D'Backs tag Cain for five runs in 6th, win 5-2

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D'Backs tag Cain for five runs in 6th, win 5-2

August 1, 2011BOX SCORE GIANTS VIDEOMLB PAGE MLB SCOREBOARD
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) -- Ian Kennedy watched Cody Ross' leadoff home run sail into the seats in left field and quickly told himself to regroup.After that, Arizona's ace dominated the defending champs.Kennedy struck out seven in eight innings to win his fifth straight start and the Diamondbacks beat the San Francisco Giants 5-2 on Monday night in a matchup of the NL West's top two teams.Kennedy (13-3) moved into a share of the NL lead for wins with Phillies ace Roy Halladay and Dodgers All-Star Clayton Kershaw. Kennedy's big night also helped Arizona pull within one game of the World Series champion Giants in the division race."I think this series is very important," Kennedy said. "You want to stay close. You don't want to let them creep away."The Giants, who dropped their fourth straight after being swept in Cincinnati over the weekend, have been alone in first place in the West since June 25. They couldn't do enough on an off night by All-Star Matt Cain (9-7).
Giants Insider gallery: 6th inning dooms Giants
Ross and Aubrey Huff each hit solo home runs for San Francisco, Ross leading off the first and Huff on an 11-pitch at-bat in the seventh, but Kennedy still has allowed three or fewer runs in seven of his eight career starts against San Francisco.Kennedy allowed six hits, two runs and walked one. After Ross' homer, he retired 10 straight and 17 of 19 before Carlos Beltran's sixth-inning triple. J.J. Putz pitched the ninth for his 25th save in 29 chances, getting pinch-hitter Aaron Rowand on a game-ending liner to right with two runners on."It was nice to come in and get Game 1," D-backs leadoff man Willie Bloomquist said. "Hopefully, it kind of sets the tone for the rest of the series that we beat one of their horses today and our guy pitched pretty dang good, too."Beltran, San Francisco's newly acquired slugger, went 2 for 4 in his home debut and received a warm standing ovation from the sellout crowd at AT&T Park when he batted in the first inning. Beltran grounded into an inning-ending double play in the eighth with two runners aboard and his team trailing by three runs. Beltran had gone 2 for 17 in his first four games since the New York Mets traded him last Thursday. The Giants are 1-4 since Beltran arrived.Shortstop Orlando Cabrera, another Giants newcomer, went 1 for 4.The Diamondbacks have high expectations for a new guy of their own - and first baseman Paul Goldschmidt quickly showed why.Hours after Arizona announced it had purchased the contract of the promising infielder from Double-A Mobile, he delivered a sharp single to right field in the second inning against Cain in his first major league at-bat.Goldschmidt, batting seventh in the lineup, will get the ball as a souvenir, too, after Beltran retrieved it and threw to the infield.The 23-year-old Goldschmidt batted .306 with 30 home runs and 94 RBIs in 103 games for Mobile. At the time of his promotion, he led all minor leaguers in home runs and RBIs and ranked third with 82 walks.Cain was tagged for five runs in the sixth inning, the first time he has given up five in an inning since doing so in the bottom of the first on Sept. 11, 2008, at San Diego. The right-hander has only allowed more than five runs once this year."We made some good pitches. We just didn't get those couple of groundballs to go at guys," Cain said.The Giants kicked off an important 10-game homestand with another tough loss for their second four-game losing streak of the year. Five games is the team's longest. San Francisco, outscored 20-5 while being swept by Cincinnati, has had three games trimmed off its lead in as many days. The Giants managed just a .184 batting average during their 2-4 trek through Philadelphia and Cincinnati.
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Kennedy certainly kept them in check."He's been outstanding," manager Kirk Gibson said. "He did exactly what this club needed tonight and pretty much commanded the game."Arizona won for only the third time in the last 13 meetings between the rivals and is 3-7 in this year's series. The D-backs won at AT&T Park for the first time in four tries in 2011."They've owned us," Kennedy said. "We've got to keep this momentum."San Francisco manager Bruce Bochy is looking for someone to take hold of the leadoff spot, and Ross might be making his case after his first audition. He had two hits with the homer and scored a run. Ross started in center field in place of the struggling Andres Torres.NOTES: It was Ross' second career leadoff homer and first since 2008 with Florida. ... The Giants placed struggling LHP Barry Zito on the 15-day DL with a recurrence of his earlier right foot sprain that landed him on the DL previously. Zito lost his third straight start Sunday at Cincinnati. San Francisco needed to make room for the return of LHP Jonathan Sanchez, who will start Friday night against the Phillies. ... Giants LHP starter Madison Bumgarner celebrated his 22nd birthday.

