Earthquakes

Sandoval back in lineup for showdown with D'Backs

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Sandoval back in lineup for showdown with D'Backs

June 14, 2011

GIANTS (37-29) vs.
ARIZONA (37-30)

Coverage begins at 6 P.M. on Comcast SportsNet Bay Area

ARIZONA (AP) -- It's not a surprise the reigning World Series champion San Francisco Giants are atop the NL West. That the Arizona Diamondbacks are a close second, however, is.

With Matt Cain on the mound, the Giants look to prevent the surging Diamondbacks from overtaking them for the division lead Tuesday night in the opener of a three-game set at Chase Field.

Banged up and weary, the Giants (37-29) head into this first-place showdown following their first off day after going 10-10 during a stretch of 20 straight games.

Despite catcher Buster Posey lost with a broken leg and second baseman Freddy Sanchez out indefinitely with a dislocated shoulder, San Francisco has a one-half game lead over Arizona (37-30), which has won 22 of 30.

URBAN: Sanchez rehab plan is risky

"To still be in first place shows we've battled through it so far, and things should be better," right fielder Nate Schierholtz said.

That could come with the expected return of slugger Pablo Sandoval, who has been out since April 29 with a broken hand. Sandoval, batting .313 with five homers and 14 RBIs, is a lifetime .361 hitter with eight home runs and 30 RBIs versus Arizona.

San Francisco's starting pitchers did not receive more than three runs of support in any game of a 6-4 homestand that concluded Sunday with a 4-2 win over Cincinnati. The Giants are 22-5 when they give their starters three or more runs and 15-24 when they score two or fewer.

"If we hit a lick, we might be 10 games over the Diamondbacks," said first baseman Aubrey Huff, batting .321 with four RBIs the last seven games."

REWIND: Giants stage late rally to top Reds, split series

Cain (5-4, 3.36 ERA) has not needed much support in winning his last two starts - giving up two runs and nine hits in 16 innings with 18 strikeouts. He struck out a season-high 11 on Wednesday and threw a five-hitter in beating Washington 3-1 on Wednesday.

The right-hander has been almost as dominant while going 2-0 with a 1.98 ERA versus Arizona this season. He's also allowed one run and seven hits in 14 innings to win his last two at Chase Field, including April 15 when he yielded that run and four hits in a 5-2 victory.

San Francisco is 5-1 versus Arizona in 2011, and has won eight of 10 at Chase Field. However, the Diamondbacks have won 10 of 13 at home and took the final three of a four-game road set at Florida.

"This will be a good check for us," manager Kirk Gibson told the Diamondbacks' official website. "We're looking forward to that. They're a good team. We're good too."

Arizona also will hand the ball to rookie Josh Collmenter (4-1, 1.12 ERA), who has a 13-inning scoreless streak. A converted starter, Collmenter has allowed four earned runs in 34 1-3 innings to go 3-1 in six starts.

The right-hander gave up four hits in five innings but did not factor in the decision of a 2-0 win at Pittsburgh on Thursday.

"He's been a challenge for everybody so far," Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said.

This is Collmenter's first start against the Giants, but he pitched two scoreless innings of relief to earn the win in a 6-5, 12-inning home victory April 17.

Catcher Miguel hit three doubles and had four RBIs in Monday's 12-9 win at Florida. He's hit .444 with six RBIs his last four games, but is 2 for 18 versus San Francisco this season.

Teammate Stephen Drew has batted .379 with 11 RBIs his last 15 games, and .344 with three homers against Cain.

Earthquakes routed as Real Salt Lake inches closer in standings

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USATSI

Earthquakes routed as Real Salt Lake inches closer in standings

BOX SCORE

SANDY, Utah -- Jefferson Savarino, Albert Rusnak and Yura Movsisyan scored in the second half to help Real Salt Lake beat the 10-man San Jose Earthquakes 4-0 on Wednesday night.

Luis Silva opened the scoring for Real Salt Lake (9-13-5) in the 29th minute. He raced down Rusnak's long pass on a counter attack and split the legs of Andrew Tarbell from the corner of the 6-yard box. Savarino made it 2-0 in the 68th minute when he curled in a shot from the edge of the 18-yard box.

Rusnak redirected Joao Plata's cross in the 80th minute for his sixth goal of the season and Movsisyan scored on a breakaway in stoppage time.

San Jose (9-11-6) has lost six straight games away from home, going 2-10-1 on the road this season.

The Earthquakes' Anibal Godoy received his second yellow card in the 61st minute for an open hand to the face of Rusnak.

Tough luck: Rich Hill throws nine no-hit innings, loses on walk-off HR in 10th

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AP

Tough luck: Rich Hill throws nine no-hit innings, loses on walk-off HR in 10th

BOX SCORE

PITTSBURGH -- Dodgers lefty Rich Hill lost his perfect game on an error in the ninth inning, then lost his no-hitter on a leadoff home run in the 10th by Josh Harrison that sent the Pittsburgh Pirates over Los Angeles 1-0 Wednesday night.

