Resurgent McCarthy gets the ball against Tigers


Resurgent McCarthy gets the ball against Tigers

April 15, 2011
DETROIT (6-7) vs.
A's (6-7)

Coverage begins at 6:30 P.M. on Comcast SportsNet California

OAKLAND (AP) -- A three-game winning streak spurred by solid pitching has the Detroit Tigers in position to reach .500 for the first time this year.

They're hoping Rick Porcello can avoid another rough outing to get them there.

The right-hander tries again for his first win of 2011 as the Tigers attempt to beat the Oakland Athletics for a fourth consecutive time Friday night.

Detroit (6-7) is on its longest winning streak of the season after dropping seven of its first 10.

The Tigers, who went 81-81 last season, are benefiting from some superb efforts on the mound. Over the last three games, the staff has compiled a 2.00 ERA to overcome an offense that's had a .231 batting average and scored 11 runs.

They needed another terrific outing Thursday, as Phil Coke and two relievers combined for a three-hitter in a 3-0 win at Oakland (6-7) in the opener of a four-game set.

REWIND: Raburn's double dooms A's in loss to Tigers

Porcello (0-2, 9.00 ERA) will try to keep the run going, but will also need to overcome his own issues as he continues to struggle living up to the lofty expectations after being Detroit's first-round pick in 2007.

The right-hander was 14-9 as a rookie two years ago, but slumped to 10-12 in 2010. He was 1-2 with a 7.91 ERA through his first four starts last year, and 2011 is proving to be worse.

NEWS: MLB stats leaders

Porcello has turned in identical lines through two games, allowing five runs and nine hits in five innings of defeats to Baltimore and Kansas City. The 9-5 loss to the Royals on Sunday saw him labor through 97 pitches, issue three walks and an commit an error on a wild pickoff throw to first.

"As the game went on, I didn't do a good job of mixing my pitches," Porcello said. "I got into a pattern, and they got all over that and started waiting on my sinker."

He's lost his last three starts versus the A's with a 6.75 ERA. Porcello didn't pitch in Oakland last season, and is 0-2 with a 9.31 ERA there.

NEWS: Spotlight on Detroit

Some production from slumping Miguel Cabrera and Victor Martinez could help Porcello end his woes.

Cabrera hasn't managed a hit in seven at-bats over the last two games after batting .385 with four homers and 10 RBIs over the previous 11.

Martinez's slump has been going on for six games as he's 2 for 21 with one RBI. However, he owns a .329 average in 20 games at Oakland and is 6 for 14 with four doubles and a homer off Brandon McCarthy, the A's scheduled starter.

McCarthy (1-0, 3.52) has been impressive through two starts after missing all of last season with shoulder problems. The right-hander turned in another strong performance Sunday, yielding two runs and nine hits in 7 1-3 innings of a 5-3 win at Minnesota.

REWIND: McCarthy strong, Matsui goes yard in A's win

"Any time I go out there, (command) has got to be one of my strong points," McCarthy told the team's official website. "I have to be able to hit my spots and move the ball around. I did a pretty good job of that (Sunday) and was able to stay consistent."

McCarthy is 1-3 with a 4.83 ERA in 12 games - five starts - against the Tigers. He last faced them on May 19, 2009 while with Texas, and allowed four runs in seven innings of a 4-0 loss.

Mark Ellis is batting .217 following his 0-for-3 performance Thursday after totaling three hits in the previous two games. He's 4 for 8 with two homers off Porcello.

The road team has won five of the last six games played between these two teams. ... The Tigers have won back-to-back games for the first time this season, with both victories coming via walkoff hits. ... Since the beginning of the 2009 season, Miguel Cabrera is hitting an MLB-best .390 (101259) against AL West pitching (minimum 40 AB). ... Gio Gonzalez has allowed less than two runs in 13 of his last 21 starts (zero runs in seven of those 21 starts). ... Hideki Matsui, who went deep against the White Sox yesterday, has hit just one home run over his last 35 games against the Tigers (including the postseason). ... Since the beginning of the 2009 season, Coco Crisp has been successful on 50 of his 55 stolen base attempts. Over that span, Crisp's 90.9 stolen base percentage is tops in the majors (minimum 40 attempts).

Donald Penn: Raiders players trust McKenzie will add right pieces

Donald Penn: Raiders players trust McKenzie will add right pieces

The Raiders were pretty darn good last season. A 12-4 record proved that point. There was plenty of talent on a team with a penchant for high-wire acts in victory that masked the fact there were holes on the roster.

They need to be filled for the Raiders to improve in 2017, and new players will be imported through free agency and the draft.