Despite loss, Sharks 'in a good spot' headed into bye week

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Despite loss, Sharks 'in a good spot' headed into bye week

SAN JOSE – Despite what was technically their sixth loss in the last eight games, the Sharks seemed to put more stock in the point they gained in a 2-1 overtime loss to the Bruins on Sunday night at SAP Center, rather than the one they left on the table.

They have that luxury. 

The Sharks will enter their bye week five points ahead of Edmonton and Anaheim for first place in the Pacific Division, and figure they’re due for some time off after a short summer followed by a World Cup for some, and a brutal condensed NHL schedule for all.

“[We’ve] showed up and played hard,” Joe Pavelski said. “We’ve been in a lot of games. Games we’ve lost, we’ve battled. There hasn’t been any cheat in [our] game. Defensively, we’ve been strong. There’s a lot of good areas in our game that we like right now.”

Playing in the second of a back-to-back against a Bruins team had was coming off of its own bye week, the Sharks fell behind 1-0 on a first period goal by Ryan Spooner, but notched a Patrick Marleau equalizer in a second period in which they outshot the Bruins 16-9. An evenly played third period gave way to overtime, where Brad Marchand scored on a breakaway to give the Bruins their fourth straight win since changing head coaches.

The Sharks spoke before the weekend about finishing the final two games strong before the respite. They ended up gaining three of four points, including Saturday’s 4-1 win in Arizona, and were pleased with their effort against the Bruins as they capped off 10 games in 20 days since the All-Star break.

“It was an important push into this break,” Pete DeBoer said. “To go in up [five points] on the next closest team is a real testament to our group.”

Paul Martin said: “I thought we played pretty well, considering the back-to-back with some travel, and a team that was waiting for us.”

Perhaps the most encouraging performance came from Martin Jones, who was one of a number of Sharks players that was looking particularly fatigued lately. The goaltender entered the game with a 1-0-2 record, 4.46 goals-against average and .837 save percentage in his last four starts, including getting pulled after the first period in Boston just 10 days ago.

Jones was impressive, though, making a vital pad stop on the dangerous David Pastrnak in front of the net midway through the third period to keep it a 1-1 score.

“It was a good game. Two teams playing hard,” Jones said. “We can take a lot of positives from that one. It was a good hard game, just didn’t go our way tonight.”

Overtimes have been an issue lately, though. The Sharks have lost their last four games decided during the three-on-three, all coming within the last two weeks. As satisfied as they are with their cushion in the division, it could have been cushier.

Against the Bruins, Tuukka Rask denied Brent Burns on a two-on-one in overtime, and Marchand scored off of the ensuing faceoff, blowing the zone past Pavelski and Marc-Edouard Vlasic and corralling a long toss from Torey Krug before sliding it home.

“We get to overtime, shootouts – we expect to get that extra point,” Pavelski said. “We haven’t found it lately. We’ll just keep looking for it.”

DeBoer said: “The points are critical, they’re valuable. I don’t read a lot into [overtime decisions], we’ve won our share over the time I’ve been here. We had a chance to win tonight, too. … I concentrate on the effort, and I thought we got better as the game went on.”

Being focused and energized, as they have been most of the season to this point, shouldn’t be a problem when the season resumes next Saturday in Vancouver. The Sharks are in prime position to win their first division title since 2010-11, and a return trip to the Stanley Cup Final is a distinct possibility.

Losing six of eight won’t be nearly as acceptable coming out of the break as it apparently is going into it, but that’s not something to worry about now, even after another defeat. 

“There are some games you wish you could get back and get those points, but we’re still in a good spot,” Marleau said.

