Cain, Giants go for sweep of Padres this afternoon

533466.jpg

Cain, Giants go for sweep of Padres this afternoon

Sept. 7, 2011

GIANTS (75-67) vs.
SAN DIEGO (61-81)

Coverage begins at 3:00 P.M. on Comcast SportsNet Bay Area

SAN DIEGO (AP) -- If the San Francisco Giants can continue taking advantage of teams that are all but out of the playoff race over the final three weeks, then they could still have a shot at defending their championship.

The Giants go for a three-game sweep of the last-place San Diego Padres on Wednesday afternoon.

San Francisco moved into position for the sweep with a 6-4 victory Tuesday. Combined with Arizona's loss to Colorado, the Giants (75-67) cut their deficit to six games behind the NL West-leading Diamondbacks. Each club has 20 games remaining, including a three-game set in Phoenix starting Sept. 23.

Rookie first baseman Brett Pill homered in his first major league at-bat Tuesday for San Francisco, helping Eric Surkamp get his first big-league win.

URBAN: Christian, Pill light up chase for Giants

"It's nice to see those guys come out and do what they did and help us win a ballgame," Giants manager Bruce Bochy said.

However, a veteran carried the Giants. Carlos Beltran went 3 for 3 after missing one game with food poisoning. He's hitting .733 (11 for 15) with a homer and six RBIs in four games this month, and .387 in 20 games since being acquired from the New York Mets for the stretch run.

Though San Francisco is 8-12 with Beltran in the lineup, they've won six of nine when he has at least two hits.

Making his 200th career start, the Giants' Matt Cain (11-9, 2.85 ERA) will try to beat the Padres for the first time this season.

Cain is 0-1 with a 4.05 ERA in three outings against San Diego this year, and 2-5 with a 2.84 ERA in 12 career starts at Petco Park.

He lasted eight innings for the third time in four starts Friday, beating Arizona 6-2 to end the Diamondbacks' nine-game winning streak.

"That's the energy we needed, the way we needed to start off September," said Cain, who yielded two runs, five hits and four walks.

The Padres' Cameron Maybin is 4 for 9 off Cain this season, but is hitting just .232 in 14 games against San Francisco after an 0-for-4 effort Tuesday.

San Diego starter Aaron Harang (12-5, 3.86) looks to continue his outstanding pitching against the Giants in order to avoid a season-high third straight loss.

The right-hander is 1-0 with a 0.69 ERA in two starts this season versus the Giants - both at Petco. However, the San Diego native is 1-2 with a 4.94 ERA in four home starts since the All-Star break. He had been 5-2 with a 2.92 ERA at home in the first half of the season.

Harang allowed three runs over seven innings of a 3-0 home loss to the Rockies on Friday.

San Diego (61-81) has dropped six of seven at home to San Francisco and 11 of 12 overall.

Instant Analysis: Five takeaways from A's loss despite five home runs

Instant Analysis: Five takeaways from A's loss despite five home runs

BOX SCORE

Hit five home runs, and a team has to like its chances of winning.

The A’s simply couldn’t keep up with the Houston Astros’ bats, however, in an 11-8 loss Wednesday night that snapped Oakland’s four-game winning streak. Khris Davis went deep twice, and Ryon Healy, Jed Lowrie and Matt Olson all went deep as the A’s set their season high for home runs.

But Houston racked up 17 hits against Jesse Hahn (3-6) and four relievers and evened this three-game series at a game apiece. It was the second time Hahn has gotten knocked around by Houston inside of a week.

The A’s took an early lead, 5-4, in the third on the second of Davis’ two homers, part of a four-run rally for Oakland. But the Astros answered right back with five runs in the bottom half, and the A’s never recovered from that momentum swing.

Hahn’s struggles continue: Hahn was trying to rebound after the Astros hung nine earned runs on him last Thursday at the Coliseum. Things didn’t improve Wednesday at Minute Maid Park, as the right-hander lasted just two-plus innings and allowed six runs on nine hits. Is this a case of one team simply having Hahn’s number or do the A’s make a move and try someone else in the rotation? It bears watching.

Krush Davis x 2: It was apparent early this would be a slugfest, with Khris Davis homering twice within the first three innings as the A’s tried to keep pace. He led off the second with a shot to left field, then came back with a three-run blast to left in the third that put Oakland up 5-4. The homers were his team-leading 20th and 21st.

Reddick-ulous night: Josh Reddick filled up the stat sheet against his old team in every way imaginable. He went 3-for-4 with three RBI and two runs, and twice caught the A’s by surprise by stealing third base. For good measure, he turned in an excellent running catch in right field to rob Yonder Alonso.

Strange offensive night: What to make of this night offensively for the A’s? They hit a season-high five homers but also struck out a whopping 17 times. No matter … you can’t hang this one on the offense, because …

The pitching staff just couldn’t hold things down: Josh Smith was called upon to hold down the fort after Hahn departed in the third, but Smith was tagged for three runs on four hits. Daniel Coulombe and John Axford also got touched for runs. Rookie Michael Brady did turn in 1 1/3 scoreless innings.

Cubs outfielder vows he didn't give Trump the middle finger at White House

Cubs outfielder vows he didn't give Trump the middle finger at White House

WASHINGTON – Albert Almora Jr. didn’t use Wednesday’s Oval Office photo op as a subtle form of political protest, but it did sort of look like the Cubs outfielder gave President Donald Trump the middle finger, at least from that angle in an image that went viral on Twitter.    

“There was two fingers! Look closely, there was two fingers!” a veteran player yelled across the room as reporters gathered around Almora’s locker inside the visiting clubhouse at Nationals Park. 

“Guys were giving me a hard time about it,” Almora said, “but I pointed out the second finger. We’re all good.”

In another White House visit that didn’t look nearly as unofficial or informal as the Cubs said it would be, one snapshot became Almora with part of his left hand in his pocket. Almora stood near Kris Bryant – who held a 45 Wrigley Field scoreboard panel – and Trump at his desk with the World Series trophy.

“Obviously, it’s unfortunate,” Almora said with a laugh. “I’m getting ready to take a picture and I’m posing there. But you guys know that I would never do that to the president of the United States. 

“I respect everybody. It is what it is. We laugh about it now, but there’s definitely two fingers out there.”

READ MORE AT CSNChicago.com