Crawford's historic slam lifts Giants over Brewers

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Crawford's historic slam lifts Giants over Brewers

May 27, 2011BOX SCORE GIANTS POSTGAME VIDEOMLB PAGE MLB SCOREBOARD
MILWAUKEE (AP) It's all still kind of a blur to Brandon Crawford.As he wiped the remnants of a shaving-cream pie from his face and uniform, he wasn't even sure which of his prankster teammates got him.Welcome to the big leagues, kid - and how! RELATED: Giants Insider notes -- Welcome to MLB, Brandon
Crawford hit a go-ahead grand slam in his first major league game, helping Tim Lincecum and the San Francisco Giants beat the Milwaukee Brewers 5-4 on Friday night."It was all unreal," Crawford said, recalling how he felt as he rounded the bases. "Awesome. I mean, I still kind of have the jitters about it."Lincecum (5-4) gave up three runs in seven innings. The Giants won despite the ejection of manager Bruce Bochy, who argued a close play at home plate in the fifth inning.Bochy admitted he might have lost his temper in part because it has been such a frustrating week for the Giants.
URBAN: Giants still favorites without Posey
"I'll be honest, I couldn't really tell if he had the call right," Bochy said. "But there's frustration building up, with everybody."With the Brewers trying to rally in the eighth, Giants catcher Eli Whiteside absorbed a big hit from Prince Fielder. It was reminiscent of the play that caused a serious injury to Giants catcher Buster Posey earlier this week, but Whiteside held on to end the inning and preserve the lead."You don't have any choice but to try to knock the ball loose," Fielder said. "But they made a great play."Posey, the reigning NL Rookie of the Year, likely is out for the season. His jersey hung by itself in a locker in the visitors' clubhouse Friday.Bochy stood by his assertion that baseball needs to make a rule to protect vulnerable catchers, but said Whiteside at least had time to catch the ball and brace for Fielder to run into him."It's a little different," Bochy said. "He had the ball, so he could set up a little bit. A catcher's got a better chance than when he's in the process of trying to catch a ball. That's when he's really vulnerable. Still, it's a big guy bearing down on you. 'Whitey' did a great job."Brian Wilson pitched the ninth for his 14th save, striking out Rickie Weeks to end a potential rally.Weeks hit a two-run homer off Lincecum and Shaun Marcum (6-2) took the loss.Nyjer Morgan had a single and a double in his return from injury. But it wasn't enough to give the Brewers what would have been a franchise record-tying 10th straight victory at home."It's a good run," Fielder said. "We just have to start another one."Until the seventh inning, it had been shaping up as another strong outing for Marcum, who has been the Brewers' best starter this season. The Giants finally got to him in the sixth when Freddy Sanchez singled home a run.A fan sitting in the front row near home plate then earned the crowd's ire when he appeared to interfere with what could have been an inning-ending foul popup. The fan was off the hook after Marcum got Pat Burrell to fly out.But Marcum got in trouble in the seventh, loading the bases.Making his major league debut with a start at shortstop, Crawford came to the plate with the Giants trailing by two runs. He pounded a pitch from Marcum over the fence, giving the Giants a 5-3 lead with his first hit as a major leaguer."Very happy for the kid," Bochy said. "That's a debut he'll never forget."The 24-year-old Crawford had his contract purchased from the Giants' Class-A San Jose affiliate Thursday. He missed several weeks to start the season after breaking his finger in spring training.It was a boost to Lincecum, who didn't look quite as dominant Friday as he did in his last outing, a shutout against Oakland. Lincecum allowed six hits, striking out four with no walks.NOTES: Giants GM Brian Sabean said before the game that he wants baseball officials to consider rules changes to protect catchers at home plate. "It's simple: You have to slide into other bases. Why shouldn't you have to slide into home plate?" Sabean said. ... Brewers LHP Dan Merklinger cleared waivers and was assigned outright to Double-A Huntsville. OF Brandon Boggs accepted his outright assignment to Triple-A Nashville.

Prediction: Boredom only thing that will stop Warriors from sweeping Jazz

Prediction: Boredom only thing that will stop Warriors from sweeping Jazz

OAKLAND -- Though the Warriors marched through the first round of the playoffs, winning by an average of 18 points while sweeping Portland, the second round shapes up to be considerably more difficult.

The Utah Jazz are much deeper, play some of the best defense in the NBA and play their home games at altitude, which partially explains why only five teams posted better records at home.

That the Warriors won two of the three regular-season meetings is somewhat inconsequential. In two of those games, Utah was without All-Star forward Gordon Hayward and starting point guard George Hill. Power forward Derrick Favors missed all three games.

Regardless of the results of this series, there definitely will be a different look.

Here is our preview of the best-of-seven Western Conference semifinals series (first-round statistics in parenthesis):

MATCHUPS

POINT GUARD: Stephen Curry (29.8 points per game, 6.5 assists, 5.3 rebounds) vs. George Hill (16.9 ppg, 3.7 apg, 4.1 rpg): Hill’s availability was been crucial to the regular-season success of the Jazz; he missed 33 games. Utah was 15-1, however, when he scored at least 20 points. Curry may be the most dangerous scorer among all point guards, and he’ll be a load for Hill. EDGE: Curry.

