Kurz's Instant Replay: Giants 7, D'backs 3

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Kurz's Instant Replay: Giants 7, D'backs 3

BOX SCORE

SAN FRANCISCO It was the final game of the regular season at AT&T Park, and not a very important one at that, as the Giants are likely locked into their postseason position.
Sure, San Francisco used a six-run second inning to defeat the Arizona Diamondbacks, 7-3, sending the 165th straight sellout crowd home happy. But whats more important, of course, is that there is more baseball to be played here.
In the meantime, the Giants completed their 10-game homestand with an impressive 8-2 mark, including winning two of three against Arizona. Overall at home, the Giants posted a 48-33 mark this season (.593).
Hunter Pence got the offense rolling with a two-run homer after a Buster Posey single led off the second inning. Later, a Hector Sanchez double plated Brandon Belt with no outs, while a passed ball by catcher Miguel Montero allowed Sanchez to score.
Marco Scutaro capped the inning with the Giants second two-run home run in the inning, scoring pitcher Barry Zito. Sanchezs solo shot in the bottom of the eighth capped the scoring.
San Franciscos bullpen tossed three scoreless innings after Zito left in the sixth with a three-run lead. Overall, the Giants have won Zitos last 10 starts, the longest streak of its kind for the franchise since 1992 (Bill Swift -- 11 startswins).
Starting pitching report
Zitos performance wasnt exactly dominant, but the Giants starter went six innings while allowing three runs (all earned). He struck out three and walked three while throwing 102 pitches, 63 for strikes. After allowing a leadoff triple to start the game to A.J. Pollock, Zito got Aaron Hill and Justin Upton to pop out before a groundout to Paul Goldschmidt kept the game scoreless.
Arizona managed to cut into San Franciscos lead in the fourth off of Zito, when Chris Youngs RBI single plated Goldschmidt and Cody Ransom to make it 6-2.
All six Giants runs in the second inning were earned and charged to starter Patrick Corbin. The lefty lasted just three innings total, allowing seven hits, with no walks or strikeouts.
Bullpen report
George Kontos, Santiago Casilla and Sergio Romo each tossed a scoreless inning after Zitos departure.
The Diamondbacks pen kept the Giants off of the board for more than four innings until Sanchezs two-out blast off of Brad Ziegler in the eighth.
At the plate
With his homer in the second, Scutaro increased his career-high hitting streak to 15 games, the longest active streak in the majors. It was Scutaros only hit of the afternoon, and hes 28-for-62 during the streak (.452 average).
Posey had two hits, but grounded into a 1-2-3 double play with the bases loaded and one out in the bottom of the seventh with a chance to break the game open.
Goldschmidt was 2-for-4 for Arizona, while Ransom was 1-for-2 with a pair of walks.
In the field
Getting a rare start in left field, Brandon Belt struggled with the glove. A one-out double by Jason Kubel was catchable by Belt, and in the sixth, Arizonas Jake Elmore smacked a liner to left that Belt appeared to lose in the sun. Ransom, who doubled to left just before Elmores at-bat, scored on the play.
Gregor Blanco made the defensive play of the game after Belt moved to first, with a sliding catch in foul territory in the ninth off of the bat of Adam Eaton.
Leading off the third inning, Posey appeared to lift a routine pop-up into short right field. Goldschmidt, Hill and Upton all converged on the ball, but it fell harmlessly between the three of them.
Up next
The Giants head to San Diego for a three-game series against the Padres beginning Friday night. Ryan Vogelsong goes again Andrew Werner in the first game, while Madison Bumgarner takes the hill against Eric Stults on Saturday. Bruce Bochy said before Thursdays game that he has yet to decide who will face Edinson Volquez on Sunday.
The Giants close out the season with three games in Los Angeles on Oct. 1-3.

Sharks sign prospect Noah Rod, an 'agitator who can score'

Sharks sign prospect Noah Rod, an 'agitator who can score'

The Sharks have signed prospect forward Noah Rod to a standard three-year entry-level contract, the club announced on Friday. The Sharks drafted Rod (pronounced like road) in the second round (53rd overall) of the 2014 NHL Entry Draft.

The 20-year-old has five goals, nine assists and 22 penalty minutes with a plus-five rating in 27 games with Geneve-Servette in Switzerland. In 137 career games in the Swiss league from 2013-17, Rod has 37 points (14g, 23a) and 64 penalty minutes. The native of La Chaux-de-Fonds, Switzerland has represented his country in each of the last two World Junior tournaments, playing with fellow Sharks prospects Timo Meier and Mirco Mueller.

"Noah plays with a tenacious, feisty edge which makes him a difficult player for opponents to play against," general manager Doug Wilson said in a statement. "He has continued to grow his overall game the past few seasons, playing against men in Switzerland's top professional league, and we think his combination of grit and skill will translate well in North America. We are excited for him to make the move."

In February, Sharks director of hockey operations Doug Wilson, Jr. told The Hockey News that the six-foot, 200-pound Rod has “taken huge strides this year” and was hopeful that he would join the organization by the end of this season, where he would presumably join the Barracuda.

