Giants all-business amid Opening Day 'hoopla'

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Giants all-business amid Opening Day 'hoopla'

April 7, 2011ST. LOUIS (2-4) vs.GIANTS (2-4)URBAN: GIANTS WITH A LOT ON THEIR PLATE
Coverage begins at 12 p.m. on Comcast SportsNet Bay Area.

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) -- Returning home for the first time as the reigning World Series champions might be what the Giants need to overcome a slow start.

Opening a weekend-long celebration of last year's achievements, the Giants will raise their title flag Friday before facing the St. Louis Cardinals at AT&T Park.

REWIND: Giants World Series page

Though San Francisco went 2-4 at Los Angeles and San Diego, the atmosphere should be electric for the home opener and throughout the weekend. The Giants will receive their championship rings Saturday, and reigning NL rookie of the year Buster Posey will be honored Sunday.

"For a couple of games there's going to be a lot of hoopla," manager Bruce Bochy said. "It's going to be special."

"I'm sure the guys are looking forward to getting home," he said. "We have to enjoy the moment. But at the same time, you've got to put your so-called game faces on. These games are important. We need to play well. We need to play better."

Bochy, however, knows his team must stay focused on the Cardinals. All four of San Francisco's losses came by two or fewer runs.

RELATED: St. Louis stats roster depth chart

Scheduled starter Jonathan Sanchez believes the Giants not only must improve this weekend, but find a way to play better overall than they did in 2010.

"It's a new year, a new season. We've got to work. We've got to win this year," he said. "We've got to work harder, because there's going to be a lot of teams out there that want to beat us. We're just going to bring the same thing we did last year to this year and go from there."

Slugger Albert Pujols is 4 for 22 with one of those home runs, but isbatting .478 with three homers his last six games in San Francisco. Heis 4 for 5 with a double versus Sanchez.

The Giants should have some momentum after ace Tim Lincecum struck out 13 and Posey, Aubrey Huff and Pablo Sandoval each had three hits in Wednesday's 8-4 win over the Padres.
San Francisco has scored 18 runs in its two victories, but only 10 in the losses.

Posey, 4 for 12 with two doubles versus St. Louis, has hit safely in all six games.
A 13-game winner in 2010, Sanchez hopes for a better result Friday after he allowed four runs -- two earned -- while striking out eight and walking three in 5 2-3 innings of a 4-3 loss to the Dodgers on Friday.
RELATED: Holliday runs Tuesday, swings a bat Wednesday

The left-hander has been solid in two starts versus St. Louis, going 1-0 with a 2.89 ERA.
Sanchez will face a Cardinals' lineup without slugger Matt Holliday, who will miss a sixth straight game after undergoing an appendectomy. Manager Tony La Russa believes Holliday could return later on the team's 10-game western swing.

St. Louis (2-4) also hopes to rebound after a rough homestand versus San Diego and Pittsburgh.

Opening their trip in San Francisco won't make things easier. The Cardinals have lost eight of 12 at AT&T Park since winning their last series there May 22-24, 2006.

"It's a tough road trip," outfielder Lance Berkman told the Cardinals' official website. "We go in there, and the pitching doesn't get any easier obviously when you have the Giants."

The Cardinals, who have not scored more than three runs in any game, are hitting .231 and have two homered twice in 2011.

REWIND: Correia pitches Pirates past St. Louis

Scheduled starter Jake Westbrook has a hit this season, but the Cardinals need him to fare better on the mound after he allowed up eight runs and walked five in 4 1-3 innings of an 11-3 loss to the Padres on Saturday.

The right-hander gave up three runs three runs in six innings of a 6-3 loss in his only previous outing against the Giants on Aug. 20.

Mike Brown responds to Tyronn Lue's opinion: 'It's cute'

Mike Brown responds to Tyronn Lue's opinion: 'It's cute'

Cavs head coach Tyronn Lue made headlines on Wednesday.

"The stuff (the Celtics are) running, it's harder to defend than Golden State's (offense) for me, as far as the actions and all the running around and all the guys who are making all the plays, so it's a totally different thing," Lue told reporters.

On Thursday, Warriors interim head coach Mike Brown responded.

"That's his opinion. It's cute," Brown told the media.

If the Cavs beat the Celtics in Game 5 of the Eastern Conference Finals on Thursday night, it will be Golden State vs Cleveland in the NBA Finals for the third straight year.

More to come...

New Hawks GM Travis Schlenk issues goodbye message to Warriors fans

New Hawks GM Travis Schlenk issues goodbye message to Warriors fans

On Thursday, the Hawks officially hired Travis Schlenk to be their new general manager.

Schlenk, who joined the Warriors prior to the 2004-05 season, delivered a message to Dub Nation on Thursday morning.

"The thing that I'm gonna remember most about my time in Golden State is the fan base," Schlenk declared on 95.7 The Game. "When I first got there in 2004 -- sitting behind the bench and the team was winning 32, 36 games every year -- and you'd look out and there would still be 18,000 people in the stands every game and they were into it.

"We always said, 'Man, if you could get a winner here this place would go crazy.' We got a small taste of that with the 'We Believe' Warriors 10 years ago. And now, to be where we are now, culminating with the championship parade ... people have asked me about that -- that was the most humbling thing I've ever been a part of. To be in that parade -- probably a million people out there cheering and screaming -- and people calling you out by name, and thanking you.

"They're genuine with their happiness ... the loyalness and the support that the people of the Bay Area gives the Warriors -- that's really special and I hope you guys never take that for granted there."

Schlenk is finishing up his fifth season as assistant GM with Golden State.

He revealed that he had to put in his resignation immediately because the NBA does not allow executives to work for two different franchises simultaneously.

Schlenk chose to start his duties with Atlanta immediately because as he put it -- "there's too much work I need to do here ... I gotta be here and get started."