Giants walk off in 11th, complete sweep of A's

475477.jpg

Giants walk off in 11th, complete sweep of A's

May 22, 2011BOXSCORE GIANTSVIDEOMLBPAGE MLBSCOREBOARD
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) Emmanuel Burriss was walking into the batter's box when he locked eyes with Darren Ford standing on second, a small sign only the two close friends could communicate without muttering a word."It was more so if I get a hit, you better score," Burriss said. "It wasn't so much I'm guaranteeing a hit."Burriss singled home Ford for the winning run in the bottom of the 11th inning, and the San Francisco Giants completed a three-game sweep of the cross-bay rival Oakland Athletics with a 5-4 victory Sunday.Burriss' line drive off reliever Brian Fuentes (1-6) was hit hard enough to make it a close play at the plate. The speedy Ford slid in just ahead of right fielder Ryan Sweeney's throw, sending the Giants running out of the dugout to celebrate their fifth straight victory and seventh walk-off win this season."I don't know who else scores in the game except Darren," Giants manager Bruce Bochy said. "Anybody else and it's not even close."San Francisco put the exclamation point on the latest edition of the Bay Bridge Series.Pinch-hitter Nate Schierholtz hit a tying, two-run homer in the eighth off Grant Balfour over the right-field wall and just short of splashing in McCovey Cove. The rally spoiled another stellar outing by A's starter Gio Gonzalez and sent Oakland tumbling to its fifth straight loss and ninth overall at AT&T Park.Sergio Romo (2-0) pitched two scoreless innings to help the Giants win their 10th straight home game. San Francisco is 11-0 in one-run games at its cozy waterfront ballpark this season."I feel like we're saying this every night," Bochy said about the close wins. "But to win this many consecutive games at home is pretty amazing."The Giants stifled their neighbors across the bay with solid pitching in the first two games, with ace Tim Lincecum throwing a three-hitter Saturday after Ryan Vogelsong allowed only one unearned run Friday. When Oakland finally found a way to score in the finale, it simply wasn't enough.It was that kind of weekend for the visitors.Ford started things for the Giants in the 11th with a one-out, pinch-hit single to right. He stole second on the first pitch, dancing around second even while Oakland intentionally walked Buster Posey."That's what I want to do. I want to make them nervous and uncomfortable," Ford said.Burriss singled to right and Ford went zipping around third, sliding in just under the tag by catcher Kurt Suzuki, who dropped the ball anyway."I didn't think it was going to be that close," Ford said.The win was even sweeter for Ford and Burriss, who have spent considerable time together at Triple-A Fresno, train together in the offseason and consider each other family."That's what we do a lot in Fresno," Burriss said of the late-game baserunning. "It was great to do it on the big stage."The Giants followed the usual script from the start.Freddy Sanchez doubled in the first down the left-field line, and Andres Torres hustled from first to beat the relay throw at the plate to give San Francisco a 1-0 lead.The Giants had a bit of a scare when Posey took a foul tip from Gonzalez off his mask in the second, bringing Bochy and a team trainer out of the dugout to check on the catcher. Posey said the right side of his jaw was sore, but he stayed behind the plate.Posey extended his hitting streak to 11 games with a two-out single in the third. He scored two batters later when Cody Ross grounded to third baseman Andy LaRoche, whose high throw pulled Daric Barton off first base and put San Francisco ahead 2-0.Josh Willingham sparked Oakland with a solo shot to left off Jonathan Sanchez in the sixth, his seventh home run of the season. Sanchez left after six innings, allowing five hits and striking out five.The A's seemed prime to be the ones to finally be on the winning end of a rally.Coco Crisp had an RBI double and Barton followed with a run-scoring single against Jeremy Affeldt in the seventh, giving Oakland a 3-2 lead. Pinch-hitter Hideki Matsui drove in Mark Ellis with a sacrifice fly off Ramon Ramirez in the eighth to make it 4-2.That appeared to be enough behind Oakland's strong pitching staff. Gonzalez left after 6 2-3 innings, striking out eight and allowing two runs on eight hits.Of course, nothing came easy for the A's in San Francisco."It's a game of little breaks and taking advantage of things," manager Bob Geren said. "They got a game-changing hit and that was the difference."NOTES: LHP Josh Outman will be called up from Triple-A Sacramento to start for Oakland on Monday at the Los Angeles Angels, Geren said. Oakland still has to decide who will start Tuesday with regulars Brandon McCarthy (stress reaction in right shoulder) and Tyson Ross (strained left side) on the disabled list. ... Oakland's two-time All-Star closer, Andrew Bailey (strained right forearm), is slated to make his second rehab appearance with Sacramento on Monday. ... Giants Hall of Famer Willie Mays was in the clubhouse before the game.

