Sharks rally to keep roadie rolling, beat Columbus

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Sharks rally to keep roadie rolling, beat Columbus

Feb. 9, 2011BOX SCORE SHARKS VIDEONHL PAGE NHL SCOREBOARD
BRAZIL: LITTLE THINGS MAKE BIG DIFFERENCE

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) As might be expected from a team four games into a 13-day, seven-game road trip, the San Jose Sharks were late starters.Thanks to goalie Antti Niemi, they made up for lost time.
RELATED: Sharks notebook: Niemi getting comfortable
Patrick Marleau scored from a sharp angle with 4:51 left to lift San Jose to a 3-2 victory over the Columbus Blue Jackets on Wednesday night."This wasn't the plan by any means," Sharks coach Todd McLellan said. "The first period we weren't alert, we didn't have our legs underneath us and we weren't very competitive. To come back was a nice thing. Our goaltender had a huge part in that."Niemi made 42 saves, including 28 in the final two periods. He was at his best late in the first, as Columbus threatened to turn it into a rout, and in the final 5 minutes while preserving the lead.The Sharks have earned at least one point in 10 straight games (9-0-1).Joe Pavelski dug the puck off the back wall and passed to Marleau, who flipped the puck at goalie Steve Mason from a couple of feet away from the goal line on the left wing. Pavelski helped distract Mason as the puck slipped into the net."It got in on the short side," Columbus coach Scott Arniel said. "(Mason) was playing a heck of a hockey game and it just squeezed in."Marleau had an assist to go with his goal, and Pavelski had two assists as the Sharks rallied from a 2-0 deficit. The Blue Jackets had applied most of the pressure in the third before Marleau's goal, outshooting the Sharks 16-9 in the period and 44-32 overall.
RELATED: Focus on defense paying dividends for Sharks
Kent Huskins and Kyle Wellwood also scored for the Sharks, who have won five straight.The last four have come on the road. Rather than wilt on the lengthy trip, San Jose has strengthened its position in the West. The Sharks came into the night in fourth place."As (assistant coach) Trent Yawney said, 'A win is a win right now.' Beggars can't be choosers and we'll take it," McLellan said. "Some areas that we are not happy with, but we will see what we can do at practice tomorrow and move on."Kristian Huselius and Grant Clitsome had first-period, power-play goals for the Blue Jackets, who had won three in a row.The loss damaged Columbus' playoff hopes. The Blue Jackets began the night four points out of eighth place in the West. Like the Sharks, they were also playing for the second night in a row."It was a tough one," Columbus captain Rick Nash said. "We had a great first and then sat back after that and lost on a tough goal. We had a lot of energy in the first. In the second period they seemed to take it to us and take over the game."They cut the lead to 2-1 about 2 minutes into the second period when Huskins scored his first of the season - in his 45th game - with an otherwise innocent shot from the left point. Mason was screened by teammate Kris Russell, and the puck might have been tipped as it slowly made its way from the blue line.San Jose controlled play in the offensive zone before Logan Couture's centering pass from the left of the net deflected off Ryane Clowe's skate. The puck bounced to Wellwood near the right hash and he punched it in for his second of the season to tie it.
BRAZIL: Little things make big difference for Sharks
Before that, the Blue Jackets had all the jump.Huselius, who earlier in the power play had given up the puck with a bad pass, scored his 12th on a wrister from the top of the right circle. The shot went through the legs of Huskins and then through the legs of Blue Jackets forward R.J. Umberger, who was providing traffic in front.The Blue Jackets were 0 for 13 with a man advantage the last four games, yet they made it 2 for 2 on the power play with 9 seconds left in the opening period. Clitsome's hard slap shot from just outside the left dot beat Niemi on the glove side.Notes: With three weeks left until the NHL trade deadline, there were scouts from Vancouver, Colorado, Atlanta, Carolina, the New York Islanders, Tampa Bay and Detroit in attendance. ... San Jose's Devin Setoguchi had his six-game point streak end. ... D Fedor Tyutin was on the ice for Columbus, 24 hours after he was crunched headfirst into the boards on a flagrant hit by Pittsburgh's Matt Cooke. Cooke was suspended four games by the NHL for the hit. ... The Blue Jackets had mustered two power-play goals in only one of their previous 53 games.

Giants get blanked by Braves, now have lowest-scoring team in majors

Giants get blanked by Braves, now have lowest-scoring team in majors

SAN FRANCISCO — Over in Cleveland earlier Friday, Brandon Moss hit a three-run homer for the visiting team and five other players chipped in a pair of hits. The Royals had six runs, which meant that when Jim Johnson closed the Giants out a few hours later, what has seemed true all season became officially true. The Giants have the lowest-scoring lineup in the majors.

