From Comcast SportsNetGLENDALE, Ariz. (AP) -- Kevin Kolb tried to downplay the significance of beating his former team, focusing more on the success of his current team.In the huddle, the Cardinals quarterback couldn't hide his desire to knock off Philadelphia. He wanted this one bad.Kolb orchestrated Arizona's offense to near perfection while building a big first-half lead and the defense hounded Michael Vick all day, sacking him five times to help the Cardinals run over the Eagles 27-6 on Sunday for their best start in 38 years."He was calling for guys to reach down and dig deep, that we really needed to make a play," Cardinals receiver Larry Fitzgerald said. "He really doesn't talk that much in the huddle, but today I could tell that he was extra motivated."Kolb was sharp in his first start against his former team, throwing for 222 yards and a pair of touchdowns on 17-of-24 passing. He led the Cardinals to a 24-0 halftime lead, in part, by reconnecting with Larry Fitzgerald, who had one catch against New England last week.The guest conductor for the Phoenix Symphony on Thursday, Fitzgerald kept the high notes going by catching nine passes for 114 yards and a touchdown while becoming the youngest player in NFL history to reach 700 receptions.Adding to Kolb's satisfaction was the way Arizona's defense played against the man who pushed him out of Philly.Harassing Vick from the opening snap, the Cardinals hit him hard and often, forcing him into two fumbles, including one that James Sanders returned 93 yards for a touchdown on the final play of the first half.Backing up a big road win against the Patriots with a dominating victory over the Eagles, the Cardinals (3-0) are off to their best start since 1974, more than a dozen years before the team moved to the desert. They've also won seven straight home games, the second-longest streak in franchise history, and have won 10 of 12 dating to the end of last season."I'm going to enjoy it, don't get me wrong, but the biggest thing is being 3-0," Kolb said. "Being 3-0 with the teams that we've played and the fashion that we've won, it's been exciting."The Eagles' season had been, too -- until they ran into Kolb and his Cardinals.Philadelphia (2-1) became the first NFL team to open a season with two one-point wins. The Eagles didn't give themselves a chance to rally for another victory.The NFL's best offense the first two games, the Eagles had three turnovers, running their season total to 12, and labored all day against the scrappy Cardinals, unable to keep them off Vick."They played better than we did, clearly better," Eagles coach Andy Reid said. "They coached better, they played better and that is my responsibility. I didn't have my football team ready to play and they did."After three years of waiting behind Donovan McNabb, Kolb was pushed aside when Vick made his triumphant return to the NFL.Even after being traded to Arizona and landing a huge contract extension, Kolb still had to fight for recognition.He lost a tight preseason battle with Skelton, but came off the bench in the opener against Seattle when Skelton sprained his right ankle. Kolb took the Cardinals on the winning drive and was steady enough last week to lead them to one of their biggest road victories in recent years, 20-18 over the Patriots.Skelton returned to practice late this week, but was limited and couldn't go Sunday.Kolb made the most of his opportunity. He completed all three of his throws on Arizona's opening drive to set up Jay Feely's 16th straight field goal, from 47 yards.After the Cardinals recovered a fumble by Eagles punt returner Damaris Johnson, Kolb threw an 8-yard TD pass to Michael Floyd, who made his first NFL catch a memorable one by juggling the ball through two Philadelphia defenders.Kolb kept clicking in the second quarter, throwing a 37-yard touchdown pass to Fitzgerald that put the Cardinals up 17-0. He also helped Fitzgerald reach a big milestone in the quarter, hitting him on a 4-yard pass to reach 700 receptions in 29 years and 23 days and eclipse Dallas tight end Jason Witten, who became the youngest last week at 30 years and 133 days.Arizona's offense bogged down in the second half -- 28 yards in the third quarter -- but ground the game away with a time-consuming, 13-play drive in the fourth quarter that resulted in a 27-yard field goal by Feely for a 27-6 lead.Vick finished with 217 yards on 17-of-37 passing after entering the game second in the NFL with 688 yards."I wish I had all the answers right now," Vick said. "The only thing I can tell you is we didn't play our best, Nowhere near what we have potential to do."NOTES:Arizona has at least two sacks in nine straight games, the longest current streak in the NFL. ... Philadelphia played without receiver Jeremy Maclin (hip) and left tackle King Dunlap (hamstring). ... LaSean McCoy was Philadelphia's leading rusher with 70 yards on 13 carries. ... Arizona also won seven straight home games from 2007-08 and set the franchise record with nine straight in 1925.
