Giants can't sweep Colorado; Cain lit up in loss

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Giants can't sweep Colorado; Cain lit up in loss

April 20, 2011BOX SCORE GIANTS POSTGAME VIDEOMLB PAGE MLB SCOREBOARD

DENVER (AP) Jorge De La Rosa overcame a shaky start to pitch seven sharp innings and Ty Wigginton tied a career high with four RBIs, including a three-run homer, as the Colorado Rockies beat the San Francisco Giants 10-2 on Wednesday.De La Rosa (3-0) didn't appear to be bothered by a nagging blister on his middle finger that's plagued him at times this season. He gave up two runs and four hits to help the Rockies salvage the finale of the three-game series against the surging Giants.Wigginton, hitting .214 entering the game, showed signs of breaking out of his offensive funk by lining a three-run homer to left off Matt Cain (2-1) in the second inning and bringing in another on a ground out in the fifth. It's the ninth time Wigginton has driven in four runs in his career.Cain was far from his best, wrestling with his command as he lasted just 4 2-3 innings, allowing six runs and nine hits.
URBAN: Giants' bad day could have been worse
The righty had been so crisp and efficient in his last three outings, giving up just three runs in 19 innings.Cain's clunker was against a team he has typically dominated, too. In four starts last season, he went 3-0 with a 1.69 ERA.Buster Posey had both RBIs for the Giants, one on a single in the first and another with a grounder in the sixth.That's all the damage San Francisco could manage against De La Rosa, who was on the ropes in the opening frame but worked his way out of trouble and never looked back. He picked up his third win to tie Jhoulys Chacin for most on the staff.Pinch hitter Ryan Spilborghs added a late three-run homer, backup catcher Jose Morales contributed an RBI double and Seth Smith had a pair of RBI singles as Colorado had a season-high scoring output.Cain certainly didn't have his usual overpowering command, giving up four runs in the second inning.The big blow was Wigginton's milestone homer, the third baseman's first with the Rockies and the 1,000th hit of his career. Despite his slump, Wigginton was in the lineup due to Ian Stewart's recent demotion to Triple-A Colorado Springs.Cain hardly had the same stuff as in his appearance at Coors Field last September, when he took a no-hitter into the eighth inning before allowing an infield single.The Giants jumped on Colorado in the first inning yet again, scoring a run on Posey's bloop single to left. That gave them 10 runs in the opening frame during the three-game series.The damage could've been even more extensive after Aaron Rowand led off the game with a double and Freddy Sanchez drew a walk. But Aubrey Huff, who reached on a fielder's choice, was thrown out at third by Carlos Gonzalez on Posey's RBI hit and Cody Ross hit a fly ball to end the inning.This was Ross' first appearance of the season after straining his right calf in the final week of spring training. The MVP of the NLCS last season finished hitless in four plate appearances.The Giants were without Pablo Sandoval, who was a late scratch after straining his right triceps during batting practice. He was hitting well, too, homering in four of his last six games.Before the contest, Colorado held a moment of silence to remember Rockies president Keli McGregor, who died on this day a year ago during a business trip in Utah. He was 48.The picture of health, McGregor passed away of what was later ruled a viral heart infection. Three of his four children threw out the first pitch to Todd Helton, Spilborghs and Troy Tulowitzki.A local ball park in Denver also renamed its field in his honor."It's a wonderful tribute and a strong suggestion of what this man was all about," Rockies manager Jim Tracy said.NOTES: Rockies RHP Aaron Cook (broken finger) has started throwing off a slope. Cook has been on the DL since slamming the digit in a door early in spring training. "He's making strides," Tracy said. ... To make room for Ross, the Giants optioned INF Brandon Belt to Triple-A Fresno. Belt turned 23 on Wednesday. ... The Rockies moved to 7-1 in day games this season. ... Tulowitzki was 3 for 5 with two doubles.

Vogt's defensive cameo comes straight out of left field

Vogt's defensive cameo comes straight out of left field

OAKLAND — Stephen Vogt made an unexpected appearance in left field Wednesday night, and his performance got approval from a pretty good outfield authority.

Former A’s teammate Josh Reddick was watching from the Houston Astros’ dugout and thought the catcher-by-trade handled himself very well.

