Belt powers Giants to 5-3 win over Dodgers


Belt powers Giants to 5-3 win over Dodgers

July 19, 2011BOX SCORE GIANTS VIDEOMLB PAGE MLB SCOREBOARDSAN FRANCISCO (AP) -- Brandon Belt finally feels comfortable hitting in the majors, and the timing couldn't be better for the San Francisco Giants.Belt capped a solid first day back in the big leagues with a tiebreaking two-run double in the seventh inning and the Giants finally gave Madison Bumgarner some run support at home while beating the Los Angeles Dodgers 5-3 on Tuesday night.
URBAN: Busy day (and one more win) for Giants
"That was a big goal for me, to bring the confidence that I had down (in the minors) up to the plate up here," said Belt, who also hit a leadoff homer in the second inning. "The first time I was up here I was definitely a little bit overwhelmed but since I've been up here I'm starting to relax a little bit more."Belt was San Francisco's opening-day starter at first base but made two trips to the minors after struggling with his offense. He was called up from Triple-A Fresno earlier in the day to give slumping first baseman Aubrey Huff a rest but instead provided the Giants with a much-needed spark at the plate.Belt went deep in his first at-bat, then was retired in his next two trips to the plate. But he lined a bases-loaded double down the left-field line off reliever Hong-Chih Kuo to put the Giants in front for good."It's good to get a shot in the arm like he gave us tonight," manager Bruce Bochy said. "That's the type of hit we needed. The thing I liked about it was he was aggressive. That's always a good sign for a young kid. Sometimes they're a little tentative but he wasn't."Andres Torres, Mike Fontenot and Pablo Sandoval, the first three batters in San Francisco's lineup, had two hits apiece to help the NL West-leading Giants to their ninth win in 11 games.
RELATED: MLB standings
Rafael Furcal singled in two runs for the Dodgers, who dropped their sixth consecutive game to San Francisco, the longest such streak against the Giants since 1969.Bumgarner (5-9) struck out seven in eight innings, yielding three runs and four hits. The young left-hander retired his final 16 batters and issued no walks for the second straight start.It's the first time in 18 starts at AT&T Park that Bumgarner has received more than three runs of support."I think maybe the games when they didn't score a lot helped me more because I'm able to just go out there and pitch," Bumgarner said. "It was nice to get some tonight, though. It made it a lot easier."Brian Wilson pitched the ninth for his 29th save in 33 chances, helping the Giants increase their lead over Arizona to 4 12 games. Wilson is tied with Atlanta's Craig Kimbrel for the major league lead in saves.Matt Kemp singled with two out but Wilson got pinch-hitter Andre Ethier to fly out, closing a busy day for the defending World Series champs.In addition to bringing up Belt, the Giants acquired second baseman Jeff Keppinger from the Houston Astros for a pair of minor league pitchers and placed infielder Miguel Tejada on the disabled list with a lower abdominal strain."Without being harsh, this group just isn't getting it done," Giants general manager Brian Sabean said. "We need to somehow extend the lineup any way we can, and we think this is an upgrade."Belt's night was exactly what San Francisco needed.He went deep against Rubby De La Rosa leading off the second, then delivered his clutch hit in the seventh after the Dodgers elected to intentionally walk Sandoval and Cody Ross. Los Angeles also botched a pickoff attempt earlier in the inning after Kuo (0-1) threw to first when pinch-runner Emmanuel Burriss broke for second. Burriss easily beat the throw to second, sliding in ahead of the tag by Furcal.San Francisco led 2-0 on Belt's home run and an RBI groundout by Bumgarner.The Dodgers, who were shut out a night earlier by All-Star right-hander Ryan Vogelsong and a pair of relievers, answered with three runs in the third.Tony Gwynn Jr. doubled in James Loney and Juan Rivera added a go-ahead two-run single. Rivera, though, was thrown out trying to scramble back to the bag after taking a wide turn at first.San Francisco opened the fifth with three straight hits off De La Rosa. Sandoval, who has reached base in 27 consecutive games, singled in Torres with the tying run but later left the game with a tightness in his right quad.De La Rosa, who was clocked at 100 mph in the first inning, allowed two earned runs and nine hits over five innings."That's kind of what we're going to see with him," Dodgers manager Don Mattingly said. "He'll have his stuff but then he has the one inning. He threw a lot of pitches for five innings but that's part of growing up."NOTES: Belt's only other home run in the major leagues came against the Dodgers on April 1. ... Furcal's single snapped an 0-for-19 streak. ... Bochy said the Giants will skip LHP Barry Zito's next turn in the rotation Friday. Zito's next start will be against Philadelphia on June 27 or June 28. ... Dodgers INF Marcus Thames cleared waivers and was officially released by the team. ... Dodgers INF Casey Blake (cervical strain) fielded grounders during batting practice and the team is encouraged by his progress. Blake has been on the disabled list since July 3. ... The crowd of 42,391 was a season-high at AT&T Park. The Giants have sold out every home game this year.

