Happy birthday Willie -- Giants walk off on Rox

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Happy birthday Willie -- Giants walk off on Rox

May 6, 2011BOX SCORE GIANTS POSTGAME VIDEOMLB PAGE MLB SCOREBOARD
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) A birthday tribute and a little icing on the cake, too.The Say Hey Kid couldn't have had a better night at the ballpark.
URBAN: Mays' sixth tool was joy
Freddy Sanchez singled home the winning run off Felipe Paulino in the ninth inning, giving the Giants a 4-3 victory over the Colorado Rockies on a Friday night when San Francisco celebrated Willie Mays' 80th birthday.Sanchez's line drive up the middle against Paulino (0-2) scored Cody Ross from second and sent the Giants pouring out of the dugout, delighting a roaring crowd that came to toast Mays on a chilly, breezy night along San Francisco Bay."Happy birthday, Willie!" Ross said. "This is your birthday present."Nate Schierholtz tied it with a two-run double in the eighth in a gritty at-bat against Rafael Betancourt, setting the stage for some of that postseason magic from a year ago that's been missing this young season for the World Series champions.Brian Wilson (1-1) pitched the ninth before Ross led off the bottom of the inning with a double down the right-field line. Paulino struck out Aaron Rowand before Sanchez capped San Francisco's comeback from a 3-0 deficit with another strong at-bat on a night full of them."It was a great win for us. A lot of guys came through in some big situations," Sanchez said.The Giants put the exclamation point on a night dedicated to the franchise's most famous star.They honored Mays before the game with a video tribute that included everyone from Hank Aaron to former President Bill Clinton and singer Tony Bennett. A congratulatory letter from President Barack Obama also was read and several of the Hall of Famer's former teammates were alongside him in the infield for the celebration.Colorado nearly crashed the party.Troy Tulowitzki started things off for the Rockies with his 100th career home run in the second inning, a solo shot off Matt Cain. Jonathan Herrera had an RBI single and Carlos Gonzalez added a sacrifice fly in the third to give Colorado a 3-0 lead."We didn't do anything to lose the game. They just came back and won it," Rockies manager Jim Tracy said. "They had some good luck in my opinion with some well-placed hits."The early lead appeared to be enough, with starter Ubaldo Jimenez back to throwing a wicked breaking ball that was at times dominant. Yet he was still puzzling other times, walking five, and departed after throwing 118 pitches in six innings.Jimenez, whose only run allowed came on a RBI groundout by Buster Posey in the sixth, has been searching for his command after spending time on the disabled list with a cracked cuticle on his pitching thumb. And while his performance offered a glimmer of hope for the Rockies ace, the inconsistency was a reminder he still isn't back to his form from a year ago - when he was 15-1 by the time he took the mound as the National League starter for the All-Star game."I was more confident and felt more comfortable," said Jimenez, who's still searching for his first win this season. "I felt like I was more consistent with my delivery."His bullpen just couldn't hold it.Posey singled and Pat Burrell later doubled with two outs off Betancourt in the eighth. Schierholtz knocked a double down the line past diving third baseman Ian Stewart that tied it 3-all, giving the Giants a chance to deliver a win on a night that was special for so many other reasons."It was nice to see Willie out there with his friends," manager Bruce Bochy said. "And it's nice to hand him a birthday present."NOTES: The Rockies are planning to start RHP Clayton Mortensen on Saturday in place of Esmil Rogers, Tracy said. Rogers is dealing with lateral discomfort and could miss more than one start. The team will announce a move before Saturday's game to clear space for Mortensen. ... Giants LHP Barry Zito (sprained right foot) threw on flat ground from about 60 feet. He will be evaluated by a doctor Saturday. ... Giants CF Andres Torres (strained left Achilles' tendon) will remain on a rehab assignment at Triple-A Fresno through Sunday. ... Giants reliever Santiago Casilla threw a bullpen session and will likely face hitters in a simulated game Sunday. ... Giants 3B Pablo Sandoval (broken bone in right wrist) said he will have his hard cast removed next week and replaced with a removable cast. He is optimistic he will be back in the lineup on schedule within six weeks.

