Lincecum looks to continue success vs. Cards


Lincecum looks to continue success vs. Cards

June 1, 2011

GIANTS (29-25) vs.
ST. LOUIS (33-23)

Coverage begins at 5:00 P.M. on Comcast SportsNet Bay Area

ST. LOUIS (AP) -- The St. Louis Cardinals have alternated wins and losses in their last seven games, but they're hoping the beginning of a new month brings more consistency.

What they'll definitely be getting to open June is a major challenge at the plate.

Tim Lincecum gave up six earned runs in five starts last month and has won five of his six career starts against St. Louis, patterns of success the Giants ace looks to continue Wednesday night at Busch Stadium.

The Cardinals (33-23) won eight of nine from May 16-24 to go from 1 12 games out of first place in the NL Central to 3 12 games in front.

Three losses in five games nearly became four in six Tuesday against San Francisco (29-25), but St. Louis didn't let a late 3-1 deficit get in its way. Doubles from Jon Jay, Albert Pujols and Allen Craig tied the score at 3, then Skip Schumaker's infield single plated Craig and lifted the Cardinals to a 4-3 win.

REWIND: Giants bullpen blows late lead, Cards win

"It's a good win, a comeback win against a very good bullpen," said Schumaker, who had been 2 for 19 since returning from the disabled list before his big hit. "It's very meaningful."

Piecing together consecutive victories won't be easy against Lincecum (5-4, 2.22 ERA), particularly if Matt Holliday is again not in the starting lineup. Holliday returned to the lineup Monday after not starting since May 22 because of a strained left quadriceps, but he was limited to pinch-hitting duties Tuesday.

Lincecum, meanwhile, went 3-1 with a 1.47 ERA in May, capping it with a pair of victories. He pitched a three-hitter in a 3-0 win over Oakland on May 21, then gave up three runs over seven innings Friday in Milwaukee, going from a likely loss to a 5-4 win thanks to rookie Brandon Crawford's seventh-inning grand slam.

Despite completing a strong month, Lincecum's velocity was down against the Brewers. The staff ace, though, says he's fine physically.

"Nothing's hurt or anything," Lincecum told the Giants' official website. "I felt like I was laboring through most of the game, for the most part. Sliders were flat. Fastball was down (in velocity). Changeup was not really diving or anything."

The two-time Cy Young Award winner was 5-0 with a 1.54 ERA against the Cardinals before giving up four runs over 5 1-3 innings in a 5-1 loss Aug. 21 at Busch.

Pujols, who made his second start of the season at third base Tuesday, is 5 for 14 lifetime versus Lincecum.

Jake Westbrook (5-3, 5.19) gets the ball for St. Louis seeking his fourth consecutive victory. After giving up one run over 15 innings in wins over Philadelphia and Kansas City, the right-hander wasn't nearly as sharp Friday in Colorado, but allowing three runs over five innings proved to be good enough in a 10-3 victory.

Westbrook is 2-0 with a 1.86 ERA in his last three home starts after opening 0-2 with an 18.41 ERA.

He wasn't sharp at all in the Cardinals' 5-4, 12-inning loss at San Francisco on April 8. But despite giving up eight hits - including homers to Pat Burrell and Miguel Tejada - and walking four over 5 2-3 innings, he only surrendered three runs.

Giants rookie Brandon Belt will likely miss a few days after being hit in the wrist with a pitch in the seventh inning Tuesday. That could put the struggling Aubrey Huff back at first base Wednesday, but manager Bruce Bochy said he may give him a second straight day off.

In push for playoffs, LA Kings acquire goalie Bishop from Tampa Bay

In push for playoffs, LA Kings acquire goalie Bishop from Tampa Bay

The Los Angeles Kings have acquired goaltender Ben Bishop in a trade with the Tampa Bay Lightning.

Los Angeles sent Peter Budaj, defensive prospect Erik Cernak, a 2017 seventh-round pick and a conditional pick to Tampa Bay for Bishop and a 2017 fifth-round pick.

Lightning general manager Steve Yzerman announced the trade Sunday night, less than four days before the trade deadline.

Bishop, a pending unrestricted free agent, helped the Lightning reach the 2015 Stanley Cup Final. The Kings now have Bishop and 2012 and 2014 Cup winner Jonathan Quick, who returned Saturday from a long-term lower-body injury that had sidelined him since October.

The 6-foot-7 Bishop, 30, is 16-12-3 with a 2.55 goals-against average and .911 save percentage.

Kurt Busch breaks through in 16th try, wins first Daytona 500


Kurt Busch breaks through in 16th try, wins first Daytona 500

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. -- Kurt Busch had a monster start to the season with a last-lap pass to win the crash-filled Daytona 500.

Busch is sponsored by Monster Energy, which kicked off its first season as the title sponsor for NASCAR's top series Sunday with the season-opener. It wasn't NASCAR finest moment, though, as multiple accidents pared down the field and had a mismatched group of drivers racing for the win at the end.

"The more that becomes unpredictable about Daytona, the more it becomes predictable to predict unpredictability," Busch said. "This car's completely thrashed. There's not a straight panel on it. The strategy today, who knew what to pit when, what segments were what. Everybody's wrecking as soon as we're done with the second segment.

"The more that I've run this race, the more that I just throw caution to the wind, let it rip and just elbows out. That's what we did."

It appeared to be pole-sitter Chase Elliott's race to lose, then he ran out of gas. So did Kyle Larson, Martin Truex Jr. and Paul Menard. As they all slipped off the pace, Busch sailed through for his first career Daytona 500 victory.

It also was the first Daytona 500 win for Stewart-Haas Racing, which is co-owned by Tony Stewart. The three-time champion retired at the end of last season and watched his four cars race from the pits.

"I ran this damn race (17) years and couldn't win it, so finally won it as an owner," Stewart said.

Ryan Blaney finished second in a Ford. AJ Allmendinger was third in a Chevrolet, and Aric Almirola was fourth for Richard Petty Motorsports.

The win was a huge boost for Ford, which lured Stewart-Haas Racing away from Chevrolet this season and celebrated the coup with its second Daytona 500 victory in three years. Joey Logano won in a Ford in 2015.

The first points race of the Monster era was run under a new format that split the 500 miles into three stages. Kyle Busch won the first stage, Kevin Harvick won the second stage and neither was a contender for the win. NASCAR also this year passed a rule that gave teams just five minutes to repair any damage on their cars or they were forced to retire.

But the race was slowed by wreck after wreck after wreck, including a 17-car accident at the start of the final stage that ended the race for seven-time and reigning series champion Jimmie Johnson and Danica Patrick. It was a particularly rough incident for Patrick and her Stewart-Haas Racing team, which had all four of its cars collected in the accident.

"Just seems like that could have been avoided and was uncalled for," Johnson said of the aggressive racing behind him that triggered the accident.