Vogelsong looks for some support vs. Cardinals

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Vogelsong looks for some support vs. Cardinals

May 31, 2011

GIANTS (29-24) vs.
ST. LOUIS (32-23)

Coverage begins at 3:30 P.M. on Comcast SportsNet Bay Area

St. Louis (AP) -- The San Francisco Giants broke out at the plate in their last game, but they haven't shown they are capable of building on their rare offensive outbursts.

Ryan Vogelsong might not have much room for error again Tuesday when he takes the mound for the Giants against the St. Louis Cardinals.

San Francisco (29-24), which entered this series having dropped five of six including a pair of shutouts, stormed past St. Louis (32-23) 7-3 on Monday. Andres Torres hit a grand slam to back Madison Bumgarner, who pitched seven strong innings to notch his second win in what's been a hard-luck season.

REWIND: Torres slams Giants to 7-3 win over Cardinals

When the Giants have shown offensive punch, they haven't usually been able to sustain it. The Giants have scored five or more runs three other times in their last 11 games. In the three games immediately following, they totaled six runs.

Vogelsong (3-1, 1.77 ERA) has pitched fantastic ball lately, with a 0.34 ERA in his last four starts. However, he's 0-1 in his last two while receiving only one run of support. The Giants didn't score for Vogelsong at all Thursday, when he limited Florida to one run over eight innings but lost 1-0.

REWIND: Sanchez shuts out Giants, Marlins sweep

"The way Vogey pitched today, it's just unacceptable to get a loss out of a game like that," first baseman Aubrey Huff told the Giants' official website.

This is Vogelsong's first appearance against the Cardinals since 2006, and first start against them since 2004. He is 1-4 with an 8.49 ERA lifetime in four starts and 10 relief appearances versus St. Louis.

If Vogelsong pitches the way he has recently, he figures to be another tough matchup for Cardinals starter Chris Carpenter (1-5, 4.58), who is looking to snap a personal three-game losing streak.

The right-hander pitched an eight-inning complete game but lost 3-2 against San Diego on Wednesday. The Cardinals have supported Carpenter with eight total runs in his seven quality starts.

"I just continue to get ready for my next start, I can't control what's going on," said Carpenter, who won 17 games in 2009 and 16 last season. "Things happen. It's been weird."

NEWS: MLB headlines

Carpenter is 4-1 with a 3.56 ERA in seven starts against the Giants. Huff has particularly struggled against him, going 2 for 15. Fellow Giants outfielder Pat Burrell is 6 for 21 off the right-hander, but four of those hits were homers.

St. Louis, which has lost three of five after winning eight of the previous nine, will seek a long start out of Carpenter after Kyle McClellan lasted only four innings Monday, allowing seven runs.

Albert Pujols hit his ninth homer of the season Monday for St. Louis. He was 3 for 20 in his previous five games - all singles

"He crushed the ball on the home run," manager Tony La Russa said. "He's hit the ball a lot better than his (.262) average."

The Giants could be without center fielder Aaron Rowand, who left the series opener with a bruised right hip. He is day to day.

Green: Wins over Cavs, OKC and Rockets 'our best week of the season'

Green: Wins over Cavs, OKC and Rockets 'our best week of the season'

It may have helped that they had been at home for roughly three weeks.

It surely was to their benefit that the NBA schedule provided three days without a game before they confronted perhaps one of the most rigorous weeks of the season.

The Warriors, however, still had to do the work. They still had to finish.

They still had to beat the team that had roughed them up 22 days earlier, and then squelch another squad coming into Oracle Arena on a wave of emotion and, finally, take to the road and get back at a team that handed them a loss in Oakland.

Done, done and done. And in such a fashion that forward Draymond Green referred to it as “our best week of the season.”

In putting away the Rockets 125-108 on Friday in Houston, the Warriors closed out the traditional worker’s week with a 3-0 record against three teams they could see in the postseason. They’d already routed the defending champion Cavaliers 126-91 on Monday and struck down the Thunder 121-101 on Wednesday.

“It’s three good teams in a row,” Kevin Durant told reporters in Houston. “We definitely wanted to come out and make a nice statement, and I think we did that.

“We always can get better. We can’t relax against Orlando, Miami and Charlotte, teams that can creep up on you and have been playing well lately.”

