Sliding A's send Outman to the hill to face Halos

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Sliding A's send Outman to the hill to face Halos

May 23, 2011

A'S (22-25) vs.
LA ANGELS (24-24)

Coverage begins at 6:30 P.M. on Comcast SportsNet California

LOS ANGELES (AP) -- The last time Jered Weaver faced the Oakland Athletics, he capped a stellar six-start run with his second consecutive complete game.

Weaver hasn't been nearly the same since, and this time around he'll be looking to avoid the worst skid of his career.

The right-hander takes the mound Monday night when the Los Angeles Angels host slumping Oakland to begin a four-game set.

Weaver (6-4, 2.45 ERA) has never lost five consecutive starts, though he'll likely need to recapture his form from the beginning of the season in order to end his personal losing streak.
NEWS: MLB headlines

Weaver pitched a shutout and struck out 10 against Oakland on April 25, improving to 6-0 with a 0.99 ERA. In four starts since, he's 0-4 with a 5.25 ERA while going six innings in each. In Weaver's first six starts, he never pitched less than 6 1-3 innings.

He allowed three runs and seven hits Wednesday in a 3-0 loss to Seattle.

"When you get off to a roll like that, everybody expects you to keep it going," Weaver said following his most recent loss. "We've had some rough ones here lately, not too rough, it hasn't been too bad. Nothing to hang my head about, but I haven't got deep into games like I wanted. I'm having a bad month. It's bound to turn around."

The Angels (24-24) are hoping for the same after a 4-1 win Sunday against Atlanta, their second victory in eight games. Torii Hunter hit his first home run in 99 at-bats and went 2 for 4.

"I can't remember that far back," Hunter said about his last home run, which came April 21 against Boston. "I hadn't seen one of those in a while. I've seen them on TV and in the movies, but it's a lot of fun to get one out of the way for this month."

Los Angeles has dropped six of seven to AL West opponents, including two straight to the A's last week. That was also the last time Oakland (22-25) won a ballgame.

The A's have lost five straight since beating the Angels 14-0 last Tuesday and fell 5-4 in 11 innings against San Francisco on Sunday. They've scored nine runs during their losing streak, and reliever Brian Fuentes has been charged with three of the defeats.

REWIND: Giants complete sweep of A's

"Anytime you lose a close game it's tough, but the guys had a lot of energy," manager Bob Geren said. "It's one you have to shake off and start over. Hopefully the offense the last half of this game takes that momentum down to Anaheim."

Oakland will turn to left-hander Josh Outman, who was called up to make a spot start in place of the injured Brandon McCarthy. Outman hasn't pitched in the majors since 2009 after Tommy John surgery, causing him to miss all of 2010.

RELATED: A's recall Outman; reliever Blevins DFA

Though Geren has yet to see Outman pitch this season, he said scouts have told him Outman is throwing the ball hard. He's 4-1 with a 4.78 ERA in eight starts for Triple-A Sacramento.

"Before he got hurt, he was a power pitcher," Geren told the team's official website.

Outman started against Los Angeles on May 18, 2008, allowing three runs in 4 1-3 innings of a 6-4 loss.

Angels manager Mike Scioscia missed Sunday's game to attend his son's college graduation, but he's expected to rejoin the team Monday.

Giants spring training Day 40: Belt continues domination of Rockies' home park

Giants spring training Day 40: Belt continues domination of Rockies' home park

BELT RIVER FIELDS, Ariz. — Earlier this spring, Brandon Belt moved his schedule around so he could get additional at-bats. That led to some random trips across the desert, but there was never any doubt Belt would be in Friday’s road lineup.

Belt demolishes the ball at Salt River Fields, spring home of the Rockies and Diamondbacks. After coming out of Friday’s win, he shook his head in mock disgust when talking about the day’s stats.

“One for four, you’ve gotta be kidding me,” Belt said. “That’s terrible.”

That one happened to be a homer, a three-run shot off Jon Gray, the likely opening day starter for the Rockies. Belt thought he crushed the ball but it ended up pretty high, so it simply dropped onto the berm in right. 

“It squeaked out,” Belt said. “Good mojo, I guess.”

The mojo kept his remarkable run going at Salt River. His updated career stats here: 22 for 35, with eight homers, four doubles, one triple and 18 RBI. Belt said he’s not quite sure why he turns into the flames emoji every time he steps onto this field. 