Fultz a perfect fit, but do Kings have assets required to trade up?

Fultz a perfect fit, but do Kings have assets required to trade up?

It’s lonely at the top, which is where Markelle Fultz sits on almost every 2017 NBA Draft board. The Brooklyn Nets should be set for the next decade with a big time scoring point guard. Instead, it’s the Boston Celtics who have no choice but to take Fultz with the No. 1 overall selection after a savvy trade that sent veterans Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett and Jason Terry to the Nets for a stack of picks and players back in 2013.

Fultz can do it all. He’s deadly from the outside, he can take you off the bounce and he has elite passing skills to boot. In a draft packed with star potential, specifically at the point guard position, the freshman from Washington stands out well above the rest.  

It would take a major shake up at the top for Fultz not to have his name called first on draft night, but there are plenty of very talented players sitting on the board behind him. Here is a deeper look at the potential top overall selection.

The Positives:
Fultz has tremendous size, length and athleticism for an NBA point guard. He measured in at 6-foot-5, 195-pounds with a 6-foot-10 wingspan and has a frame built to take on muscle. At just 19-years-old, he is already well defined physically and has plenty of room to grow and get stronger.

A crafty, high-end scorer, Fultz changes speed and direction well and has an advanced Euro-step for a young player. He averaged 23.2 points in 35.7 minutes a night for the Huskies while shooting 47.6 percent from the field and 41.3 percent from three. He can score from all three levels, finish well above the rim and play through contact.

In his lone season in college, Fultz showed that he is not only a legitimate scoring threat, but he is a willing passer and an unselfish teammate. While Lonzo Ball is considered the true pass first point guard of the draft, Fultz had a higher assist rate (35.5 to 31.5) and lower turnover rate (13.4 to 18.2) than the star guard from UCLA.

Fultz rebounds well for his position, averaging 5.7 rebounds per game at Washington. He also has potential as a defender, posting 1.6 steals and 1.2 blocks, although he is a work in progress on that end of the floor.

Known as a high-character kid and tireless worker off the court, Fultz has the entire package. He can also play the lead or shooting guard spot, which will come in handy if the Celtics decide to pair him with All-Star Isaiah Thomas in the backcourt.

The Negatives:
9-16 is a concern. Great college players should be able to will their team to victory, even if the talent around them is suspect. Washington was certainly worse off without Fultz down the stretch, losing their last six while he sat with a knee injury.

Shot selection and sloppy ball handling was also an issue this season. In Fultz’ defense, he played with a group that lacked overall talent and those issues might eventually disappear when he’s added to a roster that made it to the Eastern Conference Finals.  

Fultz is a quality chase down defender, but he fell asleep on plenty of plays or didn’t show a consistent fight on the defensive end. Lack of focus allowed for plenty of back cuts. He also showed an inconsistent effort fighting through screens.

He’s a work in progress on the defensive end, like most young players coming into the league. Most of these issues can easily be coached out of him at the next level.

Projection:
Fultz has an advanced feel and tons of room to expand his game. On the court, he resembles another former Husky in Brandon Roy. Fultz is much further along than Roy was at the same age, but possesses both the ability to score from anywhere on the court, as well as rebound and set up his teammates.  