The Magic, Heat and Hornets -- all dreadful to mediocre -- are the kinds of teams that force the Warriors to compete. They don’t stir the senses like the Cavs or the Thunder or the Rockets, three teams with credentials that demand attention from a Warriors team that sometimes cruises against lesser competition.

So this week was not just about winning games. These weren’t just wins, they were emphatic statements, profound evidence that the team remodeled last summer around the addition of Durant is coming together in the heart of the season.

The defense was tight, with Cleveland shooting 35.2 percent, OKC 42.2 percent and Houston 20.0 percent from beyond the arc, which is the only place that matters for the Rockets.

The Warriors resorted to one of their signature turbocharged third quarters to separate from the Rockets. Shooting 61.9 percent and scoring 9 points off Houston turnovers, the Warriors outscored Houston 37-22 in the third, stretching a five-point halftime lead to 20 going into the fourth quarter.

The Warriors now have an NBA-best differential of plus-250 points in the third quarter this season.

“It’s just something that we put an emphasis on,” Green said. “Coming out and getting off to a good start in the second half. Not coming out flat and giving another team life or letting them go on a run and then trying to make it up. And once we go on our run, we can get rolling pretty well and make it tough on other teams.”

That was the case this week, as the Warriors topped 50 percent from the field in all three victories.

Durant scored 32 points against Houston and averaged 31 points over the last three games. Stephen Curry put in 24 points and averaged 22.7 for the week. Green, meanwhile, averaged 12.7 points, 10.7 rebounds, 7.7 assists and 3.7 blocks.

“It was our best week of the season because we’ve gotten better each time we’ve stepped on the floor this week,” Green said. “And that’s what’s most important. It’s not about blasting these three teams. It’s about getting better, and trying to reach our end goal. In order to do that, you have to get better each and every time you step on the floor.

“We did that these three games, so that’s the most important thing. That’s why it’s been a good week, not because of the margin of the wins that we had.”

Instant Replay: Warriors ground Rockets, run win streak to six games

Instant Replay: Warriors ground Rockets, run win streak to six games

BOX SCORE

The Warriors avenged yet another loss Friday night, rolling into Houston and laying a 125-108 beating on the Rockets at Toyota Center.

All five Warriors starters scored in double figures, with Kevin Durant totaling 32 points to lead the way. Stephen Curry finished with 24 points, Klay Thompson with 16, Draymond Green with 15 and Zaza Pachulia added 10.

The Warriors (37-6) suffocated Houston’s high-powered offense, which is predicated on 3-point shooting, holding the Rockets to 20 percent (7-of-35) beyond the arc. The Warriors forced 15 turnovers, off which they scored 19 points.

Backup center Clint Capela scored 22 points to lead Houston (33-13). MVP candidate James Harden was held to 17 points on 6-of-13 shooting, including 0-of-5 from 3-point distance.

Having beaten the Cleveland Cavaliers on Monday, the Warriors this week evened the ledger against two elite teams. They lost to Houston on Dec. 1 in Oakland, 132-127, in double overtime that accounted for one of only three losses at Oracle Arena.

STANDOUT PERFORMER

The entire starting lineup played well, but Durant proved too much for anything the Rockets threw at him.

Durant’s line: 32 points (12-of-19 shooting from the field, including 2-of-7 from deep, 6-of-7 from the line), seven assists, four rebounds, two blocks and two steals. He played 34 minutes and was plus-25 for the game.

TURNING POINT

After Houston trimmed their lead to five (64-59) with 11:39 remaining in the third quarter, the Warriors responded with a 23-8 run, punctuated by a 28-foot 3-pointer by Curry to go up 87-67 with 5:58 left in the quarter.

The Warriors led by 20 entering the fourth quarter, and the Rockets got no closer than 15 over the final 12 minutes.

INJURY UPDATE

Warriors: C/F David West (L thumb fracture) was listed as out.

Rockets: F Ryan Anderson (flu) was listed as questionable but upgraded to available. He was in the starting lineup, but played only nine minutes before leaving for good.

WHAT’S NEXT

The Warriors return to action Sunday in Orlando, where they face the Magic at Amway Center. Tipoff is scheduled for noon Pacific.