Lincecum tries to keep Giants in first vs. D'Backs

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Lincecum tries to keep Giants in first vs. D'Backs

Aug. 2, 2011

ARIZONA (60-49) vs.
GIANTS (61-48)

Coverage begins at 6:30 P.M. on Comcast SportsNet Bay Area

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) -- The Arizona Diamondbacks are hot at the plate. The San Francisco Giants are suddenly struggling on the mound.

That combination has tightened the NL West race.

The Giants send ace Tim Lincecum to the mound Tuesday night as they try to avoid a fifth straight loss and maintain sole possession of first place in the division.

Arizona (60-49) pulled within a game of San Francisco (61-48) for the top spot after a 5-2 victory in Monday's series opener. Ian Kennedy pitched eight strong innings and the Diamondbacks scored five runs in the sixth.

"It was nice to come in and get Game 1," said Arizona's Willie Bloomquist, who capped the decisive sixth with a two-run single. "Hopefully, it kind of sets the tone for the rest of the series that we beat one of their horses today and our guy pitched pretty dang good, too."

Arizona has won its last two against the Giants after dropping seven of the first eight meetings.

"They've owned us," Kennedy said. "We've got to keep this momentum."

The Diamondbacks haven't been in first since June 24, but they've been on a tear recently, winning seven of nine while averaging 6.0 runs. Justin Upton extended his hitting streak to 13 games Monday with a single in the sixth.

However, they may have trouble keeping things going against Lincecum (9-8, 2.78 ERA), who has dominated Arizona.

He is 7-2 with a 2.42 ERA against the Diamondbacks, lowering that ERA after allowing four hits while striking out nine in eight innings before leaving without a decision in a 1-0 victory May 10.

Lincecum improved to 3-1 with a 1.08 ERA in his last four starts, limiting Philadelphia to three hits in six scoreless innings of a 4-1 road win Thursday.

Though the right-hander is 4-1 with a 1.66 ERA against the Diamondbacks at home, he's only 3-4 with a 3.45 ERA in 10 starts overall at AT&T Park this season.

The Giants hope the two-time Cy Young Award winner can help get their rotation back on track. Matt Cain became the third straight starter to fail to make it out of the sixth Monday.

RATTO: In the stretch run, Zito is an afterthought

San Francisco has given up 25 runs in the last four games after beginning that stretch with the best ERA in the majors at 3.06.

The Diamondbacks will hand the ball to Daniel Hudson (10-7, 3.81), who looks to avoid a third straight losing start.

He gave up four runs and seven hits in six innings of a 4-3 defeat to San Diego on Thursday after surrendering five runs and 10 hits in 6 1-3 innings against Colorado on July 22.

The right-hander, who has set a career high in wins, has lost both starts against the Giants this year after winning both matchups in 2010. He gave up three runs over 6 2-3 innings in a 3-2 loss May 12 at San Francisco.

Pablo Sandoval, 0 for 6 the last two games, is 3 for 7 with two homers against Hudson while the newly acquired Orlando Cabrera is 3 for 9 with two doubles and a home run.

New Cal coach Wyking Jones ready to prove critics wrong amid changes

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AP

New Cal coach Wyking Jones ready to prove critics wrong amid changes

Even the most passionate Cal fan might struggle to name a single player on the current basketball roster. The team's top five leading scorers from last season have all departed. Ivan Rabb and Jabari Bird moved on to the NBA, Grant Mullins graduated, and both Charlie Moore and Kameron Rooks elected to transfer.

But perhaps the most significant change is on the sideline. Out is Cuonzo Martin, who agreed to a massive seven-year contract with Missouri, worth a reported $21 million. Replacing him is 44-year-old Wyking Jones, a longtime assistant coach, who spent the past two seasons as Martin's top aide in Berkeley.

