Marcum bests Cain as Brewers beat Giants 4-2


Marcum bests Cain as Brewers beat Giants 4-2

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) Nyjer Morgan pointed his finger at the crowd, crossed his arms and taunted a sea of Giants fans he was once among many times.Even wins don't come quietly for the Milwaukee Brewers anymore.Jonathan Lucroy and Yuniesky Betancourt drove in two runs each, Morgan stole the spotlight after a spectacular catch and the Brewers held on to beat the San Francisco Giants 4-2 on Friday night."I put the overhand out there because I heard someone say I flipped them off," said Morgan, a San Francisco native whose alter-ego "Tony Plush" has been known to provide such antics. "I love it. Love it."Shaun Marcum (9-3) pitched seven solid innings to push the Brewers back into first place in the crowded NL Central standings. Pittsburgh and St. Louis are one game back.
URBAN: Did Brewers' Morgan cross the line?
Lucroy's two-run single highlighted a three-run second inning off Matt Cain (8-6) that gave the Brewers a big lift with All-Star Ryan Braun getting the night off to rest his strained left calf.Francisco Rodriguez pitched a perfect eighth and John Axford held the Giants scoreless in the ninth for his 27th save.All of that, of course, became an afterthought late.Morgan spiced things up after making a catch against the wall in left-center field that robbed Nate Scheirholtz of extra bases in the seventh. Morgan exchanged words with fans in the bleachers, pointed at some and crossed his hands in a taunting gesture.That only riled up the fans at AT&T Park more, in the bleachers and beyond. Morgan continued bobbing his head and pointing at the crowd, and he was booed relentlessly by fans walking into the dugout after the final out.Brewers manager Ron Roenicke loved the energy but admitted he would prefer Morgan to tone down his antics, especially after home plate umpire Joe West requested the same between innings. Not that any of the warnings slowed Morgan, who pointed to the crowd again after the final out."Hey, this guy's been awesome for us," Roenicke said. "So we'll keep him happy."Not that any of the antics did much to spark San Francisco.Aaron Rowand's solo home run in the sixth and Pablo Sandoval's RBI groundout in the first were all the Giants could squeeze out of Marcum. The right-hander allowed four hits and two runs, striking out five and walking none.
Giants Insider gallery: Brewers beat CainMarcum settled down and retired 11 straight hitters after Andres Torres' leadoff double in the first. Not until Aubrey Huff's two-out single in the fourth did a Giant reach base, and by then Milwaukee was well in control.The Brewers scored three runs in the second capped by Lucroy's two-run single. Left fielder Cody Ross' throw home on the play beat Betancourt, but catcher Eli Whiteside was playing behind the plate and couldn't corral the ball, allowing Milwaukee to go ahead 3-1.Betancourt drove in his second run with a two-out single in the sixth that sneaked between the infielders and into left, scoring Rickie Weeks from third to give the Brewers a 4-1 lead."I didn't make my pitches when I needed and it cost us," Cain said. "They can hit the ball and they can run. They run the bases aggressively."That was more than enough for a short-handed Milwaukee team.Braun was given the day off as part of a plan to ease his return from a strained left calf that forced him to sit out more than a week before the All-Star game, which he also missed. He had started the last two games in Arizona and the team arrived late in San Francisco, so Roenicke figured it would be an ideal time to rest his slugger. Mark Kotsay was 0 for 4 in Braun's place.Rowand tried to bring the Giants back with a pinch-hit home run in the sixth. The solo shot was Rowand's fourth career pinch-hit homer and second this season, trimming Milwaukee's lead to 4-2.NOTES: Brewers backup OF Carlos Gomez will have surgery Monday to repair his broken left collar bone, Roenicke said. The team is hopeful Gomez will return this season. ... Brewers RHP Brandon Kintzler is scheduled to have a screw inserted in his forearm to help a stress fracture heal. His chances of returning this season are less likely. ... Giants C Buster Posey had the screws removed from his surgically repaired left ankle, manager Bruce Bochy said. Posey is out for the season after tearing three ligaments in his ankle and fracturing a bone in his lower leg in a home-plate collision with Florida's Scott Cousins on May 25. ... The Giants' 48th straight sellout this season pushed the total to 2,005,900.

Anonymous poll: Is Sharks' Burns still Norris frontrunner?


Anonymous poll: Is Sharks' Burns still Norris frontrunner?

Throughout much of his dominant 2016-17 season, the words “Norris Trophy lock” have often preceded Brent Burns’ name. 

