Giants look to right ship against Padres in S.D.

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Giants look to right ship against Padres in S.D.

April 4, 2011
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GIANTS (1-3) vs.
SAN DIEGO (2-1)

SAN DIEGO (AP) -- Starting on opening day is nothing new for Aaron Harang, who drew the assignment the last five seasons with the Cincinnati Reds.

Starting the home opener for his hometown team? That's a little different.

Padres manager Bud Black and pitching coach Darren Balsley told the big right-hander during spring training that he'd be starting Tuesday against the San Francisco Giants.

"I kind of got that little tingle in my gut like, 'Wow, this is pretty cool,' " Harang said Monday. "I get to open up in front of my hometown, my family and friends. It's definitely an honor to get this opportunity."
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Harang attended Patrick Henry High, just up the hill a bit from the Padres' one-time home, Qualcomm Stadium, and then pitched at San Diego State.

He joined the Padres in the offseason as a free agent.

"I'll tell you what. If any guy tells you that he never wanted to have the opportunity to pitch at home, they'd be lying to you," Harang said. "It just means a lot to do it that day and know that I'm going to have people there watching me that are supporting me no matter what."

Forget any kind of a routine before his first start with the Padres, though.

"I've got kids. I don't really have a routine anymore," he said.

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Harang is looking to bounce back after struggling the last three years, including going 6-7 with a 5.32 ERA in 2010, when he was bothered by back spasms.

Black recalls Harang smiling when told of Tuesday's assignment. "But then the smile sort of went away real quick because still, ultimately, you know what your job is, and that's to perform and pitch well. But I'm happy for him."

Black said it made sense for Harang to pitch Tuesday.

"I know that opening days are filled with a lot of emotion," Black said. "A lot of players can handle it differently. I know that Aaron has pitched opening days before when he was with Cincinnati, so it's new to him to pitch in a game that's filled with pageantry and fanfare and high emotion."

Seeing the Giants again surely will remind the Padres of how close they came to a playoff spot last year.

REWIND: Dodgers take series as Huff struggles in right

Although they overachieved by winning 90 games, the Padres faltered down the stretch and were eliminated from playoff contention with a loss at San Francisco on the season's last day.

"It was a great pennant race," Black said. "It was a great, exciting season. There's a part of me that thinks that them getting through us at the end set them up for that run in October. We don't know if it could have been us. But we can play with them. We proved it. We played with them all through the year. They beat us at the end and continued on that momentum into the playoffs and into the World Series. It just goes to show what can happen in a playoff situation."

The Padres went 12-6 against the Giants last year.

San Diego cruised to an NL-best 76-49 record on Aug. 25, good for a 6 12-game lead in the NL West. But the Padres lost their next 10 games to see their lead shrink to just one game, and then won only 14 more games the rest of the way.

"They're a very good team. They're world champions," Black said. "And like us, we're not going to sneak up on anybody this year either, from what we did last year. But the Giants aren't going to sneak up on anybody, either. They've got a good team."

The Padres won two of three in their opening series at St. Louis. The Giants, who counter Tuesday with lefty Madison Bumgarner, lost three of four against the Los Angeles Dodgers.
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"It's not the way we want to start," Giants manager Bruce Bochy said after a 7-5 loss on Sunday night. "The first couple of games we hurt ourselves and easily could have come away with a couple more wins if we played better ball. I knew this wasn't going to be an easy part of the schedule. Hopefully we'll get back on track."

RELATED: Giants drop series finale 7-5 to L.A.

NOTES: Black said ace Mat Latos, on the disabled list with a sore right shoulder, threw 70 pitches in five simulated innings in minor league camp in Peoria, Ariz., on Monday. Latos is due to rejoin the Padres on Tuesday and be re-evaluated. Although he's eligible to come off the DL on Wednesday, he's not expected to rejoin the rotation until the weekend. ... This is just a two-game series. The probable starters Wednesday are Tim Lincecum against Tim Stauffer.

Team USA dominates Puerto Rico to win 2017 World Baseball Classic

Team USA dominates Puerto Rico to win 2017 World Baseball Classic

LOS ANGELES -- Marcus Stroman tossed six hitless innings, Ian Kinsler slugged a two-run homer and the United States routed Puerto Rico 8-0 on Wednesday night to win its first World Baseball Classic in four tries.

Stroman dominated the tournament's highest-scoring team. Puerto Rico lost for the first time in eight games after outscoring the opposition 55-26. The U.S. territory finished runner-up for the second time, having lost to the Dominican Republic in the 2013 final.

Stroman, who was named the tournament's MVP, avenged his shakiness in the Americans' 6-5 loss to Puerto Rico during pool play. The right-hander from the Toronto Blue Jays retired the side on three grounders to open the game. In all, he gave up one hit, struck out three and walked one on 73 pitches.

