Patience, Please, Padilla Will Get His


Patience, Please, Padilla Will Get His

April 19, 2010


The Vicente PadillaAaron Rowand issue has Giants fans awfully fired up, and understandably so.

The rivalry between the Dodgers and Giants is fueled by the respective fans bases, and it seems fairly clear that Giants fans are a little more passionate than their front-running, late-arriving, early leaving counterparts.

So when one of the Giants takes a fastball off the face from a Dodgers pitcher with a reputed disregard for the health of his opponents, Giants fans justifiably want to get a compensatory pound of blue flesh.

Preferably black and blue. As in someone needs to go down, and go down hard.

And someone does. As I noted in my Monday in Bay Ball piece, Im fairly certain that Padilla wasnt throwing at Rowand in that situation. But given Padillas reputation, any time he drills someone a red flag goes up.

Dont think the Giants werent seeing red, too. But dont jump to the misguided conclusion that because they didnt immediately retaliate -- by giving Padilla a taste of his own evil medicine, or by having Tim Lincecum return serve the following day by drilling a Dodger whose offensive impact is commensurate with that of Rowand -- that Bruce Bochy or Dave Righetti or Lincecum or Barry Zito or any of the pitchers who took the mound over the weekend after the incident in question is soft or weak or scared.

What they are, as a group, is smart. For they werent just seeing red. They were seeing the big picture. Thats their history.

Case in point: Prince Fielder. Granted, they didnt have any more chances last year to give the big fella a shot to the ribs after his bowling-pin homer celebration in Milwaukee, but they didnt forget it over the offseason.

They deposited it in the Bank of Payback and made their withdrawal -- two, actually -- when it wouldnt impact anything but Fielders ample backside.

Plunking Padilla when he came to the plate after the incident Friday would have been too obvious, meriting automatic ejections for Waldis Joaquin -- whom the Giants needed to eat a couple of innings -- and Bochy; inexplicably, the umps didnt issue a warning when Rowand was drilled in the grill, but they dont have to give one before they toss someone in retaliation situations.

Lincecum lighting someone up during a 9-0 rout would have been obvious, too, and the last thing the Giants need is their ace risking a suspension.

Zito? Not in that kind of game, where every baserunner represented the tying or go-ahead run.

So the Giants again are taking the path of patience with this one, too. They dont face the again Dodgers for 69 days, and by then things will have blown over a bit. They might even wait until their third or fourth series of the year against their rivals to dish out some retribution.

But make no mistake. This is not over. Nor is the Casey Blake situation. Trust me on this.

In fact, dont be surprised if the Giants kill two birds with one stone. Blake is to the Dodgers essentially what Rowand is to the orange and black -- a gritty, hard-nosed player with moderate pop.

Saturday, July 31, AT&T Park. Blake gets thumped in the thigh in his first at-bat, blitzed in the back in at-bat No. 2. The second HBP brings a warning, the Dodgers cant retaliate without losing their pitchers and manager, and the home crowd goes wild.

Relax, the Giants arent letting anyone walk all over them. Theyre chillin in the weeds before striking when the prey least suspects it. Wouldnt you rather watch it unfold in your own backyard?

--Mychael Urban

Altidore, Dempsey lead US past Costa Rica, into Gold Cup final at Levi's


Altidore, Dempsey lead US past Costa Rica, into Gold Cup final at Levi's


ARLINGTON, Texas — Clint Dempsey fed Jozy Altidore for the go-ahead goal, then scored on a free kick to match Landon Donovan’s American record with his 57th international goal and lead the United States over Costa Rica 2-0 Saturday night and into the CONCACAF Gold Cup championship game.

Playing in his home state of Texas, the 34-year-old Dempsey entered in the 66th minute and made a perfectly timed through pass six minutes later that allowed Altidore to break in alone and beat Patrick Pemberton with a left-footed shot from 10 yards.

Dempsey doubled the lead in the 82nd minute with a 27-yard shot that went around a four-man defensive wall and got past Pemberton on two bounces.

“I saw the keeper cheating a little bit, and it went in,” Dempsey said.

Dempsey has 136 international appearances, trailing only Cobi Jones (164) and Donovan (157) among American players. The assist was his 20th for the national team.

“Coming back from two heart procedures, being able to still play at this level,” Dempsey said in his Texas twang, “living a dream. So I’m happy.”

Trying for their sixth Gold Cup title and first since 2013, the Americans play Mexico or Jamaica in the final on Wednesday at Santa Clara, California.

The U.S. improved to 8-0-5 since Bruce Arena replaced Jurgen Klinsmann in November and returned for a second stint as national team coach. Arena can become the first coach to win three Gold Cup titles following championships in 2002 and 2005.

