Will Josh Outman be the A's first June winner?

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Will Josh Outman be the A's first June winner?

June 15, 2011

KANSAS CITY (30-37) vs.
A's (28-40)

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

OAKLAND (AP) -- Though Kansas City has not fared well away from home this season, it's off to a good start on a nine-game trip.

The Royals look for a season-high third consecutive road victory Wednesday night against the struggling Oakland Athletics, who try to avoid a fourth consecutive defeat.

Kansas City (30-37) is 9-17 away from home, but took two of three against the Los Angeles Angels last weekend and won 7-4 at Oakland on Tuesday. It was just the Royals' third win in nine games at the Coliseum.

REWIND: Cahill floundering as A's drop opener to Royals

"It was big for us to be able to go down to L.A. and take two of three from a good Angels team," said rookie first baseman Eric Hosmer, who had two hits and an RBI. "If we can get out of here with a few more victories and head into St. Louis with some momentum, that will be big for us."

Alcides Escobar had three hits with two RBIs and Billy Butler drove in two for the Royals, who have scored 25 runs on the trip.

Escobar is batting .500 (13 for 26) during a season-high seven-game hitting streak, while Butler has hit .346 with nine RBIs his last seven. Butler has six RBIs his last five games versus Oakland.

The Royals look to continue their recent success at the plate behind scheduled starter Luke Hochevar (4-6, 5.04 ERA), who is 0-5 with a 7.26 ERA in six starts against the A's (28-40).

Most of Hochevar's struggles against the A's have come in Oakland where he's allowed 20 earned runs, 22 hits and walked nine in 12 innings to lose all three starts there. However, he allowed one run and four hits without a walk in seven innings of a 4-3 home win over the A's on May 7.

The right-hander recorded his first win in seven starts when he gave up two runs in seven innings of a 3-2 victory over Toronto on Thursday.

"You make quality pitches and you get guys out," Hochevar told the Royals' official website. "Then it makes it look like you kept your composure."

Oakland's starting pitchers have struggled to make quality pitches while posting a 7.30 ERA during the club's current stretch of 13 losses in 14 games.

After Trevor Cahill walked seven batters and lasted 4 1-3 innings in the opener, left-hander Josh Outman (1-1, 4.15) takes the mound after he allowed three runs in six innings of a 3-2 loss at Baltimore on Wednesday.

GUTIERREZ: A's Cahill in a galactically-bad funk

Making just his second home start in 2011, Outman faces the Royals for the first time since he limited them to a run and three hits in six innings of a 7-2 win May 13, 2009.

Hideki Matsui and Scott Sizemore each had two hits with a RBI on Tuesday as the A's dropped their season-high fourth straight home game.

"That's not what we were looking for our first game home," Bob Melvin said after managing his first home game for the A's since replacing the fired Bob Geren last week. "We will be back at it (Wednesday)."

Though Matsui is batting .185 with 11 RBIs his last 27 games, he's 6 for 18 with two homers and six RBIs his last five. He's batting .308 against the Royals this season.

Warriors send strong statement, show where they stand in rivalry with Cavs

Warriors send strong statement, show where they stand in rivalry with Cavs

As a statement in rebuttal to Christmas Day, the Golden State Warriors told the Cleveland Cavaliers, “See you back here on June 1.”
 
And they stated it with authority, for all the good it will matter come June.

Monday’s 126-91 dope-slapping of the Cavs, replete though it might have been with DrayBron Round 3, serves only as a talking point for Joe Lacob at Tuesday’s new arena groundbreaking ceremony and as a game for everyone to forget when these two teams next meet, mostly likely in the NBA Finals for a nearly unprecedented third consecutive time. 
 
The last time it has happened in any professional sport, since you didn't ask, was 1952-54 with the Cleveland Browns and Detroit Lions. Richard Jefferson was born shortly thereafter.
 
Long-term, though, Monday’s curb-stomping has little carryover value. The Warriors have stomped the Cavs and been stomped by them since this series became must-see entertainment two years ago – yes, even against the cultural degradation of The Bachelor. They all serve as prelude to the next game, no matter how long the wait.

But the search for statements never ends, and if there was one, it was that when fully engaged on defense and in transition, the Warriors are downright evil.
 
Or, to steal the phrase off Steve Kerr’s chest, “SPIRITUAL GANGSTERS,” which we presume is T-shirt for “Find the path of eternal peace and contentment or I’ll put a cap in your hinder.”
 
The most demonstrative Warrior of all was Draymond Green, whose triple double (11/13/11) was more than enhanced by his plus-43 (tying a career high) and highlighted by his professional foul on a breaking James midway through the second quarter. Green cut off his path to the basket shoulder first, dropping James like wet laundry and causing great anger and consternation among the customers. Green was called for a flagrant foul (category 1: no evacuation needed) and a technical foul, but exempting the view of James laying face-down on the floor that created exaggerated cries of felony flopping, the decision was just.
 