Jones' promotion was met with heavy criticism from many in the media, both locally and nationally. Skeptics believe Cal settled for the cheap option, rather than the best option. But why can't both be true? There's no denying that salary played a factor in the hire - the athletic department's financial troubles have been well documented in recent years. But Jones impressed Athletic Director Mike Williams in other areas too, reportedly acing his job interview with a detailed plan for the program moving forward. And unlike the other candidates, Jones already has direct experience dealing with Cal's unique set of circumstances.

“It's not something that you can walk into and just get a really good grasp of,” Jones explained. “It's a learning curve that, if you walk into this situation for the first time, it would take you a tremendous amount of time. Knowing who to go to when you need things, who's in charge of this, who's in charge of that, just having a familiarity of how to really get things done around here.”

Jones also discovered the challenges of recruiting at a school like Cal, where not every athlete can qualify academically. While many coaches would view that as a negative, Jones chooses to embrace it.

“In my mind, that's what makes this place special,” he said. “It's the number one public institution in the world for a reason. Your recruiting pool shrinks quite a bit, but that's okay because typically what happens is if you get a kid who has a lot of discipline on and off the court, you're not going to run into troubles on the weekends when they're in the dorms. They're usually kids who have a lot of respect for the community and other students.”

From a coaching standpoint, Jones has unquestionably paid his dues in the world of college basketball. Prior to joining Cal as an assistant in 2015, he made stops at Louisville, New Mexico, Pepperdine, and Loyola Marymount, where he also played from 1991-95. Now, after nearly 15 years in collegiate coaching, Wyking Jones is a head coach.

“I think initially it's very exciting to have an opportunity to coach, have your own program at a storied program like Cal, to follow in the footsteps of some great coaches,” he said, smiling. “But now the smoke has cleared and it's time to get to work.”

That work has already begun. As previously mentioned, Jones will have to replace his top five scorers from a year ago, who accounted for nearly 56 points per game. The Bears will count on increased production from senior center Kingsley Okoroh and junior guard Don Coleman. They will also rely heavily on redshirt senior forward Marcus Lee, who sat out last season after transferring from Kentucky.

“It's an adjustment, for sure,” Jones admitted. “But you have 13 scholarships for a reason. It's just an opportunity for the guys who are still here to earn their scholarship. It's an opportunity for them to make a name for themselves and have an impact on this program.”

Under Cuonzo Martin, Cal established itself as one of the best defensive teams in the country. Last season, the Bears ranked 18th in the nation in scoring defense, allowing just 63.4 points per game. Jones hopes to continue that trend while also implementing a full-court pressure defense, similar to the one he coached at Louisville, which resulted in a national championship in 2013.

“It's a process,” he acknowledged. “In year one, hopefully we can be good at it. In year two, look to improve. In year three, hope to be great at it... It's a type of defense, when you're talking about pressing, it's reading all the other guys on the court. It's never scripted. It's being able to read when is the right time to go trap, when is the right time to go switch, when is the right time to bluff and stunt at a guy to slow him down. So there's a learning curve in it.”

Jones knows there will also be a learning curve for him personally as a head coach, especially with such a young and inexperienced roster. He expects his team to be overlooked and undervalued by much of the college basketball world, but that's just fine with him.

“I think a lot of people will probably guess that we won't be very good, and that's motivation right there. That's motivation for my staff, for our managers, for the support staff. It's motivation for everybody that's a part of this program to exceed those expectations. So I think that makes for an exciting season.”

Source: Kings to sign Summer League standout to two-way contract

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USATSI

Source: Kings to sign Summer League standout to two-way contract

Jack Cooley must have made a good impression on the Kings during the recently completed Las Vegas Summer League.

The former Notre Dame will sign a two-way contract with Sacramento, a league source confirmed to NBCSportsCalifornia.com's James Ham.

Cooley averaged 9.2 points, 6.6 rebounds and shot 64 percent over five games during Summer League action.

Cooley had other offers from teams overseas, but is hoping for another shot in the NBA.

Undrafted in 2013, Cooley's only NBA action came with Utah during the 2014-15 season. He averaged 1.7 points and 1.6 rebounds in 16 games.

News of a deal was first reported by 2ways10days.com's Chris Reichert.