SHOOTING GUARD: Klay Thompson (18.3 ppg, 2.3 rpg) vs. Joe Ingles (6.6 ppg, 4.0 apg, 3.9 rpg): Aside from a couple brief hot streaks, Thompson struggled with his shot in the first round. He’ll fix that, and he’ll torch Ingles (or Rodney Hood). Ingles is crafty inside but of most concern when he’s beyond the arc. He has little chance of producing offense with Thompson as the primary defender. EDGE: Thompson.

SMALL FORWARD: Kevin Durant (21.0 ppg, 7.0 rpg, 2.0 apg) vs. Gordon Hayward (23.7 ppg, 7.3 rpg, 2.9 apg): Two All-Stars, only one of which is headed for the Hall of Fame. The Jazz, quite simply, have no answer for Durant’s offensive arsenal. Their best hope is that he is assigned to Hayward and has to expend energy on defense. EDGE: Durant.

POWER FORWARD: Draymond Green (13.8 ppg, 9.5 rpg, 7.5 apg, 4.3 blocks per game) vs. Boris Diaw (6.0 ppg, 2.6 apg, 1.7 rpg): Oddly enough, Diaw, because of his bulk and passing ability, is one of the few players who can give Green fits. Diaw won’t score much, but Utah could play through him at times. Green will try to run the big man off the floor. EDGE: Green.

CENTER: Zaza Pachulia (6.3 ppg, 4.5 rpg) vs. Rudy Gobert (8.4 ppg, 7.4 rpg, 1.2 bpg): Pachulia will need plenty of help from his bench, and he’ll get it. His role will be to free up scorers for shots coming off picks. Opportunities will be there, because Gobert tends to hunker down in the paint. He’s a terrific shot-blocker, but don’t be surprised if the Warriors test him inside. EDGE: Gobert.

SIXTH MAN: Andre Iguodala (7.3 ppg, 6.0 rpg), 4.5 apg) vs. Joe Johnson (15.7 ppg, 4.1 rpg, 3.0 apg): This is a fun matchup of wily veterans who rely on profoundly different styles. While Iguodala plays fast and is disruptive on defense, Johnson is deliberate and offensive-minded and is playing very well. Johnson also is among the game’s best clutch shooters. Iguodala finds more subtle ways to make an impact. EDGE: Even.

BENCHES: The Warriors are about as healthy as they have been at any time over the past two months, which means they are deep with players capable of producing. Matt Barnes is ready and Shaun Livingston is set to return no later than Game 2. The Warriors have considerable size, and they’ll need it. JaVale McGee and David West will come in handy against the likes of Favors, Diaw and Gobert. Both benches were effective in the first round. EDGE: Warriors, but it’s slight.

COACHING: With Steve Kerr out indefinitely, Mike Brown remains as acting head coach. He has plenty of postseason experience, as does veteran assistant Ron Adams. Jazz coach Quin Snyder did a tremendous job in the regular season when a slew of injuries could have knocked the team off course. He also is coming off his first playoff series victory as a head coach. EDGE: Warriors, due to experience.

ORACLE VS. VIVINT: Oracle Arena was massive for the Warriors in their first round, at times waking thunderous echoes of the “We Believe” experience in 2007. Vivint Smart Home Arena has a well-earned reputation for hurling loud insults at visiting players. The Utah crowd had better be careful, though, because the Warriors tend to thrive off crowd abuse. EDGE: Oracle.

PREDICTION: Warriors in four, five if they get bored.

 

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 to 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. Jose Torres worked a scoreless 12th for his first save.

Melancon's flop followed a full meltdown by the Giants' bullpen Saturday, when the Padres tagged San Francisco relievers for 11 runs in three innings of a 12-4 win that included Myers' three-run homer.

Giants starter Ty Blach pitched seven innings of three-hit ball, retiring 10 of his last 11 batters in his second start for San Francisco since taking injured ace Madison Bumgarner's spot in the rotation. Bumgarner is expected to miss three months with a separated left (pitching) shoulder he sustained in a dirt-bike crash.

The Giants, who were hitting a league-worst .217 against lefties going into Sunday, took a 2-0 lead against southpaw Clayton Richard, who pitched 5 1/3 innings of six-hit ball.

Joe Panik, who was hit by a pitch leading off the fourth, scored on Blach's sacrifice fly. Michael Morse doubled in Hunter Pence in the fifth.

The Padres have won 12 of 16 games against the Giants dating to last season.

San Francisco (9-17) has the National League's worst record and is 39-59 since going into last year's All-Star break 24 games over .500 with the best record in the majors.

TRAINER'S ROOM:
Padres: RHP Jarred Cosart, on the disabled list with a hamstring injury, tentatively plans to pitch for Class A Lake Elsinore on a rehab assignment Tuesday, manager Andy Green said. Cosart will throw three innings or about 45-50 pitches.

Giants: RHP Neil Ramirez was designated for assignment and the Giants called up RHP Bryan Morris from Triple-A Sacramento. . CF Denard Span, on the disabled list with a right shoulder injury, tentatively plans to take batting practice in Los Angeles on Monday.

UP NEXT:
Padres: After an off day, RHP Trevor Cahill (1-2, 4.50 ERA) will pitch the home series opener against Colorado on Tuesday. Cahill is 5-6 with a 4.44 ERA in his career against the Rockies.

Giants: RHP Johnny Cueto (3-1, 5.10) starts the series opener against the Dodgers in Los Angeles on Monday. The two-time All-Star gave up three runs in six innings vs. the Dodgers last week and was 3-1 with a 2.67 ERA against them last season.