Hoesen leads the ways as Earthquakes take down Real Salt Lake

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USATSI

Hoesen leads the ways as Earthquakes take down Real Salt Lake

BOX SCORE

SAN JOSE — Danny Hoesen scored his second goal of the season and assisted on Marco Urena's second goal, lifting the San Jose Earthquakes to a 2-1 victory over Real Salt Lake on Saturday night.

Hoesen opened the scoring in the 13th minute, off a long cross from Nick Lima. After touching the ball down, Hoesen gathered it off a defender's foot, stepped inside and unleashed a left footer into the top corner from just off the penalty spot.

Hoesen's long through ball down the right side sent Urena free and from a tight angle he rolled the ball past Nick Rimando in the 68th minute.

San Jose (6-6-5), which has battled injuries and call-ups to score just 16 goals in 16 games, won for just the second time in its last seven games.

Lima picked up two yellow cards in the second half and the Quakes played a man down from the 71st minute.

David Bingham made only one save in each half but was denied his seventh shutout when Jose Hernandez scored his second goal in the fourth minute of stoppage time for Salt Lake (5-11-2).

Latest round of bullpen auditions go poorly in Giants' 50th loss

Latest round of bullpen auditions go poorly in Giants' 50th loss

SAN FRANCISCO -- Practically speaking, the 50th loss is no different than the one before or the one after, but this sport is built on milestones, and this one came quickly.

The Giants lost their 50th game on August 12 last year. This season, it was clinched when Ryder Jones grounded out in his fourth career at-bat, handing the Mets a 5-2 win on June 24. 

Bruce Bochy called losing 50 of your first 77 games "hard to believe" and "embarrassing." Johnny Cueto, who went seven strong, said the reality was "hard and sad." Brandon Belt, who got Cueto off the hook for a loss, agreed with his manager.

"That's a pretty good word to use -- it is embarrassing to come out and lose every day, especially with the group of guys we have," Belt said. "When you're losing as much as this, it is embarrassing. We're trying to do whatever we can to turn this thing around."

Lately, that has meant changes to the roster. It is officially audition season, and in that respect, it was not a particularly inspiring day for the bullpen. The Giants felt they would have a better mix this year, but it hasn't played out. Instead, they're once again trying to find pieces for the next successful Giants bullpen.

With Hunter Strickland suspended and Derek Law in the minors, two young relievers, a middle-innings stalwart, and a newcomer pitched the final two frames. They gave up four runs.

Sam Dyson was the first on the mound in the eighth. Belt had homered a few minutes earlier, tying a good starter's duel. Dyson gave up a leadoff triple to Curtis Granderson and walked Asdrubal Cabrera before throwing two good sliders past Yoenis Cespedes for the strikeout. With two lefties coming up and the go-ahead run still on third, Bochy turned to Steven Okert. He immediately gave up a seeing-eye RBI single to Jay Bruce. Wilmer Flores doubled off George Kontos later in the frame to make it 3-1. 

In the ninth, Kyle Crick showed some of the wildness that kept him in the minors for seven years. He, too, gave up a leadoff triple, a sin you always pay for. A walk helped put another run into scoring position and a wild pitch extended the Mets’ lead to four. 

Before the game, Bochy talked of getting an extended look at Jones. He was 0-for-4 in his first big league game but he’ll be back out there tomorrow. It’s time to fight for a job, and the same holds true of some relievers who didn’t fare well Saturday. It is a group with a closer locked into a longterm deal and little else decided. 

Are Strickland or Law eighth-inning guys? Will Dyson be a worthwhile reclamation project? Will Kontos be back, and will he carve out a different role? Are Okert and Josh Osich capable of giving Bochy lefties he trusts? Is Crick’s improvement in Triple-A a sign of things to come? There are many questions to be answered over the next three months. 

“This is a good time for them, this is what players get up here for, to show what they can do,” Bochy said. “Because of our situation, we’re going to take a look at these guys and we know there are going to be growing pains.”