Sandoval to the rescue, Giants avoid sweep

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Sandoval to the rescue, Giants avoid sweep

Aug. 21, 2011BOX SCORE GIANTS VIDEOMLB PAGE MLB SCOREBOARD
HOUSTON (AP) -- The San Francisco Giants had several good chances to beat the Houston Astros. It took them until the 11th inning to find one that worked.Pablo Sandoval hit a tie-breaking two-run homer with two out in the 11th inning to lead the Giants to a 6-4 victory Sunday.The score had been tied 4-4 since the fourth inning and the Giants missed a few opportunities to take the lead until Sandoval's 15th homer off Mark Melancon (6-4).It's been tough for the Giants lately. They've lost 17 of their last 23 games. The Astros made two outstanding defensive plays to keep the score tied."It's frustrating, especially when you've been in a streak like we've been in and lost two straight here," Giants manager Bruce Bochy said. "You're hoping that somebody comes through but they made two unbelievable defensive plays that saved them. It was a great job on their part."Sandoval, playing with nagging injuries, was pleased to get it over."I'm tired," Sandoval said. "I just was looking for a pitch to hit. Now we go home, got a day off and come Tuesday, play hard. I've been hurting so I'll enjoy that day. I just want to play and help team win a game."Jeremy Affeldt (2-2) pitched two innings for the victory. He has allowed one earned in 17 1-3 innings since the All-Star break.
RELATED: Giants' Wilson to DL, RHP Edlefsen called up
The Giants left 12 base runners stranded, including seven over the final five innings. The loss snapped a four-game winning streak for the Astros, equaling their longest of the season.Brandon Belt hit a three-run homer in the second inning and had a career high four hits.The Astros kept coming up with big defensive plays to keep the score tied."I thought our guys did a great job of battling all the way until the end," Astros manager Brad Mills said. "It seemed like the leadoff guy got on in every inning. Our guys had to really buckle down and work out of jams, and they did. There were a lot of quality pitches being made."The Giants were poised to take the lead in the eighth with the bases loaded and one out. Instead, Chris Stewart hit a fly to left fielder J.D. Martinez, who caught it for the second out and then made a perfect throw to catcher Carlos Corporan, who blocked the plate and tagged Nate Schierholtz sliding into home plate.San Francisco loaded the bases with two outs in the ninth but Schierholtz flew out to center field to keep the score tied. The Giants left seven runners stranded in the seventh, eighth and ninth.Aaron Rowand led off the ninth with a single. He took off for second when a pickoff throw got past first baseman Carlos Lee. The ball bounced perfectly off the fence back to second baseman Jose Altuve, who threw out Rowand at second."When you're in one of these streaks, what can go wrong does go wrong," Bochy said. "They got a break there and throw the guy out at second. There's nobody out and a man on first, yeah, it's a tough break."Giants starter Dan Runzler made his major league debut as a starter after 71 appearances in relief. He didn't get out of the second inning. He allowed four runs, walked three and struck out two.Henry Sosa pitched five innings against his former team but didn't figure in the outcome.San Francisco got a quick lead off Sosa on Belt's 3-run homer for the early lead but the Astros battered Runzler and Guillermo Mota for four runs in the second inning that included four walks.Runzler yielded a single to Jimmy Paredes and walked Clint Barmes and Jason Michaels to start the second inning. Carlos Corporan hit into a double play, scoring Paredes.Sosa walked and Jose Altuve had an RBI single to bring on Mota, who walked Jason Bourgeois and J.D. Martinez followed with a two-run single to right field for a 4-3 lead.Mike Fontenot's sacrifice fly tied it in the fourth inning."We survived it is the best way to put it," Bochy said. "We're not too far back. We're fortunate."Notes: The Giants placed closer Brian Wilson on the 15-daydisabled list retroactive to Tuesday with inflammation in his right elbow and recalled RHP Steve Edlefsen from Triple-A Fresno. ... The Astros optioned RHP Jordan Lyles to Triple-A Oklahoma City Sunday in anticipation of OF Jordan Schafer coming off the disabled list on Monday. General manager Ed Wade said Lyles would return with the September call ups.

