Crisp sparks Athletics' 5-2 win over Mariners

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Crisp sparks Athletics' 5-2 win over Mariners

April 24, 2011BOX SCORE A'S VIDEOMLB PAGE MLB SCOREBOARD
SEATTLE (AP) When Coco Crisp is getting on base, the Oakland Athletics' struggling offense hums.The Oakland speedster had three hits, scored three runs and stole a base in sparking the offense. Josh Willingham added three RBIs in the late innings and the A's earned a series split with a 5-2 win over the Seattle Mariners on Sunday. GUTIERREZ: Twice-plunked Willingham gets revenge with bat
Crisp has six hits in his last two games, breaking a skid that saw him bat just .175 over the pervious 15 games. After being shut out by Seattle on consecutive nights, the offense broke through for 14 runs and 22 hits over the weekend."When he gets rolling, our offense takes off. There's no doubt," A's manager Bob Geren said.With the game tied at 1 in the seventh, Crisp reached on a fielder's choice against reliever Aaron Laffey (0-1) and moved to third on a single by pinch-hitter Conor Jackson. Willingham followed with a double down the left-field line that Milton Bradley misplayed in the corner and allowed Jackson to score from first to give Oakland a 3-1 lead.Seattle got a run back in the bottom half as Michael Saunders led off with an infield single. Jack Wilson reached on a throwing error by Kevin Kouzmanoff and the runners advanced as the ball caromed into the stands. Ryan Langerhans picked up an RBI on a groundout to first that allowed Saunders to score, but Wilson was left stranded at third as Ichiro Suzuki flew out to center and Chone Figgins struck out looking.The Mariners threatened again in the eighth inning, but pinch-hitter Luis Rodriguez struck out to strand the tying run at third."We've got to break through this," Seattle manger Eric Wedge said. "We had opportunities on and off throughout the course of the ballgame. These guys are going to have to figure out a way to fight through whatever they are going through mentally, fundamentally for that matter, and finish off innings. That's the difference in the ballgame."Oakland tacked on a couple of insurance runs in the ninth inning to seal the win.Brett Anderson (2-1) allowed two runs, one earned, and struck out six over seven innings of work to earn the victory. Brian Fuentes came on in the eighth inning and struck out three of his four batters in picking up the four-out save. It was his sixth save in seven chances."It was quite an effort late for him," manager Bob Geren said. "He pitched well the whole game but he showed me something in the seventh right there to get through that inning. He got some big outs for us there at the end.""He used two different speeds on his breaking ball very effectively. He threw the ball well."Hideki Matsui came up with a two out single to right field that scored Crisp from second to give Oakland the 1-0 lead.Suzuki led off with a bunt single of his own in the bottom half of the first and, despite appearing to be picked off by Anderson, was able to get into second base safely when Daric Barton's throw hit him in the backside.A grounder to second by Bradley brought Suzuki home and tied it at 1.Mariners starter Doug Fister worked out of a jam in the fifth after giving up a leadoff triple to Crisp. Adam Kennedy snared a one-hopper from Barton at first and kept Crisp from advancing home. Fister then forced David DeJesus to pop up to third base and Willingham flew out to end the threat.Crisp then flashed his glove. In the sixth inning, Miguel Olivo led off with a drive to center that Crisp tracked down and caught running full speed before slamming into the wall with his left shoulder. Crisp seemed to favor it briefly before shaking it off and staying in."I know he's going to be sore. He's going to feel that wall," Geren said. "He stayed in the game and kept playing, just both sides of the ball, on the bases, he did everything. He's an exciting player to manage, to watch. ... Big spark. When he has a day like that, it can really carry the team."Notes: Fister allowed just four hits and one run over six innings for Seattle. ... After the game, Seattle optioned OF Carlos Peguero and RHP Josh Lueke to Triple-A Tacoma. The team activated 1B Justin Smoak off the bereavement list and recalled RHP Dan Cortes. Both Smoak and Cortes will be with the team Tuesday in Detroit. ... Crisp recorded his third triple of the season, tied for most in the majors with Tampa Bay's Sean Rodriguez. All three of Crisp's 3-hit games this year have come against Seattle. ... Suzuki was the team's designated hitter for the first time this season, getting the day off in the field.

Giants Notes: Marrero hopes to be back; Posey faces Romo

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Giants Notes: Marrero hopes to be back; Posey faces Romo

SAN FRANCISCO — About 45 minutes after the Giants announced that Chris Marrero had been designated for assignment, the left fielder walked up to the locker of one of the newcomers. Marrero patted Christian Arroyo on the back and shook his hand, congratulating him for his first call-up to the big leagues. 

“That’s my boy,” he said later. “I was really happy for him.”

The Arroyo promotion and the addition of Drew Stubbs signaled the end of Marrero’s April run in the lineup. He was cut and Aaron Hill was put on the disabled list, clearing two roster spots. Just as Arroyo forced his way up with three huge weeks in Triple-A, Marrero forced his way onto the opening day roster with a monster spring that included eight homers. He had just five hits in 38 at-bats before Monday’s moves.

