Marleau strikes again -- Sharks top Preds in O.T.

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Marleau strikes again -- Sharks top Preds in O.T.

March 8, 2011

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SAN JOSE (AP) San Jose finally got its sputtering power play going, but it took an overtime goal from one of its fastest and most reliable players to get the Sharks back on track.Patrick Marleau is used to this type of stuff.Marleau scored on a 2-on-1 breakaway goal with 1:36 left in the extra period, lifting San Jose past the struggling Nashville Predators 3-2 on Tuesday night."That's what Patty does," Sharks coach Todd McLellan said. "He's leading us in goals now and he's scored some big ones down the stretch. That was an extra gear. I don't know, if there wasn't any endboards, he still may be going. He was going that fast."VIDEO: Todd McLellan postgame
Marleau hadn't taken a shot the entire night before notching his 27th goal of the season when he and Ian White raced into Nashville's end of the ice with only Ryan Suter standing between the duo and Predators goalie Pekka Rinne. Marleau never thought about passing to White and instead flipped the puck past Rinne.It's the second straight overtime winner Marleau has scored against the Predators. He also scored in overtime when San Jose beat Nashville 2-1 on Feb. 15."They had an odd-man rush against (us) and the puck was in our slot," said Marleau, who has seven points in his last six games. "I went to pick it up and it was like a semi 2-on-1. I just was able to get in ... get a quick shot and got it into the net."Ryan Clowe and Justin Braun also scored, and Antti Niemi made 23 saves as the Sharks won for the ninth time in 10 games.
VIDEO: Justin Braun postgame
Joel Ward and Shea Weber had goals for Nashville, which has lost six of 11."We had a couple of good scoring chances and we needed just one good shot to change the game," Rinne said. "(Marleau) is just so fast. A really fast player. He placed the puck perfectly under the bar. It's all about execution. He made a good shot."San Jose started slow, missed several scoring opportunities late in regulation and appeared headed for a shootout before Marleau's game-winner.That gave the Sharks their second straight win over the Predators and came three days after their season-high eight-game winning streak ended.It also was the 143rd victory of McLellan's career, leaving him nine shy of the all-time record for an NHL coach in his third season."Very reminiscent of the game in Nashville," McLellan said. "I didn't think we started very well. We weren't sharp and we had to play our way into it."San Jose led 1-0 and 2-1, but couldn't put the pesky but slumping Predators away until overtime.Clowe scored on a power play in the first period without having to use his stick. Jason Demers fired a pass from the endboard that Dany Heatley deflected into Clowe's left skate. The puck ricocheted up and over Nashville goalie Pekka Rinne and into the net. Referees reviewed the goal and it was upheld.
VIDEO: Ryane Clowe postgame
The score came just seconds after Heatley missed from in front of the crease, only San Jose's second shot of the opening period.Rinne finished with 30 saves.Ward tied it later in the first on a power play when he tapped in his own deflected shot at the 14:22 mark. It's Ward's eighth goal of the season and the fourth of his career in 11 games against San Jose. Martin Erat and Weber had assists.The Sharks, third in the NHL in power play success, went in having converted one of their previous 12 chances with an advantage.That drought coincided with the loss of defenseman Dan Boyle, who suffered an upper-body injury against Pittsburgh on Feb. 23. Boyle sat out his fifth straight game Tuesday and it's uncertain when he'll return.In the meantime, McLellan jumbled his power-play units against Nashville. Demers, who had been filling in for Boyle, was replaced by White on the top line. Forward Devin Setoguchi also moved up from the second unit, exchanging spots with Heatley.The moves paid off initially.Braun's score, coming from just inside the blue line near the Sharks bench, gave San Jose a 2-1 lead 4:17 into the second and came after Shane O'Brien was called for hooking.Nashville tied it again less than two minutes later with another power-play goal. David Legwand took a pass and skated in front of the net then shuffled the puck to Weber, who raced in from the left side and flipped it past Niemi."We have points in every game against these guys this year," Nashville coach Barry Trotz said. "That's not easy to do. Marleau's shot changed direction and it went right under the bar. All their goals went off people's skates and shin pads."Notes: The game was the 800th of San Jose RW Jamal Mayers' career. Mayers leads the Sharks in penalty minutes. ... The Predators took just four shots on goal in the third.

Bumgarner throws three innings of no-hit ball in first rehab start

Bumgarner throws three innings of no-hit ball in first rehab start

BOX SCORE

Madison Bumgarner was back on the bump Sunday night in a Giants jersey for the first time since being placed on the DL due to a dirt bike accident on April 21.

Bumgarner took the mound for the Arizona Rookie League Giants against the Arizona Rookie League Angels and did not allow a hit in three innings pitched. The Giants' ace also struck out two and walked one. 

In both the first and third innings, Bumgarner pitched a perfect three up and three down frame. 

