Lincecum leads Giants into key series with L.A.

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Lincecum leads Giants into key series with L.A.

Sept. 9, 2011

LA DODGERS (70-72) vs.
GIANTS (75-68)

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) -- Desperation might be setting in for the Giants, and facing Clayton Kershaw may just make matters worse.

Tim Lincecum's recent performances aren't helping, either.

Lincecum looks to avoid a personal three-game slide as the Giants try to defeat Kershaw for the first time in six tries Friday night when this three-game set begins with a marquee pitching matchup.

San Francisco (75-68) has 19 games left to overcome a considerable gap behind first-place Arizona, and the Giants haven't helped their cause by dropping six of 10.

They fell again Wednesday, losing 3-1 at San Diego as their attempt to sweep the three-game set came up short.

"We have to win," said losing pitcher Matt Cain. "That's all we have to do, is win."

URBAN: Who will leave Giants first - Cain or Lincecum?

They haven't beaten Kershaw (17-5, 2.45 ERA) since Cain outpitched him in a 2-0 win at AT&T Park on Aug. 1, 2010.

Since then, Kershaw is 4-0 with a 1.01 ERA and 38 strikeouts in 35 2-3 innings over five starts against the Giants. He hasn't allowed a run in 23 2-3 innings while winning three in a row at San Francisco.

Kershaw was dazzling in his last visit to AT&T Park on July 20, fanning a season-high 12 while yielding three hits in eight innings of a 1-0 win over Lincecum. He also beat the two-time NL Cy Young Award winner on opening day March 31, when Kershaw worked seven scoreless innings in a 2-1 victory.

The left-hander is making a case to become the first Dodgers starter to win the Cy Young since Orel Hershiser in 1988.

Kershaw ranks among the NL's top three in wins and complete games (five), while his career highs of 222 strikeouts and 205 2-3 innings rank first and second, respectively.

The Dodgers ace has reinforced his status among the NL's elite by going 4-0 with a 0.95 ERA in his last five starts. He didn't get a decision Sunday, but was cruising through six scoreless innings before giving up three runs - two earned - in the seventh during a 4-3 loss at Atlanta.

"I definitely felt like I had good stuff, some of the better stuff I've had all year," Kershaw said. "I had command of all three pitches. In the seventh, I left some (pitches) up."

Despite that defeat, the Dodgers (70-72) have won 13 of 16 after beating Washington 7-4 on Thursday. They were scheduled to play a doubleheader, but the nightcap was rained out.

After scoring at least six runs for the 10th time in 15 contests, Los Angeles will try to do the same against Lincecum (12-12, 2.75). He has struggled while losing his last two starts, allowing 10 runs and 15 hits - four homers - with 11 strikeouts and seven walks in 11 innings.

The right-hander gave up five runs and nine hits in five innings of a crucial 7-2 loss Saturday against the Diamondbacks.

"Of course, this is disappointing," Lincecum said.

Carlos Beltran is providing some punch at the plate by going 12 for 19 with six RBIs in five September games. He's 7 for 21 with four doubles and a homer in seven 2011 games against the Dodgers, but is 0 for 7 with three strikeouts versus Kershaw.

San Francisco's Brett Pill has made an impact through his first two games in the majors, going 3 for 7 with two homers since being recalled from Triple-A Fresno.

The Dodgers will be without Andre Ethier for the rest of the season due to a right knee injury that will be examined by Dr. James Andrews.

Team USA dominates Puerto Rico to win 2017 World Baseball Classic

Team USA dominates Puerto Rico to win 2017 World Baseball Classic

LOS ANGELES -- Marcus Stroman tossed six hitless innings, Ian Kinsler slugged a two-run homer and the United States routed Puerto Rico 8-0 on Wednesday night to win its first World Baseball Classic in four tries.

Stroman dominated the tournament's highest-scoring team. Puerto Rico lost for the first time in eight games after outscoring the opposition 55-26. The U.S. territory finished runner-up for the second time, having lost to the Dominican Republic in the 2013 final.

Stroman, who was named the tournament's MVP, avenged his shakiness in the Americans' 6-5 loss to Puerto Rico during pool play. The right-hander from the Toronto Blue Jays retired the side on three grounders to open the game. In all, he gave up one hit, struck out three and walked one on 73 pitches.

He allowed just three balls past the infield until Angel Pagan's double in the left-field corner leading off the seventh, when Stroman departed to a standing ovation, having staked the Americans to a 7-0 lead.

