Willingham powers A's to 6-4 win, sweep of O's

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Willingham powers A's to 6-4 win, sweep of O's

May 29, 2011BOXSCORE A'SVIDEOMLBPAGE MLBSCOREBOARD
OAKLAND (AP) Home runs are such a rare commodity for the Athletics that manager Bob Geren stood up and started celebrating when Josh Willingham's three-run shot sailed into the left-field stands Sunday.Willingham's go-ahead homer capped a four-run fifth inning and propelled the A's to a 6-4 win over the Baltimore Orioles, completing Oakland's first three-game sweep this season."When he hits them, you don't even have to look," Geren said after Willingham's second homer in his last three games. "The sound of the ball off the bat, you just turn around and start high-fiving everybody."It's only the fourth three-run shot of the season for Oakland, which has the third-fewest home runs (30) in the majors. Twenty-one of them have been solo drives.Kevin Kouzmanoff added two hits for Oakland, which extended its longest winning streak this season to four games. The A's also continued their home dominance of the Orioles with their 12th win in 13 tries at the Coliseum."The clubhouse is completely different when you're winning," said Willingham, who also drove in Oakland's first run with a single. "We're playing more consistent baseball, and as a team that's all you can ask for is to be consistent in all three phases of the game and play up to your capabilities. I feel like we have been lately."Oakland got a boost from two-time All-Star closer Andrew Bailey, who made his season debut after being sidelined with a strained right forearm. He pitched a scoreless seventh.
GUTIERREZ: Geren looks smarter when bullpen does its job
Vladimir Guerrero singled in the eighth to extend his hitting streak to 14 games, but the Orioles couldn't score against four relievers after putting up four in the fifth. They wound up dropping their third straight on the road after a five-game winning streak at home."That one inning we pushed four across. That's pretty hard to quarrel with," Baltimore Buck Showalter said. "But we had some other opportunities. We just didn't get it done."Guillermo Moscoso (2-0) gave up five hits with two walks to earn his second straight win after being called up from the minors on May 24 to replace injured starter Tyson Ross.Craig Breslow, Bailey and Grant Balfour each pitched one scoreless inning and Brian Fuentes worked the ninth for his 11th save in 13 tries.Baltimore led 4-1 after loading the bases against Moscoso in the top of the inning - then scoring four runs with only one hit.Felix Pie had an RBI single that A's center fielder Coco Crisp appeared to make a diving catch on before the ball popped out of his glove after hitting the ground. Nolan Reimold, pushed into action when center fielder Adam Jones left with a sore shoulder, then drew a bases-loaded walk and Nick Markakis and Guerrero added run-scoring groundouts.The loss of Jones left the Orioles without their leading run producer.That's significant for a team that has struggled to score on this road trip. After getting four runs against Moscoso, Baltimore managed only two baserunners over the final four innings.The A's got a lift from Bailey, who had been on the DL since March 30. The 2009 AL Rookie of the Year retired all three batters he faced as Oakland tries to ease him back into the mix.
RELATED: A's activate closer Bailey from D.L., option Cramer
"He looked good," Geren said. "I thought his stuff was pretty much normal. From the side it looked like vintage Andrew Bailey, which is a huge plus for us."Oakland gave Bailey a 6-4 lead to work with after chasing Baltimore starter Zach Britton in the sixth. Daric Barton hit a sacrifice fly to drive in Mark Ellis after the O's intentionally walked Crisp to load the bases.Britton (5-3) was tagged for career highs of six runs and 10 hits. The left-hander, who was attempting to tie Jake Arrieta for the team lead in wins, walked three and struck out three.Willingham singled to drive in Barton in the first with the A's first run. In 16 career games against the Orioles, Willingham is batting .400 with four home runs and 12 RBIs.NOTES: Baltimore sent struggling RHP Brad Bergesen to Triple-A Norfolk and called up LHP Pedro Viola from Double-A Bowie. Bergesen (1-6) took the loss in Saturday's game. After the game, the team also optioned RHP Chris Tillman to Norfolk but did not announce a corresponding move. ... To make room for Bailey the A's optioned LHP Bobby Cramer to Triple-A Sacramento. Cramer was called up Friday when Oakland traded David Purcey to Detroit but did not pitch against Baltimore.

Washington waxes Colorado in Pac-12 championship game

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USATSI

Washington waxes Colorado in Pac-12 championship game

BOX SCORE

SANTA CLARA -- Taylor Rapp returned one of his two interceptions for a touchdown and Myles Gaskin ran for 159 yards to help No. 4 Washington strengthen its case for a playoff berth with a 41-10 victory over No. 9 Colorado in the Pac-12 championship game Friday night.

The Huskies (12-1, No. 4 CFP) broke open a close game when Rapp intercepted Sefo Liufau's passes on the first two drives of the second half for a touchdown and to set up a field goal that made it 24-7.

Washington rolled from there to its first conference title since 2000 with a performance likely to keep the Huskies in the top four when the College Football Playoff bids are handed out Sunday.

It was a rough day for Colorado (10-3, No. 8 CFP) and Liufau, who was knocked out of the game after injuring his right leg on a sack on the Buffaloes' first drive of the game. He returned to start the second half and threw three interceptions, including one on the first play from scrimmage that Rapp returned 35 yards for a score.

