Cain brilliant, Giants take series from Nationals

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Cain brilliant, Giants take series from Nationals

June 8, 2011BOX SCORE GIANTS VIDEOMLB PAGE MLB SCOREBOARD

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) Matt Cain was at his overpowering best on the mound and even got into the act with his bat to give the San Francisco Giants another close win.Cain struck out 11 in his first complete game of the season and also hit an RBI double that helped the Giants beat the Washington Nationals 3-1 on Wednesday for their sixth win in eight games."He did it all," manager Bruce Bochy said. "It was quite a job for Matty. He pitched very efficiently, had all his pitches going. ... It was a great all-around game for him."
Rookie Brandon Crawford hit a tiebreaking RBI triple in the seventh inning and later scored an insurance run to help first-place San Francisco win its their third straight series.
GIANTS INSIDER GALLERY: The Cain & Crawford show
The Giants have played just 11 games this season that have been decided by more than three runs as they kept to the strong-pitching, low-scoring formula that helped them win the World Series last year.Yunesky Maya delivered the best performance of his career but remained winless in eight career starts as the Nationals could only muster an RBI double by Rick Ankiel in the seventh inning against Cain (5-4).Cain and Maya were strong early, with the game remaining scoreless until the bottom of the sixth inning. That's when the Giants came through with back-to-back, one-out doubles by Eli Whiteside and Cain. The hit was just the third in 27 at-bats this season for Cain and his first RBI in exactly one year."The double definitely felt good to get us going a little bit," Cain said. "Their guy was throwing the ball well, keeping us off balance."The Nationals answered in the bottom half when Mike Morse hit a leadoff single and later scored on Rick Ankiel's two-out double. That's just the fifth run the Nats have scored for Maya in his eight big-league starts.
URBAN: 'Big-league Brandon' a no-brainer for BochyThe Giants ended up taking the lead back in the bottom half of the seventh when Crawford hit a two-out, RBI triple off Sean Burnett (1-3) and then scored on Whiteside's single.Burnett also allowed a two-run single to Aubrey Huff on Monday to contribute to a loss and blew a lead last week in Philadelphia as his struggles have continued."When I needed to make a pitch it wasn't there," said Burnett, who has a 5.96 ERA. "I came in and gave it away. I'm costing the team ballgames every time I go out there. I'm not getting the job done, bottom line."That two-run lead proved to be more than enough for Cain, who improved to 16-0 over the past two years when getting at least three runs of support. He allowed five hits and one walk in his 13th career complete game, needing just 110 pitches."He had four pitches going today," Whiteside said. "He was able to get his curveball over for a strike. That was a big pitch for him to steal a strike early and go from there. He was great."Cain was dominating from the start with the only hit he allowed in the first five innings coming on Danny Espinosa's bunt with two outs in the second. The Nationals got their first clean hit with two outs in the sixth when Ian Desmond lined a single to left-center.But Washington was unable to generate any threats against Cain, who struck out the side in order in the fourth inning against the middle of the Nationals lineup.
VIDEO: Brandon Crawford postgame
"I felt good," Cain said. "We were just ahead in the count a lot. Eli was calling a lot of good pitches. We were on the same page early."The Giants didn't fare much better early against Maya, despite getting leadoff hits in the second and third innings. Aubrey Huff was doubled off first to end the second when he ran on Aaron Rowand's blooper that was caught by right fielder Laynce Nix. Brandon Crawford was then caught stealing for the second out in the third inning by Wilson Ramos, who has thrown out 11 of 23 attempted basestealers.Maya allowed one run and four hits in six innings and remained winless in his career as the Nationals were unable to get any offense going against Cain."I threw a lot more strikes and attacked the zone," Maya said through an interpreter. "I felt like I wasn't doing that before. I worked a little bit on my mechanics and felt a lot better. I pitched with confidence."Notes: The Nationals won the season-series with the World Series champion Giants 4-3. ... Cain has seven double-digit strikeout games in his career. ... Washington stole two bases against Whiteside. Giants catchers have thrown out just two of the past 22 attempted basestealers. ... Giants 3B Pablo Sandoval (right wrist) INF Mike Fontenot (right groin) will play for Triple-A Fresno at Salt Lake this weekend. Sandoval said he hopes to be back with the Giants next week in Arizona.

Graveman delivers in front of 'Blue Moon' Odom, rest of A's can't

Graveman delivers in front of 'Blue Moon' Odom, rest of A's can't

ANAHEIM — The A’s collection of individual highlights during their visit to Angel Stadium shouldn’t have equated to a three-game sweep for their opponent.

Jesse Hahn fired eight one-hit innings Tuesday, the same night Josh Phegley delivered a pinch-hit homer in the 10th before the A’s lost in 11 innings. On Thursday, Kendall Graveman turned in perhaps the defensive play of the 2017 season by a pitcher, recording an unassisted double play that was the first by an A’s pitcher in 46 years.

All great moments to relive in the clubhouse afterward, but surely they ring a bit hollow given the final outcomes. The A’s were swept by an Angels team that, like Oakland, has been hit hard by the injury bug. Los Angeles is without key relievers Huston Street, Andrew Bailey, Cam Bedrosian and Mike Morin, not to mention starter Garrett Richards among others.