Stroman walked Carlos Beltran leading off the second, but the defense helped him out. Yadier Molina hit the ball to shortstop Brandon Crawford, who started a double play before Stroman struck out Javier Baez to end the inning.

The U.S. pounded out 13 hits and finished with a 6-2 record while making the final for the first time in front of 51,565 at Dodger Stadium.

Kinsler homered off an 0-1 pitch from Seth Lugo into left-center field in the third, scoring Jonathan Lucroy, who singled leading off.

Lugo of the New York Mets allowed four runs and five hits, struck out seven and walked four in four innings. The right-hander won his first two starts of the tournament, including in the second round against Stroman and the U.S.

In that game, Stroman gave up six consecutive singles in a four-run first inning and took the loss against Puerto Rico last Friday in San Diego.

The Americans made it 4-0 in the fifth on RBI singles by Christian Yelich and Andrew McCutchen.

Fans wore flags of both countries as capes and decorated their faces in team colors. Puerto Rico boosters pounded cowbells, tooted horns and blew whistles early on before their team fell behind 4-0.

Fans were on their feet chanting "U-S-A" when the Americans loaded the bases in the seventh with two outs. They were rewarded with Crawford's two-run single that chased J.C. Romero, extending the lead to 6-0.

The U.S. tacked on another run on Giancarlo Stanton's RBI single off Hiram Burgos past diving shortstop Francisco Lindor.

Burgos' wild pitch moved runners to second and third before he walked Lucroy to load the bases a second time. Kinsler flied out to end the inning.

The Americans led 8-0 in the eighth on McCutchen's RBI single with two outs.

The U.S. defeated two-time champion Japan, while Puerto Rico beat the Netherlands to reach the final.

The three games at Dodger Stadium drew 109,892.

Instant Replay: Kings blown out by Bucks, Antetokounmpo at home

Instant Replay: Kings blown out by Bucks, Antetokounmpo at home

BOX SCORE

SACRAMENTO -- The Milwaukee Bucks are where the Sacramento Kings hope to be in two seasons - young, athletic and on their way to the playoffs. Wednesday night at Golden 1 Center, the visiting team jumped all of the Kings early on their way to a 116-98 win. 

The Greek Freak didn’t let up on his fellow countryman, Georgios Papagiannis. Giannis Antetokounmpo went at the Kings from the opening tip, finishing the night with 32 points, 13 rebounds, six assists, two steals and a block.  

Former Kings Jason Terry and Spencer Hawes heard boos every time they touched the ball. Unfortunately for Sacramento, they hit almost every shot they took, combining for 19 points on 6-for-9 shooting.

Greg Monroe added 15 points and five rebounds. Mirza Teletovic finished with 13 points off the bench and Khris Middleton hit 3-for-6 from long range to score 13. 

Rookie Buddy Hield put on a shooting clinic. The 22-year-old shooting guard dropped in 8-of-16 from the field on his way to 21 points and four rebounds

Darren Collison set up his teammates from the opening tip. The veteran point guard dropped in 10 points and a team-high seven assists, but it wasn’t nearly enough.

Garrett Temple stepped up his scoring, chipping in 12 points on 5-for-7 shooting and chipped in three rebounds in the loss. 

Willie Cauley-Stein stuffed the stat sheet with 10 points, seven rebounds, two assists and four blocks. 

Arron Afflalo started at the small forward position and added 12 on 5-of-9 shooting. Tyreke Evans came off the bench, posting 18 points in 20 minutes of action behind Afflalo.

Skal Labissiere managed to shake off a rough first half to drop in eight points and grab eight rebounds, and fellow rookie Georgios Papagiannis picked up four points, seven rebounds and two blocks in 23 minutes off Dave Joerger’s bench.  

STANDOUT PERFORMER

Antetokounmpo was as advertised and more. The 6-foot-11 forward gave the Kings fits from start to finish on his way to another huge performance.

TURNING POINT

The Bucks blew up in the first half, scoring 69 points on 61.4 percent shooting from the field and 50 percent from 3-point range. This game was over before the teams headed in for the break.

INJURY UPDATE 

Kosta Koufos and Ty Lawson both missed the game for scheduled rest. Rookie Malachi Richardson is out with a right hamstring thickness tear, but is expected back soon. Rudy Gay is out for the year with a torn left Achilles. 

WHAT'S NEXT 

The Kings hit the road again following the game against Milwaukee. They will face the Golden State Warriors on Friday evening at Oracle Arena, followed by a stop in Los Angeles on Sunday to visit the Clippers.