One last time? Sacramento, Lakers renew rivalry

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One last time? Sacramento, Lakers renew rivalry

April 13, 2011
LA LAKERS (56-25) vs.
KINGS

Coverage begins at 7:30 P.M. on Comcast SportsNet California

SACRAMENTO (AP) -- All of a sudden, the Los Angeles Lakers have major concerns other than their poor play down the stretch after an injury to center Andrew Bynum.

Concern that the Sacramento Kings could be moving south seems to have been replaced by the growing sense that it will soon become reality.
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The Lakers will be dealing with the aftermath of another injury to Bynum as they try to clinch the Western Conference's No. 2 seed Wednesday night in what will likely be the Kings' final game in Sacramento.

Los Angeles (56-25) ended a five-game skid with Tuesday's 102-93 home win over San Antonio, but it may have come at a cost. Bynum fell to the court after stepping on DeJuan Blair's foot during the second quarter and the shot-blocking 7-footer will have an MRI on Wednesday.

RELATED: Lakers snap skid, but lose Bynum to injury

Bynum was hurt while getting back on defense, awkwardly tumbling to the court and nearly doing the splits while putting an inordinate amount of weight on his right knee.

Coach Phil Jackson acknowledged that Bynum could be out for at least a few games.

"We've seen him go down a couple of times that have been debilitating, so there's a concern," Jackson said. "It was kind of a freaky play, but they usually are, and that's what basketball is."

The Lakers need a victory or a loss by Dallas to New Orleans on Wednesday to gain the No. 2 seed. Los Angeles has been the top seed in winning the NBA title the past two seasons.

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Jackson has won eight of his 11 titles as the conference's top seed. One of the seasons he didn't need a No. 1 seed to win it all brings back painful memories to Sacramento fans - 2001-02.

The Kings were the No. 1 seed that season and lost a dramatic West finals to the Lakers in seven games. It was part of an era when the franchise reached the playoffs eight straight times from 1999-2006.

Sacramento (24-57) hasn't been back to the postseason since, and likely won't be hosting NBA basketball again after 26 seasons in California's capital.

Anaheim's City Council issued the bonds needed to entice the franchise and new federal trademark rights have been requested.

The Kings' owners, the Maloof brothers, have until Monday to officially file for permission to relocate, and a vote would likely come within weeks of that request. Approval by a simple majority of the owners is virtually guaranteed.

"It's going to be a basketball funeral," said Robert Crashner, a Kings season-ticket holder for almost a decade. "Unless a miracle happens, I guess it's going to be over."

The Lakers have won eight of their last nine against the Kings, and four straight in Sacramento. The Kings could be without high-scoring guard Tyreke Evans, who sat out Monday's 120-112 loss to Oklahoma City with a sprained left ankle.

REWIND: Durant, Westbrook too much for Kings

Still, Sacramento wants to give its fans a memorable send-off.

"If it's the last game in this building, we want to close it out with a win over the Lakers and if it's something that will catapult us to next season here, we want to win it with a win over the Lakers," coach Paul Westphal said.

Bullpen implodes after Cain goes five solid, Giants crushed by Padres

Bullpen implodes after Cain goes five solid, Giants crushed by Padres

BOX SCORE

SAN FRANCISCO -- Wil Myers hit a three-run homer to cap San Diego's eight-run sixth inning and the Padres rallied to beat the San Francisco Giants 12-4 on Saturday night.

Myers also singled off Chris Stratton (1-0) to start the big inning and had three hits for the game. San Diego scored 11 runs against the Giants' bullpen following five effective innings from starter Matt Cain.

Allen Cordoba added a three-run homer off Neil Ramirez in the seventh.

The Padres combined for six hits and two walks off Stratton and Ramirez in the sixth. It took the duo 46 pitches to end the inning.

Jhoulys Chacin (3-3) struck out six and gave up three runs, five hits and two walks in five innings.

Triggs rebounds as A's halt 10-game losing streak to Astros

Triggs rebounds as A's halt 10-game losing streak to Astros

HOUSTON — Andrew Triggs keeps checking off all the right boxes in his first season as a major league starting pitcher.

Coming into the year, manager Bob Melvin said the right-hander’s biggest challenge would be retiring lefty hitters. He’s done that splendidly.

On Saturday, the A’s needed to see if Triggs could bounce back after his first rough outing of 2017. He responded with the best of his 11 career starts, holding a potent Astros lineup off the scoreboard for seven innings as the A’s registered a 2-1 victory that snapped their five-game losing streak.

The effective cutter that eluded Triggs when he lost to the Mariners last Sunday was back. Houston’s hitters waved helplessly at the pitch and began their walk back to the dugout all in the same motion, as Triggs rang up a career-high nine strikeouts. His seven innings also were a career high for the 28-year-old.

“We’re not really swinging the bats right now,” Melvin said. “We score two runs and we’re facing a lineup that you expect to score a bunch of runs. So to pitch as well as he did and go through the lineup three times, give us seven innings of work, is pretty good.

“He had the one off-outing, and every outing (besides that) has been pretty spotless.”

Triggs, whose 1.84 ERA ranks seventh in the American League, doesn’t blow people away with his fastball. He throws from a three-quarters arm slot that suggests it might be easy for left-handed hitters to pick up the ball out of his hand. Last season, the batting average, on-base percentage and slugging percentage were all roughly 40 to 50 points higher for lefties than for righties off Triggs.

All he’s done coming out of the gate this season is hold lefties to an .087 batting average (4-for-46). Another revealing stat: Opposing cleanup hitters are 0-for-14 off him.

Triggs credited catchers Stephen Vogt, Josh Phegley and, when he’s been up with the big club, Bruce Maxwell for their expertise in calling pitches against lefties.

“They’ve done such a good job keeping the sequences unpredictable,” he said. “You command pitches, you’re gonna get guys out. I know the stereotype is when you throw from the angle that I do, you’re gonna struggle with lefties. I’ve been aware, at least of that profile, for a while. I’ve worked on it quite a bit.”

Triggs had his entire repertoire working Saturday, according to Vogt.

“He was keeping them off-balance. Even when it seemed they were starting to sit on his slider, he starts sneaking some heaters by them. He was outstanding.”

But he had help. First baseman Yonder Alonso made a terrific leaping grab of Josh Reddick’s liner in the fifth that might have gone for extra bases. An inning before that, Jaff Decker made an on-the-money throw to third from deep right field to nail Carlos Beltran tagging up on a fly ball.

“He’s got a good arm so don’t sleep on him at all,” Triggs said.

Given how their month has gone, it’s no surprise the A’s got both their runs on homers. They’ve gone deep 31 times in April, their most homers in the month since they clubbed 34 in 2006. Lowrie, who’s spent two stints with the Astros and owns an offseason home in Houston, went deep to right to give the A’s a 1-0 lead. Khris Davis mashed his 10th homer in the eighth for what wound up being an important insurance run when Jose Altuve followed with a homer off Sean Doolittle.

Davis’ teammates by now are accustomed to seeing the left fielder flaunt his opposite-field power. He’s hit three homers this series, all to straightaway right or right-center.

Said Lowrie: “I think at this point it’s fair to call it special.”