Stars stop Sharks' streak with third-period rally

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Stars stop Sharks' streak with third-period rally

March 5, 2011

BOX SCORE SHARKS VIDEONHLPAGE NHLSCOREBOARD
SAN JOSE, Calif. (AP) Trailing by one goal on the road against a surging team only a night after losing in overtime is just the kind of recipe that often makes teams wilt in the third period.Dallas somehow managed to dig deep enough to snap the San Jose Sharks' eight-game winning streak when Jason Williams scored his first goal of the season on a fluky deflection that gave the Stars a 3-2 victory Saturday night."Any time you're down by a goal in an opponent's building and find a way to win, it's something special," Dallas coach Marc Crawford said. "We were tired tonight, the back end of a back-to-back. It was a real gutsy, gritty effort."Loui Eriksson tied the game earlier in the third, Kari Lehtonen made 12 of his 29 saves in the final period and the Stars withstood four defensive zone faceoffs and a pair of icings in the final 74 seconds to hold on for the victory.Dallas had blown two-goal leads in the third period in its previous two games, including the 4-3 loss at Anaheim on Friday. But Lehtonen and the Stars hung on against the Sharks, who were unable to tie it despite having an extra skater on for the final stretch."The tank was definitely on empty," forward Steve Ott said. "They have a pretty deadly six guys out there that can hurt you any time. For us, all the icings worked. I guess we were trying to tire them out to make them keep skating back for the puck. All in all, it was great that we finally closed out that game rather than the last two getting pretty scary with them coming back."Williams signed as a free agent with Dallas last month after sitting out the first four months of the season. His goal with 7:12 remaining was by far his biggest contribution in 10 games with the Stars.He got possession of the puck behind the San Jose net and his centering attempt hit off the stick of Sharks forward Dany Heatley and slipped past Antti Niemi for the goal that ended San Jose's longest winning streak of the season.
The loss was San Jose's first at home since Jan. 13 and only its fourth overall in the past 21 games. The Sharks had surged from last place in the Pacific Division in January to third in the Western Conference standings over the past seven weeks but still are only seven points ahead of ninth-place Anaheim.
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"I don't think it was our best effort compared to the way we've been winning lately," said Patrick Marleau, who scored San Jose's second goal. "They did get a couple of good bounces that went their way but we had our opportunities to go ahead even more."The win was the fourth in Dallas' last five trips to San Jose and the Stars trailed in each of those victories. Dallas tied the game midway through the third when Mark Fistric's shot from the point deflected off a cluster of players in front of the net and Eriksson knocked in the loose puck for his 23rd goal of the season to make it 2-all.After Williams gave Dallas the lead, the Stars managed to kill off a late power play and hold on.The Sharks took a 2-1 lead into the third period after Marleau broke a tie early in the second. Marleau started and finished a give-and-go with Heatley, beating Lehtonen on a 2-on-1 just 1:22 into the second period to give San Jose the lead.For the second straight game the Sharks were the beneficiary of a favorable schedule as their opponent was coming off an overtime game in Anaheim the previous night. San Jose took advantage of that by beating Detroit 3-1 on Thursday, but didn't start as fast against the Stars.The Sharks went on the power play just a minute into the game when Karlis Skrastins shot the puck over the boards for a delay-of-game call. But just 19 seconds into the man advantage, Stephane Robidas sprung Jamie Benn with a long pass from behind his own goal line and Benn skated in alone on Niemi and beat him with a backhand.San Jose finished 0 for 3 on the power play."It took us too long to get in and we wasted some valuable minutes when we thought we could maybe establish some momentum," coach Todd McLellan said. "I wasn't particularly pleased with the power play. Obviously a short-handed goal 1 minute in doesn't help. You get back on your heels a little bit, they get a much stronger belief in their game and it took us basically a full period to get going again."Notes: San Jose rookie D Justin Braun was robbed by the post in each of the first two periods. ... Sharks G Antero Niittymaki (groin), who has not played since Jan. 13, was activated from IR before the game and Carter Hutton was sent back to the minors. ... Dallas F Jamie Langenbrunner missed the game after taking a hard hit the previous night. ... Sharks D Dan Boyle (upper body) missed his fourth straight game.

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.