Giants top A's 4-3 behind strong Cain start

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Giants top A's 4-3 behind strong Cain start

March 28, 2011
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SAN FRANCISCO (AP) Aubrey Huff showed off the power stroke that made him San Francisco's home run leader last year. Matt Cain, well, he was just his usual solid self.Cain walked off the mound to a standing ovation from an adoring crowd that hasn't seen the San Francisco Giants play at home since their improbable World Series run last fall. The others generated their fair share of cheers, too.Cain looked strong over 5 1-3 innings Monday night in his final tuneup for the regular season, striking out six and walking one in a 4-3 victory over the Oakland Athletics in the annual preseason edition of the Bay Bridge Series."The last time here, walking off in the eighth against Texas, that felt good just to get that big ovation," Cain said of the World Series. "The fans are ready for the regular season to start back up again." CHAT: Wendy's Chat with MLB Insider Mychael Urban at 10 a.m.
Huff hit a go-ahead homer in the fifth for San Francisco, his team-leading sixth of the spring. Pat Burrell, one of those "castoffs and misfits" who helped lead the Giants to their first championship since moving West in 1958, hit a two-run double in the third.The Giants and A's returned home from spring training in the Arizona desert to welcome blue skies in the Bay Area after close to two weeks of heavy rain. The teams play three times before the Giants open defense of their title Thursday against the rival Dodgers in Los Angeles. Oakland kicks off 2011 a day later at home against the Seattle Mariners.San Francisco was greeted by 38,320 enthusiastic fans in its first game at its cozy waterfront ballpark since beating the AL champion Rangers in Game 5 at Texas to secure the title."It was definitely good to be back. The last week of spring training in Arizona was starting to be pretty monotonous, we were starting to play pretty bad," Huff said. "We were beating people the first few weeks. We started to get a little lackadaisical there toward the end. We're ready to go."Cain, the Giants' No. 3 starter and 13-game winner last season, threw 88 pitches and recorded 1-2-3 innings in the first, third and fourth. Sergio Romo pitched the ninth for the save."Great job by Matty," manager Bruce Bochy said. "He got some good work in and got deep in the game. He had good stuff."Oakland's Daric Barton hit a two-out, two-run single in the top of the fifth to tie it at 3. Huff answered in the bottom half with a drive over the right-field arcade to the pathway below.New A's slugger Hideki Matsui sat most of this one out on a cool, breezy night, before popping up foul to a hustling, slimmed-down third baseman Pablo Sandoval in front of the Giants' bullpen mound for the final out. Manager Bob Geren said Matsui is scheduled to start at designated hitter the next two games after the Giants agreed to using the DH.Bochy went almost with what he expects to use for an opening-day lineup, though top prospect Brandon Belt started at first and batted seventh. He is likely to start at Triple-A Fresno.Reigning NL Rookie of the Year Buster Posey received a rousing ovation when he stepped in to hit in the first inning.New San Francisco shortstop Miguel Tejada, the 2002 AL MVP with the A's, loved the atmosphere."That's great, man," he said. "That's what happens when you win it."Brett Anderson struck out six and walked two over seven innings in taking the loss. He threw 92 pitches.The A's, considered a potential contender in the AL West this year, lost their fourth straight exhibition game and fifth in six. Oakland had won the previous two spring meetings this year, both played in Arizona."I got what I needed to out of (spring)," Anderson said. "I was calm and collected. I know what I have to do to put up the numbers."NOTES: Injured Giants closer Brian Wilson, the majors' saves leader last year with 48, stayed behind in Arizona to rehabilitate a strained left side muscle that could keep him from being ready by Thursday's opener at Dodger Stadium. Wilson is scheduled to throw a short bullpen session Tuesday but Bochy said it's "less than 50-50" that Wilson will be available. ... A's closer Andrew Bailey, the 2009 AL Rookie of the Year who is nursing a strained forearm, made about 25 throws Sunday from as far out as 60 feet. He is slated to play catch again Wednesday and extend his distance and output as long as he feels fine to do so. ... The Giants are in a stretch with 12 straight games before Monday's off day in San Diego. ... A's LF Josh Willingham, who bruised his right foot fouling off a pitch Saturday, was fine after an 0-for-2 outing.

Instant Replay: Kings shock Grizzlies late for second straight win

Instant Replay: Kings shock Grizzlies late for second straight win

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SACRAMENTO -- The Sacramento Kings aren’t done fighting yet. In front of their home crowd, they pulled off their second consecutive shocker, this time dispatching the Memphis Grizzlies in dramatic fashion by the final of 91-90.

Darren Collison battled Mike Conley Jr. all night long at the point guard position. After scoring 19 against the Clippers on Sunday, Collison hit the Grizzlies for 23 points on 8-of-13 shooting and added a team-high seven assists. His free throw with 5.7 seconds remaining proved to be the game winner.