Giants lineup: Panik leading off in series opener vs Cubs

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AP

Giants lineup: Panik leading off in series opener vs Cubs

Bruce Bochy and Joe Maddon issued their lineups for today's series opener in Chicago:

Giants (19-26)
1. Joe Panik (L) 2B
2. Christian Arroyo (R) 3B
3. Brandon Belt (L) 1B
4. Buster Posey (R) C
5. Brandon Crawford (L) SS
6. Eduardo Nunez (R) LF
7. Justin Ruggiano (R) RF
8. Gorkys Hernandez (R) CF
9. Ty Blach (R) P (1-2, 4.15 ERA)

Cubs (22-20) 
1. Ben Zobrist (S) LF
2. Albert Almora Jr. (R) CF
3. Kris Bryant (R) 3B
4. Anthony Rizzo (L) 1B
5. Willson Contreras (R) C
6. Addison Russell (R) SS
7. Jason Heyward (L) RF
8. Javier Baez (R) 2B
9. John Lackey (R) P (4-3, 4.37 ERA)

Entering the NBA Finals 12-0 'would be irrelevant' to the Warriors

Entering the NBA Finals 12-0 'would be irrelevant' to the Warriors

SAN ANTONIO -- The Specter of 73 haunts the Warrior still and you can feel it in their dismissive, yes-but responses to being on the brink of yet another entry into the NBA record book.

Though they do not believe their pursuit and achievement last season of an NBA-record 73 wins sabotaged their chances for a championship, it is evident the Warriors came away with diminished appreciation of gaudy numbers.

They can add to their list of shiny accomplishments Monday night. A victory over the Spurs in Game 4 of the Western Conference Finals would make the Warriors the first team ever to open the playoffs with three four-game sweeps and a 12-0 record.

“My wife asked me this morning: What if you guys win and you’re 12-0?” general manager Bob Myers told NBCBayAreaSports.com Monday afternoon. “Well, for me, the record thing kind of got screwed up last year.”

Yes, the record thing. The Warriors chased 73 and got 73 and yet they’ll be known just as much, if not more, as the first team to blew a 3-1 lead in the NBA Finals.

“It’s all about 16,” Stephen Curry told NBCSportsBayArea.com.

Getting to 16 wins in the postseason means getting to the top. Winning it all. The very thing the Warriors did not accomplish a year ago.

They are one win away from being three-quarters of the way there.

“Going 12-0 sounds great,” Curry said. “But it probably would have happened if the Lakers would have played a seven-game series to start the run through the playoffs.”

The Lakers twice swept their first three postseason series -- in 1989 and 2001 -- but in both instances the first round was best-of-five. Both streaks ended at 11 in a row.

The Warriors seem to view numbers as decoration, ancillary components to the primary. They may have felt that way all along, but going through what they did last season, losing The Finals to the Cavaliers, provided an acute sense of context.

“It’s unfortunate that we put so much into the last game of the season, or winning the whole thing because there are a lot of things that we, as an organization, should be proud of no matter what happens,” Myers said. “But it’s hard, knowing where were last year, to see that regular-season record and then not win the championship. It’s a mixed feeling.

“So when you talk about records and numbers and things like that, and you know what it’s like to win a championship and you know what it’s like to lose, it’s hard to put them in proper perspective.”

The Warriors have made it clear they are less than impressed with their average victory margin of 16.5 points through the first 11 games in these playoffs. The record is 14.5, set by the Bucks in 1971.

They’re not buying into the hype generated by leading all playoff teams in points per game (117.4) and field-goal percentage (49.7) and field-goal percentage defense (41.6).

Numbers. Just numbers. Like, for example, 73.

“To know that we have a great regular-season record and a tiny little banner in our practice facility, “ Myers said, “it doesn’t feel like it should.

“I wouldn’t go as far as to say it doesn’t mean anything. But it’s hard to really understand what it means right now. And knowing that we’ve been in the midst of all these numbers and records and road-win records and things like that, you get lost in it in good and bad ways. It’s fantastic, but also what does it mean? Because what we’re really trying to do is win a championship.”

Which, of course, comes back to numbers.

“You can learn lessons in winning and you can learn lessons in losing,” Curry said. “It’s just a matter of how you respond from game to game. But 12-0 would be irrelevant come next series.”