Bears head to Colorado for nonconference contest

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Bears head to Colorado for nonconference contest

Sept. 9, 2011California Golden Bears (1-0) vs.Colorado Buffaloes (0-1)
Coverage begins Saturday at 12:30pm on CSN California

BOULDER (AP) -- The Cal Golden Bears have inside information about Colorado's offense and quarterback Tyler Hansen, and not just because they faced the Buffaloes last year.

Eric Kiesau, the Bears' new passing game coordinator and wide receivers coach, was the Buffs' offensive coordinator under Dan Hawkins. So, he shared his knowledge of his former pupils, particularly Hansen, with Cal's defensive coaches as they prepared for Saturday's kickoff in Boulder.

The game won't count in the Pac-12 standings because it was scheduled as part of a home-and-home series before the Buffs bolted the Big 12.

When the Buffs hired head coach Jon Embree, who brought Eric Bieniemy with him from the pro ranks to serve as his offensive coordinator, Kiesau went even farther West, along with fellow former Buffs assistant Ashley Ambrose, Cal's defensive backs coach.

"Coach Kiesau is a great guy, I love the guy," Hansen said. "The last two years when he was my coach was a lot of fun. I've become close to his family. So it's going to be fun to see him. I've talked to him a couple of times since he left. So maybe he knows my weaknesses, I don't know if he does or doesn't but it will be fun to play him."

Kiesau said he's trying to keep his emotions in check this weekend.

"I don't want to sound cold when I say this but I want to be disconnected when I go back and take it as a business trip and understand what we're trying to do and go there and play a game," Kiesau said. "I know these kids on a personal level. I'm very close to some of them. They still text me now and then. Some texted me about the game.

"The only advantage is I know them on an athletic level, just what they do personally. They're going to have scheme and X's and O's, which will be very different from when I was there."

Kiesau was on the losing side of the Bears' 52-7 throttling of the Buffaloes in Berkeley last season.

"They'll use last year's game as motivation for this year," Kiesau said. "We have to make sure that we're prepared and we're ready for this game because Colorado plays a little different brand of football at home than on the road."

Indeed, Embree said during fall camp that he was eager to host Pac-12 teams at high altitude.

"We're not going to make it a big deal," Kiesau said. "We're going to go out there and play. You can't let it get into your mind that it will affect you because once your mind goes it will affect your body."

Cal coach Jeff Tedford has told his team, which beat Fresno State 36-21 in its opener last week, "You may be short of breath, but you'll recover quickly so don't panic about it."

"I think it's a mental thing," Bears tailback C.J. Anderson said. "We're not the type who are going to come out and say we're tired. That's not our mojo. That's not what we do."

With the coaching turnover at Colorado, Tedford said he hasn't watched film of last year's blowout.

"I haven't looked at it at all," he said. "It's just different, totally different."

Embree sneaked a peek, and he didn't like what he saw at all.

"Lack of effort, that disturbed me the most," said Embree, who lost his head coaching debut 34-17 at Hawaii last week. "I don't feel like we competed very well last year. I felt like we just kind of were just hoping, waiting for the clock to run out so we could get off the field. I mean, that's what it looked like watching it."

"I thought the effort was there," Buffs defensive tackle Conrad Obi said. "I didn't think we executed at all."

Although this game doesn't count in the conference standings, don't expect any letup from the new Pac-12 foes.

"You don't play any different because it's a conference game or a non-conference game," Tedford said. "You just do everything you can to try to prepare to win the game. It doesn't really matter."

Melancon wastes Blach's gem, Giants fall to Padres in 12 on Myers' homer

Melancon wastes Blach's gem, Giants fall to Padres in 12 on Myers' homer

BOX SCORE

SAN FRANCISCO -- Wil Myers hit a three-run homer in the top of the 12th inning to send the San Diego Padres past the San Francisco Giants 5-2 on Sunday.