CHICAGO — John Lackey's night started with a leadoff homer. Ty Blach's night started with a 13-pitch battle. Neither one is a positive for a pitcher, but Blach didn't view it that way. He actually appreciated Ben Zobrist stretching him out.
"It's good to have a battle like that and get you locked in," Blach said. "It gets you focused and you'll be like, I can execute and get guys out. It's good. It's a good battle."
There, in a nutshell, is so much of what Bruce Bochy loves about his young left-hander. The Giants have found Blach's arm and resolve to be remarkably resilient. He wasn't bothered when they moved him to the bullpen and he didn't get too high when they moved him back to the rotation. He is the same after seven shutout innings or three poor ones. Bochy smiled when asked about the Zobrist at-bat, which ended in a strikeout looking.
"How 'bout that?" the manager said. "He won that at-bat. It seems like the advantage goes to the hitter, seeing all those pitches. He kept his focus and got a called strikeout and here he is pitching in the eighth inning."
After needing 13 pitches for one out, Blach got the next 23 on 81 pitches. Bochy thought Blach tired a bit in the eighth, but the deep effort allowed Bochy to mix and match in the bullpen, and ultimately he found the right mix. Hunter Strickland and Mark Melancon closed it out and got Blach his second win.
--- From last night, Joe Panik's huge night helped give Blach an early lead. With the help of Ron Wotus and his shift charts, he also put on a show defensively.
--- We're trying something new right after the final pitch: Here are five quick takeaways from the 6-4 win.
--- The options game sent Kelby Tomlinson back to Triple-A on Wednesday when the Giants activated Melancon, but his latest stint in Sacramento comes with a twist. Tomlinson started his third consecutive game in center field on Monday. The Giants are getting a bit more serious about their longtime plan to make Tomlinson a super-utility player.
“Tommy is a valuable guy in the majors and if we can give him some experience in the outfield, it gives you more flexibility and versatility,” manager Bruce Bochy said.
This is not Tomlinson’s first foray into the outfield. He did work there in the offseason after the 2015 season and he has played 25 big league innings in left field the last two seasons. This is Tomlinson’s first real experience with center field, and while in the past he has said that the transition isn’t as easy as some might think, Bochy is confident Tomlinson can figure it out. He certainly has the speed to be a semi-regular in the outfield, and the Giants aren’t exactly brimming with quality center field options behind Denard Span, who is dealing with his second injury of the season.
“It’s a little different now,” Bochy said when asked about Tomlinson’s past experiences in the outfield. “He’s in Sacramento doing it, and knowing there’s a possibility we could need help in the outfield.”
If the switch doesn’t come in handy this season, it could in 2018. Bochy compared Tomlinson’s infield-outfield ability to Eduardo Nuñez, who has found regular playing time in left but is a free agent after the year.
--- Hunter Pence did some light running in the outfield before Monday’s game. Bochy said Pence is still about a week away from being an option.
--- Bochy has said it a few times now when asked about the standings, so it’s officially a new motto for a team that got off to a brutal start: “We’ve put ourselves in a great situation for a great story.”
--- They're starting to get a little grumpy around here with their team hovering around .500. Perhaps the Cubs thought they could fool a few on the way out of Wrigley.
SAN ANTONIO -- Those following the Warriors and their effort to rage through the playoffs should put away those thoughts and hopes that Steve Kerr will return to full-time coaching later this week or sometime before the NBA Finals.
Forget about it, unless you know something he doesn’t.
And if you do, he wants to hear what you have to say.
