Rockies rally, sweep Giants in short series

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Rockies rally, sweep Giants in short series

May 17, 2010BOXSCORE GIANTS POSTGAMEVIDEOMLBPAGE MLBSCOREBOARD
DENVER (AP) The Colorado Rockies turned to their Big Os - Ubaldo, CarGo and Tulo - to snap out of their funk and send a message to the San Francisco Giants that they're not going to fade away.Carlos Gonzalez's two-run single off Javier Lopez capped a four-run eighth-inning rally and the Rockies surged back into first place in the NL West with a 5-3 win Tuesday over the Giants.With the two-game sweep, the Rockies, who also got a solo homer from Troy Tulowitzki, moved a half game ahead of San Francisco in the division, and they snapped a streak of nine straight losses in games started by ace Ubaldo Jimenez.Although he's still searching for his first win since Sept. 17, Jimenez showed signs of his old self, giving up three runs and eight hits in seven innings, striking out seven and walking just one."It felt really good to have a game like that," Jimenez said. "The last five games that I had have been really bad and today I was able to locate the fastball."Jimenez said the outing gave him confidence that he's getting back to being his old dominant self.
URBAN: No rest, no problem for Posey
Through seven innings it appeared as though the Giants were going to get their sixth win in eight tries against the Rockies and leave town with a 1 12-game lead over their rivals."It's nice to walk out of here being in first place," Tulowitzki said. "They have been beating us up the whole year, so it's nice to kind of answer back, throw a few punches and prove to them that we're going to be in this thing for the long haul."Gonzalez, whose three-run homer off Tim Lincecum propelled Colorado past the Giants 7-4 on Monday night, grounded a fastball to right field to snap a 3-3 tie in the eighth and make a winner of Matt Belisle (4-2), who worked one inning of relief.It was the first time all season that the Rockies won a game in which they trailed after seven innings.Huston Street pitched the ninth for his 14th save in 15 tries. He gave up a one-out single to Cody Ross but started a game-ending double play on Andres Torres' screaming comebacker.
VIDEO: Cody Ross postgame
Jonathan Sanchez (3-3) allowed three hits and didn't walk a batter over the first seven innings but gave up back-to-back singles to Ryan Spilborghs and Chris Iannetta leading off the eighth, then threw away Alfredo Amezaga's sacrifice bunt, allowing Spilborghs to score from second base and pull Colorado to 3-2."It was an easy out at first," Sanchez said. "I should have made that play I think that's why we lost. Amezaga is pretty fast and I just wanted to make sure I got him out and I threw the ball away."His blunder was reminiscent of the night before, when Lincecum's throwing error led to four unearned runs."That's the third time on this road trip where we've thrown the ball away and it's hurt us," said Giants manager Bruce Bochy, who promised his pitchers would be doing some spring training drills this week.Aside from Sanchez's bad throw to first, Bochy couldn't complain about his lefty who had walked 14 batters in his previous three starts but had pinpoint control Tuesday.Lopez replaced Sanchez and Dexter Fowler sent his ninth pitch over the center fielder's head for a ground-rule RBI double to tie it at 3.One out later, Gonzalez pulled a fastball to right to score Amezaga and Fowler."He likes to go corner to corner, and after I saw the first-pitch cutter away, I was just expecting something close to me on the inside part. He tried to come in and I was ready for the pitch," said Gonzalez, who was admonished by his teammates to calm down after he took a big swing at the first pitch in the dirt.Gonzalez stepped out, gathered himself and delivered another game-winner for the Rockies and backbreaker for the Giants."If the season ended today, I supposed we'd be panicked," Lopez said. "But, I mean, we've got three quarters left so I think we're OK."Tulowitzki tied it at 1 when he led off the bottom of the second with his 11th homer after Miguel Tejada's RBI single in the top half, but the Giants grabbed the lead right back on Pat Burrell's two-run double in the third, when he sent Jimenez's 96 mph heater on a 3-and-0 count into the gap in left-center, driving in Mike Fontenot and Buster Posey, who had reached on two-out singles.Jimenez worked out of two more jams, including one in the seventh when Sanchez led off with a double and was stranded at third.Jimenez cracked the cuticle on his right thumb on the eve of the opener last month, and the injury zapped the zip from his fastball and stole the spin from his breaking pitches. After his first career stint on the disabled list, he had been unable to find any consistency, command or confidence.The Rockies pored over film from last year's 15-1 start and compared them to this year. They discovered he was rocking back too far in his delivery and so they tweaked things during side sessions over the weekend.It worked wonders."I didn't even have to think when I got to the mound," Jimenez said. "I didn't have to worry about my mechanics because I was repeating it every time. It felt really good."Notes: Giants IF Freddy Sanchez took the day off with swelling in his left knee that's bothered him for a couple of days. ... The Giants hadn't lost a series since April 29-May 2 against Washington. ... Tulowitzki's 11 homers lead all major league shortstops.