He allowed just three balls past the infield until Angel Pagan's double in the left-field corner leading off the seventh, when Stroman departed to a standing ovation, having staked the Americans to a 7-0 lead.

Stroman walked Carlos Beltran leading off the second, but the defense helped him out. Yadier Molina hit the ball to shortstop Brandon Crawford, who started a double play before Stroman struck out Javier Baez to end the inning.

The U.S. pounded out 13 hits and finished with a 6-2 record while making the final for the first time in front of 51,565 at Dodger Stadium.

Kinsler homered off an 0-1 pitch from Seth Lugo into left-center field in the third, scoring Jonathan Lucroy, who singled leading off.

Lugo of the New York Mets allowed four runs and five hits, struck out seven and walked four in four innings. The right-hander won his first two starts of the tournament, including in the second round against Stroman and the U.S.

In that game, Stroman gave up six consecutive singles in a four-run first inning and took the loss against Puerto Rico last Friday in San Diego.

The Americans made it 4-0 in the fifth on RBI singles by Christian Yelich and Andrew McCutchen.

Fans wore flags of both countries as capes and decorated their faces in team colors. Puerto Rico boosters pounded cowbells, tooted horns and blew whistles early on before their team fell behind 4-0.

Fans were on their feet chanting "U-S-A" when the Americans loaded the bases in the seventh with two outs. They were rewarded with Crawford's two-run single that chased J.C. Romero, extending the lead to 6-0.

The U.S. tacked on another run on Giancarlo Stanton's RBI single off Hiram Burgos past diving shortstop Francisco Lindor.

Burgos' wild pitch moved runners to second and third before he walked Lucroy to load the bases a second time. Kinsler flied out to end the inning.

The Americans led 8-0 in the eighth on McCutchen's RBI single with two outs.

The U.S. defeated two-time champion Japan, while Puerto Rico beat the Netherlands to reach the final.

The three games at Dodger Stadium drew 109,892.

Instant Replay: Kings blown out by Bucks, Antetokounmpo at home

Instant Replay: Kings blown out by Bucks, Antetokounmpo at home

BOX SCORE

SACRAMENTO -- The Milwaukee Bucks are where the Sacramento Kings hope to be in two seasons - young, athletic and on their way to the playoffs. Wednesday night at Golden 1 Center, the visiting team jumped all of the Kings early on their way to a 116-98 win. 

The Greek Freak didn’t let up on his fellow countryman, Georgios Papagiannis. Giannis Antetokounmpo went at the Kings from the opening tip, finishing the night with 32 points, 13 rebounds, six assists, two steals and a block.  

Former Kings Jason Terry and Spencer Hawes heard boos every time they touched the ball. Unfortunately for Sacramento, they hit almost every shot they took, combining for 19 points on 6-for-9 shooting.

Greg Monroe added 15 points and five rebounds. Mirza Teletovic finished with 13 points off the bench and Khris Middleton hit 3-for-6 from long range to score 13. 

Rookie Buddy Hield put on a shooting clinic. The 22-year-old shooting guard dropped in 8-of-16 from the field on his way to 21 points and four rebounds

Darren Collison set up his teammates from the opening tip. The veteran point guard dropped in 10 points and a team-high seven assists, but it wasn’t nearly enough.

Garrett Temple stepped up his scoring, chipping in 12 points on 5-for-7 shooting and chipped in three rebounds in the loss. 

Willie Cauley-Stein stuffed the stat sheet with 10 points, seven rebounds, two assists and four blocks. 

Arron Afflalo started at the small forward position and added 12 on 5-of-9 shooting. Tyreke Evans came off the bench, posting 18 points in 20 minutes of action behind Afflalo.

Skal Labissiere managed to shake off a rough first half to drop in eight points and grab eight rebounds, and fellow rookie Georgios Papagiannis picked up four points, seven rebounds and two blocks in 23 minutes off Dave Joerger’s bench.  

STANDOUT PERFORMER

Antetokounmpo was as advertised and more. The 6-foot-11 forward gave the Kings fits from start to finish on his way to another huge performance.

TURNING POINT

The Bucks blew up in the first half, scoring 69 points on 61.4 percent shooting from the field and 50 percent from 3-point range. This game was over before the teams headed in for the break.

INJURY UPDATE 

Kosta Koufos and Ty Lawson both missed the game for scheduled rest. Rookie Malachi Richardson is out with a right hamstring thickness tear, but is expected back soon. Rudy Gay is out for the year with a torn left Achilles. 

WHAT'S NEXT 

The Kings hit the road again following the game against Milwaukee. They will face the Golden State Warriors on Friday evening at Oracle Arena, followed by a stop in Los Angeles on Sunday to visit the Clippers.