Giants' skid continues after three-hit effort in D.C.

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Giants' skid continues after three-hit effort in D.C.

May 2, 2011BOXSCORE GIANTSVIDEOMLBPAGE MLBSCOREBOARD
WASHINGTON (AP) Miguel Tejada knew his none-on, two-out fielding error in the seventh inning led to the only two runs in the San Francisco Giants' 2-0 loss to the Washington Nationals on Monday night.Still, Tejada was incredulous when his miscue was brought up after the game, telling a reporter: "You asked me the question like we lost the game because of that ball?"OK, Miggy. Everyone knows why the Giants are losing games - a lot of them - these days.Put simply: The World Series champions are having a really rough time at the plate.
URBAN: Two at-bats speak to Giants' troubles
"There's not much we can do if we're not hitting," manager Bruce Bochy said. "We're awful right now. We know it."The latest opposing starter to take advantage was Tom Gorzelanny (1-2), who allowed only three hits in eight innings Monday - his longest outing in more than 3 12 years. Michael Morse and Jerry Hairston Jr. drove in runs after Tejada's error, helping the Nationals win for the fourth time in their last five games.San Francisco, meanwhile, has lost eight of its last 11, scoring a total of 23 runs in that span."You can put it on the offense," said Aubrey Huff, who went 0 for 3 and is hitting .190 for the season. "We're not doing anything offensively - including myself. We're all struggling. I'm the worst of it."He has plenty of company.The Giants were shut out for the third time in their last six games, including twice during this series, when Washington took three of four. Jason Marquis pitched the Nationals to a 3-0 victory Friday."We feed off each other's outings," Gorzelanny said.He gave up Aaron Rowand's double leading off the game and single in the third, as well as Cody Ross' single in the eighth. Drew Storen pitched the ninth for his sixth save in six chances, closing out a game that took just 2 hours, 2 minutes - the fastest nine-inning game in the majors this season, according to STATS LLC."Mixing in and out. Changing speeds quite a bit. Trying to keep guys off-balance. I wasn't trying to trick guys. I was trying to let guys hit the ball," Gorzelanny said. "My defense played outstanding out there. Guys made terrific plays. That's obviously key to an outing like this. You don't just mow down guys as a pitcher."He retired 15 consecutive batters during one stretch and was helped by a diving catch by center fielder Rick Ankiel on Tejada's sinking liner in the fifth.Bochy was asked whether Gorzelanny's performance surprised him."Nothing surprises me right now. We're struggling right now. We're seeing some well-pitched games against us," he said. "I think teams are catching us at a good time. There's no getting around that."Madison Bumgarner (0-5) retired Washington's first 12 batters and didn't allow an earned run but wound up with the loss because of two unearned runs in the seventh, his last inning. He allowed four hits."It's a shame we couldn't get him a win tonight," Bochy said.The first Nationals player to reach base was rookie catcher Wilson Ramos, hitting cleanup on a day off for first baseman Adam LaRoche. Ramos doubled to start the fifth and was sacrificed to third, but Bumgarner got out of it by striking out Morse and Hairston.After those back-to-back Ks, those two Nationals had a chat, and the veteran Hairston encouraged the younger Morse, pointing out: "Sometimes you have your good months, sometimes you have your bad months. But you have to keep grinding. He did that. He picked himself up and got a huge hit for us."Indeed, that part of the lineup was trouble for Bumgarner in the seventh. Ramos reached on a ball that went off Tejada's glove at third; it originally was ruled a single, then changed to an error after the game. That was followed by three consecutive hits for Washington: Ian Desmond singled, Morse hit an RBI single and Hairston hit an RBI double.After coming through there, Hairston said, "We looked at each other and kind of smiled."NOTES: It was Military Appreciation Night - something that first was planned in the offseason - and the Nationals offered free tickets to active or retired military personnel. The announced attendance was 15,342; the Nationals said they couldn't say yet how many free seats were provided. ... Gorzelanny hadn't lasted eight innings in a game since Aug. 12, 2007, when he threw a shutout for the Pittsburgh Pirates against the Giants.

David West is coming up big for the Warriors

David West is coming up big for the Warriors

OAKLAND -- David West is as much a cleanup man as he is a basketball player.

The veteran power forward, masquerading as a center for the Warriors, cleans up behind teammates, cleans the clocks of opponents and probably cleans his plate after every meal. And he’d hit fourth in any manager’s batting order.

The Warriors during their renaissance haven’t had such a personality. They’ve been a fun bunch, enjoying life, each other and their pillaging of the NBA.

West, 36, brings a more laconic dynamic, and it’s on full display as the Warriors lean into the final weeks of this regular season. He’s a leader who is producing and, more and more, winning over a fan base that was somewhat skeptical early this season.

“David West has been playing brilliantly,” Warriors coach Steve Kerr said Friday night, after West came off the bench for a highly efficient 14-minute stint in a 114-100 win over the Kings.

Showcasing sharp passing, splendid shooting, solid rim protection and his usual old-jerky toughness, West totaled 8 points, four assists, three rebounds, three blocks and one steal. The Warriors were plus-8 when he was on the floor.

Such production, it seems, is a bit of a bonus.

“He’s been very good for us as a veteran leader,” Draymond Green said. “He’s been playing well, but just his presence also has meant a lot to this team.