Fultz a perfect fit, but do Kings have assets required to trade up?

Fultz a perfect fit, but do Kings have assets required to trade up?

It’s lonely at the top, which is where Markelle Fultz sits on almost every 2017 NBA Draft board. The Brooklyn Nets should be set for the next decade with a big time scoring point guard. Instead, it’s the Boston Celtics who have no choice but to take Fultz with the No. 1 overall selection after a savvy trade that sent veterans Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett and Jason Terry to the Nets for a stack of picks and players back in 2013.

Fultz can do it all. He’s deadly from the outside, he can take you off the bounce and he has elite passing skills to boot. In a draft packed with star potential, specifically at the point guard position, the freshman from Washington stands out well above the rest.  

It would take a major shake up at the top for Fultz not to have his name called first on draft night, but there are plenty of very talented players sitting on the board behind him. Here is a deeper look at the potential top overall selection.

The Positives:
Fultz has tremendous size, length and athleticism for an NBA point guard. He measured in at 6-foot-5, 195-pounds with a 6-foot-10 wingspan and has a frame built to take on muscle. At just 19-years-old, he is already well defined physically and has plenty of room to grow and get stronger.

A crafty, high-end scorer, Fultz changes speed and direction well and has an advanced Euro-step for a young player. He averaged 23.2 points in 35.7 minutes a night for the Huskies while shooting 47.6 percent from the field and 41.3 percent from three. He can score from all three levels, finish well above the rim and play through contact.

In his lone season in college, Fultz showed that he is not only a legitimate scoring threat, but he is a willing passer and an unselfish teammate. While Lonzo Ball is considered the true pass first point guard of the draft, Fultz had a higher assist rate (35.5 to 31.5) and lower turnover rate (13.4 to 18.2) than the star guard from UCLA.

Fultz rebounds well for his position, averaging 5.7 rebounds per game at Washington. He also has potential as a defender, posting 1.6 steals and 1.2 blocks, although he is a work in progress on that end of the floor.

Known as a high-character kid and tireless worker off the court, Fultz has the entire package. He can also play the lead or shooting guard spot, which will come in handy if the Celtics decide to pair him with All-Star Isaiah Thomas in the backcourt.

The Negatives:
9-16 is a concern. Great college players should be able to will their team to victory, even if the talent around them is suspect. Washington was certainly worse off without Fultz down the stretch, losing their last six while he sat with a knee injury.

Shot selection and sloppy ball handling was also an issue this season. In Fultz’ defense, he played with a group that lacked overall talent and those issues might eventually disappear when he’s added to a roster that made it to the Eastern Conference Finals.  

Fultz is a quality chase down defender, but he fell asleep on plenty of plays or didn’t show a consistent fight on the defensive end. Lack of focus allowed for plenty of back cuts. He also showed an inconsistent effort fighting through screens.

He’s a work in progress on the defensive end, like most young players coming into the league. Most of these issues can easily be coached out of him at the next level.

Projection:
Fultz has an advanced feel and tons of room to expand his game. On the court, he resembles another former Husky in Brandon Roy. Fultz is much further along than Roy was at the same age, but possesses both the ability to score from anywhere on the court, as well as rebound and set up his teammates.  