Don’t get it wrong: Kerr wants to coach, would love to coach. That’s why, even as he feels like hell, he’s hanging around the team like a languid groupie. He wants to be with the Warriors in the heat of battle because they’re his team, within the culture he instilled, and he would like nothing more to get another chance to win The Finals.
But because the procedure he underwent more than two weeks ago at Duke Spine Center did not deliver the relief he’d hoped for, Kerr knows he’s not up to the task and, therefore, continues to operate as sort of a associate head coach to acting head coach Mike Brown.
“Mike is doing great,” Kerr told NBCSportsBayArea.com late Monday night, after the Warriors clinched a third consecutive trip to the NBA Finals with a 129-115 Game 4 win over the Spurs. “He’s such a wonderful human being. He’s so unselfish and team-oriented. I’m proud of him and the job he’s doing, along with the rest of the staff. I wish I could be out there with them. And maybe I will. I don’t know. We’ll see.
“He’s a great partner. And we’re in this together, obviously, but he’s got to make decisions with the staff without me. He’s done a great job of navigating the games. We’re undefeated, so he’s doing something right.”
Kerr can only help from the perimeter. The demands of the job require the coach be able to function at near-peak levels, particularly before and during a game, and he simply can’t. He knows there will be times, all too often, when the discomfort becomes unbearable to such a degree he hardly can think straight.
The agony is visible. The players see it. The staff sees it. Brown sees it, feels it and hears it. Spurs coach Gregg Popovich is one of Kerr’s best friends -- as well as a good friend of Brown -- was able to see it during the Western Conference Finals.
“I've spoken with Steve and Mike; we're friends,” Popovich said two hours before Game 4. “We've known each other a long time. But as far as Steve's concerned, it's just a crap situation.
“You know, he's done a phenomenal job. And when you're going through that pain every day and that frustration of not being able to do what you want to do, it's hard to enjoy it at the fullest level. So I feel badly for him all the time but hopeful that stuff will get figured out.”
Nobody wants that more than Kerr, who has tried nearly everything any respectable specialist has recommended. So far, there has been no miracle.
So Kerr forges ahead, getting his Warriors fix by being around the group. By meeting with coaches and players. By meeting with general manager Bob Myers. Kerr was with the Warriors throughout their stay in San Antonio. He was at practices and shootarounds, sometimes on the floor and sometimes sitting in the stands observing from afar.
“I need to be around the guys,” he said. “I don’t want to miss this. Just being in the locker room, being able to talk to the guys means a lot to me. I’m thrilled for them. It’s fun to see how happy they are with three straight trips to The Finals. It’s pretty incredible.”
Kerr has been with the team for at least a few hours every day since May 10, less than a week after his procedure at Duke.
Kerr’s presence has been invaluable, both physically and psychologically, according to staff and players.
“Coach just empowers everybody,” Kevin Durant said. “His message is still the same. Even when he wasn't there in the Utah series, you could still feel his presence. That's what great leaders do.”
Participation, making himself feel useful, is one form of therapy that gives Kerr a semi-satisfying break from the misery.
“He watches film, and he watches the game,” Brown said. “So he gives his perspective from where he is. He gives insight on what we should be doing going forward, what he felt we could have done better, what we did that was good. So he just gives his input, mainly. He addresses the team every once in a while. He doesn't always do that, but he'll address the team from time to time.”
There was some belief that Kerr could return to full-time coaching within a week or so after the procedure, for which he declined to provide details. Warriors CEO Joe Lacob expressed hope Kerr might return “sooner rather than later.” Had it been as successful as Kerr and the doctors hoped, he would have.
That was May 5. Kerr announced he was stepping aside on April 23. As of Wednesday, he was been on leave for a full month.
Asked if he plans to travel during the NBA Finals, Kerr said he hopes so: “It’s like a month away,” he said, exaggerating the nine-day layoff.
He’d rather say with certainty that, yes, he will be accompanying the team because, after all, he’s the head coach.
And he will say that, the moment his body tells him it’s OK to do so.