Left tackle Donald Penn is excited to see who gets added, but said there’s no doubt talent is coming to Oakland. He speaks for Raiders players, who have faith that general manager Reggie McKenzie will make the right moves.

“Things that Reggie has done in past drafts have been great, and we’re looking forward to seeing what he brings back towards us,” Penn said recently during an in-studio appearance on NFL Network. “We can’t wait to get back out there healthy. We’re ready to hit the football world with a storm.”

While new guys are coming, a few might head out. The Raiders have several unrestricted free agents. Penn wants to keep his guys around – he mentioned running back Latavius Murray by name -- though he has some ideas for McKenzie’s checklist.

The Raiders don’t need much with most key players under contract – the Raiders should be less active in free agency over past offseasons – but a few key components could put this team over the top.

“If we stick to Reggie’s plan, we’ll be great,” Penn said. “I know he’s going to have a great draft, add a couple little pieces here and there – maybe somebody in the secondary to help out a little bit.

"On offense, you could always use a weapon. Maybe we get another receiver to take (pressure off Michael Crabtree and Amari Cooper), but we have a good nucleus right now.”

Four players score in double figures, Stanford takes down Oregon State


Four players score in double figures, Stanford takes down Oregon State


STANFORD -- Even though Stanford has been buried in the lower half of the Pac-12 standings all season, Reid Travis isn't so sure his team is an underdog against No. 6 Oregon.

That might be a stretch considering the Ducks are making a run at the conference title but that didn't seem to matter to Travis.

"The way we're playing now is great for this time of year," Travis said following Stanford's 79-66 win over Oregon State on Wednesday. "I feel like we're really taking off. Even though our record doesn't reflect it I really do feel that we're one of the top teams so take that as you want to."

Travis had 17 points and eight rebounds to lead four players in double figures. Marcus Allen also scored 17, Dorian Pickens added 15 and Robert Cartwright had 10 as the Cardinal beat the Beavers for the 21st time in the last 23 games between the two teams at Maples Pavilion.

Stanford (14-13, 6-9 Pac-12) led by as many as 25 but had to hold on after Oregon State (5-24, 1-15) pulled within 74-63 with 3:28 left on JaQuori McLaughlin's 3-pointer.

Allen and Pickens scored back-to-back buckets for Stanford, and after Stephen Thompson's putback for Oregon State, Pickens made a 3-pointer.

"We're pointing in the right direction on both ends of the floor," Allen said. "Guys are getting good looks . and on defense we're more active. Hopefully that continues."

Drew Eubanks had 21 points and 14 rebounds for Oregon State. Gligorije Rakocevic added a season-high 16 points for the Beavers, who couldn't follow up after beating Utah last week for their first conference win of the season.

Stanford built a quick double-digit lead despite a strong start by Rakocevic. The 6-foot-11-foot center, averaging 3.8 points going into the game, matched his season high in the first half while scoring 12 points on 6 of 8 shooting.

The Cardinal countered with a more balanced attack after adjusting to the Beavers' zone defense. Travis, Allen, Cartwright and Pickens combined for 32 points in the first half to help Stanford take a 43-33 lead.

The Cardinal also controlled the boards while outscoring the Beavers 46-22 in the paint.

"For us to be at our best we're going to score from the free throw line, like we did in the Cal game, or score around the basket," Stanford coach Jerod Haase said. "Smash-mouth is a football term but if it was a basketball term I think that would be a good word for us."

Travis got Stanford going again after halftime and helped push the Cardinal lead to 69-44.

Eubanks nearly brought Oregon State back. He scored 17 points in the second half, including 13 of the Beavers' first 20.


Oregon State: The Beavers hopes of winning back-to-back games for the first time since beating Prairie View A&M and Texas-San Antonio to open the season didn't last long. They didn't play poorly - Oregon State shot close to 47 percent most of the night - but couldn't match Stanford's run coming out of halftime and never recovered.

Stanford: The win pushed the Cardinal into a tie for seventh place in the Pac-12, still nowhere near enough to get a first-round bye in the conference tournament. The outcome was never in doubt, but Haase was concerned about Stanford's mental approach.


Eubanks and Travis were both hit with technical fouls after a heated exchange in the second half. Although no punches were thrown, Eubanks suffered a bloody nose during the incident and had to be treated near the Beavers' bench.

"We're trying to go at each other as hard as possible so of course there's different plays where a lot of contact happens," Travis said. "I like that. That's how competitors act and we just moved on from it. Unfortunately they called a technical on both of us. I'd like to see us play on in that sense."


Oregon State: Plays at California on Friday night.

Stanford: Hosts No. 6 Oregon on Saturday in the final regular season home at Maples Pavilion this year. The Ducks beat the Cardinal 69-52 on Jan. 21.