NHL Gameday: Sharks face Preds, look to rebound from 'crap' performance

NHL Gameday: Sharks face Preds, look to rebound from 'crap' performance

Programming note – Sharks-Predators coverage starts today at 4:30 p.m. with Sharks Pregame Live on CSN California


Sharks: 42-25-7, 91 points, 1st Pacific Division
Predators: 37-25-11, 85 points, 4th Central Division


***The freefalling Sharks will again try to put an end to their losing streak in their only visit to Nashville tonight. Friday night’s unsightly 6-1 loss in Dallas, their fifth straight in regulation, was surely their worst game of the season. Their typically strong defensive game handed the Stars all kinds of opportunities that they cashed in on.

“Uncharacteristic missed coverage," Pete DeBoer said of the Stars' third goal in which Jamie Benn was left uncovered, "but [I] think that you could say that about six of the goals – breakaways, two-on-ones. Just, crap. Not very good.”

Despite having a nine-point lead on the division on the morning of March 15, the Sharks are now tied in points with Anaheim (San Jose owns the tiebreaker, so is still officially in first place). The Ducks are idle Saturday, but Edmonton, two points back, is hosting putrid Colorado.

Nashville is 5-1-0 in its last six games, and 6-1-0 in its last seven at home.

***The Sharks have managed just five goals over their five regulation losses. Two of those scores have come on the power play, including one on a five-on-three; Marc-Edouard Vlasic’s goal against St. Louis deflected in off of a Blues player, and one of Patrick Marleau’s two markers in Minnesota on Tuesday came in large part to a miscommunication between Devan Dubnyk and Ryan Suter.

They are simply not generating anything lately.

“Some teams are doing a good job of taking some of our plays away, but it’s on us as players,” Joe Pavelski said. “You’ve got to win some battles, you've got to create some energy, some speed throughout the team. It’s hasn’t been one guy. It’s been all of us. We’re in this together. We’ll change it as a group."

***There was no morning skate on Saturday, so no word on whether Vlasic would be in the lineup after he took just one shift in the third period on Friday before departing.

The Sharks are 2-3-1 in the six games Vlasic has missed this season, including Tuesday in Minnesota when he was out with the flu. Just one of the two wins came in regulation (Jan. 7 against Detroit).

If he’s out, Dylan DeMelo will presumably draw back in on the third pair.


Sharks: Tomas Hertl. It didn’t take long for Hertl to be bumped up to the Joe Thornton line after Friday’s game started to go sour. In the first period, Hertl looked like one of the few Sharks players actually performing decently, and he finished with a team-high four shots on goal. He remains without a point in his last 11 games, though.

Predators: James Neal. The Predators forward has goals in each of his two games against the Sharks this season, and is third on the Predators with 21 overall. After scoring in three straight games from March 11-16, Neal hasn’t found the scoresheet in his last three.


