A's bats sleeping in Seattle; Mariners win 4-0

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A's bats sleeping in Seattle; Mariners win 4-0

April 22, 2011BOX SCORE A'S VIDEOMLB PAGE MLB SCOREBOARD
SEATTLE (AP) Not all rookies get a reigning Cy Young Award winner to copy.That's just what Seattle's Michael Pineda tried to do on Friday night.Pineda noticed a night earlier that Felix Hernandez had success against Oakland working both sides of the plate, so when Pineda took the mound the burly rookie tried to emulate what Hernandez did. REWIND: Hernandez blanks A's, Kennedy makes them pay
He nearly matched the Mariners ace.Pineda dazzled again, throwing six shutout innings for his third straight victory, and Adam Kennedy's two-run single was enough offense in the Mariners' 4-0 win over the Athletics.On the way to setting a little franchise history, Pineda overcame a high pitch-count in the early innings and some adversity in the sixth to become the first pitcher in Seattle history to begin his career with four consecutive quality starts."For a young man, he has a strong focus out there," Seattle manager Eric Wedge said. "He doesn't let things speed up on him and you have to keep pitching and I think that's the most important part of that."Pineda has gone at least six innings every time out, and gave up five hits, struck out five and walked only two. He became just the second rookie in club history to post three victories in April, joining Freddy Garcia, and has a chance to own the mark himself with one more scheduled start this time.Pineda's night was shortened only because of a rising pitch count. Most of those were racked up in the second inning where he threw 31 pitches and allowed consecutive walks to lead off before getting strikeouts of Mark Ellis and Kevin Kouzmanoff and a groundout by Cliff Pennington.The burly right-hander gave up just three hits in his first five innings and when Pineda (3-1) faced trouble in the sixth, he got Kurt Suzuki to line out to left field and a ground ball from Ellis to end the threat. Pineda felt his motion was too quick in the early innings and was opening his front shoulder too quickly. He made a change in the third and rolled until the sixth, helped along by a biting slider."My slider now, it's better," Pineda said. "In spring training, sometimes it was good, but now since I first started here my slider has been pretty good."Pineda also got great defense at times. Kouzmanoff led off the fifth with a single and stood at third with one out. Pineda came inside on Coco Crisp, forcing a grounder to first. Kennedy threw home to Miguel Olivo and got the tag on Kouzmanoff, who might have scored with a better slide.Wilson also started a key double play in the seventh with a sliding stop that was turned nicely by shortstop Brendan Ryan. Instead of using his backhand to start the double play, Wilson smothered the ball then shoveled to Ryan. It's another part of Wilson's transition to second base he's continuing to work on."It's definitely a back hand (play), but at this point, I did what I needed to do to get the job done," Wilson said.David Pauley and Aaron Laffey worked two innings of relief. Jamey Wright entered in the ninth and loaded the bases with one out before Brandon League got Conor Jackson to ground into a game-ending double play for his fifth save in five chances.Oakland has now gone 18 innings since last scoring and was shut out in consecutive games for the first time since May 2008.Seattle got just seven hits themselves, but took advantage of seven walks allowed by the A's. Kennedy scored on Wilson's two-out single in the second off Oakland starter Tyson Ross (1-2), then drove home a pair in the fifth, lining Jerry Blevins' breaking ball back up the middle to score Chone Figgins and Michael Saunders. GUTIERREZ: Ross own worst enemy in A's listless loss in Seattle
Ross lasted just 4 1-3 innings and threw just 31 of his 76 pitches for strikes."His fastball command wasn't as close to where it was this spring or remotely close to where it needs to be," Oakland manager Bob Geren said.NOTES: Seattle 1B Justin Smoak, on the bereavement list following the death of his father, is expected to rejoin the Mariners in Detroit on Tuesday. ... Friday was the birthday of Ross (24) and Oakland reliever David Purcey (29). Purcey threw 1 1-3 innings of relief and didn't allow a hit. ... Seattle LF Milton Bradley left in the third inning with lower back spasms. ... Seattle has pushed LHP Erik Bedard back and will have RHP Felix Hernandez start on normal rest Tuesday at Detroit. Bedard will now go on Wednesday.

Giants Notes: Marrero hopes to be back; Posey faces Romo

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Giants Notes: Marrero hopes to be back; Posey faces Romo

SAN FRANCISCO — About 45 minutes after the Giants announced that Chris Marrero had been designated for assignment, the left fielder walked up to the locker of one of the newcomers. Marrero patted Christian Arroyo on the back and shook his hand, congratulating him for his first call-up to the big leagues. 

“That’s my boy,” he said later. “I was really happy for him.”

The Arroyo promotion and the addition of Drew Stubbs signaled the end of Marrero’s April run in the lineup. He was cut and Aaron Hill was put on the disabled list, clearing two roster spots. Just as Arroyo forced his way up with three huge weeks in Triple-A, Marrero forced his way onto the opening day roster with a monster spring that included eight homers. He had just five hits in 38 at-bats before Monday’s moves.

