Sharks begin long homestand against Avalanche


Sharks begin long homestand against Avalanche

March 1, 2011

COLORADO (26-30-7)
vs. SHARKS (36-21-6)
Coverage begins at 7:30 p.m. on Comcast Sportsnet California

SAN JOSE (AP) -- After piling up victories while spending most of February on the road, the San Jose Sharks open March with a season-high six-game homestand.

They'll begin the stretch against a Colorado Avalanche team they beat rather convincingly in their last home game.

The Pacific Division-leading Sharks look to extend their season-high winning streak to seven Tuesday night against the free-falling Avalanche, who haven't won at HP Pavilion in more than three years.

Despite playing all but three of its 13 February games on the road, San Jose (36-21-6) still went a Western Conference-best 11-2-0 last month. The Sharks, who decided not to make any moves at Monday's trade deadline, completed the daunting portion of their schedule with a 4-3 shootout win in Calgary on Friday.

RATTO: Sharks stay out of the fray on deadline day

San Jose, winner of six straight and 15 of 18, is in third place in the West but only seven points ahead of 11th-place Anaheim.

"We're not out of the danger zone yet," center Joe Thornton said. "We still have to continue to win and our fate is in our own hands. But we can't stop getting points. Every game is really important right now."

Ryane Clowe and Devin Setoguchi again led the Sharks on Friday, as each scored their 18th goal. Clowe has four goals in his last five games, while Setoguchi has six in his last four.

REWIND: Clowe leads Sharks past Calgary in a shootout

Setoguchi recorded his first career hat trick in a 4-0 win over Colorado on Feb. 19, the Sharks' last home game.

Clowe had the other goal and Antti Niemi made 25 saves as San Jose moved to 8-1-2 against the Avalanche since the 2008-09 season. The Sharks, winners of five straight home games, have outscored Colorado 15-5 in winning the last five meetings in San Jose since a 3-1 defeat Feb. 6, 2008.

Colorado's loss in San Jose two weeks ago marked its 10th straight defeat. The Avalanche (26-30-7) bounced back with a 4-3 win in St. Louis three days later but have since dropped their last three.

They suffered a 3-2 loss to Anaheim on Sunday, falling just short of forcing overtime when Milan Hejduk hit the post with a sharp-angle shot just before the final horn sounded.

"I thought it was our best game in a long time," coach Joe Sacco said. "We played as a team. We were alive and there was desperation in our game. Guys were playing for each other."

Although Sacco was pleased with the effort, the Avalanche, who were tied for seventh in the West before losing 13 of 14, still dropped to 0-25-3 when scoring fewer than three goals.

That doesn't bode well for Colorado if Niemi is between the pipes.

Niemi, who has started the past 18 games, is 10-2-0 with a 1.72 goals-against average and three shutouts in the last 12.

In addition to its offensive woes, Colorado's penalty-killing unit is also struggling. The Avalanche have allowed at least one power-play goal in a season-high eight straight games, killing just 23 of 34 penalties.

The Sharks are 9 for 21 with the man advantage in their last six home games.

Trio of A's rookies make history in win over White Sox

Trio of A's rookies make history in win over White Sox


CHICAGO -- Matt Olson hit his first two major league home runs, Jaycob Brugman and Franklin Barreto also launched their first career shots and the Oakland Athletics routed the Chicago White Sox 10-2 on Saturday.

Barreto homered in his big league debut. He joined Olson and Brugman in becoming the second trio of teammates to hit their first homers in the same game, the Elias Sports Bureau said. It also happened in 1914 with the Kansas City Packers of the Federal League - the rival circuit lasted a couple of seasons, and included many big leaguers.

Former White Sox ace Mark Buehrle had his No. 56 jersey retired in a pregame ceremony. After the 30-minute tribute ended, the A's roughed up James Shields (1-1).

Daniel Gossett (1-2) took advantage of an early 6-0 lead to win for the first time in three big league starts. He gave up two unearned runs in six innings.

White Sox manager Rick Renteria was ejected for the second straight game. He threw his hat to the ground and was tossed, right after third baseman Todd Frazier was ejected for showing his displeasure over a replay review that wasn't reversed.

After a leadoff walk in the first, Olson homered to right. He added a two-run homer in the seventh. Olson was recalled from Triple-A Nashville on Thursday and is in fourth stint with the club.

Brugman hit a solo drive in the second. Barreto had a two-run homer in the third.

Barreto, a top prospect in the Oakland organization, was called up after shortstop Chad Pinder injured his hamstring Friday night and was placed on the 10-day disabled list.

