A's comeback falls short, lose ninth straight

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A's comeback falls short, lose ninth straight

June 8, 2011BOX SCORE A'S VIDEOMLB PAGE MLB SCOREBOARD

BALTIMORE (AP) Just over a week after being humiliated in Oakland, the Baltimore Orioles pushed aside the struggling Athletics to pull off a sweep of their own.Rookie Zach Britton took a four-hitter into the seventh inning, Mark Reynolds homered, and the Orioles beat the Athletics 3-2 on Wednesday night to stretch Oakland's losing streak to nine games.The Athletics haven't won since outscoring Baltimore 16-8 during a three-game sweep on May 27-29. In the rematch at Camden Yards, Oakland managed only four runs in three games and never held the lead."The first series with them we didn't hit in certain situations and we didn't make key pitches in certain situations," Orioles closer Kevin Gregg said. "We really gave away three games to them at their place. Here, we played the game right."And Oakland did not.
A'S INSIDER GALLERY: Weeks shines, A's lose again
"They outscored us, they outpitched us, they outhit us," A's manager Bob Geren said. "That equals losses."The trio of defeats left the Athletics mired in their longest slide since a 10-game run in 2008."It's the way the game goes," Oakland starter Josh Outman said. "Once we get a couple wins, we'll get our swagger back and will get back some of our confidence."A's second baseman Jemile Weeks went 2 for 3 and scored both Oakland runs. The former first-round draft pick went hitless in his major league debut Tuesday night."I am excited. This is something I hope to do all season as long as I am here," Weeks said. "This is what they want to see from me, and it's what I do."
GUTIERREZ: Weeks offers A's a silver lining
J.J. Hardy drove in a run for the Orioles, who have won four of five. It was their first three-game sweep of the A's in Baltimore since July 21-23, 1998."It feels good to get wins," catcher Matt Wieters said. "We got some good starting pitching and a good bullpen in this series. If our starting pitching keeps throwing like it did this series, then we're going to be a lot better ball club."
Britton (6-4) allowed four hits and two walks in 6 1-3 innings. The left-hander, who tied his career high with six strikeouts, was 0-3 in six starts since May 1.Asked to assess his performance, Britton said, "I thought it was pretty good, obviously better than the previous couple outings."Jim Johnson gave up an unearned run in 1 2-3 innings and Gregg worked a perfect ninth for his 12th save.Baltimore got all its runs in the fifth inning against Outman (1-1). Vladimir Guerrero hit a leadoff single, advanced on a two-out wild pitch and scored on a single by Hardy. Reynolds followed with his 10th home run.Oakland ended a string of 19 straight scoreless innings in the sixth. After singles by Weeks and Coco Crisp put runners at the corners with no outs, Daric Barton hit into a 4-6-3 double play.The A's closed to 3-2 in the eighth. Left fielder Nolan Reimold misjudged a line drive by Weeks for a three-base error and Crisp followed with a sacrifice fly.The A's made two exceptional fielding plays in the early going. Crisp tracked down a liner to deep center by Guerrero, and shortstop Cliff Pennington dived deep in the hole to snare a grounder before rising to his feet and throwing out Hardy.Backed with that kind of defensive support and aided by a double play, Outman faced the minimum 12 batters through four innings.But Baltimore broke open the scoreless duel in the fifth.Outman allowed three runs and five hits in six innings. Oakland starters are 0-8 with a 6.88 ERA during the nine-game losing streak.NOTES: The Orioles will put 1B Derrek Lee on the bereavement list Thursday so he can attend his grandfather's funeral in California. Baltimore is off Thursday, but Lee is expected to miss the entire three-game series against Tampa Bay that begins Friday night. ... Oakland's 14-24 record in night games is worst in the AL. ... Total attendance for the series was a meager 35,968. ... Oakland INF Andy LaRoche, who was designated for assignment on Sunday, cleared waivers and was outrighted to Triple-A Sacramento. ... Johnson has allowed only two earned runs in his last 16 appearances (21 IP).

Kings' Cousins: 'Only goal this season' is to make playoffs

Kings' Cousins: 'Only goal this season' is to make playoffs

With their 109-104 victory over the Detroit Pistons on Monday night, the Sacramento Kings sit 10 games under .500 at 17-27. In almost any other season, that would mean that they were dead in the water in the Western Conference playoff race. But this it the 2016-17 season where anything is possible at the bottom.

Following Sacramento’s win at the Palace at Auburn Hills, DeMarcus Cousins was asked about the playoff picture.