It’s hard to imagine the Celtics passing on Fultz with the top overall selection, but if they do, teams will scramble trying to move up to select him. He would fit perfectly in the Kings starting backcourt alongside sophomore Buddy Hield, but Sacramento lacks the assets to move from five to one, Fultz’ likely landing spot.

 

Early offense, six strong from Cueto lift Giants past Braves in finale

Early offense, six strong from Cueto lift Giants past Braves in finale

BOX SCORE

SAN FRANCISCO -- The blisters on Johnny Cueto's middle and index fingers that limited his effectiveness in his last few starts haven't yet completely healed.

But the two-time All-Star is learning to pitch with them.

Cueto threw six strong innings and Brandon Crawford drove in three runs as the San Francisco Giants defeated the Atlanta Braves 7-1 on Sunday.

Cueto (5-4) bounced back from his roughest stretch as a Giant. He was 0-3 with a 4.33 ERA in his previous four starts.

"They're not bothering me like they were before," Cueto said through a translator. "I'm just getting used to it but I have to continue pitching until they get better."

The Giants won their third straight home series and posted their 11th victory in 18 games overall.

Crawford's two-run single highlighted a four-run second against R.A. Dickey (3-4) that made it 6-0.

Matt Kemp had three hits for Atlanta. But the Braves couldn't get much going against Cueto, who allowed one run on six hits and a walk. Cueto struck out eight, including five in a row at one point.

"He did what he needed to do to get us out," Kemp said. "We had chances to score runs and we didn't. I think in this series we really didn't do a good score of scoring runs."

Dickey allowed a season-high seven runs (six earned) on six hits and five walks in six innings.

"This can be a challenging place to throw because of the wind because it swirls so much," Dickey said.

Eduardo Nunez and Gorkys Hernandez each had two hits for the Giants. Joe Panik tripled to start the second-inning burst.

Cueto had two productive at-bats, bunting a runner to second in the second inning and driving in a run with a sacrifice fly in the third.

"It's always nice to have a lead and I thought Johnny was the sharpest he'd been this year," Giants catcher Buster Posey said. "Hopefully it's something he can build on. The changeup was working really well and his command of the fastball was really good."

Posey was 0 for 2 with two walks. He hasn't struck out in 55 consecutive plate appearances.

FUN FACTOR:
The Giants scored the game's first run when Nunez came around from third when a knuckleball glanced off catcher Kurt Suzuki glove in the bottom of the first. The play was ruled a passed ball. Asked if he had any empathy for the plight of his counterpart, Posey said "Yes, no question. It's not fun to hit, it doesn't look fun to catch, either."

FANCY FIELDING:
Hernandez made a diving catch in the gap in left-center robbing Emilio Bonifacio of an extra-base hit with one out in the seventh inning.

TRAINER'S ROOM:
Braves: 2B Brandon Phillips left in the fifth for pinch-hitter Jace Peterson. Phillips fouled a ball off his foot in his last at-bat in the third.

Giants: LHP Madison Bumgarner will start his throwing program on Friday, manager Bruce Bochy said. Bumgarner will start out playing catch and make five rehab starts. The 2014 World Series MVP suffered a separated left shoulder in a dirt biking accident. "The progress is happening," Bochy said. "I think he sees light at the end of the tunnel." ... Slumping rookie INF Christian Arroyo was out of the lineup on Sunday and his playing status appears uncertain. Arroyo, who turns 22 on Tuesday, is 0 for 19 in his last five games. "I'll talk to him, about what his situation is," Bochy said. "I'm definitely planning on giving him a couple of days" off.

UP NEXT:
Braves: RHP Julio Teheran will make his first career start against the Angels in Anaheim on Monday. He is 3-9 with a 5.63 ERA in 15 career interleague starts.

Giants: LHP Matt Moore will face the Nationals for the second time in his career. He was with Tampa Bay when he gave up two runs in five innings against Washington in 2012.