“The team is struggling and we’ve got to make some moves,” Marrero said. “I believe in myself and I’ll go down and get back to how I felt in spring training. This is what I’ve worked for my whole life. I lost the feel that I had in the spring. Things were a little rushed. I came in and worked hard every day to try and find it. I’m going to keep working. I haven’t lost confidence in myself.”

Marrero was put in a bit of a tough spot. He played just about every day in Scottsdale because he was trying to win a job, and when he finally did make it, some Giants coaches felt he was a bit worn down. The team’s brutal start to the season put a glaring spotlight on left field, and this move became obvious over time.

Marrero said he likes it here, and that if he isn’t claimed, he will go to Triple-A Sacramento and try to find that spring swing and get back up here. Count Bruce Bochy among those hoping it goes down that way. 

“We thought a lot of him and still do,” Bochy said. “He’s a good hitter.”

--- Arroyo had a 4.4 GPA in high school, so the Giants knew he was smart. He’s savvy, too. There’s nothing like picking up the longest-tenured player on the team, literally. After snagging a ricochet in the fourth inning last night, Arroyo kept running and lifted Cain off the grass. They then chest-bumped. 

“That just kind of happened,” Arroyo said. “He hit it, I looked at Cain going down and saw the ball, went running and got it, instincts took over. I made a throw and got the guy. It was a fun play. In that moment, I was just pumped up. It’s one of those plays you get excited over.”

Arroyo said he heard Cain yelling and he thought he was hurt, so that’s why he ran over. Cain did have an X-ray on the foot that got hit but it came back negative. 

“Christian did a great job handling himself,” Cain said. “He picked me up big-time.”

The best part of the play came hours after it was made. As Cain talked to reporters, Brandon Crawford — who was in position to scoop the grounder in the fourth — was standing at his locker, a few feet away.

“Let it go through next time,” he said softly.

--- Denard Span was out on the field Monday afternoon, but he’ll miss another two to four days with that right shoulder injury. This will truly be a day-to-day situation. If at any point the Giants feel they need coverage, Span can be put on the 10-day DL. 

--- Hill apparently felt discomfort after playing long toss on the road trip. He can swing a bat but he was going to be kept from throwing for three to four days, so he was put on the DL.

--- This spring, Posey was asked about facing Sergio Romo. Here was his long tendencies-filled answer. Posey faced Romo in the eighth and flied out. 

"It was a little weird, I'm not going to lie," he said. "I caught him for so long. It's definitely interesting being in the batter's box instead of being the plate."

Was there a nod or "hey what's up" look between the two?

"I've caught him long enough to know you don't look at him," Posey said, smiling. 

--- If you missed it, the standing ovation for Romo was a very, very cool moment. Also, here's my story on Madison Bumgarner, who spoke for the first time since his injury. And here's the first story on Arroyo, with a fun anecdote about his mom. She'll be in the stands Tuesday. And finally, my game story from last night. 

Four takeaways from Warriors' first-round sweep of Blazers

Four takeaways from Warriors' first-round sweep of Blazers

PORTLAND -- Four games, four quarters to each and the Warriors are on to the next round of the postseason.

Here are four things we learned about these Warriors in the wake of their four-game sweep of the Trail Blazers in the first round of the Western Conference playoffs.

IT’S A TEAM THING: The Warriors lost All-Star forward Kevin Durant in Game 1, came back and won Game 2. They lost head coach Steve Kerr before Game 3, went out and fashioned one of the biggest comebacks in franchise postseason history. They are constructed in such a way that the collective is strong enough to overcome the loss of one man. They won this series in a walk despite being shorthanded for the last three games and without their head coach for the last two. This team and this staff are bigger than any individual.

JAVALE McGEE MATTERS: By last Sept. 16 the summer was all but gone and every coveted player NBA player had been accounted for. That’s when the Warriors signed McGee with the hope that he could provide some length and athleticism on the block, if only for a few minutes a night -- and, surely, some nights not at all. McGee was the last man to make the team, and here he was dominating a Trail Blazers team that, to be fair, lacked a healthy center. He was special in this series, and what he provides will be needed as the Warriors move forward.

DRAYMOND’S VALUE IS BEYOND MEASURE: There were so many examples during the regular season that illustrated Draymond Green’s significance to the Warriors. He topped them all in this series. He defended, at some point, every member of the Portland team. He rebounded. He made 3-pointers. He blocked 17 shots. The Blazers tried him early but quickly become discouraged at attacking whenever he was on the court. He disrupted their offense in more ways than they could have imagined. As a bonus, he avoided notable run-ins with officials.

SPLASHING NOT NEEDED: Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson were fabulous in the second half of Game 3 and Curry stood out in Game 4. But by the time the Splash Brothers found their offensive groove, the Warriors were up 2-0 in the series and rallying behind their defense en route to taking Game 3. The battle of the backcourts, logically deemed a critical factor in this series, was a virtual statistical standoff. Curry/Thompson combined for 192 points, while Damian Lillard 111 and CJ McCollum totaled 201. If it’s the numbers are that close, the Warriors will win every series, and probably sweep.