Tim Howard got his second straight shutout, making key saves on Marco Urena in the 37th and 71st minutes.

After the second save, Dempsey took a pass from Darlington Nagbe in the center circle, made a cut, and took three touches as he sprinted toward goal. Altidore one-timed a shot for his first national team goal since September and ripped off his No. 27 jersey in a wild celebration, earning a yellow card.

Dempsey’s goal sealed the win, putting the U.S. back in the championship after a shocking semifinal loss to Jamaica two years ago. He was playing for the first time in AT&T Stadium, the $1.2 billion home stadium of the NFL’s Dallas Cowboys that is about 180 miles from his hometown of Nacogdoches.

“Congratulations, Clint,” Donovan said while working on the Fox telecast of the game. “Feel free to stop now, we’ll share it together.”

After starting in Wednesday’s quarterfinal win over El Salvador, Dempsey moved to a reserve role against the Ticos. While the U.S. inserted five new starters in a roster rotation, Costa Rica went with the same 11 players who started in Wednesday’s win against Panama.

Costa Rica routed the U.S. 4-0 at home in a World Cup qualifier in November, the final game before Klinsmann was fired and Arena was brought back. And up ahead is another matchup, a qualifier on Sept. 1 at Harrison, New Jersey.

Morris, one of the new starters, hit a post just 11 seconds in.

Just before kickoff, El Salvador defender Henry Romero was suspended for his nation’s next six competitive matches and midfielder Darwin Ceren for the next three, those penalties coming three days after Romero bit Altidore and Ceren bit Omar Gonzalez during the quarterfinal. The Confederation of North, Central America and Caribbean Association Football said the discipline was issued by the Gold Cup disciplinary committee for “anti-sporting behavior.”

A's blow five-run lead, watch Mets walk off with victory

A's blow five-run lead, watch Mets walk off with victory


NEW YORK -- Wilmer Flores hit a solo home run with two outs in the bottom of the ninth inning, and the New York Mets rallied from an early five-run deficit to beat the Oakland Athletics 6-5 Saturday night for their fourth consecutive victory.

Pinch-hitter Lucas Duda delivered a tying single with two outs in the eighth off left-hander Daniel CoulombeJay Bruce hit a two-run homer in the sixth to begin New York's comeback, and Jose Reyes tripled twice.

Flores connected on a 96 mph fastball from Simon Castro (0-1), sending a line drive to left field for the second game-ending homer of his career. That sent a frenzied crowd of 39,629 home happy - hours after fans lined up early in the heat outside Citi Field to get their Noah Syndergaard as Thor bobbleheads.

Matt Joyce hit a leadoff home run and Matt Chapman added a prodigious shot for Oakland, which scored four in the first off struggling Mets starter Zack Wheeler.

Sean Manaea took a shutout into the sixth but then wilted after throwing a career-high 115 pitches Sunday in his previous start, a win against Cleveland.

Hansel Robles (6-1) tossed a hitless inning to win for the second straight day.

With Mets second baseman Neil Walker nearing a return from the disabled list, perhaps Monday in San Diego, Asdrubal Cabrera made his first major league start at third and played flawless defense after working out at the position once. Cabrera's only previous appearance at the hot corner came during his rookie season in 2007 with Cleveland. "He's a middle infielder who's going to play third base. Got great hands, great arm. He'll be fine," manager Terry Collins said. Cabrera initially balked at shifting from shortstop to second when he came off the DL about a month ago.

Athletics: Ryon Healy had a pinch-hit single after getting hit near the left temple by a bad-hop grounder Friday night. Healy went through the concussion protocol and was cleared, manager Bob Melvin said. ... Melvin said he would have news after the game regarding RHP Jharel Cotton, on the DL since July 4 with a blister on his right thumb. Cotton threw a bullpen Friday. Oakland needs a starter for Monday night at Toronto. ... INF-OF Chad Pinder (strained left hamstring) homered Friday on his rehab assignment with Triple-A Nashville and could come off the DL when Oakland begins a homestand next weekend. "That's kind of the target area," Melvin said.

Mets: Walker (left hamstring) went 1 for 3 with Triple-A Las Vegas at Memphis in the first game of rehab assignment. The switch-hitter has been on the DL since June 15. ... LHP Josh Smoker threw a scoreless sixth in his first outing since coming off the disabled list Thursday. Smoker had been sidelined since June 14 with a strained left shoulder.

Oakland rookie right-hander Daniel Gossett (1-5, 5.79 ERA) makes his eighth career start in Sunday's series finale against RHP Rafael Montero (1-6, 5.40). Gossett has given up 10 homers in 37 1/3 innings after yielding only four in 60 2/3 innings at Triple-A.