Kings stage inspired comeback to beat Suns

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Kings stage inspired comeback to beat Suns

March 29, 2011BOXSCORE KINGS VIDEONBAPAGE NBASCOREBOARD

SACRAMENTO (AP) On a night when the biggest news for the franchise was happening off the court, the youthful Sacramento Kings and their loyal fans were focused only on the game.Inspired by a fan base that has stuck by them in a trying season, Marcus Thornton scored 24 points and tied a career high with 11 rebounds for the Kings, who won their season-high fourth straight game by defeating the Phoenix Suns 116-113 on Tuesday night.Despite the strong possibility of the team moving to Anaheim next season, the Kings are enjoying their best stretch of the season, winning five of six games."It was overwhelming. (The fans) have deep roots and deep love for this team," Kings coach Paul Westphal said. "Whatever happens, nobody knows. We're honored that they celebrated basketball and the Kings. We felt that."Early Tuesday night, the Anaheim City Council voted 5-0 to approve a 75 million financial package to lure the Kings from Sacramento. The council also voted 5-0 to pay for the Kings' relocation.Orange County billionaire Henry Samueli, who manages the Honda Center where the Kings would play, will finance the deal himself, while the city is issuing the bond package. Officials at the Honda Center announced Tuesday that they will be creating a waiting list for fans who have inquired about NBA tickets for next season.At a press conference, Sacramento mayor Kevin Johnson, a former NBA star in Phoenix, said he's resigned to the Kings moving to Anaheim but expects the Maloof ownership group to pay its 77 million loan to the City of Sacramento.Despite the off-court news, attendance was 13,744 and fans cheered the Kings like it was just another regular-season game, ignoring the likelihood that the team won't return next season."After announcing that we might be moving, the real fans have come back and supported us," Donte Greene said. "They still love us. We're the only thing here besides the (Sacramento) River Cats (Triple-A baseball team). They want to keep this team here. They keep coming to the games and showing that they want the team to stay here."While the Kings celebrated only their 10th home win this season, the Suns were lamenting yet another loss, their third straight and eighth in 11 games. Phoenix has watched any hopes of the playoffs practically disappear over this stretch. The Suns (36-37) are 10th in the conference and trail the eighth-place Memphis Grizzlies by 4 12 games with nine games remaining in the regular season.If the Suns miss the playoffs, it will only be the third time since the 1988-89 season. The last time they failed to make the playoffs was the 2008-09 season."You have to play your way into the playoffs," Suns coach Alvin Gentry said. "Right now, the way we're playing we don't deserve to be in the playoffs. All the teams we are chasing are really good. And we are not. We are still alive in the playoff race, but we are basically on life support."Beno Udrih had 19 points for the Kings, who were coming off a 4-1 road trip.Greene scored 18 points and DeMarcus Cousins had 17 points and a season-best eight assists, while Jason Thompson had 14 points and 10 rebounds. Tyreke Evans added 11 points, 10 rebounds and eight assists."My foot feels better and I'm moving at a good speed," said Evans, who had seven points, three rebounds and two assists in the fourth quarter when the Kings outscored the Suns 31-20.Both Jared Dudley and Channing Frye scored 21 points for the Suns, who lost to the Kings for the third straight time. Marcin Gortat had 17 points and 11 rebounds, and Steve Nash added 13 points and 14 assists.Ahead by 10 early in the fourth quarter, a 14-4 run by the Kings tied it. The remainder of the quarter was a back-and-forth game, until Sacramento scored seven straight points to turn a one-point deficit into a 116-110 lead."They have been playing well and they have been a tough matchup for us," Nash said. "We got off to a good start, but couldn't close out the game. That's pretty much how it's been going, not only against them, but recently and throughout the season."After Dudley put the Suns ahead 111-110 on a jumper, the Kings retook the lead on Thornton's 3-point for a two-point lead with just under a minute to play. Evans added two free throws to put Sacramento ahead 114-110 with 18.7 seconds left.Frye missed a 3-pointer that could have pulled the Suns within a point. The Kings secured the rebound and the victory when Thornton made two free throws for a 116-110 advantage."As we get healthy and are able to sort things out, I think we're showing that there is a lot of reason for optimism," Westphal said. "I think this team is excited about what the chances of success are going forward."Notes: Gary Bender, who has called Suns TV games for nearly two decades, announced his retirement Monday. ... Hill scored 13 points and Gortat had 12 in the opening half when the Suns led 61-59. Udrih had 15 points for the Kings. ... Last year's rookie of the year, Evans played in his third straight game after missing the previous 19 with plantar fasciitis in his left foot.

Bumgarner throws three innings of no-hit ball in first rehab start

Bumgarner throws three innings of no-hit ball in first rehab start

BOX SCORE

Madison Bumgarner was back on the hill Sunday night in a Giants jersey for the first time since being placed on the DL on April 21 due to a dirt bike accident

Bumgarner took the mound for the Arizona Rookie League Giants and did not allow a hit in three innings pitched. The Giants' ace also struck out two and walked one. 

