Hernandez, sloppy defense doom A's in opener

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Hernandez, sloppy defense doom A's in opener

April 1, 2011BOX SCORE A'S POSTGAME VIDEOMLB PAGE MLB SCOREBOARD
OAKLAND (AP) Felix Hernandez pumped his fist and marched off the mound with his usual swagger and sense of humor.King Felix made a little more history for the Mariners on opening day doing what he does best: throwing heat.Hernandez found his dominant Cy Young form in a hurry, pitching a five-hitter for his 14th career complete game and the majors' first this year as Seattle beat the AL West rival Oakland Athletics 6-2 on Friday night."After the first inning I said, 'I'm winning this game and then I'll go a complete game,'" Hernandez said, beaming.He tossed the first complete game on opening day in franchise history, too.Chone Figgins hit a go-ahead solo home run in the sixth inning off Craig Breslow (0-1). Ichiro Suzuki singled twice, drove in a run and stole a pair of bases as the Mariners won their opener under new manager Eric Wedge to end a five-game losing streak in Oakland. Seattle spoiled the A's opener played before a sellout crowd of 36,067 that included 1,000 standing-room only tickets.
GUTIERREZ: A's wilt under Opening Day expectations
Suzuki moved within one hit of tying Edgar Martinez's franchise record of 2,247.Hernandez (1-0) dazzled after allowing Josh Willingham's two-run, two-out homer in the first. He faced the minimum in each of the next six innings, allowing only a leadoff single to David DeJesus in the fourth before Landon Powell's base hit to begin the eighth."He's never going to give in," Figgins said. "He's not a Cy Young for nothing. He's not one of the best pitchers in the game for nothing."Hernandez, who won the 2010 AL Cy Young Award despite only 13 victories, struck out five and didn't walk a batter in a 108-pitch gem. DeJesus struck out swinging to end the 2-hour, 50-minute opener. The right-hander is now 3-0 with a 1.71 ERA in his four career opening-day outings."He's no joke," new teammate Jack Cust said.The previous pitcher to throw a complete game on opening day was Ben Sheets for the Milwaukee Brewers in 2007 against the Los Angeles Dodgers, according to STATS LLC."If you talk about opening day you can't ask for much more than that," Wedge said of his ace.
VIDEO: Brad Ziegler postgame
Willingham wasted little time showing why the A's acquired him from Washington this winter to be their new cleanup hitter and upgrade an offense that managed only 109 homers and 663 runs last season, the team's second-fewest in the last 28 non-shortened seasons.Willingham sent the second pitch he saw from Hernandez over the out-of-town scoreboard in left - the first opening-day homer allowed by Hernandez. Willingham became the 10th player in Oakland history to hit a home run in his first at-bat with the A's. Frank Thomas last did it on April 3, 2006.Cust scored an insurance run against his former club to start the Mariners' three-run seventh, when Oakland committed two of its five errors. A's catcher Kurt Suzuki gave everybody a scare when he went down writhing in pain after being clobbered by a scoring Miguel Olivo, but Suzuki stayed in the game to finish the inning before taking a seat with a mild left ankle sprain. Powell replaced him to start the eighth.Oakland last committed five errors in a game on July 6, 2007, at home against Seattle. The A's also had four errors during their season-opening 5-3 loss to the Mariners here on April 5 a year ago."Just a poor night all the way around. Too many walks, too many errors," manager Bob Geren said. "You're not going to see that from this club very often. That's not the recipe that we need to win."
Trevor Cahill hung tough in his first opening-day start but labored and saw his pitch count climb in a hurry. The right-hander, an 18-game winner in his second full major league season last year, allowed one run on four hits in 4 2-3 innings, struck out eight and walked four.Cahill escaped a bases-loaded jam in the fourth after consecutive errors by third baseman Kevin Kouzmanoff, who had his first career two-error game. Cahill left with runners on first and second with two outs in the fifth - at 105 pitches."I think there were a little more nerves than normal," Cahill said of the A's. "That's not our brand of baseball."New designated hitter Hideki Matsui went 0 for 3 and grounded into a double play in his Athletics debut.Mark Ellis, who matched his career best with a 13-game hitting streak to end last season, hit an eighth-inning single.Hundreds of tailgaters took to the parking lot early on a spectacular spring day in the Bay Area, when first-pitch temperature was 64 degrees.NOTES: Hernandez threw 73 of his pitches for strikes. The Mariners twice had pitchers go 8 1-3 innings on opening day. ... Oakland went 7-2 against Seattle at home last season. ... The uniforms worn by Matsui and Suzuki will be auctioned off Sunday to aid earthquake and tsunami relief efforts in their native Japan. ... The Mariners opened away from Safeco Field for the third straight year. They are 4-4 against the A's on opening day, including 2-3 in Oakland. ... Wedge is encouraged by the recent progress of Seattle CF Franklin Gutierrez, on the 15-day disabled list with stomach gastritis. "We're hoping antibiotics is going to take care of it," Wedge said. ... Mariners closer David Aardsma threw his second bullpen session Thursday as he recovers from hip surgery. "I think we'll see him sooner than later," Wedge said. ... Injured A's closer Andrew Bailey (strained forearm) played catch as far out as 120 feet, while RHP Rich Harden (strained lat muscle below his shoulder) threw a bullpen session. Both are on the DL to start the year.

