Quakes fall to Vancouver on penalty kick


Quakes fall to Vancouver on penalty kick


The San Jose Earthquakes lost to the Vancouver Whitecaps forthe second time this season at BC Place as a penalty kick goal from designatedplayer Barry Robson gave the home side a 2-1 win. The call against Sam Croninfor a tackle on Camilo in the area was initially waved off by the referee, butupon reconsideration was called in favor of the Whitecaps. First half strikes from the Whitecaps' Dane Richards and theEarthquakes' Alan Gordon sent the match into halftime tied 1-1. Following thepenalty kick goal from Robson, the Earthquakes pressed forward in search of anequalizer, but were unable to crack the Vancouverdefense. The goal by Gordon was his ninth of the season, a new careerhigh, and the score was assisted by Marvin Chavez, his ninth of the season. Theloss to Vancouverwas only the fifth of the season suffered by the Earthquakes, and only markedthe second time they had dropped points to a team in position in the MLSWestern Conference to qualify for the postseason. After absorbing a tremendous amount of pressure on thedefensive side of the ball to start the game, the Earthquakes finally had achance develop in the 11th minute. A Whitecaps turnover at midfieldallowed Chris Wondolowski to race forward with the ball. Center defender MartinBonjour stepped into his path 30 yards from goal to break up the play, andearned a yellow card for hockey-style tackle. New Vancouver designated player Robson earned ayellow card for encroachment on the initial free kick from Victor Bernardez.The defenders retake was blasted a few feet over the crossbar. The Whitecaps were finally rewarded for their aggressive play inthe attacking third, when a loose ball in the center of the field was collectedby Young-Pyo Lee in the 20th minute. Vancouver's right back lookedto play distributor and spotted the speedy Richards sprinting into space behinddefender Justin Morrow. Richards collected the pass from Lee and carried theball into the area. From 10 yards out, the Jamaican blasted a shot throughgoalkeeper Jon Busch for the matchs opening goal. San Joseequalized in the 38th minute following a fine defensive play byJason Hernandez. The Earthquakes' centerback defused a Whitecaps counterattackand immediately pressed the ball forward to Chavez on the left side of thefield. The Quakes' leading assist man whipped a cross through the area for aleaping Gordon to head back to the far post for the goal. A controversial penalty call was awarded to Vancouver in the 62ndminute after Cronin was adjudged to have fouled Camilo in the area. Initiallythe foul was waved off by referee Jair Marrufo, but he reconsidered the callafter consulting with his assistant and pointed to the spot. Robson stepped upand crushed the penalty kick to the left of Busch to restore the Whitecaps'lead. The goal seemed to stun the Earthquakes, and they nearlygave up a third to the Whitecaps over the next quarter hour. In both the 71stand 73rd minutes, rookie Darren Mattocks had only Busch to beat, buthis first attempt was tipped out for a corner kick and his second was shot justwide off the target. In the 77th minute, Mattocks was replaced bydesignated player Kenny Miller making his debut for the Whitecaps. The Earthquakes began to turn the momentum of the match intheir favor late in the second half with the introduction of Shea Salinas forMarvin Chavez and Sercan Guvenisik for Rafael Baca. San Jose increased its pressure on the Vancouver defense, but did little tochallenge goalkeeper Joe Cannon over the rest of the match.Following the MLS All-Star game this Wednesday, theEarthquakes return home to Buck Shaw Stadium to face the Chicago Fire onSaturday, July 28.

Melancon wastes Blach's gem, Giants fall to Padres in 12 on Myers' homer

Melancon wastes Blach's gem, Giants fall to Padres in 12 on Myers' homer


SAN FRANCISCO -- Wil Myers hit a three-run homer in the top of the 12th inning to send the San Diego Padres past the San Francisco Giants 5-2 on Sunday.

Myers' seventh home run and second in two games came on a 1-0 fastball from reliever George Kontos (0-2). Cory Spangenberg singled against Kontos leading off the inning, and Erick Aybar singled two batters later.

Hector Sanchez, who played parts of five seasons with the Giants, had a pinch-hit, two-run homer off San Francisco closer Mark Melancon in the ninth to send the game to extra innings.

Sanchez turned on a 1-1 cut fastball over the heart of the plate for his first home run of the season and third career pinch-hit homer.

It was Melancon's second blown save in seven chances.

Sanchez represented the tying run after shortstop Eduardo Nunez booted Luis Sardinas' leadoff grounder for an error.

Ryan Buchter (2-1) pitched two shutout innings for the Padres. Jose Torres worked a scoreless 12th for his first save.

Melancon's flop followed a full meltdown by the Giants' bullpen Saturday, when the Padres tagged San Francisco relievers for 11 runs in three innings of a 12-4 win that included Myers' three-run homer.

Giants starter Ty Blach pitched seven innings of three-hit ball, retiring 10 of his last 11 batters in his second start for San Francisco since taking injured ace Madison Bumgarner's spot in the rotation. Bumgarner is expected to miss three months with a separated left (pitching) shoulder he sustained in a dirt-bike crash.