“D-West is just kind of a no-bull---- type of a guy. He doesn’t say much. But when he does, you know it means a lot. And everybody hears him.”

Said West: “It’s just about adjusting and learning personalities. Obviously, this group has been very successful. I just try to add my 2 cents where I feel like it fits. Try not to over-talk people. I speak to guys directly and just make sure that we’re all on the same page.”

West is in his 14th season. Drafted by the New Orleans Hornets in 2003, he also has played for the Pacers and, last season, the Spurs, before joining the Warriors in July.

The question at the time was whether he still had a lot to give. West is a two-time All-Star and one of the most widely respected players in the league. But did he still have the legs to compete at a high level?

The answer is visible, particularly over the past month, since he returned from fractured left thumb on Feb. 23. West is shooting 53.0 percent from the field, he’s rebounding consistently and he has proven to be a spectacularly good passer -- easily one of the best in the league among big men.

Earlier this week, to quell any lingering concerns about how much athleticism he still has, West rose up and dunked over a crowd of three Dallas Mavericks. It was clock-cleaning at its finest.

“I’m just getting more comfortable,” West said, referring to his game and his locker-room influence. “We’ve developed good chemistry, communicating, harping on our defense more than anything else at this moment, because we feel that’s going to give us a chance if shots aren’t falling.”

West is on a one-year deal for the veteran’s minimum, $1.55 million. He sacrificed bigger dollars for a chance at his first championship. He’s doing his part. And he neither takes nor leaves any mess.

Dempsey hat trick lifts US over Honduras in statement win

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AP

Dempsey hat trick lifts US over Honduras in statement win

BOX SCORE

SAN JOSE — Bruce Arena's return as U.S. coach reignited American confidence, and his players responded with an emphatic rebound in World Cup qualifying.

Clint Dempsey returned from an irregular heartbeat to score his second international hat trick, 18-year-old phenom Christian Pulisic had one goal and set up three others, and the U.S. routed Honduras 6-0 Friday night to get right back in contention for an eighth straight World Cup berth.

Surprise starter Sebastian Lletget got his first international goal in the fifth minute after Pulisic's shot deflected off the goalkeeper, Michael Bradley doubled the lead in the 27th and Dempsey scored off Pulisic's perfectly weighted chip in the 32nd.

Finding room to maneuver in a central midfield role, Pulisic made it 4-0 just 12 seconds into the second half with his fourth international goal, Dempsey rounded the keeper to score following a Pulisic feed in the 49th, and Dempsey got another on a 23-yard free kick in the 54th. With 55 international goals, Dempsey moved within two of Landon Donovan's American record.

In its first competitive match since Arena replaced Jurgen Klinsmann, the U.S. moved from last to fourth in the final round of the North and Central American and Caribbean region, tied at three points with Honduras but ahead on goal difference, Mexico leads with seven points, followed by Costa Rica with six and Panama with four.

The top three nations qualify for next year's tournament in Russia, and the fourth-place nation advances to a playoff. With a victory at Panama on Tuesday, the Americans could move into the top three.

The U.S. had never before won a hexagonal game by more than three goals.

And oh how the American Outlaws and others among the lively home crowd loved every second of this long-awaited showing, chanting "Michael Bradley!" and "Demp-sey! Demp-sey!" through the Bay Area rain and cool March air.

Then, it was "Bruce Arena! Bruce Arena!"

Gloom descended upon the Americans in November when they opened the hexagonal with a 2-1 home loss to Mexico and a 4-0 wipeout at Costa Rica. The defeats caused the U.S. Soccer Federation to fire Klinsmann, who had coached the Americans since 2011, and bring back Arena, who lead the team from 1998-2006.

Dempsey, 34 and hoping to reach a fourth World Cup, was sidelined from August until this month by an irregular heartbeat and likely was starting only because of injuries to Bobby Wood and Jordan Morris. Tim Howard, the Americans' 38-year-old goalkeeper, got the shutout after returning only two weeks ago from a leg injury sustained in the loss to Mexico.

Geoff Cameron, back from a knee strain that had sidelined him for fourth months, was shifted to right back from central defense because of injuries to others, and Jorge Villafana was inserted on the left.

But there were yet more injuries. Lletget hurt his left ankle on Ever Alvarado's tackle and was replaced in the 18th minute, and defender John Brooks was stretchered off the field, hand over his face, in the 69th due to dehydration.

From the opening whistle, the U.S. played more aggressively than in the latter years of Klinsmann's reign. Arena revamped the midfield, giving a prominent role to Pulisic, who last week became the youngest American to score in the Champions League. He inserted Lletget and Nagbe, who were largely overlooked by Klinsmann last year, on the flanks.

The U.S. went ahead when Jozy Altidore picked up a loose ball and on his second try poked the ball ahead to Pulisic. His left-footed shot that went off goalkeeper Donis Escobar, and Lletget tapped in the ball with his right foot from 2 yards.

Bradley, given his debut by Arena in 2006, doubled the lead when he took a pass from Alejando Bedoya, cut to his left, took four touches and cut the ball back to beat Escobar with one-hopper from about 25 yards.

Showing poise beyond his years, Pulisic created the third goal when he lofted a pass to Dempsey, who allowed the ball of bounce off his right shoulder. Dempsey held off Henry Figueroa and while falling scored with his right foot from 8 yards.