“I fouled him to stop the break,” Green said impishly, “and he went down. The aftermath – I told RJ to get out of my face. It was just in the heat of the moment, I think . . . having some fun, nothing dangerous.”
 
“It was definitely a hard foul,” Klay Thompson affirmed. “I think anyone would have gone down if Draymond’s running at you that fast fouling you like that. It was a good hard foul. He probably warranted a Flagrant 1.”
 
Well, if you’re into message-sending and all that, sure, but the messaging had been delivered by then. The Cavs may have been coming off three days’ rest on the West Coast and at the end of a road trip, but that doesn’t explain a 35-point beatdown. Each of of the Warriors starters – Green, Thompson, Kevin Durant, Stephen Curry, and Zaza Pachulia – plainly outplayed their Cleveland counterparts – James, Kyrie Irving, Iman Shumpert, Tristan Thompson and Kevin Love – and the Warrior bench was far better than Cleveland’s.
 
In short, 126-91 was an accurate representation of the evening. A very accurate representation indeed.
 
“We wanted to win,” said the Spiritual Gangster Kerr. “We weren’t happy with our Cleveland game on Christmas Day, and any time you are facing a team that you know is one of the best in the league, you are going to be up for it. We were definitely up for it. You could tell we had a lot of good energy and played a really good game.”
 
Gangster understates his position here, as the entire game was WATB – Warriors At Their Best. They burst from the anthem quickly, put a foot on the Cavaliers before they could make the game interesting and kept it there throughout. While some folks wanted to make the Green-James collision the linchpin of the result (and it did energize the torqued-up crowd), the Warriors were already ahead, 52-35, and the Cavs never got within 14. By the half, they were down 29 and stayed there.
 
To further accentuate the energy the Warriors brought to their task of redressing the pregame narrative of a 34-6 team wracked with doubts, they outrebounded Cleveland, 58-35, allowing the Cavs only seven offensive rebounds on 57 misses. They had 10 steals and 11 blocks, and outscored the Cavs 37-13 on fastbreak points. And while the Cavs were hammered comprehensively from the top of the roster down, James’ minus-32 is the second worst of his entire career, playoffs included.
 
In short, the Warriors view this as a very real rivalry no matter what James may say in his passive-aggressive moments, and they had a run of losses and the mockery of a nation with which to deal.
 
“Oh, it’s definitely a rivalry,” Green said with that smile he uses to break people’s wills. “Just me, though. I don’t know about anyone else. But it’s definitely fun.”
 
Nor, frankly, does he care much, as you may have gathered in your time paying attention to him.
 
Besides, it’s a long time until June 1, and there are miles for both teams to walk before that happens, if it happens at all.
 
And yes, please let it happen.

Instant Replay: Warriors end drought vs Cavs in dominant fashion

Instant Replay: Warriors end drought vs Cavs in dominant fashion

BOX SCORE

OAKLAND -- The Warriors got a measure of revenge Monday, and it wasn’t enough to simply beat the Cleveland Cavaliers.

No, they annihilated the Cavs, rolling to a tip-to-buzzer 126-91 victory before a roaring sellout crowd at Oracle Arena.

Six Warriors scored in double figures, with Klay Thompson putting in 26 points to lead the way. Kevin Durant tossed in 21 points, Stephen Curry 20, Andre Iguodala a season-high 14, Shaun Livingston a season-high 13, and Draymond Green added 11.

The Warriors (35-6), who took a 109-108 loss to the Cavs on Christmas Day in Cleveland, evened the season series at one game apiece and snapped a four-game losing streak to the Cavs, dating back to Game 5 of the NBA Finals last June.

The Warriors committed 15 turnovers, but held Cleveland to seven points off the giveaways. Moreover, the Warriors clobbered the brawny Cavs on the glass, outrebounding them 58-35.

LeBron James scored 20 points to lead the Cavaliers (29-11), who were limited to 35.2-percent shooting from the field.

STANDOUT PERFORMER

On a night when most everybody was magnificent, special mention goes to Green for his spirit, his statistics and also his ability to knock James off his game.

Green posted his third triple-double of the season. His line: 11 points (4-of-6 shooting from the field, 3-of-4 from the line, 13 rebounds, 11 assists and a career-high-tying five blocks). He played 35 minutes and finished plus-43.

TURNING POINT

After Cleveland got within five at 19-14 with 4:41 remaining in the first quarter, the Warriors responded with a 23-8 run to go up 42-22 with 11:17 left in the second quarter.

The Warriors outscored the Cavaliers 41-27 in the first half and took a 78-49 lead at intermission.

The Cavs got no closer than 22 (99-77, 10:06 remaining) in the second half.

INJURY UPDATE

Warriors: No injuries were listed and none was reported.

Cavaliers: G J.R. Smith (R thumb fracture) and F/C Chris Andersen (R ACL surgery) were listed as out.

WHAT’S NEXT

The Warriors return to action Wednesday night, when they face the Oklahoma City Thunder at Oracle Arena. Tipoff is scheduled for 7:30.