At 3.32 runs per game, they have dipped below the equally-disappointing Royals (3.38). They are capable at the moment of making any pitching staff look dominant. A 2-0 shutout was the first of the year for the Braves, who previously had just two games this season where they allowed fewer than two runs. 

“Six runs in (the last) four games … I thought we would come home and get some rips in tonight, but it didn’t happen,” Bruce Bochy said. 

The manager’s frustration showed late in this one. After the only rally of the game — a two-run single by opposing pitcher Jaime Garcia — Bochy took his cap off and rubbed his forehead. He dipped his head and briefly stood as if he was going to fall asleep on the rail. The bats were equally still. 

The Giants had just four hits, all of them singles against Garcia, who is a nice pitcher but hardly one of the league’s best. One was an infield single by Eduardo Nuñez, another a single through Garcia’s five-hole, and a third a generous ruling by the official scorekeeper. 

“It comes down to, you’ve got to get some hits and create opportunities, and we’re not doing it very often,” Bochy said. “It’s just a matter of guys getting somewhat hot. We did, we had some success, and we won some games. The thing you like to see is some good cuts and I didn’t think we got enough of those tonight.”

That run, which spanned the last homestand and small parts of two road trips, has come to a screeching halt. The Giants have lost five of six. It seems silly to scoreboard-watch in May, especially when a team is playing like this, but it’s worth noting that the teams the Giants eventually need to catch keep winning. They fell 12 games back of the Rockies and 11 back of the streaking Diamondbacks. They are 9 1/2 back of the Dodgers, who might be the best team in the whole league. 

Matt Cain did his part to allow the Giants to keep pace. He got beat just once in seven sharp innings. The Giants intentionally walked Dansby Swanson to get to Garcia, who bounced a single into left. Brandon Belt had a play at the plate, but his throw was short and hit the runner. A second run scored. 

“That’s tough,” Cain said. “(Garcia) was throwing the ball really good and that’s what it comes down to, you’re looking for that one hit and he did it. He’s a good hitter. We’ve seen it in St. Louis. But it definitely is tough when the pitcher does that … it just stinks on my part to give up a hit to the opposing pitcher.”

Lowrie's big hit sparks A's, gets road trip started right

Lowrie's big hit sparks A's, gets road trip started right

NEW YORK — Jed Lowrie is the counterpoint to the A’s home run-crazed offensive attack.

Sure, the A’s switch-hitting second baseman can muscle up and clear the fence. But Lowrie’s approach is more about spraying base hits all around and using the whole field. He was at it again in Friday’s 4-1 A’s victory over the Yankees, going 3-for-4 and delivering an RBI single that snapped a scoreless tie in the eighth.

“I always have to carry his glove out to second for him because he’s always on base,” shortstop Adam Rosales said. “He looks really good at the plate right now, and he’s kind of just putting us on his back. It’s contagious to see a guy like that doing so well.”

Lowrie bumped his average up to .310 with Friday’s game. Until he grounded out in the sixth, he’d notched hits in seven consecutive at-bats dating back to Tuesday night. That streak fell one shy of the A’s record for most consecutive hits. Three players share the record at eight — Josh Reddick (in 2016), Dave Magadan (1997) and Brent Gates (1994).

“It’s all about the work,” said Lowrie, whose 15 doubles are tied for third in the AL. “Everything comes together when you’re seeing it well. I’m seeing it well but the approach hasn’t changed.”

With two runners aboard and two out in the eighth, Lowrie punched an RBI single to right off Tyler Clippard for the game’s first run. It was the breakthrough the A’s needed after they’d struck out 13 times in seven innings against Yankees starter Masahiro Tanaka. Khris Davis followed Lowrie’s hit by beating out an infield single to score another run. Then Stephen Vogt added a two-run homer in top of the ninth to make it 4-0, and that provided some cushion as closer Santiago Casilla gave up a run and made things tenser than they should have been in the bottom half.

Davis, the most fearsome hitter in Oakland’s lineup, is thrilled to have a productive Lowrie batting in front of him as the No. 3 man.

“Somebody’s gotta hit .300,” Davis said. “All year he’s been our most consistent hitter and best hitter. I hope he keeps going.”

The A’s have won four in a row at Yankee Stadium dating back to last year. It’s their longest winning streak in the Bronx since a four-gamer at the old stadium in 2006. And it was a good way to begin a seven-game road trip for the A’s, who came in with the league’s worst road record at 6-15.

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Rosales had puffiness under his right eye and said he was anticipating a shiner after his hard head-first dive into third base didn’t go as planned in the eighth. He scraped up his face pretty good after going first to third on an errant pickoff throw and taking a hard dive into third, only to find the dirt wasn’t giving.

After addressing reporters, Rosales said he was on his way to find an ice pack.