In both the first and third innings, Bumgarner pitched a perfect three up and three down frame. 

Bumgarner was diagnosed with a Grade 2 sprain of his left throwing shoulder and sustained bruised ribs from his dirt bike accident on an off day in Colorado. Pitching in a game for the first time in over two months, Bumgarner was throwing between 88-91 miles per hour, according to Tommy Stokke of FanRagSports. 

After finishing his three innings of work, Bumgarner went down to the bullpen to increase his pitch count, reports Sande Charles of FanRagSports

Before sustaining the injury, Bumgarner was 0-3 with a 3.00 ERA in four starts this season. 

The Giants have gone 21-41 since Bumgarner's injury. They are 27-51 on the year and sit 24.5 games behind the Dodgers in the NL West. 

After another Giants clunker, Bochy tells players 'enough is enough'

After another Giants clunker, Bochy tells players 'enough is enough'

SAN FRANCISCO — A few minutes after yet another missed opportunity at the plate Sunday, a voice came over a speaker in the press box at AT&T Park and announced a 524th consecutive sellout. It nicely summed up this current stretch of Giants baseball. 

The seats are emptier than they used to be at first pitch, and they were just about abandoned in the ninth inning of an 8-2 loss, but for the most part the fans are still showing up in droves. One woman brought a toaster by the dugout Sunday morning and asked players and coaches to sign it, hoping to recapture the magic from across the bridge. Another, Bryan Stow, made his first appearance of the season at AT&T Park, met with Bruce Bochy, and said he hoped to see a win. As Matt Moore started warming up, a band set up on top of the visiting dugout to play hits that celebrated the 50th anniversary of the Summer of Love. 

For a while, AT&T Park was rocking. And then, as has happened so often this summer, the game started. 

The Giants turned in another epic clunker in a season full of them. They have lost 12 of their last 13 games and 21 of 26, but it’s worse than the raw numbers. On most nights, some in the organization have noted privately, they are simply boring. It’s one thing to lose, it’s quite another to do it in this way. 

“There’s no getting around it,” Bochy said after the sweep. “I’ve been through some tough stretches here and this is as tough as any stretch I’ve seen. For some reason the baseball gods are really testing us here and (testing) this group. It’s not that they’re not coming out ready or trying, but enough is enough.

“At some point, we’ve got to find a way to get this thing turned around.”

Even a slight pivot would be welcomed by the faithful. There were scattered boos Sunday, the latest in a growing trend. This is a fan base that has seen the highest highs, but rarely in franchise history have the lows been this low. 

The crowd no longer turns to the rally lights that were used so often in an awful April, but the noise still grows with each new rally. And then, every single time Sunday, the Giants killed off any hope. 

In the second inning, a Brandon Belt bunt single and Brandon Crawford bloop put two on, but a pair of rookies flied out. 

In the third, the bases were loaded ahead of Buster Posey. He flied out to bring one run across, and there were still runners on the corners for Belt, who leads the team in homers. On a 2-2 count, Hunter Pence inexplicably took off for second. He was caught, the inning was over, and the two-run Mets lead was intact. Bochy said he did not send Pence. 

In the sixth, there were two on with no outs for Posey. Both runners bolted to stay out of a double play. Posey popped up to first -- for a double play.

“He’s not a guy that strikes out, so I’m pretty confident sending runners with Buster,” Bochy said. “We can’t keep laying back. We’re trying to force the issue a bit and stay out of double plays.”

In the eighth, the Giants loaded the bases for Posey and Belt. Posey grounded out. Belt struck out for the third time. 

“We’re getting guys out there,” Bochy said. “We’re not doing enough damage.”

Matt Moore’s damage was self-inflicted. He twice gave up homers to the guy — Rene Rivera — hitting in front of the pitcher. Moore said he has stopped throwing his cutter the past three starts and tried to get his four-seamer going, but the Mets were teeing off. Moore gave up five runs on seven hits. He was pulled in the fifth, left to think about mechanics that still aren’t right. 

“The cutter is a little bit different of a pitch and at times it can take away from the four-seam fastball location-wise, and command of the four-seam was starting to go down the more I threw (the cutter),” Moore said. “I’m anxious to get back to it, but the foundation has got to be throwing the four-seam fastball. I need to execute where they’re carrying through the zone, not running or cutting.”

Moore said his confidence is fine and his problems are not physical. Others can no longer say that. Austin Slater, a rare bright spot in this five-win month, was pulled with a tight hip flexor. He was headed for an MRI. 

Slater is too young to be one of the players Bochy approached after the game. He said he talked to a few, though, passing along that “enough is enough” message. Moore, last in the National League in ERA (6.04), was not one who needed a reminder. 

“I’m sitting on a six right now with not a lot of wins and not enough team wins when I’m throwing,” he said. “It’s been 'enough' for me for the last couple of months.”