Giants walk eight Pirates, fall 9-2 to lose series

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Giants walk eight Pirates, fall 9-2 to lose series

Aug. 10, 2011BOX SCORE GIANTS VIDEOMLB PAGE MLB SCOREBOARD
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) -- The Pirates showed up in San Francisco mired in a 10-game losing streak with little going right. In two weeks, they'd fallen from first place to 10 games out.Winning two from the reigning World Series champion Giants did a lot as Pittsburgh heads off to face NL Central-leading Milwaukee in an important matchup of division rivals.Andrew McCutchen hit a two-run homer, Jeff Karstens bounced back from his worst start of the season and the Pirates won their first series in three weeks with a 9-2 victory over the struggling Giants on Wednesday.
RELATED: Giants Insider gallery -- Wild Sanchez extends slump
Pittsburgh is off Thursday before opening a weekend series with the Brewers, who have won all five previous meetings."We'll find out after the Friday night game, but we're going in with some confidence," Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said. "We were able to put a foot down and win a series on the road."Garrett Jones added an RBI single to continue his torrid August and help back Karstens (9-6), whose career-high nine strikeouts matched a season high for the team. Karstens, who ended a four-start winless stretch, gave up a season-high nine runs and nine hits in a 15-5 loss at San Diego last Friday."It's good for us, especially heading into Milwaukee," Karstens said.Pablo Sandoval homered for the Giants, who began the day with a half-game lead over Arizona in the NL West. The Diamondbacks host Houston in a night game. San Francisco has led the division since June 25.Jonathan Sanchez (4-7) walked McCutchen on four pitches and threw five straight balls to start the game. Sandoval came in from third and catcher Eli Whiteside hustled to the mound to chat with the left-hander, who was roughed up again in his second start since coming off the disabled list with biceps tendinitis. Sanchez was done after 4 1-3 innings and hasn't won since June 2 at St. Louis.McCutchen went 1 for 1 with three walks and a hit by pitch. He stole two bases and scored four runs - most by a Pirate in a game this year. His 16th clout of the year put Pittsburgh ahead 3-1 in the third. The Pirates have homered in four of their last five games and eight of 12.McCutchen was hit by a pitch leading off the seventh. Brandon Wood drove in a run that inning and Matt Diaz hit two run-scoring singles. Pittsburgh's Nos. 1-5 hitters went a combined 7 for 17 with six RBIs, eight runs scored, seven walks and a hit batter. Jones is batting .389 (14 for 36) with five doubles, three homers and seven RBIs this month.With a power show on offense of late, Bucs pitchers also have allowed 18 homers over the last nine games. Sandoval connected in the bottom of the first to tie the game at 1.
URBAN: Giants 'gripping' without Beltran
The Giants have hit 19 straight solo home runs, matching the 1914 Phillies' major league mark. Their last homer to score more than one run was a two-run drive by Nate Schierholtz on July 6 against San Diego.San Francisco finished up a disappointing 3-7 homestand with its 10th loss in 13 games. The Giants have dropped three straight series at AT&T Park for the first time since losing six consecutive home series from May 12-June 18, 2008."We've got a lot of baseball left," outfielder Cody Ross said. "We've got to go out and play like champions. We're not doing it. We're kind of all in a rut and it seems like we can't dig ourselves out. We've got to do something."Giants manager Bruce Bochy said the front office would discuss whether to stick with Sanchez. Lefty Barry Zito had been unimpressive in the fifth starter role and went back on the disabled list Aug. 1, but he could come off when San Francisco needs that pitcher again Aug. 16 in Atlanta."It has me a little concerned," Bochy said of the No. 5 spot. "We need that guy to help us win a ballgame, too. We haven't had a good start there in I don't know how many now."Pirates first baseman Derrek Lee was a late scratch from the lineup with a recurring left hand injury. Hurdle said Lee's hand was very sore after he played the two previous nights following a four-game absence with the bruised hand. Lee was hit with a pitch from Chicago's Carlos Marmol last Wednesday.Lee is batting .278 with two home runs and three RBIs in four games since joining the Pirates in a trade from Baltimore.NOTES: Giants RF Carlos Beltran missed his third straight game nursing a strained right hand and wrist. Schierholtz was held out with a right hip flexor. ... Zito will make another rehab outing Saturday for Triple-A Fresno then fly out to join the Giants on the road. ... San Francisco INF Miguel Tejada (lower abdominal strain) isn't quite ready to begin a rehab outing in the minors, Bochy said. Tejada will travel on the road trip. ... Pirates RHP Kevin Hart had arthroscopic cleanup surgery Tuesday performed by Dr. James Andrews in Pensacola, Fla. The team hopes to have Hart ready by spring training. ... Pirates LHP Paul Maholm (6-12, 3.54 ERA) starts Friday trying to end a string of three straight losing decisions. He is 1-5 on the road and is coming off a 13-2 loss Saturday at San Diego. ... All-Star RHP Matt Cain goes for the Giants on Friday at Florida, trying to improve to 4-1 for his career vs. the Marlins. He lost to Florida on May 24.