Hill became the first pitcher since Pedro Martinez in 1995 to take a no-hit try into extra innings.

The Pirates didn't have a runner until Jordy Mercer led off the ninth with a sharp grounder that smacked off third baseman Logan Forsythe's glove for an error. Hill retired the next three batters.

Hill (9-5) came back out for the 10th and Harrison sent his 99th pitch of the night into the first row of seats in left field, just out of the reach of Los Angeles leftfielder Curtis Granderson. Hill struck out 10 without a walk.

Juan Nicasio (2-5) picked up the win after working the top of the 10th.

After Mercer reached in the ninth, Hill quickly retired the next three batters. Chris Stewart laid down a sacrifice bunt, Jose Osuna grounded out to Forsythe and when shortstop Corey Seager gobbled up a grounder by Starling Marte, Hill held the Pirates hitless for nine innings.

But to get official credit for a no-hitter under Major League Baseball rules, a pitcher must complete the game - going nine innings isn't enough if it goes into extras. Back in 1959, a Pirates pitcher had perhaps the most famous near-miss of all when Harvey Haddix lost his perfect game and the game itself in the 13th at Milwaukee.

In what's been a charmed season for the Dodgers, a 37-year-old journeyman received an ovation from the Pirates crowd at PNC Park as he walked off the mound after the ninth. A large mass of fans clad in Dodger blue sitting behind the Los Angeles dugout rose to its feet after taking in the latest remarkable night in a season full of them for the team chasing the best regular season record in major-league history.

Rather than go to the best bullpen in the majors, Los Angeles manager Dave Roberts sent Hill back out to see if he could keep the no-hitter going.

The appearance of his No. 44 jersey sent a jolt through the crowd of 19,859. It also proved to be one inning too many.

One batter, in fact. Hill could only watch the ball sail over the fence and, without expression, walked to the dugout.

"We knew we had a chance to win with one hit," Harrison said later.

Harrison broke up a no-hit bid by Detroit's Justin Verlander with two outs in the ninth in 2012. That game ended in a Pittsburgh loss. This one ended with Harrison sprinting toward a mob of teammates at home plate while Hill left as the losing pitcher following the best game of his career.

Hill raced through eight innings thanks in part to impeccable control and some spectacular defense behind him, most notably a diving grab by second baseman Chase Utley on a liner by Josh Bell leading off the eighth.

Bell was ruled safe on a close play at first in the second inning, but the call was overturned when replay showed Hill tagged him just before his foot hit the bag. First baseman Adrian Gonzalez also made a sliding grab on a bunt attempt by Harrison in the fourth but otherwise, Hill was in firm command.

Hill had come close to perfection in the past. Last Sept. 10, he retired all 21 batters at Miami before Roberts pulled him after seven innings and 89 pitches because of a recurrence of blisters on his pitching hand. He also was dealing with a groin injury.

In December, Hill re-signed as a free agent with the Dodgers, getting a three-year deal worth $48 million. The contract was quite a reward for a former journeyman who, as recently as 2015, was pitching for the Long Island Ducks in the independent Atlantic League.

Hill began this night with a 47-32 record in a career that began in 2005 and took him from the Chicago Cubs to Baltimore, then to Boston, Cleveland, the Angels, the Yankees, Oakland and the Dodgers. Hill has overcome serious injuries during his career, including a torn labrum in 2009 and elbow ligament replacement surgery in 2011.

Trevor Williams matched Hill out for out, if not pitch for pitch. The Pirates rookie kept Los Angeles off the board for eight innings, letting Hill to line out in the fourth to leave the bases loaded in the fourth, using a pair of double plays in the fifth and sixth and getting Forsythe to line out after a nine-pitch at bat with two on and two outs in the eighth.

The Pirates have been no-hit nine teams in team history. For nine innings it looked like they were on their way to a 10th. One swing from Harrison changed all that.

TRAINER'S ROOM:
Dodgers: LHP Clayton Kershaw (lower back strain) will make a rehab start for Triple-A Oklahoma City on Saturday. Roberts said the team considered having Kershaw return directly to the majors on Saturday but decided to exercise caution with such a large lead in the division. ... RHP Yu Darvish (lower back tightness) will be activated off the disabled list on Sunday and start against Milwaukee.

Pirates: Trainer Todd Tomczyk is "optimistic" RF Gregory Polanco will return from a strained left hamstring before the end of the season. Polanco is currently on the 10-day disabled list for a third time this season because of hamstring trouble. ... C Francisco Cervelli (left wrist inflammation) is eligible to come off the disabled list on Thursday and could return to the lineup.

UP NEXT:
Dodgers: Hyun-Jin Riu (4-6, 3.45 ERA) is undefeated in his last eight starts, going 2-0 with a 2.22 ERA since June 17.

Pirates: Chad Kuhl (6-8, 4.52) will try to bounce back from his worst start of the season on Thursday. Kuhl gave up eight runs in three-plus innings last week against St. Louis.