But I can live with that knowing I took care of the other stuff I was supposed to do on the floor. Really, what was all in my head was that I definitely wanted to leave this arena tonight with a solid performance and obviously get the win.”

Durant gets personal with stuffing of LeBron, stops any momentum for Cavs

Durant gets personal with stuffing of LeBron, stops any momentum for Cavs

OAKLAND -- There was a single play Monday night that delighted Warriors fans more than any other in a 126-91 win over the Cavaliers, and it was not any of five 3-point bombs dropped by Oracle Arena favorite Stephen Curry.

Nor was it the high-velocity collision between Draymond Green and LeBron James, which resulted in Green being assessed with a Flagrant Foul 1 and the Warriors cranking up their intensity to another level.

No, the most satisfying play of all was on defense, and it was made by offensive wizard Kevin Durant, who sent a resounding message to the Cavaliers and, moreover, to James, Cleveland’s superstar forward.

With 9:48 left in the third quarter and James driving in for a dunk, Durant responded by rising up and cleanly stuffing the shot, sending James sprawling helplessly to the floor as the Warriors gained possession and raced the other way.

“That block at the rim was definitely great,” Draymond Green said. “If LeBron dunks on him right there, the momentum swings, he’s excited and everything can possibly swing. Yeah, he made a stand. Got a big block for us and we got off to the races. That puts momentum completely in our favor.”

With the crowd pumping up the volume, the Warriors, already in control, finished the job. And don’t think Durant isn’t aware of the effect such a play has.

“Yeah, especially when you’re at home, when you get a block against anybody, the crowd is into the game and they really enjoy that,” he said. “Around the league now, in every arena, fans are starting to respect defense. They can sense that it’s a momentum shift when you get a big block or a huge steal or a block.”

It also put momentum, on a personal level, in Durant’s favor. Despite the fact that Curry has won the last two MVP awards, it’s widely believed that James and Durant are the top two players in the NBA.

James has three championship rings, while Durant has none. James has four MVP awards, to one for Durant. When the two met in the 2012 NBA Finals, when Durant was with the Thunder and James with the Heat, Miami won in five games.

Durant, who entered the league four years after James, is at the point in his career that he believes he’s ready for anything James may have. Furthermore, since coming to the Warriors last summer, Durant clearly embraces the opportunity to beat James.

Durant posted 36 points and 15 rebounds when the teams met in Cleveland on Christmas Day, and posted 21 points, six rebounds, five assists, three blocks and two steals on Monday. KD, on an individual basis, is now 2-0 this season against LeBron.

“Guarding one of the best players in the league, and somebody that can score in different ways and impact the game from different ways, whether it’s in transition or the pick-and-roll or (isolation), I just tried to stay locked in and relied on my teammates,” Durant said.