Snider's home run sinks A's in 5-3 loss to Jays

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Snider's home run sinks A's in 5-3 loss to Jays

April 6, 2011BOXSCORE A'S VIDEOMLBPAGE MLBSCOREBOARD
TORONTO (AP) -- Dallas Braden isn't panicking about Oakland's poor start to the season.Travis Snider hit a three-run home run, Yunel Escobar had three hits before leaving with an injury and the Toronto Blue Jays beat the Braden and the A's 5-3 on Wednesday night.Oakland has lost four of five to star the season and will try to avoid being swept by Toronto Thursday afternoon. The A's visit Minnesota and Chicago before returning home."We have a tough trip obviously but I like the way we've been playing," manager Bob Geren said. "We've been playing a lot better overall, swinging the bats a little better. The starting pitching has been fantastic."Still, some victories would be nice.RATTO: New challenge for A's -- expectations
"Hopefully we'll put all three facets of the game together (Thursday)," outfielder Josh Willingham said. "We need to get a win this series, for sure."Braden (0-1), who allowed 10 hits and five runs in seven-plus innings, understands there's plenty of time to right the ship."There's always room for improvement," Braden said. "But I don't feel like we're so down and out or at the bottom of the barrel or anything like that. I don't have that sense at all about this team. For game five to feel like we're behind the 8-ball or feel like we're not doing our best, I think it's a little early."Jesse Litsch pitched 6 1-3 innings for his first win since July 20 and Jon Rauch got two outs for his first save as the Blue Jays won for the eighth time in 11 games against the A's.Starting for the first time since Aug. 1, 2010, Litsch allowed three runs and six hits, walked two and struck out a career-high seven. Litsch missed the end of last season after undergoing hip surgery.Oakland, which came in with a major league high nine errors through four games, didn't make another miscue but did misplay two balls. Escobar was involved both times, picking up a single after third baseman Andy LaRoche couldn't handle his grounder in the first, and a triple on a ball that eluded right fielder David DeJesus in the fifth.
NEWS: Ross called up, Wuertz to DL
Escobar was shaken up after sliding face first into LaRoche's leg on his triple, laying on the ground and being tended to by the trainer before getting up. Escobar ran the bases and played defense in the sixth but was replaced by John McDonald in the seventh after complaining of dizziness."We're hopeful and at least cautiously optimistic at this point that we're not entertaining something like (a concussion)," Blue Jays manager John Farrell said.Adam Lind's RBI double in the first gave Toronto an early lead, but Oakland's Hideki Matsui answered with a two-run double in the fourth.After Juan Rivera walked and Edwin Encarnacion singled, Snider restored Toronto's advantage with a booming drive to right in the bottom half, his first."I left one pitch north of the border and it ended up further north of the border," Braden said. "That's how that goes."RELATED: MLB standings scoreboard
The Athletics got one back in the fifth when Coco Crisp hit a two-out triple and scored on Daric Barton's single.Toronto chased Braden in the eighth when McDonald led off with an infield single and Lind followed with a ground-rule double. Brad Ziegler came on and gave up an RBI single to Aaron Hill but escaped further damage by striking out Rivera and getting Encarnacion to ground into a double play.Braden walked one and struck out three.NOTES: Toronto LHP Ricky Romero (1-0) faces Oakland RHP Trevor Cahill (0-0) on Thursday. ... Oakland placed RHP Michael Wuertz (strained left hamstring) on the 15-day DL and recalled RHP Tyson Ross from Triple-A Sacramento ... Athletics 3B Kevin Kouzmanoff, who made an error and misplayed two balls in Tuesday's loss, was held out of the starting lineup but pinch hit in the seventh. ... Oakland RHP Rich Harden (right shoulder) will throw a bullpen session Thursday. ... A's LHP Brian Fuentes, out since Apr. 2 with a sore finger, threw before the game and declared himself ready to return.

Clippers have more to prove in first clash of 2016-17 with Warriors

Clippers have more to prove in first clash of 2016-17 with Warriors

LOS ANGELES – On the scale of NBA regular-season epic, Warriors-Clippers on Wednesday night rates a solid 8 for the Warriors. It’s circled on the desk calendars in pencil, a game they want for development and vanity.

For the Clippers, though, it’s a 9.5. Might be a 10. It’s stamped on the calendars embedded in their minds.

They need this game, psychologically, to prove they can stand up to the team that has spent the past two seasons winning a championship and setting a record for regular-season wins, simultaneously suppressing the notion of the Clippers being legitimately elite.

