Giants Insider notes: Battle of the bullpens

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Giants Insider notes: Battle of the bullpens

May 20, 2011
URBAN ARCHIVEGIANTS PAGE GIANTS VIDEO
RECAP BOX SCOREMychael UrbanCSNBayArea.com

Our Giants Insider takes a look at the Giants' 2-1 extra-innings victory over the visiting A's on Friday night in the opener of a three-game interleague series at AT&T Park.Handy Manny: Emmanuel Burris, recalled from Triple-A Fresno in the wake of Mark DeRosa's latest wrist injury, had his first big moment of the season when he opened the bottom of the 10th with a seeing-eye single through the left side of the infield. He moved to second on a sacrifice bunt by Andres Torres, and after Freddy Sanchez was walked intentionally, Burriss scored easily on a single to right field by Aubrey Huff to move the Giants' record in one-run games to 13-3 with the team's 12th win in its past 16 games.RECAP: Giants beat A's on Huff's 10th-inning walk-off hit
Another quality night: It's often been said that a professional athlete shouldn't lose his job due to injury, but Giants general manager Brian Sabean said during a recent radio interview that injured left-hander Barry Zito essentially will be competing for his spot in the starting rotation while making his rehab starts at Triple-A Fresno. Zito isn't expected back for about a month, but he better be sharp at Fresno if he hopes to reclaim the spot now held down by Ryan Vogelsong, who put together his third consecutive quality start Friday while holding the A's to one run on four hits and two walks while striking out five over six solid innings. Vogelsong didn't factor in the decision, but the only run he allowed came across on a double-play grounder, and he lowered his ERA to 1.93 while remaining unbeaten at 3-0 in five starts and two scoreless relief outings.AdvanceScoutingFail: Perhaps it can be excused given the lack of familiarity with their foes on Friday, but the A's had no business testing Nate Schierholtz's arm by asking Josh Willingham -- no speed-burner, he -- to hustle from first to third on Mark Ellis' single in the second inning. Schierholtz, as he's done so many times during his career in orange and black, made a baserunner feel blue with an absolute seed of a throw to third baseman Miguel Tejada, who barely had to budge his glove to drop the tag on Willingham for the second out of the inning. Schierholtz, who saved Thursday's game with a diving catch with the bags juiced and two out in the bottom of the ninth, also made another beautiful catch, running down Kevin Kouzmanoff's drive deep into the right-field corner to end the top of the ninth.They'll kill you every time: Leadoff walks, that is. A's righty Trevor Cahill, an early Cy Young candidate in the American League, issued a free pass to Torres in the bottom of the first inning, and it came back to bite him when Torres stole second base, took third when Oakland catcher Kurt Suzuki's throw skipped into center field, then scored on a groundout to second base by Sanchez to give the Giants a 1-0 lead.That man again: Righty Ramon Ramirez took over for Vogelsong to open the seventh inning and survived a leadoff walk of his own with the help of a spectacular defensive play from second baseman Sanchez. The walk was draw by Ellis, who stole second base and moved to third on a passed ball that Giants catcher Buster Posey disputed vehemently. Ramirez got a huge out by retiring Cliff Pennington on a popup in foul ground near off the first-base line, after which lefty Jeremy Affeldt took over and gave up a grounder that looked like it might sneak into center field and snap the 1-1 tie. Instead, Sanchez left his feet to flag it down and quickly uncorked an off-balance strike to first baseman Huff that beat pinch hitter Conor Jackson to the bag and sent both Affeldt and the pro-Giants portion of the 16th consecutive sellout of the season at AT&T Park into a fist-pumping frenzy.Mixing, matching: Affeldt stayed on to start the eighth and probably should have gotten through the frame, but Coco Crisp's leadoff high-hopper to third bounced off Tejada's glove for a generous infield single before Affeldt struck out Daric Barton and got David DeJesus on a fly ball to right. With Willingham due up, Giants manager Bruce Bochy turned to Sergio Romo for a righty-vs.-righty matchup that Romo won with a swinging strikeout that set off another audio explosion in the stands.Battle of the bullpens: In a game that highlighted the strengths (pitching, pitching and more pitching) and weaknesses (scoring, scoring and less scoring) of both teams, it all came down to which club's relief corps would blink first. Giants closer Brian Wilson followed Ramirez, Affeldt and Romo with a perfect top of the ninth, and Oakland's Grant Balfour, Michael Wuertz and Brad Ziegler each threw a shutout inning after Cahill left with a line of one run on one hit and two walks with six strikeouts over six innings, setting the stage for extra innings. Lefty Javier Lopez, against whom right-handed hitters were batting .346 this year through Thursday, retired three righties in the top of the 10th before Fuentes faltered in the bottom of the frame.Public-service announcement: To everyone thinking of buying a Giants home jersey with their favorite player's name on the back: Go with a gray roadie or the black batting-practice top. Home jerseys, in case you haven't noticed, don't have names on the back. You're ruining a clean, classic look. And if you're older than 19, show a little pride and put your own name on the back, big boy.

Warriors to face Utah after Jazz rout Clippers in Game 7

Warriors to face Utah after Jazz rout Clippers in Game 7

OAKLAND -- Six days after sweeping Portland to advance to the second round of the playoffs, the Warriors now know their opponent.

The Utah Jazz put together a sterling performance Sunday afternoon in Los Angeles to vanquish the Clippers and earn the right to meet the defending Western Conference champion Warriors.