Rookie Buddy Hield continued his hot shooting, scoring 14 points on 5-for-12 shooting. The 23-year-old shooting guard is quickly establishing himself as a big time scoring option for the Kings moving forward.

Willie Cauley-Stein chipped in 12 points, nine rebounds and three assists. 7-footer Kosta Koufos found success against his former team, finishing with 11 points, five rebounds and three blocks before fouling out late.

Ty Lawson led the second unit with 10 points, while Anthony Tolliver went 4-of-7 from the field for nine points.

Conley Jr. received the biggest contract in NBA history during the offseason and he showed why Monday against the Kings. The veteran point guard dropped in 22 points and dished out nine assists as the Grizzlies fell to 40-34 on the season.

35-year-old big man Zach Randolph went to work in the post. The 16-year NBA vet dropped in 17 points and grabbed 15 rebounds, schooling the Kings frontline with the left-handed flip early in the game.

Brandan Wright came off the bench to score 11 points on 5-of-7 shooting and Troy Daniels added 10 points.  

STANDOUT PERFORMER:
Collison is heating up. Over his last two games, the veteran guard has scored 42 points on 16-for-24 shooting and kept his team in the ballgame.

TURNING POINT:
Despite leading by eight on multiple occasions in the fourth quarter, Sacramento couldn’t close the door on the Grizzlies. Collison drew a foul with 5.7 remaining and his team trailing by one. He knocked down both freebies and Randolph missed a 3-point attempt at the buzzer to help the Kings improve to 29-45 on the season.   

INJURY UPDATE:
Arron Afflalo missed the game due to a personal matter and Tyreke Evans sat for scheduled rest. Rookie Malachi Richardson is officially out for the season with a right hamstring thickness tear. Rudy Gay is out for the year with a torn left Achilles.

WHAT'S NEXT:
The Kings are back at it Wednesday night at Golden 1 Center when the Utah Jazz roll through Sacramento. Following the matchup with Utah, the Kings travel to New Orleans to face former King DeMarcus Cousins on Friday evening.

 

Spurs destroy Cavs by 29, back within two of Warriors

Spurs destroy Cavs by 29, back within two of Warriors

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SAN ANTONIO -- Kawhi Leonard scored 25 points and the San Antonio Spurs dismantled the ailing Cleveland Cavaliers 103-74 on Monday night in a showdown that turned into a major letdown for the defending NBA champions.

LaMarcus Aldridge and Pau Gasol added 14 points apiece for the Spurs, who won their fifth straight.

Cleveland (47-26) dropped its second in a row, set a season low for points and fell a half-game behind Boston (48-26) for the top seed in the Eastern Conference playoffs.

Cavaliers star LeBron James was injured late in the third quarter after taking an elbow to the base of his neck. He remained on the bench for a while receiving medical attention, then headed toward the locker room and didn't return to the game.

His status was not immediately known.

Cleveland has been out of sync recently, losing three of five, and those struggles only got worse against San Antonio. The Spurs led by as many as 33 points to the delight of the sold-out crowd.

San Antonio (57-16) is two games behind Golden State (59-14) for the league's best record entering a home showdown with the Warriors on Wednesday.

Cleveland opted to play its stars rather than sit them for rest, but the trio of James, Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love sat out the fourth quarter of its second rout in the past two weeks.

James exited with 25 seconds remaining in the third after taking an elbow to his neck from David Lee on a rebound. James continually rubbed the area before collapsing after he crossed midcourt and remained on the floor for about a minute before walking unassisted to the bench. He left for the locker room early in the fourth quarter during a timeout.

James finished with 17 points, eight rebounds and eight assists in 29 minutes.

The Spurs held the Cavaliers scoreless for three minutes after San Antonio coach Gregg Popovich was issued a technical foul during a timeout with 6:38 remaining in the first half.

Leonard hit a right-handed runner as the second quarter closed to give the Spurs a 64-40 lead.

TIP-INS:
Cavaliers: Cleveland completed its schedule against the West, finishing 16-14. In addition to losing to the Spurs by 29 points, the Cavaliers lost by 35 to Golden State and 30 to the Los Angeles Clippers. . Cleveland F Kyle Korver missed his third straight game with a sore left foot, and the team plans to sit him for several games to see if rest and treatment helps. Korver will sit out Thursday in Chicago and Friday at home against Philadelphia before being re-evaluated, a team spokesman said. The shooting specialist missed seven games earlier this month with an inflamed tendon in his foot. . G Iman Shumpert missed his second consecutive game with a sore right knee. . James needs 24 points to pass Shaquille O'Neal for seventh overall in career scoring. O'Neal has 28,596 career points. . The Cavaliers averaged 116.3 points in their previous four games.

Spurs: San Antonio is holding its opponents to an average of less than 100 points for the 22nd straight season. . Danny Green tied his season high with four blocked shots. . Leonard has scored in double figures in 100 straight games.

UP NEXT:
Cavaliers: At the Chicago Bulls on Thursday night.

Spurs: Host the Golden State Warriors on Wednesday night.