The 32-year-old has led all NHL blueliners in scoring for the past three months, building upon a strong second half last season in which he helped lead the Sharks to their first ever Stanley Cup Final, and solidifying himself as one of the best defensemen in the game.

In 76 games, Burns has 28 goals – 11 more than any other defenseman – and 45 assists for 73 points and a plus-17 rating. At one point on Feb. 19, he had 14 more points than Erik Karlsson, who was second among NHL defensemen.

But Burns went cold earlier this month. During one stretch, he went nine out of 10 games without finding the scoresheet, and finally snapped a 16-game goal drought with an overtime winner on Tuesday against the Rangers.

Meanwhile, Karlsson has been heating up. A two-time Norris Trophy winner in 2012 and 2015, the Senators defenseman has 13 points in his last 14 games. As of Wednesday morning, Karlsson was just five points behind Burns in scoring, with 15 goals and 53 assists for 68 points and a plus-seven rating.

There’s talk Karlsson could take home a third Norris, snatching it out of Burns’ grasp.

But, probably not.

In an anonymous poll among 21 PHWA members, most of whom get a vote for the Norris Trophy at the conclusion of the regular season, Burns’ designation as the frontrunner seems fairly safe with just six games to go in the regular season.

Of the writers polled, including a broad swath from across North America, 14 told CSN they would likely vote for Burns as the league’s best defensemen if the season ended Tuesday night/Wednesday morning. Three were leaning towards Burns, while only four said they would give it to Karlsson.

One writer polled had Burns first, Tampa Bay’s Viktor Hedman second, and Karlsson third.

Of course, 21 votes is just a small sample size of the PHWA membership. Last season, 183 writers took part in voting for the Norris, according to the final tally. Burns finished third in voting, well behind winner Drew Doughty, while Karlsson was second.

Still, as long as Burns stays in front of Karlsson in the scoring race, it appears he remains in line to become the first Sharks defenseman ever to earn a Norris Trophy.

Vin Scully on Dodgers Opening Day: ‘I’ll probably have things to do’

Vin Scully on Dodgers Opening Day: ‘I’ll probably have things to do’

WASHINGTON -- On Monday, the Dodgers will play their first opening day since 1950 without Vin Scully calling their games. He won't be in the stands. He won't make a point of watching on TV, either.

"It's a day game. I'll probably have things to do," the famed 89-year-old announcer told The Associated Press from his home in Hidden Hills, California. "I might catch a piece of it."

Not that Scully has any regrets since retiring after last season. He says he's grateful for every minute he spent with the Dodgers, the franchise he joined 67 years ago in Brooklyn and followed to Los Angeles eight years later. He feels blessed to have worked as long as he did covering the game he fell in love with as a boy.

But he's learned that after a lifetime in the broadcast booth, watching a game as a fan holds little appeal.

"During the World Series back around '77 or '78, there was a game at Dodger Stadium with the Yankees, and I went to the game as a spectator. Now, I hadn't been as a spectator in a long, long time, and I felt somewhat restless that I wasn't broadcasting," Scully recalled Tuesday.

"I did not have the challenge of trying to describe, accurately and quickly, the way it should be done. I just sat there, and I was not happy, I'll be honest. So I realized that although I love the game, what I loved more was broadcasting it," he said.

Scully spoke to the AP because the Library of Congress has announced it will preserve his call of a 1957 game between the Dodgers and the New York Giants at the Polo Grounds, the final time they played at the hallowed old stadium. Both teams moved to California after that season, opening up the West Coast to Major League Baseball.

Scully's call of Sandy Koufax's 1965 perfect game is more famous. But that game at the Polo Grounds meant more to him personally, because he grew up going to games there, cheering for the Giants and dreaming of watching from the press box.

"It was so meaningful to me. I'm not sure what it really means to baseball fans anymore," Scully said. "The sands of time have washed over the Polo Grounds. But for me, it was one of the more memorable games I was ever involved in."

During that broadcast, Scully implored the players to take their time before there franchises left town: "Let's take it easy, we just want to take one last lingering look at both of you." The Library of Congress called it "a masterful example of the artistry that great sports announcers bring to their work, as well as their empathy for players and fans."

Six decades later, Scully is having an easier time letting go. So no plans to keep track Monday when Los Angeles plays the San Diego Padres at Dodger Stadium.

"All summer long, I expect to get feelings of nostalgia, wistfulness, whatever the word may be, but no, I am comfortable, I do know in my heart and soul I am where I should be, and that really is all I need," he said.

"Sure, after 67 years, you'll bet I'll miss it," he added. "But heck, I miss the guys I hung out with when I was in school."