“I don’t know what it is, but I like hitting here,” he said. “Maybe it’s the batter’s eye?”

Salt River has a dark green batter’s eye with no distractions on either side, and the Giants certainly saw the ball well Friday. They had seven straight hits in the third before Gray was pulled with a sore foot. Belt hit second, and manager Bruce Bochy said that wasn’t simply because Joe Panik had the day off. Bochy will look at several different lineup permutations over the next week, and a Span/Belt/Pence/Posey/Crawford one-through-five is one option. 

“I like (that spot) a lot,” Belt said. “I feel good getting started and knowing I’ll get to bat in the first inning. It’s a good spot. I don’t think my approach changes that much: Get a pitch to hit and try to hit it hard.”

GAME RECAP: Jeff Samardzija was sharp in four innings, allowing just two hits and striking out three. He threw about 45 pitches on the field and then went down to the bullpen for 45 more. Samardzija certainly benefited from having Buster Posey back in the lineup. He said Posey noticed during warmups that Samardzija’s delivery was a little flat and his arm was dragging too low. 

“That doesn’t happen often,” Samardzija said of having a guy like Posey back there. “You have a lot of catchers who are afraid to say something.”

The rest of this one was a laugher until the ninth, when the Rockies rallied and brought the winning run to the plate. It hasn’t been a great spring for the bullpen.

STOCK WATCH: Chris Marrero hit a deep homer, his seventh of the spring. He also made a nice pick at first, where he looks much more comfortable. At this point, it appears it’s either Marrero or Kelby Tomlinson for that final bench spot.

TRAINER’S ROOM: The news on Will Smith was as expected. He will have Tommy John surgery next week. 

There is good news for Trevor Brown: The catcher, who has a sore ankle, took some swings and he’s feeling much better. Brown did not, as first reported, get hurt hiking on an off day. It happened during a game. Brown won’t be ready in time to return to Cactus League action, so he’ll likely stay here during the Bay Bridge Series and then travel home with Triple-A Sacramento. 

ICYMI: Brandon Crawford, Buster Posey and Mark Melancon are back in camp. Here’s a story on Posey’s WBC experience, with the catcher saying he’d like to play again in four years. Here’s Crawford on his month, which ended with him giving an NL West rival a slump-busting bat. 

ROSTER UPDATE: The Giants released David Hernandez, at his request. They have started to tell others that they’re not making the opening day roster, so there should be a series of minor transactions this weekend. (You know where to go.)

QUOTABLE: "I swung at a heater and a slider went right into my bat. I was happy to be able to track (pitches), and happy that the next time the bunt didn't go off my beautiful face." -- Samardzija, when asked about his double off the wall. 

Former 49ers OL/DE Clay Matthews Sr dies at 88 years old

Former 49ers OL/DE Clay Matthews Sr dies at 88 years old

Former San Francisco 49ers offensive lineman/defensive end Clay Matthews Sr. passed away on Thursday, March 23rd at the age of 88. 

Matthews originally entered the NFL as a 25th round (247th overall) draft choice by the Los Angeles Rams in the 1949 NFL Draft. He spent four seasons with San Francisco (1950, 1953-55), appearing in 45 games and registering one interception. After spending his rookie season of 1950 with the 49ers, he went on to spend two years (1951-52) in the United States Army where he served in the Korean War.

A native of Charleston, SC, Matthews attended Georgia Tech where he played guard, tackle and end while earning All-Southeastern Conference honors in 1948. In 1949, Matthews was the All-Southeastern Conference heavyweight wrestling and boxing champion at Georgia Tech.

Matthews was the first of three generations to play in the National Football League. His two oldest sons, Bruce and Clay Jr., each spent 19 seasons in the NFL. Originally selected by the Houston Oilers in the first round (9th overall) of the 1983 NFL Draft, Bruce was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2007 after 14 Pro Bowl and seven First-Team All-Pro selections. Clay Jr. was selected by the Cleveland Browns in the 1st round (12th overall) in the 1978 draft and was a four-time Pro Bowl selection.

Three of Bruce’s sons, Jake, Kevin and Mike, and two of Clay Jr.’s sons, Clay III and Casey, either have spent time or currently play in the NFL. Clay III is currently a member of the Green Bay Packers and a six-time Pro Bowl selection at linebacker while Jake is currently an offensive lineman for the Atlanta Falcons after being selected in the first round (6th overall) by the team in 2014. 

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