Game 1 is Tuesday night at Oracle Arena, with Game 2 scheduled for Thursday night. Tipoff for both games is 7:30.

The Warriors faced the Jazz three times in the regular season, winning twice. They won in their only trip to Salt Lake City, 106-99 on Dec. 8. Twelve days later, at Oracle Arena, the Warriors romped to a 104-74 win.

The Jazz posted their lone victory on April 10, a 105-99 win at Oracle Arena.

Those numbers are, for all intents and purposes, ancient history. The Warriors never faced a fully healthy Jazz team, not that it matters much to Draymond Green and his teammates -- particularly if the Warriors carry over the intensity shown in closing out Portland last Monday night.

“Whoever it is in front of you, if you’re locked in like that, if we’re locked in like that, I think we can beat anyone,” Green said after practice Sunday. “And I don’t care who it is. When we have that type of focus level, I think, no matter who you put in front of us it’s over.”

***

Below is the schedule for the Western Conference Semifinals series between the Golden State Warriors and Utah Jazz:

GAME          DAY, DATE                 TIME (PDT)       LOCATION     

GAME 1      Tuesday, May 2          7:30 p.m.             Oracle Arena                            

GAME 2      Thursday, May 4        7:30 p.m.             Oracle Arena                             

GAME 3       Saturday, May 6          5:30 p.m.              Vivint Smart Home Arena         

GAME 4       Monday, May 8           6:00 p.m.              Vivint Smart Home Arena         

GAME 5*    Wednesday, May 10  TBD                      Oracle Arena                             

GAME 6*     Friday, May 12            TBD                      Vivint Smart Home Arena        

GAME 7*    Sunday, May 14          TBD                      Oracle Arena                            

Instant Replay: Too much Keuchel, A's drop series to Astros

Instant Replay: Too much Keuchel, A's drop series to Astros

BOX SCORE

HOUSTON – The A’s got a sampling of what’s made Dallas Keuchel one of the majors’ top pitchers through the first month.

The Astros lefty pitched into the eighth and allowed just one Athletic to advance past first base as Oakland absorbed a 7-2 loss in the rubber game of this weekend series at Minute Maid Park.

After an off-year in 2016, Keuchel has regained his 2015 Cy Young-winning form, becoming the American League’s first five-game winner of 2017. He held the A’s to three hits over 7 2/3 innings, as the A’s fell to 1-5 so far on this three-city road trip. They’ve been held to two or fewer runs in five of their past seven games.

Jesse Hahn (1-2) turned in a quality start for the A’s, going six innings and giving up four runs (two earned) on eight hits. The Astros got a run off him in the first when George Springer beat out an infield hit and scored from first on Carlos Correa’s double down the left-field line. Evan Gattis’ double off the top of the left field wall scored another run in the fourth for a 2-0 lead.

Then a key play came in the fifth. Brian McCann hit a sharp bouncer toward first that took a big hop and got past Ryon Healy for a two-run single and a four-run cushion that Keuchel (5-0) wasn’t going to let slip away.

The A’s closed April with an 11-14 record and trail first-place Houston by five games

Starting pitching report

With Sonny Gray returning from the disabled list, Hahn is trying to prove he deserves to stick in the rotation moving forward. He was coming off an outstanding performance in Anaheim, when he held the Angels to one hit over eight innings. He wasn’t as sharp Sunday, but he wasn’t terrible either. The right-hander struck out six and didn’t issue a walk, but his command betrayed him a bit in the fourth. With one out, he hit Yuli Gurriel with a pitch and then advanced him to second with a wild pitch. Hahn fell behind Gattis 3-1 when the A’s killer hit a run-scoring double to left that fell just a few feet short of being a home run. The Astros’ two-run rally in the fifth was aided by Josh Reddick reaching base on yet another catchers’ interference play. Stephen Vogt was called for the infraction twice Friday night with Reddick hitting. Josh Phegley was behind the plate Sunday.

Bullpen report

Any thoughts of an A’s ninth-inning comeback were dashed when Frankie Montas served up a three-run homer to Marwin Gonzalez in the bottom of the eighth. Oakland’s bullpen has surrendered 16 runs in 15 2/3 innings against the Astros this season for a 9.19 ERA.

At the plate

The A’s offense got cranking too little too late. Trailing 4-0 in the eighth, Adam Rosales singled and eventually came around to score on Ryon Healy’s two-out single. Rosales aided the rally with a steal of second base, which snapped a string of eight games without a stolen base for Oakland. They’re expecting to welcome Rajai Davis back from the disabled list Tuesday, and his speed is certainly needed with the offense scuffling. Down 7-1 in the ninth, Josh Phegley doubled and scored on Chad Pinder’s single. The A’s loaded the bases with two outs, prompting Astros manager A.J. Hinch to call on closer Ken Giles to retire Yonder Alonso for the final out.

In the field

Phegley’s catchers’ interference call went down as the game’s only error.

Attendance

The turnout was 34,880.

Up next

The A’s wrap this nine-game road trip with three at Minnesota. They went 4-2 against the Twins last year. Sonny Gray will make his first start of the season in Tuesday’s 5:10 opener, opposed by Ervin Santana (4-0, 0.77). Wednesday — Kendall Graveman (2-1, 2.25) vs. lefty Hector Santiago (2-1, 2.43), 5:10 p.m. Thursday — Jharel Cotton (2-3, 5.00) vs. Kyle Gibson (0-3, 8.06), 10:10 a.m.