Liufau threw another interception on the ensuing drive and Colorado could never recover. Even a circus kick return in the third quarter couldn't help the Buffaloes. Anthony Julmisse returned a kick to near midfield and fumbled. Phillip Lindsay scooped up and ran down to the 2 but Colorado was held to a field goal.

THE TAKEAWAY

Colorado: From the opening kickoff that went out of bounds, little went right for the Buffaloes, who were unable to cap an impressive turnaround season with a conference title. Liufau's injury didn't help the cause. Steven Montez went 5 for 12 for 60 yards in the first half and was unable to generate any consistent offense and Liufau was even worse when he returned. He threw as many interceptions in the third quarter (3) as he had all season and was just 2 for 12 for 12 yards after coming back into the game.

Washington: The usually efficient Jake Browning struggled throwing the ball but it didn't matter as the Huskies dominated the game with 265 yards on the ground behind Gaskin and Lavon Coleman (101 yards). Browning went just 9 for 24 for 118 yards but did throw two TDs. His second touchdown was far from his prettiest throw of the season. With a defender draped all over him, Browning threw a ball up from grabs that John Ross caught in front of Chidobe Awuzie and ran in 19 yards for the score. Browning's 42 TDs are one shy of Jared Goff's Pac-12 record.

UP NEXT

Colorado: The Buffaloes must wait to see if they will remain ahead of No. 11 USC in the playoff rankings and get a Rose Bowl bid if Washington goes to the playoff or likely head to the Alamo Bowl if they drop behind the Trojans.

Washington: A likely berth in the playoff.

Instant Replay: Sharks score early, hang on for home win vs Canadiens

Instant Replay: Sharks score early, hang on for home win vs Canadiens

BOX SCORE

SAN JOSE – Despite finally reaching the end of what was a frenzied portion of their schedule, the Sharks found the necessary vigor to get past the NHL’s top team on Friday night at SAP Center.
 
Martin Jones outdueled Carey Price in net, and the Sharks got first period goals from Brent Burns and Joe Pavelski in a 2-1 win.
 
The Sharks (15-9-1) improved to 6-1 in their last seven games, allowing just eight goals over that span. They lead the Pacific Division by three points, and won’t play again until Wednesday after what was their 10th game in the past 18 days.
 
Montreal remains in first place overall in the league standings with 34 points (16-6-2).
 
Two of the Sharks’ most potent goal scorers staked them a 2-0 lead before the first intermission.
 
On a power play, Burns powered a one-timer from the circle past Price at 5:22. San Jose came out of the gate buzzing, and earned the man advantage when Micheal Haley drew a holding minor on Mark Barberio.
 
Pavelski increased the San Jose lead at 19:03, storming towards the goal crease and redirecting a Joe Thornton centering pass on what was essentially a two-on-none rush. 
 
The Sharks were shorthanded late after a double minor for high sticking to Logan Couture with 4:06 left in regulation, when the Sharks forward clipped Alexander Radulov, who left the ice due to some profuse bleeding.
 
After killing off a good portion of it without allowing a shot on goal, Artturi Lehtonen swept a shot through Jones with Price pulled for an extra attacker with 1:17 to go. That was all the Canadiens would get past Jones, though, who made 31 saves.
 
Montreal made a push in the second period, particularly early, but Jones stood on his head. He snagged a Max Pacioretty shot about five minutes into the middle frame, and on the ensuing faceoff got his left pad on Brenden Gallagher’s attempt after the Canadiens forwards slipped to front of the net with the puck.
 
Jones got a bit fortunate, too, when Pacioretty missed a wide-open chance in the slot halfway through regulation.
 
The Sharks won their 10th straight game over the Canadiens in San Jose, and are 7-1-0 in their last eight overall when opposing Montreal.
 
Montreal has not won a game at the Shark Tank since Nov. 23, 1999.
 
Special teams 
 
The Sharks went 1-for-3 on the power play, and are 5-for-19 in their last seven games. Of Burns’ 10 goals, three have come with a man advantage.
 
Montreal finished 1-for-4. The Sharks have allowed one power play goal against in four of their last five games.
 
In goal
 
After getting pulled against Pittsburgh on Nov. 5, Jones improved to 8-2-1 in his last 11. He’s allowed two or fewer goals in eight of them.
 
Jones’ best save of the night came with 11:29 to go in the first period and the Sharks ahead 1-0, when he caught a Alex Galchenyuk shot while quickly shifting from his right to his left. He also denied Brian Flynn on a breakaway with 2:53 left in the opening frame.
 
Price has now lost all five of his starts in San Jose (0-4-1). It was just his third loss in regulation this season (13-3-1), as he allowed two goals on 28 shots.
 
Lineup
 
The Sharks lost defenseman David Schlemko with about eight minutes left in the second period with what looked to be a leg or ankle injury.

Thornton assisted on each of the first two goals, moving into sole possession of 25th place on the NHL’s all-time scoring list with 1356 career points, passing Brendan Shanahan.
 
Tommy Wingels returned from a three-game absence with a lower body injury, replacing Ryan Carpenter, who had played the previous three games and scored his first NHL goal on Wednesday in Los Angeles.
 
Paul Martin played in his 800th career NHL game.
 
Up next
 
The Sharks will host the Ottawa Senators on Wednesday for the first of two meetings this month. They will enjoy a rare two-day break over the weekend with no practices scheduled.