“The team is struggling and we’ve got to make some moves,” Marrero said. “I believe in myself and I’ll go down and get back to how I felt in spring training. This is what I’ve worked for my whole life. I lost the feel that I had in the spring. Things were a little rushed. I came in and worked hard every day to try and find it. I’m going to keep working. I haven’t lost confidence in myself.”

Marrero was put in a bit of a tough spot. He played just about every day in Scottsdale because he was trying to win a job, and when he finally did make it, some Giants coaches felt he was a bit worn down. The team’s brutal start to the season put a glaring spotlight on left field, and this move became obvious over time.

Marrero said he likes it here, and that if he isn’t claimed, he will go to Triple-A Sacramento and try to find that spring swing and get back up here. Count Bruce Bochy among those hoping it goes down that way. 

“We thought a lot of him and still do,” Bochy said. “He’s a good hitter.”

--- Arroyo had a 4.4 GPA in high school, so the Giants knew he was smart. He’s savvy, too. There’s nothing like picking up the longest-tenured player on the team, literally. After snagging a ricochet in the fourth inning last night, Arroyo kept running and lifted Cain off the grass. They then chest-bumped. 

“That just kind of happened,” Arroyo said. “He hit it, I looked at Cain going down and saw the ball, went running and got it, instincts took over. I made a throw and got the guy. It was a fun play. In that moment, I was just pumped up. It’s one of those plays you get excited over.”

Arroyo said he heard Cain yelling and he thought he was hurt, so that’s why he ran over. Cain did have an X-ray on the foot that got hit but it came back negative. 

“Christian did a great job handling himself,” Cain said. “He picked me up big-time.”

The best part of the play came hours after it was made. As Cain talked to reporters, Brandon Crawford — who was in position to scoop the grounder in the fourth — was standing at his locker, a few feet away.

“Let it go through next time,” he said softly.

--- Denard Span was out on the field Monday afternoon, but he’ll miss another two to four days with that right shoulder injury. This will truly be a day-to-day situation. If at any point the Giants feel they need coverage, Span can be put on the 10-day DL. 

--- Hill apparently felt discomfort after playing long toss on the road trip. He can swing a bat but he was going to be kept from throwing for three to four days, so he was put on the DL.

--- This spring, Posey was asked about facing Sergio Romo. Here was his long tendencies-filled answer. Posey faced Romo in the eighth and flied out. 

"It was a little weird, I'm not going to lie," he said. "I caught him for so long. It's definitely interesting being in the batter's box instead of being the plate."

Was there a nod or "hey what's up" look between the two?

"I've caught him long enough to know you don't look at him," Posey said, smiling. 

--- If you missed it, the standing ovation for Romo was a very, very cool moment. Also, here's my story on Madison Bumgarner, who spoke for the first time since his injury. And here's the first story on Arroyo, with a fun anecdote about his mom. She'll be in the stands Tuesday. And finally, my game story from last night. 

Four takeaways from Warriors' first-round sweep of Blazers

Four takeaways from Warriors' first-round sweep of Blazers

PORTLAND -- Four games, four quarters to each and the Warriors are on to the next round of the postseason.

Here are four things we learned about these Warriors in the wake of their four-game sweep of the Trail Blazers in the first round of the Western Conference playoffs.

IT’S A TEAM THING: The Warriors lost All-Star forward Kevin Durant in Game 1, came back and won Game 2. They lost head coach Steve Kerr before Game 3, went out and fashioned one of the biggest comebacks in franchise postseason history. They are constructed in such a way that the collective is strong enough to overcome the loss of one man. They won this series in a walk despite being shorthanded for the last three games and without their head coach for the last two. This team and this staff are bigger than any individual.

JAVALE McGEE MATTERS: By last Sept. 16 the summer was all but gone and every coveted player NBA player had been accounted for. That’s when the Warriors signed McGee with the hope that he could provide some length and athleticism on the block, if only for a few minutes a night -- and, surely, some nights not at all. McGee was the last man to make the team, and here he was dominating a Trail Blazers team that, to be fair, lacked a healthy center. He was special in this series, and what he provides will be needed as the Warriors move forward.

DRAYMOND’S VALUE IS BEYOND MEASURE: There were so many examples during the regular season that illustrated Draymond Green’s significance to the Warriors. He topped them all in this series. He defended, at some point, every member of the Portland team. He rebounded. He made 3-pointers. He blocked 17 shots. The Blazers tried him early but quickly become discouraged at attacking whenever he was on the court. He disrupted their offense in more ways than they could have imagined. As a bonus, he avoided notable run-ins with officials.

SPLASHING NOT NEEDED: Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson were fabulous in the second half of Game 3 and Curry stood out in Game 4. But by the time the Splash Brothers found their offensive groove, the Warriors were up 2-0 in the series and rallying behind their defense en route to taking Game 3. The battle of the backcourts, logically deemed a critical factor in this series, was a virtual statistical standoff. Curry/Thompson combined for 192 points, while Damian Lillard 111 and CJ McCollum totaled 201. If it’s the numbers are that close, the Warriors will win every series, and probably sweep.