“I was talking to (Houston manager) A.J. (Hinch) and I said, ‘It’s gonna be interesting because you know at least one ball’s gonna get to him,’” Reddick said. “You start laughing because four of the five that were hit that inning were hit to him.”

With the A’s bench short-handed, manager Bob Melvin sent Vogt to left after he pinch-hit for Rajai Davis, and indeed Vogt got a workout throughout the top of the eighth. That added a bit of levity to a 5-1 loss that otherwise provided the A’s very little to cheer about.

They were bottled up by Astros right-hander Mike Fiers and four relievers as the Astros won their ninth in a row at the Coliseum and their third straight in this four-game series. A’s starter Sean Manaea was rolling through five scoreless innings before Houston blitzed him for three runs in the sixth. The Astros tacked on a couple more late runs against Oakland’s bullpen and that was enough on a night the A’s mustered just four hits total.

After Vogt delivered an RBI groundout that scored the A’s only run in the seventh, Melvin wanted to keep Vogt’s left-handed bat in the lineup, so he asked the veteran catcher if he could handle left.

“I said yeah, absolutely,” Vogt said.

It’s easy to forget that Vogt came up through the Tampa Bay Rays’ system playing a lot of outfield, and he played more than a dozen games in the outfield in 2014 for the A’s, mostly in right.

He sure got tested. The Astros’ first four hitters of the eighth all hit balls in Vogt’s direction. He got a routine fly from Brian McCann, a difficult low liner off the bat of Yuli Gurriel that he smothered for a single, a double from Alex Bregman that he did a good job cutting off and a sacrifice fly to the warning track from Jake Marisnick.

“I had the adrenaline shot run up and I was loose and ready to go,” Vogt said. “Obviously I was a little more focused than probably your average outfielder out there. I’m glad the first one came to me, otherwise I would have been sweatin’ it for a while.”

Vogt has lost time recently behind the plate against right-handers to Josh Phegley, who has done an effective job controlling the running game. And though you shouldn’t by any means expect to see Melvin running Vogt to the outfield often, you also shouldn’t assume it won’t happen at all.

At some point, the A’s figure to call up catcher Bruce Maxwell as part of the crop of young players they’re trying to give more time too. If the left-handed hitting Maxwell were to share catching duties with Phegley, and if the A’s were to trade Yonder Alonso (again, we’re talking ‘ifs’ here), it’s conceivable Vogt’s left-handed bat could be put to use at spots other than catcher, perhaps at first base or, in a pinch, even the outfield.

His old teammate thinks he could pull it off.

“I remember him playing in right in ’14 when I was (injured),” Reddick said. “He did a pretty good job out there, it’s not like he’s foreign to it. He knows what he’s doing.”

No need for Warriors fans to fret over NBA's projected lower salary cap

No need for Warriors fans to fret over NBA's projected lower salary cap

There is no need for the Warriors fan to grow anxious with the news Wednesday night that the NBA salary cap and luxury tax threshold will be roughly two percent lower than initially projected.

For one, those players committed to returning are not likely to change their minds.

For two, the cap/tax figures also will influence other teams that might target members of the Warriors, such as Andre Iguodala and Shaun Livingston.

Even with the lower numbers, reported by multiple outlets, Kevin Durant remains in line for a raise from the $26.5 million he made last season, and he already has made clear his intentions to accept less than the $31.8 million the Warriors could’ve paid him.

With the cap expected to be about $99 million instead of the roughly $101 million originally forecast, that figure falls between $30 million and $31 million.

Durant’s willingness to be flexible -- designed to help the team in its attempts to retain Iguodala and maybe Livingston -- remains the most significant factor for the Warriors as they proceed. Even if Durant takes 10 percent less than, say, $31 million, he still would get a modest increase.

Stephen Curry, who also has announced his intention to re-sign with the Warriors, still could receive about $35 million in Year 1 of a five-year contract worth somewhere in the neighborhood of $200 million.

When the numbers are that astronomical, losing a small percentage is not such a crucial factor.

The Warriors surely knew the cap/tax figures would take a hit. Both figures are impacted by revenue generated through the playoffs, which featured only 79 of a possible 105 games.

Only two series -- Jazz-Clippers and Celtics-Wizards -- went the full seven games and eight of the 15 series ended in five or fewer games, including five sweeps.

The Warriors accounted for three of those sweeps.