Miller steals 3 bases in A's 4-3 win over Indians


Miller steals 3 bases in A's 4-3 win over Indians

PHOENIX (AP) Jai Miller stole three bases, scored a key run and made a big catch with the sun in his eyes to help the Oakland Athletics to a 4-3 win over the Cleveland Indians on Wednesday.Cleveland starter Justin Masterson struggled with his control, walking three in two innings. A's pitcher Bobby Cramer threw two quick shutout innings.The left-hander who made four September starts last season is trying to add a changeup to his repertoire."It's no secret that's something I don't have," Cramer said. "Obviously if I were to make this team or come back up, I'm going to need it."
VIDEO: Bobby Cramer postgame
Miller hung in with a line drive hit right at him from Cleveland Indians infielder Jack Hannahan in the top of the eighth, keeping Cleveland from scoring a tying run."To have the nerve to hang in there until it comes out of the sun and make the play, that's a really nice play," A's manager Bob Geren said.Michael Taylor scored on Kurt Suzuki's two-out hit in the sixth to make it 4-2. Oakland scored the first two runs of the game when Hideki Matsui grounded into a bases-loaded double play and Kevin Kouzmanoff singled in a second run in their half of the first inning.Cleveland tied it in the top of the fourth. Matt LaPorta doubled down the left-field line off reliever Josh Outman, then scored on Travis Buck's single. Buck scored on a single by Paul Phillips.
VIDEO: Josh Outman postgame
Masterson, who had an encouraging finish to the season when he went 3-3 with a 2.86 ERA in his last eight starts of 2010, was unconcerned by his struggles."It was my first time facing another team and second time against live hitters, so it gets you a little excited," Masterson said. "I wanted to stride a little longer and throw a little harder. I felt good physically. The four-seamer was a little bit high. The sinker was slicing and dicing and moving and grooving just the way it's supposed to."Note: Cleveland LHP Drew Pomeranz, the Indians' first-round pick at No. 5 overall in 2010, made his debut. He pitched a hitless inning with two strikeouts and a walk. ... Oakland reliever Brad Ziegler pitched a scoreless ninth for his first save of spring training. ... A's OF David DeJesus, who'd been dealing with illness, made his spring training debut, starting in right field. He went 0 for 2.

Durant gets taste of competition, plays 1-on-1 with Warriors coach

Durant gets taste of competition, plays 1-on-1 with Warriors coach

For the first time in a month, Kevin Durant got a taste of competition. Well, sort of.

Durant on Wednesday went through one-on-one sessions with Warriors assistant coach Willie Green, who is two years removed from a 12-year career as a guard in the NBA.

“He played full-court one-on-one, played some half-court one-on-one to start and then they stepped it up,” coach Steve Kerr told reporters prior to the Warriors-Spurs game in San Antonio. “Willie said it was a good workout.”

Durant and Green played five games of half-court ball and one with the full court. The active player, for the record, won all six games.

“Kevin got him pretty good, so it’s a good sign,” Kerr said before flashing a bit of humor. “If Willie had beaten him, I would have been very concerned.”

An even better sign for the Warriors is that only one man walked away feeling the burn of competition.

“Willie said he was really sore,” Kerr said. “Not Kevin. Willie.”

Durant has been out since sustaining a medial collateral ligament sprain and bone bruise to his left knee on Feb. 28 at Washington. Though there have been no setbacks in his rehab, there is no firm timetable for his return.

“It’s impossible to predict that stuff,” Kerr said. “But it would be nice for him to get a couple games in at the end of the regular season.”

The Warriors plan to re-evaluate Durant next week, after which they expect to plot out his return. There is optimism that he could be back in time to play two or three regular season games in preparation for the postseason, which begins April 15.


Anonymous poll: Is Sharks defenseman Burns still Norris frontrunner?

Anonymous poll: Is Sharks defenseman 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.