Yet the Angels pitching staff twice held the A’s to one run over the three-game series, including Thursday’s 2-1 defeat, when the A’s mustered just three hits.

“We’re a little streaky right now,” A’s manager Bob Melvin said. “… Give them credit, they pitched really well, and they really are down a lot of guys in the bullpen. We would expect to do a little more damage.”

They couldn’t Thursday, and that it made it tough to savor Graveman’s incredible play the way they should have.

With runners on the corners and no outs, he fielded Juan Graterol’s comebacker and caught Ben Revere in a rundown between third and home. Graveman ran him down and after applying the tag, hurdled Revere and made the tag on Cliff Pennington, who was trying to advance from first to third in the chaos.

“That’s probably the best play I’ve ever seen a pitcher make, hurdling over an (opponent) to get the second out unassisted,” Melvin said. “I didn’t even know how to put that one down on my card.”

Graveman, one of the A’s better overall athletes, was asked if he’d ever recorded an unassisted double play before.

“Never. I don’t know that I’ve ever seen one,” he said. “(Ryan) Madson said he’s never seen one and he’s watched over 2,000 games.”

Incredibly, the last A’s pitcher to pull off an unassisted double play previously was in attendance Thursday night. John “Blue Moon” Odom did it back on July 11, 1971, also against the Angels. Odom attends most of the A’s games in Anaheim, and he’s struck up a friendship with Graveman over the years.

“Every time we come here and even in spring training, I try to catch up with Blue Moon Odom and see how he’s doing,” Graveman said. “He and Wash (former A’s infield coach Ron Washington) are friends so we always cut up about Wash. He’s a great guy. He sits in the front row. He came in and saw me right before stretch and told me ‘I’m gonna be front row watching you.’ That is pretty neat that that happened.”

A’s first baseman Yonder Alonso said he’s never surprised to see Graveman make a great defensive play.

“The guy’s a pitcher, but it feels like he’s a shortstop playing the position.”

Graveman was visited by trainers after the fifth-inning play, but Melvin said it was mainly to give the pitcher a breather and let him get his adrenaline under control. Neither Graveman nor his manager revealed anything specific that bothered Graveman. Seeing him stay in the game and complete six innings of two-run ball had to be encouraging for Melvin.

“The first thing I asked him was ‘What’d you fall on?’” Melvin said. “He said, ‘My butt.’ I said, ‘Well, you’re all right then.’ But you’re not gonna see that play again probably.”

The A’s are giving their manager and fans some accomplishments to marvel over. As they move on to Houston trying to halt a four-game losing streak, they just need to figure things out on the scoreboard.

Raiders' first-round pick Conley opens up on emotions after off-field issues

Raiders' first-round pick Conley opens up on emotions after off-field issues

ALAMEDA – Gareon Conley’s name has been sullied, at least temporarily. He feared it would be long enough to send him free falling down the NFL Draft.

The Ohio State cornerback and top-15 prospect was accused of rape stemming from an April 9 incident in Cleveland, an allegation he called “completely false.”

The Raiders clearly believe him. That’s why they drafted him No. 24 overall on Thursday evening, and expect him to be a long-term solution in their secondary.

Conley wasn’t sure how far he’d fall after being beaten down by one rough week, when the allegation went public. Reggie McKenzie’s first-round selection and subsequent call was more emotional than expected.

“It made it 10 times more special,” Conley said Thursday night in a conference call. “Just having that doubt in my mind, just not knowing (how far I would fall). Just having faith and having doubt, I didn’t know what was going to happen. When it came, it shocked me. It felt unreal, honestly. It still feels unreal.”

Being a top pick was expected after an excellent career at Ohio State. The rape accusation threatened to destroy his draft-day dreams. Conley has not been arrested or charged in relation to the incident, though an investigation is ongoing.

Conley said he volunteered to take a polygraph test that was shared with NFL teams, and reportedly passed the one he took. He said in a statement there are witnesses and video evidence proving he didn’t do anything illegal.

Conley spent the last few days trying to proclaim his innocence. 

He is scheduled to meet with Cleveland police on Monday to discuss the April 9 incident -- he'll also submit a DNA sample, according to ESPN -- where group sex was suggested and a woman claimed she was sexually assaulted.

Conley believes his name will be cleared in time.

“I’m very confident it will be resolved," Conley said. "I took a test today that helps. Then when I made my statement and all the evidence that I have, I feel confident it’ll be resolved.”

Conley admits he shouldn’t have put himself in a compromising position, which occurred at a Cleveland hotel earlier this month.

“I could’ve made way better judgment,” Conley said. “I mean, I didn’t know what I was getting myself into, but I definitely could’ve made a better decision.”

Conley hopes to move beyond it quickly and start focusing on football. He is scheduled to fly west for a press conference on Friday.

Conley is thankful to the Raiders for believing in him despite his recent troubles.

“It’s off the charts, honestly,” Conley said. “Just to know that they have faith in me, not even just as a football player but as a person like that, it speaks highly of them, and I really appreciate it. It’s an honor to be a part of the Raider organization.”