Jannik Hansen – Joe Thornton – Joe Pavelski
Patrick Marleau – Logan Couture – Mikkel Boedker
Marcus Sorensen – Tomas Hertl – Joel Ward
Micheal Haley – Chris Tierney – Joonas Donskoi

Paul Martin – Brent Burns
Marc-Edouard Vlasic – Justin Braun
Brenden Dillon – David Schlemko

Martin Jones (likely starter)
Aaron Dell

Filip Forsberg – Ryan Johansen – Viktor Arvidsson
Kevin Fiala – Calle Jarnkrok – James Neal
Colin Wilson – Colton Sissons – Craig Smith
Cody McLeod – Vern Fiddler – Austin Watson

Romas Josi – Ryan Ellis
Mattias Ekholm – P.K. Subban
Matt Irwin – Yannick Weber

Pekka Rinne
Jusse Saros


Sharks: Marc-Edouard Vlasic (possible lower body) and Melker Karlsson (lower body) are questionable.

Predators: Mike Fisher (lower body) is questionable.


"The nice thing about this is we get to go back at it again tomorrow. There’s going to be no excuse for not playing hard tomorrow.” – Brenden Dillon, after Friday night’s loss in Dallas


Feeling more comfortable, West cleaning up Warriors' messes down stretch

Feeling more comfortable, West cleaning up Warriors' messes down stretch

OAKLAND -- David West is as much a cleanup man as he is a basketball player.

The veteran power forward, masquerading as a center for the Warriors, cleans up behind teammates, cleans the clocks of opponents and probably cleans his plate after every meal. And he’d hit fourth in any baseball manager’s batting order.

The Warriors during their renaissance haven’t had such a personality. They’ve been a fun bunch, enjoying life, each other and their pillaging of the NBA.

West, 36, brings a more laconic dynamic, and it’s on full display as the Warriors lean into the final weeks of this regular season. He’s a leader who is producing and, more and more, winning over a fan base that was somewhat skeptical early this season.

“David West has been playing brilliantly,” Warriors coach Steve Kerr said Friday night, after West came off the bench for a highly efficient 14-minute stint in a 114-100 win over the Kings.

Showcasing sharp passing, splendid shooting, solid rim protection and his usual old-jerky toughness, West totaled 8 points, four assists, three rebounds, three blocks and one steal. The Warriors were plus-8 when he was on the floor.

Such production, it seems, is a bit of a bonus.

“He’s been very good for us as a veteran leader,” Draymond Green said. “He’s been playing well, but just his presence also has meant a lot to this team.

“D-West is just kind of a no-bull---- type of a guy. He doesn’t say much. But when he does, you know it means a lot. And everybody hears him.”

Said West: “It’s just about adjusting and learning personalities. Obviously, this group has been very successful. I just try to add my 2 cents where I feel like it fits. Try not to over-talk people. I speak to guys directly and just make sure that we’re all on the same page.”

West is in his 14th season. Drafted by the New Orleans Hornets in 2003, he also has played for the Pacers and, last season, the Spurs, before joining the Warriors in July.

The question at the time was whether he still had a lot to give. West is a two-time All-Star and one of the most widely respected players in the league. But did he still have the legs to compete at a high level?

The answer is visible, particularly over the past month, since he returned from fractured left thumb on Feb. 23. West is shooting 53.0 percent from the field, he’s rebounding consistently and he has proven to be a spectacularly good passer -- easily one of the best in the league among big men.

Earlier this week, to quell any lingering concerns about how much athleticism he still has, West rose up and dunked over a crowd of three Dallas Mavericks. It was clock-cleaning at its finest.

“I’m just getting more comfortable,” West said, referring to his game and his locker-room influence. “We’ve developed good chemistry, communicating, harping on our defense more than anything else at this moment, because we feel that’s going to give us a chance if shots aren’t falling.”

West is on a one-year deal for the veteran’s minimum, $1.55 million. He sacrificed bigger dollars for a chance at his first championship. He’s doing his part. And he neither takes nor leaves any mess.