Giants lead National League to blowout win in All-Star Game


Giants lead National League to blowout win in All-Star Game


SAN FRANCISCO The National League All-Stars rolled to a lopsided win over their AmericanLeague counterparts thanks to contributions from all four Giantsrepresentatives.Matt Cain worked two scoreless innings to start the game and Melky Cabrera, who was awarded the game's MVP, andPablo Sandoval combined for five RBIs to lead the N.L. to an 8-0 win, its thirdstraight in the Midsummer Classic.The Senior Circuit jumped out to an early lead with a five-run first inning. AfterCarlos Gonzalez struck out against Justin Verlander to open the game, Cabrerasingled to the opposite field and came around to score on Ryan Brauns double.Pablo Sandoval came up with the bases loaded after back-to-back walks to CarlosBeltran and Buster Posey and drove in three runs with a triple to theright-field wall.With the run support that too often eludes him in San Francisco, Cain went towork on a star-studded American League lineup and was perfect after Derek Jetersleadoff infield single. The Giants right-hander set down his next six batters,including a strikeout of Jose Bautista on a 95 MPH fastball to end the firstinning.Cain was replaced with the Washington Nationals Gio Gonzalez in the third inningwith the N.L. leading 5-0.Cain was asked by Fox Sports' Ken Rosenthal to compare hisAll-Star outing to his perfect game and World Series win."Its right up there with all of them," Cain said. "Itsdefinitely right up there with all of them -- theres all the nerves, allthe pressure, and all the excitement. That was a thrilling two innings rightthere."Cabrera was in the middle of another N.L. rally in the fourth inning that putRon Washingtons squad in an 8-0 hole. Cabrera, who played for the host KansasCity Royals in 2011 before coming to the Giants in an offseason trade, put thefinishing touches on the N.L.s blowout win with a two-run home run tostraightaway left.
Cabrera is the sixth Giant to win the All-Star Game MVP award, joining Willie Mays (twice), Juan Marichal, Willie McCovey and Bobby Bonds.
Buster Posey did not have the banner day at the plate that his teammatesSandoval and Cabrera did, but still scored a run after his first-inning walkand caught five shutout innings.Rosenthal also asked Cain about the criticism Giants fansreceived for stuffing the ballot box to send four San Francisco representatives to Kansas City.I thinkit turned out great, Cain said. Thats definitely very comforting to be outthere and have Buster behind the plate -- he knows what I want to throw, and(he was) doing good job back there. And then to turn around and see Melky andPablo and especially the way they just performed in the first inning. That wasawesome.Ryan Cook, the OaklandAs lone All-Star representative, worked a perfect seventh inning withstrikeouts of Bryce Harper and David Wright.

The 8-0 final score was the first in All-Star Game history and just the eighth shutout in the Midsummer Classic.

A's GM Forst feels passion of fans, will not second-guess decisions

A's GM Forst feels passion of fans, will not second-guess decisions

A’s general manager David Forst says he has a stack of strongly worded letters from fans who grow frustrated with many of the team’s personnel moves.

That comes with the territory of running a major league front office. But Forst also said, during a wide-ranging interview on the latest A’s Insider Podcast, that honest critiquing must come from within office walls.

“You do want to do some self-evaluation and self-assessing,” Forst said. “What I don’t do, I don’t go back and second-guess decisions, whether it’s a trade or a signing. I don’t sort of hypothetically think, ‘Well, what if we hadn’t done this,’ because it’s not a good use of anybody’s time. What you do have to do is make sure the process that led to that decision is sound and a good one.”

Certainly one of the most scrutinized A’s moves of recent history was their signing of designated hitter Billy Butler to a three-year $30 million contract in November 2014. That turned out to be a costly mistake, with Butler being released in September with one year left on his deal and the A’s still on the hook for roughly $10 million. Forst acknowledged how poorly that decision worked out but sticks by the initial motivation to sign Butler.

“Look, Billy Butler didn’t go the way we expected, and that’s one that gets brought up a lot,” Forst said. “But I think back to the time when we made that decision to sign him, and what we were projecting Billy to do. It was very clear what our team needed. Again, going into 2015, coming off the wild card that year, we still felt like this was a team that could compete for a division title. So all the things that went into the decision, ultimately I will stand by.”

Forst spoke frankly about several other topics during the podcast. Regarding fans’ frustration about seeing so many high-profile players traded:

“I’ve got a stack of letters on my desk, the substance of which I can’t repeat on the air,” he said with a smile. “… But there’s passion. And I know we have a fan base that cares, and that’s really a good place to be.”

Forst said the A’s definitely will pursue starting pitching this offseason, despite the fact that 1) he’s very optimistic about the crop of young pitching Oakland has developed, and 2) he believes Sonny Gray will bounce back from a poor 2016 season. The GM takes encouragement that Gray made a full physical recovery from a strained forearm.

“Am I going to get the Cy Young (caliber pitcher) from Day 1? I don’t know. But I think there’s a confidence that this was an aberration, this whole year, more than anything else.”

Crisp homers as Indians shut out Blue Jays to advance to World Series


Crisp homers as Indians shut out Blue Jays to advance to World Series


TORONTO -- A most unlikely pitching performance helped put a most unexpected team into the World Series.

Rookie Ryan Merritt coolly delivered a lead to the Andrew Miller-led bullpen and the Cleveland Indians won their first pennant since 1997, blanking Toronto 3-0 Wednesday in Game 5 of the AL Championship Series.

Cleveland, which has never hosted a World Series opener, will play Game 1 at Progressive Field on Tuesday night against either the Chicago Cubs or Los Angeles Dodgers.

The Indians will try to boost what's already been a magical year in Cleveland after LeBron James and the Cavaliers earned the city's first sports championship since 1964. The Indians' title drought dates to 1948.

The Dodgers led the Cubs 2-1 going into Game 4 of the NLCS on Wednesday night. Cleveland didn't play either team this season.

With all of 11 major league innings under his belt, Merritt took the mound and looked just like a seasoned vet. The 24-year-old lefty retired the first 10 batters and allowed only two hits before being pulled after 4 1/3 innings.

Then it was up to Cleveland's tireless relievers to hold a three-run lead.

Miller again did most of the heavy lifting, pitching 2 2/3 innings, and Cody Allen pitched the ninth for the save. Winner Bryan Shaw worked an inning before Miller came in.

Carlos Santana and Coco Crisp homered for the Indians.