Wilson, Jr. said: “[Rod] was a 17-year-old shut down guy in a men’s league, that’s crazy. He’s taken huge leaps. They’ve got him playing top six minutes, and he’s producing as an offensive guy now. 

“He’s one of those guys, he would fit perfect in Pete [DeBoer’s] system – pressure all over the ice, agitator who can score. He fits really well for us. We’re excited about him.”

NHL Gameday: Stumbling Sharks likely getting Hansen back for Stars

NHL Gameday: Stumbling Sharks likely getting Hansen back for Stars

Programming note: Sharks-Stars coverage starts today at 5:00 p.m. with Sharks Pregame Live on CSN California

WHERE THEY STAND

Sharks: 42-24-7, 91 points, 1st Pacific Division
Stars: 29-33-11, 69 points, 6th Central Division

PREGAME NEWS AND NOTES

***Indications are that Jannik Hansen will return to the lineup after missing the last two games with a head injury, as the Sharks try to end their season-long four-game losing streak in regulation. The forward took part in the team’s optional skate on Friday morning at American Airlines Center, his second straight day on the ice after he was hurt last Saturday against Anaheim.

“You’ve got to go through a couple stages, make sure there are no setbacks, no nothing,” said Hansen, who was whacked in the head by defenseman Brandon Montour.

Coach Pete DeBoer spoke before Hansen, and would only call him a game-time decision. Regardless, the trade deadline acquisition will be welcomed back into the lineup after he seemed to give a boost to the Joe Thornton-Joe Pavelski line.

“He’s missed quite a bit of hockey personally this year, which should make him fresh for the playoffs, but we also want to make sure we get him in enough games that he’s comfortable in our system and gets some chemistry going with the guys around him,” DeBoer said. “I think it’s important we get him back. He’s a key piece for us.”

Timo Meier appears to be the forward that will come out for Hansen. Melker Karlsson (lower body) doesn't seem to be ready just yet, but skated again Friday morning.

***Along with getting a key piece back in their lineup, the Sharks will be the more rested team, having not played since Tuesday’s 3-2 loss in Minnesota. Dallas dropped a 3-2 shootout decision in Chicago last night.

DeBoer was quick to point out, though, that the first two of the Sharks’ four straight losses came to St. Louis and Anaheim, both of which was playing in the second of a back-to-back.

“I don’t think that’s a factor at all,” DeBoer said. “We played [the Stars] a couple games ago. We know what they do. We know what we have to do better here tonight in order to find a way to score some goals. We’ve just got to execute.”

Dallas is 2-4-1 in its last seven games, but beat the Sharks on Monday, 1-0, behind 30 saves from Kari Lehtonen. Aaron Dell will start in net for San Jose, while the Stars’ starter is not yet known.

***The Sharks begin the night with just a two-point lead on Anaheim in the Pacific Division. The Ducks are hosting the Jets on Friday.

Have the Sharks discussed the tightening standings?

“No, all we think about it get back to the winning road,” Joonas Donskoi said. “I think we’ve been playing pretty well last games, just haven’t found a way to put the puck in the net. That’s all we concentrate on.”

KEEP AN EYE ON...

Sharks: Jannik Hansen. Hansen wouldn’t say if he was going to be back up on the top line, but in his first four games there after he was inserted into San Jose’s lineup, they generated one even strength goal in each. The 31-year-old is still looking for his first goal with the Sharks, posting one assist in six games with a minus-one rating.

Stars: Ales Hemsky. Limited to just 11 games this season, and coming off of hip surgery, the 33-year-old veteran forward potted two goals in Chicago on Thursday night. The Czech native has points in four of his last seven games (3g, 2a).

PROBABLE LINES

Sharks
Jannik Hansen – Joe Thornton – Joe Pavelski
Patrick Marleau – Logan Couture – Joel Ward
Joonas Donskoi – Tomas Hertl – Mikkel Boedker
Micheal Haley – Chris Tierney – Marcus Sorensen

Paul Martin – Brent Burns
Marc-Edouard Vlasic – Justin Braun
Brenden Dillon – David Schlemko

Aaron Dell (starter)
Martin Jones

Stars
Jamie Benn – Cody Eakin – Ales Hemsky
Remi Elie – Tyler Seguin – Brett Ritchie
Devin Shore – Radek Faksa – Patrick Sharp
Curtis McKenzie – Adam Cracknell – Jiri Hudler

Esa Lindell – John Klingberg
Dan Hamhuis – Greg Pateryn
Patrik Nemeth – Stephen Johns

Kari Lehtonen
Antti Niemi

INJURIES

Sharks: Melker Karlsson (lower body) is doubtful.

Stars: Jason Spezza (back spasms) is day-to-day. Mattias Janmark (knee) and Antoine Roussel (hand) are out.

QUOTEABLE

“Obviously we know where our position is in the standings. We know how tight it is right now. We know how important these last two games on the road trip [are]. But there’s no panic here. We’ve just got to go out and play some good hockey.” – Joe Thornton