Bumgarner was diagnosed with a Grade 2 sprain of his left throwing shoulder and sustained bruised ribs from his dirt bike accident on an off day in Colorado. Pitching in a game for the first time in over two months, Bumgarner was throwing between 88-91 miles per hour, according to Tommy Stokke of FanRagSports. 

After finishing his three innings of work, Bumgarner went down to the bullpen to increase his pitch count, reports Sande Charles of FanRagSports

Before sustaining the injury, Bumgarner was 0-3 with a 3.00 ERA in four starts this season. 

The Giants have gone 21-41 since Bumgarner's injury. They are 27-51 on the year and sit 24.5 games behind the Dodgers in the NL West. 

After another Giants clunker, Bochy tells players 'enough is enough'

After another Giants clunker, Bochy tells players 'enough is enough'

SAN FRANCISCO — A few minutes after yet another missed opportunity at the plate Sunday, a voice came over a speaker in the press box at AT&T Park and announced a 524th consecutive sellout. It nicely summed up this current stretch of Giants baseball. 

The seats are emptier than they used to be at first pitch, and they were just about abandoned in the ninth inning of an 8-2 loss, but for the most part the fans are still showing up in droves. One woman brought a toaster by the dugout Sunday morning and asked players and coaches to sign it, hoping to recapture the magic from across the bridge. Another, Bryan Stow, made his first appearance of the season at AT&T Park, met with Bruce Bochy, and said he hoped to see a win. As Matt Moore started warming up, a band set up on top of the visiting dugout to play hits that celebrated the 50th anniversary of the Summer of Love. 

For a while, AT&T Park was rocking. And then, as has happened so often this summer, the game started. 

The Giants turned in another epic clunker in a season full of them. They have lost 12 of their last 13 games and 21 of 26, but it’s worse than the raw numbers. On most nights, some in the organization have noted privately, they are simply boring. It’s one thing to lose, it’s quite another to do it in this way. 

“There’s no getting around it,” Bochy said after the sweep. “I’ve been through some tough stretches here and this is as tough as any stretch I’ve seen. For some reason the baseball gods are really testing us here and (testing) this group. It’s not that they’re not coming out ready or trying, but enough is enough.

“At some point, we’ve got to find a way to get this thing turned around.”

Even a slight pivot would be welcomed by the faithful. There were scattered boos Sunday, the latest in a growing trend. This is a fan base that has seen the highest highs, but rarely in franchise history have the lows been this low. 

The crowd no longer turns to the rally lights that were used so often in an awful April, but the noise still grows with each new rally. And then, every single time Sunday, the Giants killed off any hope. 

In the second inning, a Brandon Belt bunt single and Brandon Crawford bloop put two on, but a pair of rookies flied out. 

In the third, the bases were loaded ahead of Buster Posey. He flied out to bring one run across, and there were still runners on the corners for Belt, who leads the team in homers. On a 2-2 count, Hunter Pence inexplicably took off for second. He was caught, the inning was over, and the two-run Mets lead was intact. Bochy said he did not send Pence. 

In the sixth, there were two on with no outs for Posey. Both runners bolted to stay out of a double play. Posey popped up to first -- for a double play.

“He’s not a guy that strikes out, so I’m pretty confident sending runners with Buster,” Bochy said. “We can’t keep laying back. We’re trying to force the issue a bit and stay out of double plays.”

In the eighth, the Giants loaded the bases for Posey and Belt. Posey grounded out. Belt struck out for the third time. 

“We’re getting guys out there,” Bochy said. “We’re not doing enough damage.”

Matt Moore’s damage was self-inflicted. He twice gave up homers to the guy — Rene Rivera — hitting in front of the pitcher. Moore said he has stopped throwing his cutter the past three starts and tried to get his four-seamer going, but the Mets were teeing off. Moore gave up five runs on seven hits. He was pulled in the fifth, left to think about mechanics that still aren’t right. 

“The cutter is a little bit different of a pitch and at times it can take away from the four-seam fastball location-wise, and command of the four-seam was starting to go down the more I threw (the cutter),” Moore said. “I’m anxious to get back to it, but the foundation has got to be throwing the four-seam fastball. I need to execute where they’re carrying through the zone, not running or cutting.”

Moore said his confidence is fine and his problems are not physical. Others can no longer say that. Austin Slater, a rare bright spot in this five-win month, was pulled with a tight hip flexor. He was headed for an MRI. 

Slater is too young to be one of the players Bochy approached after the game. He said he talked to a few, though, passing along that “enough is enough” message. Moore, last in the National League in ERA (6.04), was not one who needed a reminder. 

“I’m sitting on a six right now with not a lot of wins and not enough team wins when I’m throwing,” he said. “It’s been 'enough' for me for the last couple of months.”