Sharks to get tough road test in Calgary

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Sharks to get tough road test in Calgary

Feb. 25, 2011

SHARKS (35-21-6) vs.
CALGARY (31-23-8)

Coverage begins at 5:30pm P.M. at Comcast SportsNet California and CSN PLUS

CALGARY (AP) -- Although there are six teams within two points of them in the crowded Western Conference, the Calgary Flames are setting their sights on a team much higher in the standings.

The Flames will try to bounce back from their first regulation loss in 10 home games Friday night when they host the Pacific Division-leading San Jose Sharks, who have won five straight.

Calgary (31-23-8), part of a large group of teams fighting for the final four playoff spots in the West, was riding a 7-0-2 run at home before Tuesday's 3-1 loss to Boston.

San Jose (35-21-6), meanwhile, has used its win streak to move atop the Pacific with 76 points. Calgary still believes it can catch the Sharks or Phoenix (75 points) for the conference's No. 4 spot.
RELATED: NHL standings
"Friday it's a four-point game, and a must four-point game," Flames winger Alex Tanguay said. "We wanna get that, and we wanna finish as high as possible in the standings. That means getting into the playoffs but not only getting into the playoffs, but if we can finish fourth or fifth, maybe get home ice."

A victory over the Sharks probably won't come easily. San Jose has won 10 of 12 this month, including seven of nine on the road, and is trying to complete a perfect three-game trip after Wednesday's 3-2 overtime win at Pittsburgh.

"I think it comes from just being confident that we are able to do it and we trust each other," goalie Antti Niemi said. "We've been playing really well lately, and we've got to keep it up."

Niemi has started every game since Jan. 15, going 13-2-1 with a 1.85 goals-against average. He's 3-1-0 with a 2.55 GAA in four career starts against the Flames.

The Sharks and Flames have split two meetings. Miikka Kiprusoff made 27 saves in Calgary's 4-0 home victory Oct. 24 while four different San Jose players scored in a 4-3 win Nov. 13.

Tanguay had two assists in each of those games while Jarome Iginla totaled two goals and one assist.

Kiprusoff is 8-4-0 with a 2.34 GAA in 12 career home starts against the Sharks, the team with which he spent his first three seasons. He's given up two goals or fewer in 10 of his last 13 starts overall.

Calgary totaled 17 goals in a three-game win streak prior to Tuesday's loss. Curtis Glencross scored, giving him 12 points in an eight-game run.

"We can't dwell on this. We've had a good stretch here, and we've got to just keep taking the positives and keep it going," Glencross said.

Patrick Marleau's winner was his second goal of the game Wednesday as the Sharks prevailed after allowing the Penguins to tie it with 50 seconds left in regulation.

REWIND: Marleau's late OT goal gives Sharks fifth straight win

"It's just a sign of our perseverance," Marleau said. "You don't want to see that happen, but when it does happen, you want to see guys forget about it right away."

San Jose is 4 for 13 on the power play in its last four games and has one of the best marks in the league at 22.8 percent. The Sharks, though, are 1 for 7 against the Flames.

Calgary is 14 for 36 (38.9 percent) with the man advantage in its last 10 home games while its opponents are 2 for 26.

Bullpen implodes after Cain goes five solid, Giants crushed by Padres

Bullpen implodes after Cain goes five solid, Giants crushed by Padres

BOX SCORE

SAN FRANCISCO -- Wil Myers hit a three-run homer to cap San Diego's eight-run sixth inning and the Padres rallied to beat the San Francisco Giants 12-4 on Saturday night.

Myers also singled off Chris Stratton (1-0) to start the big inning and had three hits for the game. San Diego scored 11 runs against the Giants' bullpen following five effective innings from starter Matt Cain.

Allen Cordoba added a three-run homer off Neil Ramirez in the seventh.

The Padres combined for six hits and two walks off Stratton and Ramirez in the sixth. It took the duo 46 pitches to end the inning.

Jhoulys Chacin (3-3) struck out six and gave up three runs, five hits and two walks in five innings.

Triggs rebounds as A's halt 10-game losing streak to Astros

Triggs rebounds as A's halt 10-game losing streak to Astros

HOUSTON — Andrew Triggs keeps checking off all the right boxes in his first season as a major league starting pitcher.

Coming into the year, manager Bob Melvin said the right-hander’s biggest challenge would be retiring lefty hitters. He’s done that splendidly.

On Saturday, the A’s needed to see if Triggs could bounce back after his first rough outing of 2017. He responded with the best of his 11 career starts, holding a potent Astros lineup off the scoreboard for seven innings as the A’s registered a 2-1 victory that snapped their five-game losing streak.

The effective cutter that eluded Triggs when he lost to the Mariners last Sunday was back. Houston’s hitters waved helplessly at the pitch and began their walk back to the dugout all in the same motion, as Triggs rang up a career-high nine strikeouts. His seven innings also were a career high for the 28-year-old.

“We’re not really swinging the bats right now,” Melvin said. “We score two runs and we’re facing a lineup that you expect to score a bunch of runs. So to pitch as well as he did and go through the lineup three times, give us seven innings of work, is pretty good.

“He had the one off-outing, and every outing (besides that) has been pretty spotless.”

Triggs, whose 1.84 ERA ranks seventh in the American League, doesn’t blow people away with his fastball. He throws from a three-quarters arm slot that suggests it might be easy for left-handed hitters to pick up the ball out of his hand. Last season, the batting average, on-base percentage and slugging percentage were all roughly 40 to 50 points higher for lefties than for righties off Triggs.

All he’s done coming out of the gate this season is hold lefties to an .087 batting average (4-for-46). Another revealing stat: Opposing cleanup hitters are 0-for-14 off him.

Triggs credited catchers Stephen Vogt, Josh Phegley and, when he’s been up with the big club, Bruce Maxwell for their expertise in calling pitches against lefties.

“They’ve done such a good job keeping the sequences unpredictable,” he said. “You command pitches, you’re gonna get guys out. I know the stereotype is when you throw from the angle that I do, you’re gonna struggle with lefties. I’ve been aware, at least of that profile, for a while. I’ve worked on it quite a bit.”

Triggs had his entire repertoire working Saturday, according to Vogt.

“He was keeping them off-balance. Even when it seemed they were starting to sit on his slider, he starts sneaking some heaters by them. He was outstanding.”

But he had help. First baseman Yonder Alonso made a terrific leaping grab of Josh Reddick’s liner in the fifth that might have gone for extra bases. An inning before that, Jaff Decker made an on-the-money throw to third from deep right field to nail Carlos Beltran tagging up on a fly ball.

“He’s got a good arm so don’t sleep on him at all,” Triggs said.

Given how their month has gone, it’s no surprise the A’s got both their runs on homers. They’ve gone deep 31 times in April, their most homers in the month since they clubbed 34 in 2006. Lowrie, who’s spent two stints with the Astros and owns an offseason home in Houston, went deep to right to give the A’s a 1-0 lead. Khris Davis mashed his 10th homer in the eighth for what wound up being an important insurance run when Jose Altuve followed with a homer off Sean Doolittle.

Davis’ teammates by now are accustomed to seeing the left fielder flaunt his opposite-field power. He’s hit three homers this series, all to straightaway right or right-center.

Said Lowrie: “I think at this point it’s fair to call it special.”