The Giants, who were hitting a league-worst .217 against lefties going into Sunday, took a 2-0 lead against southpaw Clayton Richard, who pitched 5 1/3 innings of six-hit ball.

Joe Panik, who was hit by a pitch leading off the fourth, scored on Blach's sacrifice fly. Michael Morse doubled in Hunter Pence in the fifth.

The Padres have won 12 of 16 games against the Giants dating to last season.

San Francisco (9-17) has the National League's worst record and is 39-59 since going into last year's All-Star break 24 games over .500 with the best record in the majors.

Padres: RHP Jarred Cosart, on the disabled list with a hamstring injury, tentatively plans to pitch for Class A Lake Elsinore on a rehab assignment Tuesday, manager Andy Green said. Cosart will throw three innings or about 45-50 pitches.

Giants: RHP Neil Ramirez was designated for assignment and the Giants called up RHP Bryan Morris from Triple-A Sacramento. . CF Denard Span, on the disabled list with a right shoulder injury, tentatively plans to take batting practice in Los Angeles on Monday.

Padres: After an off day, RHP Trevor Cahill (1-2, 4.50 ERA) will pitch the home series opener against Colorado on Tuesday. Cahill is 5-6 with a 4.44 ERA in his career against the Rockies.

Giants: RHP Johnny Cueto (3-1, 5.10) starts the series opener against the Dodgers in Los Angeles on Monday. The two-time All-Star gave up three runs in six innings vs. the Dodgers last week and was 3-1 with a 2.67 ERA against them last season.

A's have their work cut out as they welcome back Sonny, Rajai

A's have their work cut out as they welcome back Sonny, Rajai

HOUSTON — If the A’s eventually want to return to the American League West mountaintop, they got a good look at the team they’ll have to conquer.

The Astros boast one of the majors’ most talented and athletic rosters, with enough of a youthful core to suggest they’ll be battling for division supremacy for years to come. They took two of three from Oakland at Minute Maid Park, capped by Sunday’s 7-2 decision in which left-hander Dallas Keuchel held the A’s to just three hits over 7 2/3 innings.

The loss ended a season-opening stretch in which the A’s played 22 of their first 25 against AL West foes. They saw every team in the division at least once, going 9-13 in that stretch and 11-14 overall for the month of April.

It’s tough to glean too much from one month of play, but the Astros (16-9) so far are living up to the hype that stems from several notable offseason additions they made. They hold a three-game lead over the second-place Los Angeles Angels, with Oakland and Texas both five games back and Seattle 5 1/2 back.

Before the A’s bother worrying about who they have to knock off at the top, there are baby steps to conquer.

They need to generate some consistent offense, which has been lacking in their 1-5 start to this nine-game road trip. With that in mind, they’ll gladly welcome back center fielder Rajai Davis, who is expected to return from a strained left hamstring and rejoin the lineup Tuesday in Minnesota.

Also Tuesday, Sonny Gray will make his 2017 debut after missing the first four weeks with a strained lat muscle in his right side. One of the primary April storylines for the A’s involved the players they lost to injury. Now, they at least draw some optimism from the ones they’ll welcome back.

“We need to get these guys back,” A’s manager Bob Melvin said. “We’ve been leaning on (backup center fielder) Jaff Decker a little harder than we need to. You get Raj back doing his thing at the top of the lineup and get your No. 1 pitcher back, hopefully this is a trend on an upward swing as far as getting players back, as opposed to losing them like we have been.”

Jesse Hahn, who took Sunday’s loss, could eventually be out of a rotation spot with Gray’s return. But that decision gets delayed with fellow starter Sean Manaea having just joined the 10-day disabled list with a strained shoulder.

Hahn was solid Sunday, going six innings and allowing four runs (two earned). But he got a taste of the diverse ways that Houston can beat a pitcher. The Astros have speed, as they showed in the first inning when George Springer beat out an infield single and scored all the way from first on Carlos Correa’s double.

They also have run producers up and down the batting order. Evan Gattis, who clubbed 32 homers last season, hit seventh Sunday and drove an RBI double to left that just missed being a two-run homer.

“One through nine, it’s a solid lineup over there,” Hahn said. “You can’t take any pitches off, any at-bats off. You’ve almost got to treat every guy the same or they can hurt you.”

Catcher Josh Phegley says the A’s have a good read on the rest of the division and the challenge that sits before him and his teammates.

“We’ve seen the teams we’re gonna face most of the year. We get a feel for their bullpen, some of the subs they make during the game,” he said. “I like the way our team stacks up against everyone else.”

But the A’s have their work cut out. Last year, they were 13-12 at the end of April, just 1 1/2 games out of first place before eventually finishing in the cellar. As they begin this May, they are three games under .500 and already five games out.

Help is on the way with the return of Gray and Davis. Now the A’s need to parlay that into some victories.