Giants face Reds club that 'stinks right now'

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Giants face Reds club that 'stinks right now'

July 29, 2011GIANTS (61-44) vs.CINCINNATI (44-57)

Coverage begins at 3:30 P.M. on Comcast SportsNet Bay Area.

CINCINNATI (AP) -- Carlos Beltran was not much of a factor in his debut for the Giants, but his new team is glad to have the star outfielder on board.

Beltran looks for better results when the Giants try to hand the Cincinnati Reds a fifth consecutive loss Friday night at Great American Ball Park.

The six-time All-Star had his string of reaching base safely end at 32 games when he went 0 for 4 with two strikeouts during Thursday's 4-1 win at Philadelphia. Beltran did make a sliding catch to rob Jimmy Rollins of a hit.

Despite totaling eight runs in the three-game series, the Giants (61-44) won the final two against the MLB-leading Phillies.

"These guys have been there before, and everyone knows their role," Beltran said of his new team. "I'm just looking forward to jumping in and doing the best I can to help this team continue to win ballgames offensively and defensively."

San Francisco has won 13 of 18 and owns a four-game lead atop the NL West, and it may have sent a message to Philadelphia by acquiring Beltran from the Mets.

"When you're defending world champions, you do have to try to defend that title any way you can," general manager Brian Sabean said. "Hopefully we show we mean business."

Pablo Sandoval hit a solo homer and Tim Lincecum gave up three hits over six scoreless innings Thursday. With a major league-best 3.06 ERA, the Giants' pitchers may not need Beltran to put up gaudy offensive numbers.

Scheduled Friday starter Ryan Vogelsong (8-1, 2.10 ERA) is 5-0 in 10 starts since losing to Florida on May 26. The All-Star right-hander labored some but limited Milwaukee to two runs in five innings of a 4-2 win Saturday.

Vogelsong allowed two runs and struck out six in six innings but did not factor in the decision of a 3-2 win over the Reds on June 10.

While the Giants are riding high, Cincinnati (50-55) tries to regroup after it was outscored 30-19 while being swept in a four-game series at home by the Mets this week. The reigning NL Central champions are 8-15 in July and are fourth in the division, 6 12 games behind first-place Milwaukee.

"We stink right now," utility man Miguel Cairo said after Thursday's 10-9 loss. "We have to start playing like we know how. ... Everyone on this team has to do better than we are right now."

Reigning NL MVP Joey Votto has held his own by homering in each of the last three games and going 6 for 13 with five RBIs during that stretch. Votto, who has never homered in four straight contests, has batted .371 with two home runs and seven RBIs his last nine games versus San Francisco.

Veteran left-hander Dontrelle Willis (0-1, 3.71) tries to help the Reds get back on track after starting their most recent win. He allowed three runs over 6 1-3 innings of a 4-3 win over Atlanta on Sunday in his third start since being called up July 10.

Willis, who made five Triple-A appearances in the Giants organization last year, is 1-3 with a 5.00 ERA in eight career starts versus San Francisco -- the last coming with Florida in 2007.

Beltran, who went 1 for 6 with two RBIs and three walks in two games this week at Cincinnati for the Mets, is 9 for 31 (.290) with a homer versus Willis.

Pelicans lose by 30, but Cousins scores 27 with 14 rebounds in debut

Pelicans lose by 30, but Cousins scores 27 with 14 rebounds in debut

BOX SCORE

NEW ORLEANS -- The Boogie-and-Brow era in New Orleans is off to a highly inauspicious start.

The Pelicans' tandem of newly acquired All-Star DeMarcus Cousins and All-Star Game MVP Anthony Davis was no match for the surging Houston Rockets on Thursday night.

Reserve Lou Williams hit seven 3-pointers and scored 27 points in his Rockets debut after a trade from the Lakers, and Houston crushed New Orleans, 129-99.

Davis had 29 points, and Cousins finished with 27 points and 14 rebounds after he was acquired from Sacramento during the break. But New Orleans turned the ball over 20 times couldn't keep pace with the firepower of the Rockets, who hit 20 3-pointers.

Eric Gordon scored 19 points and Ryan Anderson added 17 in both players' first game in New Orleans since leaving the Pelicans. James Harden had 13 points and 14 assists.

Houston led by as many as 35 points when Gordon's free throws made it 100-65 late in the third quarter.

Patrick Beverley had 12 rebounds for Houston. Montrezl Harrell added 10 points for the Rockets, who shot 49.5 percent (45 of 91).

After New Orleans acquired Cousins, nicknamed "Boogie," in a deal involving five players and two draft choices, Pelicans general manager Dell Demps hoped Cousins and Davis would thrive playing off one another while point guard Jrue Holiday initiated offensive sets. But Holiday had arguably his worst game this season, turning the ball over seven times and finishing with only six points and four assists.

The crowd was charged up for both Cousins' debut and Davis' resumption of a sensational season following his record 52-point performance on Sunday.

Both players received rousing receptions during introductions and the crowd roared when Cousins hit a jumper for games' first points.

Cousins and Davis each scored eight in the first quarter, but it was also apparent that the integration of new personnel had New Orleans a bit out of sync. The Pelicans turned the ball over 12 times in the first half, leading to 17 Rockets points.

The Rockets also hit nine 3s in the opening half, including three each by Gordon and Williams, and led 66-50 at halftime.

By the end of the third quarter, the crowd that had been so rowdy at tip-off was starting to file out with their team down 100-67.

TIP-INS

Rockets: Houston has won seven of the past eight meetings. ... The Rockets hit at least 10 3s in a game for the 55th time in 59 games this season. ... The Rockets, now 41-18, have matched their win total for all of last season.

Pelicans: Before the game, New Orleans waived F Terrence Jones and signed G/F Hollis Thompson to a 10-day contract. Pelicans coach Alvin Gentry said Jones, who joined New Orleans on a one-year contract this season, was released to help him find a team where he could play more. Thompson played a little more than four minutes and scored three points. ... The Pelicans are now 14-16 at home.

UP NEXT

Rockets: Host Minnesota on Saturday night.

Pelicans: Visit Dallas on Saturday night.

Zaza returns to starting lineup, West available to play vs Clippers

Zaza returns to starting lineup, West available to play vs Clippers

OAKLAND -- For the first time in nearly four weeks, the Warriors will take the court Thursday night with their regular starting lineup.

Center Zaza Pachulia, out since Jan. 29 with a strained rotator cuff, was cleared to play and will return to his status as the starting center when the Warriors face the Clippers at Oracle Arena, coach Steve Kerr said in his pregame news conference.

Backup center David West, who has been out since Jan. 18 with a fractured thumb, also received clearance and will be available.

JaVale McGee, who performed well while starting eight games in place of Pachulia, will return to his normal role, playing spot minutes off the bench.

“I considered either way, but I think we had a good groove with Zaza as a starter,” Kerr said. “And JaVale was still making an impact when Zaza was starting, bringing him in midway through the first quarter. We hadn’t done it the other way.

“I’ve seen JaVale with our other group, later in the first quarter, and that worked well. So I figured I might as well go back to what’s already worked.”

While Pachulia was out, McGee averaged 9.0 points, 5.6 rebounds and 1.0 blocks in 16.5 minutes per game. Generating most of his offense on dunks off lobs, he is shooting 74.7 percent (71-of-95) over his last 22 games and 67.8 percent this season.

Pachulia, who has started 44 games, is averaging 5.9 points, 6.0 rebounds and 2.0 assists. He is shooting 52.7 percent from the field.