It’s hard to imagine the Celtics passing on Fultz with the top overall selection, but if they do, teams will scramble trying to move up to select him. He would fit perfectly in the Kings starting backcourt alongside sophomore Buddy Hield, but Sacramento lacks the assets to move from five to one, Fultz’ likely landing spot.

 

Early offense, six strong from Cueto lift Giants past Braves in finale

Early offense, six strong from Cueto lift Giants past Braves in finale

BOX SCORE

SAN FRANCISCO -- The blisters on Johnny Cueto's middle and index fingers that limited his effectiveness in his last few starts haven't yet completely healed.

But the two-time All-Star is learning to pitch with them.

Cueto threw six strong innings and Brandon Crawford drove in three runs as the San Francisco Giants defeated the Atlanta Braves 7-1 on Sunday.

Cueto (5-4) bounced back from his roughest stretch as a Giant. He was 0-3 with a 4.33 ERA in his previous four starts.

"They're not bothering me like they were before," Cueto said through a translator. "I'm just getting used to it but I have to continue pitching until they get better."

The Giants won their third straight home series and posted their 11th victory in 18 games overall.

Crawford's two-run single highlighted a four-run second against R.A. Dickey (3-4) that made it 6-0.

Matt Kemp had three hits for Atlanta. But the Braves couldn't get much going against Cueto, who allowed one run on six hits and a walk. Cueto struck out eight, including five in a row at one point.

"He did what he needed to do to get us out," Kemp said. "We had chances to score runs and we didn't. I think in this series we really didn't do a good score of scoring runs."

Dickey allowed a season-high seven runs (six earned) on six hits and five walks in six innings.

"This can be a challenging place to throw because of the wind because it swirls so much," Dickey said.

Eduardo Nunez and Gorkys Hernandez each had two hits for the Giants. Joe Panik tripled to start the second-inning burst.

Cueto had two productive at-bats, bunting a runner to second in the second inning and driving in a run with a sacrifice fly in the third.

"It's always nice to have a lead and I thought Johnny was the sharpest he'd been this year," Giants catcher Buster Posey said. "Hopefully it's something he can build on. The changeup was working really well and his command of the fastball was really good."

Posey was 0 for 2 with two walks. He hasn't struck out in 55 consecutive plate appearances.

FUN FACTOR:
The Giants scored the game's first run when Nunez came around from third when a knuckleball glanced off catcher Kurt Suzuki glove in the bottom of the first. The play was ruled a passed ball. Asked if he had any empathy for the plight of his counterpart, Posey said "Yes, no question. It's not fun to hit, it doesn't look fun to catch, either."

FANCY FIELDING:
Hernandez made a diving catch in the gap in left-center robbing Emilio Bonifacio of an extra-base hit with one out in the seventh inning.

TRAINER'S ROOM:
Braves: 2B Brandon Phillips left in the fifth for pinch-hitter Jace Peterson. Phillips fouled a ball off his foot in his last at-bat in the third.

Giants: LHP Madison Bumgarner will start his throwing program on Friday, manager Bruce Bochy said. Bumgarner will start out playing catch and make five rehab starts. The 2014 World Series MVP suffered a separated left shoulder in a dirt biking accident. "The progress is happening," Bochy said. "I think he sees light at the end of the tunnel." ... Slumping rookie INF Christian Arroyo was out of the lineup on Sunday and his playing status appears uncertain. Arroyo, who turns 22 on Tuesday, is 0 for 19 in his last five games. "I'll talk to him, about what his situation is," Bochy said. "I'm definitely planning on giving him a couple of days" off.

UP NEXT:
Braves: RHP Julio Teheran will make his first career start against the Angels in Anaheim on Monday. He is 3-9 with a 5.63 ERA in 15 career interleague starts.

Giants: LHP Matt Moore will face the Nationals for the second time in his career. He was with Tampa Bay when he gave up two runs in five innings against Washington in 2012.