Harbaugh goes Biblical, responds to Jacobs' criticisms of his coaching

Harbaugh goes Biblical, responds to Jacobs' criticisms of his coaching

Former NFL running back Brandon Jacobs spent one season with the San Francisco 49ers in 2012 under head coach Jim Harbaugh.

Jacobs only played in two games and gained seven yards on five carries. The results were nothing like his 5,087 yards and 60 touchdowns over eight years with the Giants. 

Apparently being pushed to the bench as a 31-year-old veteran running back didn't sit well with Jacobs. 

“Going somewhere where they don’t have route conversions into certain coverages was just absurd,” Jacobs said Thursday on the Tiki and Tierney Show. “They’re just running routes in the defense, getting people killed. Size and strength is what they had, and that’s why they won.

"Let’s be real. They had great assistant coaches, but Jim didn’t know what he was doing. Jim had no idea. Jim is throwing slants into Cover-2 safeties, getting people hurt. That guy knew nothing, man."

On Saturday morning, Harbaugh responded to Jacobs with a tweet to him. 

Harbaugh went 44-19-1 in four seasons as the 49ers' head coach. He also added five playoff wins and a trip to the Super Bowl in the 2012-13 season, the one that Jacobs played for him.

Shanahan: Brooks earns place on 49ers' first-team defense

Shanahan: Brooks earns place on 49ers' first-team defense

SANTA CLARA – The eldest non-kicker on the 49ers’ roster is learning a new position this offseason.

But Ahmad Brooks has plenty of experience adapting to new positions during his 12-year NFL career. He has played inside linebacker, outside linebacker in a 3-4 and defensive end in pass-rush situations.

Now, Brooks has moved to the strong side linebacker position -- the “Sam” -- in the 49ers’ new 4-3 scheme under first-year defensive coordinator Robert Saleh.

“He’s getting them (first-team repetitions) because he deserves them,” 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan said this week. “Watching how he played last year and then going into this offseason, you never know when a guy who has been around a bunch, if they’re going to feel that they need the offseason like other people do. And Ahmad’s been here every day and he’s needed it just like everyone has anytime you’re learning a new scheme.

“But anytime you have a veteran like that, you worry that, hey, maybe they won’t think that they do need it. But Ahmad has and he’s been here. He’s worked at everything. He’s in good shape. He’s done what we’ve asked in the weight room with Ray and he’s done everything with the position coaches and coordinator on defense. So, I think he’s learning it and he should because he’s putting the work in.”

Brooks, 33, has entered the past three offseasons with his place on the 49ers seemingly in jeopardy. But the 49ers have not been able to find a younger, better player to replace him. Brooks has tied for the team-lead in sacks in each of the past four seasons with 27 sacks over that span.

Eli Harold, Dekoda Watson and undrafted rookie Jimmie Gilbert were the other players who lined up at the Sam position during the first week of 49ers organized team activities.

Brooks and Aaron Lynch, starters at outside linebacker for the 49ers in the previous systems, have the steepest learning curves in the transition to a new defense. Lynch has moved to the team’s pass-rush defensive end position, known as the “Leo.”

“I think techniques are totally different,” Shanahan said. “How you want to take on blocks, how you want to play the run. Ahmad has been around a little longer than Aaron. So he’s probably had a little bit more crossover, some similar schemes.”