Trading Cousins is the ultimate Kingstastic move

Trading Cousins is the ultimate Kingstastic move

There was a lot of complaining about the lack of defense in this year’s All-Star Game, as though last year’s All-Star Game didn’t happen.

But the Most Valuable Player, which was putatively Anthony Davis for scoring a record 52 points in front of his home crowd, was actually the man with the fewest minutes of all.

Yes, the man, the god, The DeMarcus Cousins. The Very Definition Of A Sacramento King, By Becoming An Ex-Sacramento King.

Cousins, now the second-best player on the New Orleans Pelicans, played only two minutes Sunday, the lowest total by any All-Star since Connie Hawkins in 1971, ostensibly because he told head coach Steve Kerr he was a little ouchy, but more likely because the Kings were frantically trying to trade him and didn’t want him hurting himself in a game with even no contact whatsoever.

Not during the All-Star Break, mind you. DURING THE ALL-STAR GAME ITSELF! Adam Silver must have been vomiting hedgehogs into a bucket at the very thought.

As it turns out, the Kings, who have sworn up and down that they would never consider trading Cousins, did that very thing, closing a deal to send Cousins and forward Omri Casspi to the New Orleans Pelicans for a first and second-round pick in the upcoming draft, Tyreke Evans, Langston Galloway (who is likely to be waived in true Kings fashion) and 2016 first-rounder Buddy Hield.

You remember Buddy Hield. He’s the guy who clocked Cousins in the joy division going around a Cousins pick during the last Pelicans-Kings game, and got tossed for doing so.

In other words, the Kings prefer the guy who punched their best player in the goolies to their best player. This is so Kingsy.

But on the back end, Cousins’ agent, Jarinn Akana, said Cousins is disinclined to sign a long-term contract with his next team, making him a rental who could some day return to Sacramento in a Groundhog's Day remake that would cause the Oroville Dam to get up and walk off the job.

This too is so Kingsy.

This is the greatness of the Kings. They blew up the All-Star weekend during the game itself. They blew it up trying to get rid of their best player when they are within fighting distance of their first playoff spot in 11 years. They blew it up after saying they weren’t considering trading the dynamite at all.

Kingsy, Kingsy, Kingsy. It’s Kingstastic!

And the best part of it all is that the trade leaves everyone deflated and confused and ultimately angry, while the Kings undervalued their only marketable player to invest in a future they have mocked for decades.

You know what we;’re talking about. Gimme a K! Gimme an I! Gimme an N-G-S, throw an extraneous Y on the end of it what does it spell?

Yeah. Right.

It’s remarkable thing, being a King. While we have all amused ourselves with the machinations of the thick-as-two-short-planks New York Knicks and Carmelo Anthony, the Kings have been Kinging this way for most of the last 35 years.

And now, they have decided to feed their obsession with the Golden State Warriors by running even further away from them, by tossing their only bargaining chip for a future player or players that they typically ruin, and Buddy Hield, who just found out that even at these prices life can still be cruel.

Give them their due, though. The Kings could win the NBA title and hock the trophy. They could be invited to the White House when the President is off playing golf. They could increase their Forbes valuation to $5 billion and declare bankruptcy.

Because they are the Kings, and that sentence has rarely meant more than it does now.

Not because they traded Cousins. Trades happen all the time. Wilt Chamberlain got traded twice.

But the Kings handled this with all the skill of a pickpocket with feet where his hands should be. They lied unconvincingly. They talked hard business and ended up with a nebulous deal that guarantees nothing except more speculation come summer. And they have nothing else to trade between now and . . . well, whenever they stopped being so damned Kingsy.

For New Orleans, it is a roll of the dice, an attempt to make the playoffs with a two-headed monster in Cousins and Davis. It may be too much to giver, but without knowing how the Kings will screw up those picks, it remains speculative at best.

Indeed, this is subtraction by subtraction, the standard Kings deal. And whatever the Kings have gained in this trade (hey, you never know), we remain safe in saying that they did it in such a Kingsy way that they may never top this.

Until the next time they do anything at all. Never doubt the power of Kingsiness.