Pavelski powers Sharks past St. Louis, 5-3

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Pavelski powers Sharks past St. Louis, 5-3

March 19, 2011

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SAN JOSE, Calif. (AP) The San Jose Sharks survived nearly two whole periods without high-scoring rookie Logan Couture. Now they're left hoping the lower body injury that sent him limping to the locker room isn't too serious with the playoffs just more than three weeks away. RELATED: Sharks' Couture leaves games with leg injury
Joe Pavelski had two goals and an assist Saturday and the Sharks beat the St. Louis Blues 5-3 on a night they might have lost one of their top scorers.San Jose jumped out to a 3-0 lead less than 8 minutes in and thoroughly dominated the Blues. But there was more of a cause for concern than celebration when Couture had to be helped to the locker room early in the second period with an apparent right leg injury."You could see he was in pain," Pavelski said. "He's meant a lot to this team. He's been great. He brings a lot of energy to our team. But we have guys who are more than capable of stepping up. We hope it's nothing serious. Hopefully he doesn't even miss a day. If it is (serious), hopefully he's back before crunch time gets going."Couture is officially listed as day to day. He was unable to put any weight on his leg as teammates Ryane Clowe and Ben Eager helped him off the ice after his skate slammed into the end boards 1:04 into the second."I'm not sure how he's feeling, but it wasn't pretty," Clowe said.Torrey Mitchell, Patrick Marleau and Devin Setoguchi also scored and Antti Niemi made 42 saves for the Sharks, who have won three straight following a three-game losing streak to move within two points of Detroit for second place in the Western Conference.T.J. Hensick scored his first goal in more than 16 months and David Backes and Andy McDonald added third-period scores for the Blues, who had won four of six."It looks like they found their game," Blues coach Davis Payne said. "Their puck movement puts them in a top-four spot and they have made a huge charge to get into that spot. Obviously, in this conference, if you are in the top four you are a pretty good team."Much of the energy left the Shark Tank after Couture's injury. He has been one of San Jose's most consistent performers all season, with a franchise rookie record 27 goals, including eight game-winners.Niemi and Pavelski helped make sure the Sharks didn't lose the game as well as Couture after Hensick got credit for his first goal since Nov. 8, 2009, when he kicked a puck off Douglas Murray's skate to cut San Jose's lead to 3-1.Niemi came out with a couple of tough saves, and Marc-Edouard Vlasic cleared a puck off the goal line to preserve the two-goal lead. Setoguchi restored the three-goal advantage when his shot deflected off Blues defender Roman Polak and past Ty Conklin to make it 4-1.Pavelski sealed the game when he deflected in Dan Boyle's shot for his second goal of the night with 5.3 seconds remaining in the second period. Pavelski has three goals and eight assists in his last four games.He almost had his first career hat trick, but a third goal was taken away after the game when officials ruled he didn't deflect Marleau's first-period shot."Points are coming," Pavelski said. "We're playing good. It's not just points. I feel confident with the puck. The line's been playing good. We've had lots of chances."The Sharks played without coach Todd McLellan, who was in Saskatchewan for his brother-in-law's funeral. Assistant Trent Yawney ran the team in McLellan's absence.San Jose got off to a fast start against a team looking to play spoiler in the West. The Sharks scored three goals in a span of less than 4 minutes in the opening period to knock out Jaroslav Halak two nights after he shut out another playoff contender in a 4-0 win at Los Angeles."I think they have been doing everything that Todd has been preaching over the course of, probably the last month, and I thought we shot the puck early," Yawney said. "I thought we broke them down by shooting the puck."Mitchell's goal came on a rebound, while Marleau and Pavelski scored on the power play with shots that came from just inside the blue line as Halak left after allowing three goals on 10 shots in the first 7:41."You can't blame much on Jaro when there are shots through screens, shots going off posts, and that's the job of our forwards and defensemen to get into their shot lanes," Backes said.Notes: San Jose won the season series 3-1. ... The Sharks have scored at least one power-play goal in a season-high seven straight games. ... Referee Dennis Larue was honored before the game for working his 1,000th regular-season game as an official.

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 hill Sunday night in a Giants jersey for the first time since being placed on the DL on April 21 due to a dirt bike accident

Bumgarner took the mound for the Arizona Rookie League Giants 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.”