Gio sharp, Anderson shaky in A's loss to Reds

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Gio sharp, Anderson shaky in A's loss to Reds

March 1, 2011BOXSCORE A'S POSTGAMEVIDEOMLBPAGE MLBSCOREBOARD

PHOENIX (AP) Any young first baseman in the Cincinnati Reds' organization knows the path to the big leagues usually requires a detour.With reigning MVP Joey Votto a fixture at first base in Cincinnati, Yonder Alonso has been spending time this spring learning to play the outfield. The Reds are eager to find any way to get Alonso into the majors because of swings like the one he took on Tuesday.Alonso hit a two-run homer in the Reds' 7-6 victory over the Oakland Athletics. It was his first homer of the spring."He was sitting on the pitch middle-in, and he got his pitch and turned on it," said Reds bench coach Chris Speier, who managed the split-squad team. "That's a great thing to see."Alonso, 23, has been working out with Reds outfield coach Billy Hatcher to learn the new position. A former No. 1 pick, Alonso hasn't played the outfield in a game, but he is expected to do so later this spring.Alonso's two-run homer, off A's lefty Brett Anderson, followed Jonny Gomes' two-run shot earlier in the fourth inning, giving the Reds a 4-1 lead.The Reds did not have a batter reach base in the first three innings, striking out five times in the first two innings against A's lefty Gio Gonzalez."He was amazing," Oakland manager Bob Geren said. "He threw 95 and was hitting his spots. He had a great curve ball. Very impressive. A very nice first game."Gonzalez threw first-pitch strikes to all six batters he faced. He said that was a point of emphasis for him this spring. Last year, even though he had a 15-victory season, he still issued 4.1 walks per nine innings, highest among A's starters."That's a good hitting lineup," Gonzalez said. "You don't want to fall behind. You want to get ahead and put them away quickly before they start a rally."Reds starter Mike Leake, vying for Cincinnati's No. 5 starter job, gave up one run in two innings in his first start of the spring.Oakland's two new free-agent relievers, Brian Fuentes and Grant Balfour, each made their debuts. Fuentes pitched a scoreless inning and Balfour gave up three runs.A's designated hitter Chris Carter, one of the club's top hitting prospects, had two hits and an RBI.Trailing 7-1, Oakland scored five runs in the final three innings to get within a run. The final two runs scored after the Reds made two errors, a bad throw by third baseman Junior Arias and a dropped fly ball by center fielder Felix Perez.NOTES: A's OF David DeJesus (illness) is expected to return to the lineup on Wednesday. ... RHP Andrew Bailey, who is recovering from elbow surgery, threw a 40-pitch bullpen session with hitters standing in. Bailey is expected to make his spring debut next week. ... Hall of Famer Rickey Henderson will be in A's camp for a week, working with the players on baserunning, bunting and outfield play.

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.