Los Angeles also needs to win the clash at Staples Center if these Western Conference titans are to reignite what once was the hottest rivalry in the NBA.

“We get to see what they do; they get to see what we do,” Warriors coach Steve Kerr says.

“It’s a new four-game journey against this team,” guard Stephen Curry says. “We have history that, when you play in the division, year after year, we’re fighting for the same goal of not only winning the division but playoff seeding and coming out of the west. It’s been a nice little back and forth.”

It has been mostly forward for the Warriors, generally backward for the Clippers.

A rivalry is defined somewhat by geography but mostly by hostilities over both the regular season and the postseason. In the very best rivalries, the teams are hunting the same bounty and end up exchanging feelings of ecstasy and heartbreak.

That has been missing the past two seasons, with the Warriors winning seven of the eight games and the last six in a row. It has been Curry over Chris Paul, Draymond Green over Blake Griffin, Klay Thompson over J.J. Redick and Kerr over Clippers coach Doc Rivers.

The contempt that began percolating back in 2012, reaching its apex in 2014 during a spellbinding seven-game playoff series won by LA, has been submerged by this wave of Warriors success.

The “rivalry” has declined considerably, leaving nothing but memories of the days when the teams were striving to reach the same level.

“We were a team trying to break through and make the playoffs,” Klay Thompson says. “They were trying to do the same thing, as far as trying to make noise in the playoffs. We both had an edge to ourselves and we haven’t lost it. They’re still hungry to get to that championship level. You can see that. And so are we.”

Curry traces the origin of the rivalry to Paul’s arrival in December 2011. The decorated point guard brought instant credibility to a franchise that had been every bit as much of a laughingstock as had the Warriors.

“When CP got there and the organization took a different turn, for the better obviously,” Curry recalls. “It was probably that first year we both made the playoffs (2012-13) because the records were a lot better than they usually were and there was a little more excitement around the new and up-and-coming teams.”

Games have featured ejections, multiple technical fouls – once in a preseason game – with an overdose of grabbing and posturing. One beef went postgame, nearly becoming physical in a hallway near the locker rooms.

There has been verbal warfare, sarcasm and slights and insults, though most of it lately has come from LA.

With the Warriors at 18-3 and the Clippers at 16-6, this may be the last season to reignite the conflict, and the first of four meetings will provide a sense of placement. The Warriors are 18-3, having won 14 of their last 15. The Clippers are 16-6, having lost four of their last six.

“It’ll be fun to see how it plays out,” Kerr says.

The Clippers, however, showed up for this season with a sense of urgency. Paul and Griffin both have opt-out clauses and will be free agents in July. The perennial All-Stars have been teammates for five-plus seasons, but this may be the last.

“Their continuity is really key; it’s one of the things that has helped us the last couple years,” Kerr says. “When you have basically the same team for a while, and you’re already a good team, you tend to get better. You tend to grow more and more comfortable with what you’re already doing and then, maybe even have the ability to add on some things.”

So maybe it’ll be different this season. Maybe we’ll have actual back-and-forth.

“They could be a team down the road that we need to get through to get where we want to go, and they probably see us the same way,” Curry says.

Oh, there is no doubt about that, certainly not among the Clippers.

A's reeling after death of minor league video coordinator Mark Smith

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ATHLETICS/TWITTER

A's reeling after death of minor league video coordinator Mark Smith

NATIONAL HARBOR, Md. — A’s officials at the winter meetings carried heavy hearts Tuesday following the death of minor league video coordinator Mark Smith.

Smith died unexpectedly Monday in Arizona at the age of 41. No cause of death was known, a team spokesperson said, and the A’s traveling contingent at the meetings were still processing the news Tuesday night.

“We’re still sort of absorbing this whole thing. As you can imagine this came as a shock to everybody,” said Billy Beane, the A’s executive vice president of baseball operations. “He had such a commitment to the organization and was such a diligent worker. He’s a tremendous loss. Everybody thought the world of him as an employee, a person. It’s shocking.”

Smith worked for the A’s for eight years and was instrumental in creating the team’s minor league video department in 2009. Manager Bob Melvin, who crossed paths with Smith every spring at the team’s minor league training complex, said Smith went above and beyond the expectations of his job to help everyone in the organization.

“He was the first guy you saw,” Melvin said. “Just a great guy that everybody felt close to. He couldn’t do enough to help wherever he could. … He’d send me video during the year of guys he thought I might see at some point, and I never even asked for them. Just a hard-working guy who was very aware of what each guy he was working with was looking for and needed.”

Funeral services are pending.