Giants try to avoid sweep ... and second place


Giants try to avoid sweep ... and second place

August 3, 2011

ARIZONA (61-49) vs.
GIANTS (61-49)

Coverage begins at 12:00 P.M. on Comcast SportsNet Bay Area

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) -- The Arizona Diamondbacks traded for Jason Marquis over the weekend in hopes of bolstering their starting rotation.

His impressive career numbers against the San Francisco Giants surely played a part in their decision to acquire him.

Marquis makes his Diamondbacks debut as visiting Arizona tries to take sole possession of the NL West lead with a three-game sweep of the Giants on Wednesday.

The Diamondbacks (61-49), who haven't been alone atop the division this late in the season since Sept. 5, 2008, are in position to accomplish that feat after winning 6-1 on Tuesday.

URBAN: Giants know Arizona is for real

Arizona entered this series two games behind San Francisco (61-49), but after Ian Kennedy defeated Matt Cain in Monday's 5-2 victory, Daniel Hudson outdueled Tim Lincecum to forge a first-place tie.

"It's a lot of fun but at the same time there's a long way to go," Hudson said. "The division goes through San Francisco and we have a lot of games left with the Giants."

Justin Upton, batting .436 with 21 RBIs over a 14-game hitting streak, hit his MLB-best seventh homer since July 21 while Paul Goldschmidt went deep in just his second game since getting recalled from Double-A Mobile on Monday.

"To come up here in this environment and do what he's done is a huge lift for us," manager Kirk Gibson said of the 23-year-old first baseman, who had 30 homers and 94 RBIs in 103 games in the minors.

"He's become part of our team. You have to be awed by it. He's shown great character by the way he's controlled his emotions."

Marquis (8-5, 3.95 ERA), meanwhile, suddenly finds himself in the midst of the NL West race after he was acquired from Washington on Saturday.

The right-hander's success against the Giants could give the Diamondbacks an advantage as they try for their first sweep at San Francisco since July 25-27, 2008. Marquis, 5-3 with a 2.31 ERA over 11 career starts against the Giants, is 4-2 with a 2.61 ERA lifetime at AT&T Park.

"I've always liked pitching in that ballpark, for one," Marquis told "Ultimately it comes down to executing pitches, I've come up with pretty good game plans with some of my pitching coaches and catchers in the past. Maybe my style of pitching suits me against their lineup. I'm looking forward to Wednesday and getting off to a good fresh start, and we'll see what happens."

"Anytime you pitch a big game, that's what you live for, that's why we play this game."

Marquis, 2-1 with a 2.67 ERA over his last five road outings, has made things difficult on both Aaron Rowand and Carlos Beltran. Rowand is 4 for 24 lifetime against Marquis while Beltran has gone 3 for 20.

San Francisco is 4 for 35 (.114) with runners in scoring position and has been outscored 31-8 during its season worst-tying five-game skid.

"These two clubs see each other two more times," manager Bruce Bochy said. "We're going stagnant with these bats and we need to get them going."

As their offense continues to falter, the Giants hope to regroup behind Ryan Vogelsong (8-1, 2.23), who's been somewhat rocky on the road of late but continues to shine at home. The right-hander allowed three runs over the first two innings Friday at Cincinnati before retiring 16 of the final 19 batters he faced during the 4-3, 13-inning loss.

Vogelsong, however, is 5-1 over 10 games - nine starts - at AT&T Park, compiling an MLB-leading 1.28 home ERA.

He gave up two runs and six hits in six innings but didn't factor in the decision of a 3-2 loss at Arizona on June 16.

Instant Replay: Kings shock Grizzlies late for second straight win

Instant Replay: Kings shock Grizzlies late for second straight win


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.  

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.

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.   

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.

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


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.

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.

Cavaliers: At the Chicago Bulls on Thursday night.

Spurs: Host the Golden State Warriors on Wednesday night.