Myers' seventh home run and second in two games came on a 1-0 fastball from reliever George Kontos (0-2). Cory Spangenberg singled against Kontos leading off the inning, and Erick Aybar singled two batters later.

Hector Sanchez, who played parts of five seasons with the Giants, had a pinch-hit, two-run homer off San Francisco closer Mark Melancon in the ninth to send the game into extra innings.

Sanchez turned on a 1-1 cut fastball over the heart of the plate for his first home run of the season and third career pinch-hit homer.

It was Melancon's second blown save in seven chances.

Sanchez represented the tying run after shortstop Eduardo Nunez booted Luis Sardinas' leadoff grounder for an error.

Ryan Buchter (2-1) pitched two shutout innings for the Padres.

 

A's have their work cut out as they welcome back Sonny, Rajai

A's have their work cut out as they welcome back Sonny, Rajai

HOUSTON — If the A’s eventually want to return to the American League West mountaintop, they got a good look at the team they’ll have to conquer.

The Astros boast one of the majors’ most talented and athletic rosters, with enough of a youthful core to suggest they’ll be battling for division supremacy for years to come. They took two of three from Oakland at Minute Maid Park, capped by Sunday’s 7-2 decision in which left-hander Dallas Keuchel held the A’s to just three hits over 7 2/3 innings.

The loss ended a season-opening stretch in which the A’s played 22 of their first 25 against AL West foes. They saw every team in the division at least once, going 9-13 in that stretch and 11-14 overall for the month of April.

It’s tough to glean too much from one month of play, but the Astros (16-9) so far are living up to the hype that stems from several notable offseason additions they made. They hold a three-game lead over the second-place Los Angeles Angels, with Oakland and Texas both five games back and Seattle 5 1/2 back.

Before the A’s bother worrying about who they have to knock off at the top, there are baby steps to conquer.

They need to generate some consistent offense, which has been lacking in their 1-5 start to this nine-game road trip. With that in mind, they’ll gladly welcome back center fielder Rajai Davis, who is expected to return from a strained left hamstring and rejoin the lineup Tuesday in Minnesota.

Also Tuesday, Sonny Gray will make his 2017 debut after missing the first four weeks with a strained lat muscle in his right side. One of the primary April storylines for the A’s involved the players they lost to injury. Now, they at least draw some optimism from the ones they’ll welcome back.

“We need to get these guys back,” A’s manager Bob Melvin said. “We’ve been leaning on (backup center fielder) Jaff Decker a little harder than we need to. You get Raj back doing his thing at the top of the lineup and get your No. 1 pitcher back, hopefully this is a trend on an upward swing as far as getting players back, as opposed to losing them like we have been.”

Jesse Hahn, who took Sunday’s loss, could eventually be out of a rotation spot with Gray’s return. But that decision gets delayed with fellow starter Sean Manaea having just joined the 10-day disabled list with a strained shoulder.

Hahn was solid Sunday, going six innings and allowing four runs (two earned). But he got a taste of the diverse ways that Houston can beat a pitcher. The Astros have speed, as they showed in the first inning when George Springer beat out an infield single and scored all the way from first on Carlos Correa’s double.

They also have run producers up and down the batting order. Evan Gattis, who clubbed 32 homers last season, hit seventh Sunday and drove an RBI double to left that just missed being a two-run homer.

“One through nine, it’s a solid lineup over there,” Hahn said. “You can’t take any pitches off, any at-bats off. You’ve almost got to treat every guy the same or they can hurt you.”

Catcher Josh Phegley says the A’s have a good read on the rest of the division and the challenge that sits before him and his teammates.

“We’ve seen the teams we’re gonna face most of the year. We get a feel for their bullpen, some of the subs they make during the game,” he said. “I like the way our team stacks up against everyone else.”

But the A’s have their work cut out. Last year, they were 13-12 at the end of April, just 1 1/2 games out of first place before eventually finishing in the cellar. As they begin this May, they are three games under .500 and already five games out.

Help is on the way with the return of Gray and Davis. Now the A’s need to parlay that into some victories.