“It’s my only goal this season,” Cousins told reporters following the game. “My only goal.” 

When pushed on the subject, he gave a more complete answer.

“Oh man, it’s eating me alive - every loss or every time another team wins that’s battling for the eighth spot, it’s eating me alive,” Cousins added. “Our only goal is to be in the playoffs this season.”

The Kings snapped a five-game losing streak with the win over the Pistons and they came into the evening just 2-10 over their previous 12 games. 

Once they get through their current eight game road trip, they spend the entire month of February in the Pacific time zone and play 11 over their next 13 games at Golden 1 Center.  

“The one thing I can give credit to this team about is us staying together and being a positive locker room through the ups and downs,” Cousins said. “I’m still confident and I still believe we’re going to make that push for the playoffs.”

Despite the rough patch, the Kings remain just a game and a half out of the eighth spot in the Western Conference standings. No one is running away with that last playoff spot, at least not yet.

 

Lawson, bench unit spark Kings' much-needed win over Pistons

Lawson, bench unit spark Kings' much-needed win over Pistons

Everyone must contribute. With Rudy Gay gone for the season, Sacramento needs a team effort each night out if they are going to have a chance of turning things around. Balancing the roster on the fly is never easy, but it’s the hand that the Kings were dealt when their second leading scorer tore his Achilles last week.

Needing a win in the worst way, the Kings walked into the Palace at Auburn Hills and came away with a huge 109-104 victory. Demarcus Cousins put up numbers, but it was the supporting cast that found a way to rise to the occasion and snap the team’s five-game losing streak.

“We’re going to need everybody on this team,” Cousins told reporters following the game. “At some point, everyone on the bench is going to win a game for us. Tonight, it was Ty (Lawson), it was Willie (Cauley-Stein) and it was Malachi (Richardson).”

Lawson was a magician with the ball. He entered the game with the Kings down just one with 3:36 remaining in the first quarter, but the Pistons caught fire around that time and pushed the lead to 11 with 20 seconds remaining in the quarter.

It looked like Sacramento might fall behind big once again, but then Lawson and the bench unit took over.

“Ty Lawson, Malachi Richardson and Willie Cauley-Stein had a great energy when we were down 11 in the first half,” Joerger told reporters. “Obviously, probably the best Willie’s played all year. Same for Malachi. He got some run, he got a little burn in the second half, felt pretty good.”

Powered by Lawson, the offense instantly opened up in the second quarter as the Kings tracked down the Pistons on their home floor. Sacramento outscored Detroit 37-24 in the frame to take a three point lead into the intermission. Lawson posted nine points and handed out four assists in the quarter.

“When our offense gets sticky, he’s able to create shots for guys by getting kickouts and getting in the lane,” Joerger said.

The 5-foot-11 point guard didn’t let up in the second half, finishing the night with 19 points and six assists in 23 minutes of action.  

“Chico just goes and plays, man, that’s Chico,” Cousins said of Lawson. “If there’s anyone with a green light to just go and play, it’s him. We love what he does with this team. He’s a spark off the bench for us. He gets us going when there’s a slump. We love the little guy.”

Lawson has become a catalyst off the bench for coach Jeorger. The 29-year-old speedster signed a one-year deal with the Kings late in the offseason and he’s quickly found his niche with the team.

“You play with Ty, you can’t help by want to run, because he will pitch it to you and that’s the best motivation - everybody wants to score,” said Joerger.

Cousins and Lawson didn’t do it alone. Cauley-Stein had one of his games of the season, finishing the night with 12 points and five rebounds. Darren Collison added 12 points, Garrett Temple chipped in 11 points and veteran Matt Barnes added 10 points and eight rebounds.  

“It’s a big, bounce back win,” Cousins said. “We were kind of heartbroken about the last lost. We felt we did everything needed to pull a win and it just didn’t go that way for us. We kind of showed our character and showed we could overcome some type of adversity with the win tonight.”

The Kings are back at it on Wednesday in Cleveland when they hit game four of their season-long eight-game road trip. They’ll face LeBron James and the championship Cavs for the second time this month.  

“It’s huge, we had a little stretch where we lost like eight of nine games, something like that,” Lawson told CSN’s Kayte Christensen following the game. “Getting a win going into Cleveland, it makes us feel a little bit better. Now we’ve got to go in and get a tough one.”

A tough one indeed. Cleveland sits at 31-13 on the season, but they are coming off back-to-back losses against the Spurs and Pelicans.