A's spring training Day 42: Roster longshot Decker could claim outfield spot

A's spring training Day 42: Roster longshot Decker could claim outfield spot

MESA, Ariz. — As the pieces are beginning to fit for the A’s 25-man roster, Jaff Decker may be an unlikely feel-good story come Opening Night.

A non-roster invitee this spring, the journeyman has impressed with his all-around game to the point that he might make Oakland’s club as a fifth outfielder.

There’s other factors that play into it — how many relievers the A’s carry will determine whether they keep five outfielders — but things are breaking right for the 27-year-old Decker, who’s with his fourth organization and has never made an Opening Night roster.

When Jake Smolinski went down with a shoulder injury that required surgery, it thrust Decker into the competition. Then Monday, the A’s released veteran Alejandro De Aza, who had impressed this spring but had an opt-out clause in his minor league deal. The A’s think enough of Decker that they cut De Aza loose. On Monday, Decker returned from a minor oblique issue and started in left field, going 1-for-3 in a 10-3 loss to Kansas City.

“I’m super excited,” Decker said. “I feel like I fit in well here, and I get along with the guys really well. It’s a good group of baseball minds, baseball guys. I hope I have done enough and shown I’m healthy enough to land that spot.”

De Aza hit .300 in 19 games and displayed the veteran savvy that seemed to make him a possible fit on the A’s bench. Manager Bob Melvin expressed hope that De Aza might re-sign with the A’s if he doesn’t find a big league opportunity elsewhere.

But Decker, who bats left-handed as does De Aza, is hitting .308 and has his own attributes, including a strong arm and the ability to play all three outfield spots. It’s a nice package of skills for a player who, at 5-foot-9 and 190 pounds, doesn’t appear the prototypical big league outfielder at first glance.

If the A’s keep seven relievers, they will take five outfielders into the regular season. The decision on a seventh reliever appears to be between lefty Daniel Coulombe and right-hander Frankie Montas. But the A’s could hang on to both and only keep four outfielders, with Mark Canha being the fourth.

Decker fun fact: His first name is pronounced “Jeff.” He’s named after his uncle, whose first name was misspelled on his birth certificate. Decker’s uncle kept the spelling.

MELVIN ON RAIDERS: Melvin, a Bay Area native who is quite tuned in to the history of local teams, weighed in on the Raiders announcing a move to Las Vegas. That news has a direct impact on the A’s, obviously, as a co-tenant of the Coliseum with the Raiders.

“It’s too bad,” Melvin said. “Like us, they have a rich tradition and unbelievable fan base. They’re well supported in the Bay Area. It’s tough to have to deal with it.”

NOTEWORTHY: In his first start since being named part of the rotation, Andrew Triggs struggled mightily against the Royals, getting tagged for eight runs and three homers in 3 2/3 innings. While stressing that now is no time for complacency in his position, Triggs also said he was approaching the game differently than if it were the regular season. He kept throwing his changeup, his fourth best pitch, in an effort to get more comfortable with it.

“If this were (the regular season), we probably would have said in the first or second inning, this wasn’t so great, and gone out there and started back-dooring cutters and working off the sinker,” he said. “But we made a concerted effort to work on a pitch, it wasn’t very good, and the results showed that.”

FAMILIAR FACE: One of the homers off Triggs came from former Athletic Brandon Moss, who connected for a two-run shot in the fourth. The outfielder signed a two-year, $12 million contract with the Royals in the offseason.

ODDS AND ENDS: Coulombe had a great day, tossing three scoreless innings. That’s three outings in a row without allowing a run for the lefty after a rough patch before that. Melvin pointed out that the ability to throw multiple innings will be important if Coulombe makes the team. … Matt Chapman homered in the fifth, his third long ball of the spring. He’s hitting .261 and playing stellar defense. “He’s got a lot of enthusiasm and it rubs off on guys,” Melvin said.

 

Fairfield-native Avila gets NABF Featherweight title shot

Fairfield-native Avila gets NABF Featherweight title shot

Fairfield native Manuel "Tino" Avila (22-0, 8 KO) will challenge Joseph Diaz Jr. (23-0, 13 KO) for his NABF Featherweight title on May 6th at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.

This will be Avila's first appearance on pay-per-view television, as part of the undercard for the Canelo Alvarez-Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. main event presented by Golden Boy Promotions.

This will be the biggest test of each fighter's budding careers,  and could prove to be the most action-packed fight of the night. 

Avila is coming off a hard-earned split decision victory over Jose Ramirez last November. The 24-year will undoubtedly enter the bout as an underdog.

Diaz - a former U.S. Olympian - has successfully defended his title four times, including a unanimous decision victory over Horacio Garcia in December.