49ers

A's skid reaches six with 4-1 loss in Anaheim

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A's skid reaches six with 4-1 loss in Anaheim

May 23, 2011BOXSCORE A'SVIDEOMLB PAGE MLBSCOREBOARD

ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) If given a choice of cutting down the potential tying run at home plate or delivering a tiebreaking hit late in the game, Torii Hunter would always go with the clutch defensive play.On Monday night, he didn't have to choose. He did both.Hunter threw out Andy LaRoche in the seventh inning and had an RBI double in the eighth, leading the Los Angeles Angels over the skidding Oakland Athletics 4-1."Throwing the runner out is much better," said Hunter, playing his first full season in right field after winning nine Gold Gloves in center. "Defense is everything to me, man. I've got to be honest. I've gotten better as a hitter, but defense is what got me here and I'll never forget that. So I never slack on defense, no matter if I'm struggling at the plate or not."LaRoche and Cliff Pennington singled against Jered Weaver with two outs in the seventh, and Coco Crisp lined a single to right field on a 1-2 pitch. Hunter charged the ball while third base coach Mike Gallego frantically waved LaRoche around, but Jeff Mathis slapped the tag on LaRoche while falling backward."Whether they sent him or not, I was just ready to throw. And that's what you should do as an outfielder," Hunter said. "You've always got to be ready to make the play. Mathis stayed in there pretty good, so you've got to commend him on that."The Athletics had scored only six runs over their previous four games, so Gallego's decision to send LaRoche in that situation was the only one."I was all for it," manager Bob Geren said. "The way it turned out, it was a close play and a pretty nice play by the catcher."Bobby Abreu grounded into a fielder's choice after former Angels closer Brian Fuentes (1-7) opened the eighth by walking Erick Aybar. Hunter greeted Michael Wuertz with a double to the wall in right-center on a 2-2 pitch, easily scoring Abreu.
GUTIERREZ: A's Fuentes sounds off on Geren's managing
Jeff Mathis capped the rally with a two-out, two-run single off Wuertz, who came in holding opponents to a .103 batting average - the best mark among AL relievers.Fuentes has been charged with the loss in each of his last four appearances, setting an Oakland record. The A's have dropped six straight overall.Scott Downs (2-1) worked a scoreless eighth, retiring David DeJesus on a groundout after giving up two-out singles to Hideki Matsui and Conor Jackson. Rookie reliever Jordan Walden pitched a perfect ninth for his ninth save.Weaver, the AL pitcher of the month for April, failed in his fifth attempt to become the major leagues' first seven-game winner - this time with a hard-luck no-decision after four straight losses.The right-hander, whose previous victory was a shutout at Oakland on April 25, allowed one run and six hits over seven innings with five strikeouts and three walks against a starting lineup that had seven players batting .255 or lower.Weaver has one more chance to get his first victory in May. A loss or a no-decision next Saturday at Tampa Bay would make him the first major league starter to win at least five games without a loss one month - and then lose four or more the following month without a win - since July-August 2003, when current teammate Joel Pineiro did the swift about-face with St. Louis."I think I just got off to too good of a start, so the expectations are high. I guess I'm back to being a normal pitcher," Weaver said. "But it's nothing I'm worried about. I'm just going to keep throwing the ball and let the chips fall where they may. I guess quality starts aren't good anymore. You've got to pitch complete games and shutouts."Josh Outman allowed a run and five hits in seven innings after getting recalled from Triple-A Sacramento to make a spot start for injured Brandon McCarthy in the opener of a four-game series between the AL West rivals.It was the fifth straight game in which an Athletics starting pitcher allowed only one run, and none of those games resulted in a victory - the first time that has happened since the franchise moved from Kansas City to Oakland in 1968.Outman, making his first big league appearance since June 19, 2009, made 16 previous starts for Oakland before missing last season recovering from Tommy John surgery. The 26-year-old left-hander won his last four starts with the River Cats before getting recalled."I was pretty excited, but I was trying to keep my emotions under wraps," Outman said. "It feels like being at home. I feel like this is where I belong. I didn't prove that in the spring, but hopefully I can show over a period of time that this is where I should be."Los Angeles took a 1-0 lead in the first on an RBI single by Abreu. Matsui, who spent last year with the Angels, tied it in the third with a bases-loaded sacrifice fly - his first RBI against the Angels this season after 22 fruitless at-bats.NOTES: Oakland designated LHP Jerry Blevins for assignment to make room for Outman on the 25-man roster. Blevins appeared in 15 games with a 4.40 ERA. ... The A's haven't lost more than six straight games since a season-ending seven-game skid in 2009.

Ward injures hamstring under team supervision, placed on PUP

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Ward injures hamstring under team supervision, placed on PUP

SANTA CLARA – Safety Jimmie Ward was placed on the physically-unable-to-perform list to open training camp with a hamstring injury, the 49ers announced Friday morning.

General manager John Lynch and coach Kyle Shanahan stated on Thursday that all of their players were healthy and no players would be headed to PUP or the non-football injury list.

But that was before the 49ers were scheduled to have their conditioning test. Ward sustained the injury on Thursday during the team's conditioning test. The team lists him as "week to week."

He can be activated to begin practice at any time. Ward is also eligible to begin the regular season on the PUP list. Any player who opens the regular season on PUP is ineligible for the first six weeks of the season.

Ward is expected to be one of the key members of the 49ers' defense from the free safety position. His role is dubbed "The Eraser," fellow safety Eric Reid said, because of his role as a playmaker in the secondary. However, one of the major questions about Ward is his ability to remain healthy through the rigors of an NFL season.

Ward missed eight games as a rookie due to a foot injury. Last year, he sat out five games due to a shoulder injury.

Hyde 'flips switch,' aims to become best back in NFL

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USATSI

Hyde 'flips switch,' aims to become best back in NFL

SANTA CLARA – Carlos Hyde has been the 49ers' unchallenged starter since the organization allowed Frank Gore to leave in free agency after the 2014 season.

Finally, he has been challenged.

The 49ers drafted Joe Williams in the fourth round, signed veteran Tim Hightower and acquired Kapri Bibbs in a trade. Moreover, Hyde appears to be challenging himself, too.

“My goal is to be the No. 1 rushing running back in this league,” Hyde said. “I feel like I have the best opportunity to do that now with this new staff.”

General manager John Lynch said he has noticed Hyde “flipped a switch” in the offseason. Hyde remained in the Bay Area to use the 49ers’ facilities to work out and eat at the team’s cafeteria. At one point, he even asked coach Kyle Shanahan about being included on special teams.

Hyde reported to training camp Thursday at 228 pounds – the least he has weighed since his high-school days, he said. Hyde could be a good fit for Shanahan’s running scheme.

“It’s outside zone, which is downhill. I’m a downhill back. I feel like I fit the scheme very well,” said Hyde, who enters the final year of his contract.

Hyde had career-best totals of 988 yards and six touchdowns last season with a 4.6-yard average. Although the 49ers could use more a multi-pronged approach at running back, Hyde could be set up for a career year heading into free agency.

“I ran into him in the hall and he looks tremendous,” Lynch said. “He really has dedicated himself. He’s changed his body type this offseason and that to me at the least bit shows a commitment. There’s those stories, but we’re excited to see this whole thing as we take the next step.”