Barreto was a late addition to the lineup at second base when Jed Lowrie couldn't play after a mild knee injury he sustained Friday night.

Shields gave up six runs on seven hits in three-plus innings. He allowed three home runs in his second start since a two-month DL stint.

Buehrle's number was stenciled onto the dirt behind second base. He went 161-119 with a 3.83 ERA in 390 appearances for the White Sox from 2000-11.

White Sox: All signs are reporting for White Sox LHP Carlos Rodon to making his season debut sometime next week. Rodon, who has been out with a biceps bursitis injury, pitched Friday night for Triple-A Charlotte. White Sox Renteria was satisfied with the reports after his fourth rehab start.

"Another start last night. He went 4 1-3, 93 pitches. Actually, in talking to everybody, he threw pretty well. Had a couple miscues in the field that were probably limited his outing. He felt good, pain-free, we're very happy with that. According to the reports, the slider was working very well. He's on track to come on back," Renteria said.

Athletics: RHP Sonny Gray (2-3) is scheduled to start Sunday. He is 0-2 with a 6.43 ERA over his last five starts.

White Sox: LHP Derek Holland (5-7), who is scheduled to make his 15th start on Sunday. He is 1-4 with a 9.55 ERA and nine home runs allowed over his last five starts.

Jones finally gets the call, will be Giants' everyday third baseman for now

Jones finally gets the call, will be Giants' everyday third baseman for now

SAN FRANCISCO — Ryder Jones is 23 years old and Christian Arroyo just turned 22, so when Jones got the call to the big leagues, the first step in the preparation process was about what you would expect. Jones and Arroyo fired up the PlayStation and Arroyo started pumping pitches as Jacob deGrom, the starter Jones will face in his debut Saturday. 

“I faced him last night and got a hit and a pop-up,” Jones said, smiling. 

The real thing will be considerably tougher, but Jones said he’s looking forward to the challenge, noting that deGrom will help make his debut that much more memorable. The Giants are looking forward to the debut, too. Jones is a player Bruce Bochy has been eyeing for a while, and he has finally been deemed ready. 

While Eduardo Nuñez is on the disabled list, Jones will be the everyday third baseman. He’s hitting seventh Saturday, one spot ahead of 24-year-old Austin Slater. Arroyo is sidelined by a bone bruise but he should join the other two at some point later this season. 

“Unfortunately we’ve put ourselves in a position here (with our record) where we’re going to look at younger players, but the good thing is that these guys are going to get a chance to show what they can do,” Bochy said. “They’re going to get some playing time. I look forward to watching him play.”

Jones took Aaron Hill’s roster spot after the veteran was designated for assignment. Bochy said Hill was one of his favorite players to manage, noting his professionalism and solid at-bats, despite the .132 average. He hopes Hill gets a shot on a contender, but that won’t be the case in San Francisco this year, and the Jones promotion was the latest indication that a rebuild/reload is underway. 

Drafted in the second round in 2013 — one round after Arroyo — Jones can play third, first and left field. He has more power than most in the farm system, and he’s athletic enough to handle three spots. The Giants will live with the mistakes at third for now, hopeful that the big arm can stick there. 

Jones was batting .299 with 10 homers and 16 doubles in 53 games for the River Cats. The knock on him has always been a lack of patience at the plate, but he has upped his on-base percentage to .390, a jump of 99 points from his 2016 season in Double-A. In June, Jones had put together a .343/.450/.701 slash line. 

“Patience at the plate is the biggest thing for me,” he said. “If you look at all my years in the minors, I was a little aggressive and antsy. You learn as you get older that you have to pick a pitch you can drive.”

The new approach has Jones in a big league lineup -- the real thing, not the video game version. He went millennial with his preparation, but his promotion was as old-school as it gets. The River Cats have a doubleheader Saturday and when Jones reached third base in Friday night’s game, manager Dave Brundage told him he would get one of the two games off. 

“I told him I could play two,” Jones said. “I know we have some older guys there.”

Brundage called him in later and told him he would only be playing the night game on Saturday. 

“But you’ll be in San Francisco,” the manager added. 

Jones called his parents, who will be in attendance, along with his brother and girlfriend. Then he fired up the PlayStation, packed, and prepared for a short flight to San Francisco. He was still so fired up Saturday morning that he couldn’t handle more than a 30-minute nap. 

“I didn’t know what time I could come to the park,” he said. “I couldn’t sleep.”