A's start road trip with walk-off loss to Blue Jays

437625.jpg

A's start road trip with walk-off loss to Blue Jays

April 5, 2011BOX SCORE A'S POSTGAME VIDEOMLB PAGE MLB SCOREBOARD
TORONTO (AP) Oakland manager Bob Geren knows what really beat the Athletics: sloppy defense.Yunel Escobar hit a game-ending two-run homer in the 10th inning, lifting the Toronto Blue Jays to a 7-6 victory over the Athletics on Tuesday night.Oakland made two errors and misplayed another potential out in a pivotal four-run sixth as the Blue Jays erased a 5-1 deficit."We had a rough inning there," Geren said. "Definitely, the errors cost us. You look at a walkoff homer as how you lost but it was the four-run inning where we didn't catch the ball that really killed us."Josh Willingham hit a leadoff homer in the top the 10th to give Oakland a 6-5 lead. But former Oakland outfielder Rajai Davis led off the bottom half with a single against Grant Balfour (0-1) and Escobar followed with a first-pitch homer that landed in the right field bullpen, his first of the season. GUTIERREZ: Recognizing Rajai's role in A's walk-off loss
"It couldn't have worked out any better for them," Balfour said. "A hit and a bomb and they're walking off like that. It's definitely not the way I saw it going out there. I felt good. I'm just annoyed at myself for not executing a couple of pitches there."Geren went to Balfour because left-hander Brian Fuentes is sidelined with a blister on the middle finger of his pitching hand, something that's bothering him for the past few days."We're hoping that he'll be ready (Wednesday)," Geren said of Fuentes. "Today was the first time he could play catch in a couple of days."Escobar sensed he would deliver the big hit."When we started getting closer, I got the feeling that I was going to win this game," he said through a translator.Blue Jays right-hander Jason Frasor (1-0) earned the win despite allowing Willingham's homer.The Athletics were punished for two errors. Oakland, which committed seven errors over the weekend in losing two of three at home to Seattle, leads the majors with nine miscues. The A's made 10 errors in their first four games of the 1970 season, a club record."We were a good defensive team last year and I fully anticipate us being a good one this year, too," Geren said.Oakland opened the scoring with a three-run, five-hit third against Blue Jays left-hander Jo-Jo Reyes. Conor Jackson and Mark Ellis each hit RBI doubles and David DeJesus drove in a run with an infield single.The Athletics chased Reyes with two more in the fourth. Andy LaRoche singled home a run and Willingham hit a sacrifice fly off reliever Carlos Villanueva.Toronto got one back in the bottom half off Oakland starter Brandon McCarthy, who didn't give up a hit to the first 10 batters he faced. Escobar ended that streak with a single, went to third when Adam Lind singled off the first base bag and scored on Aaron Hill's fielder's choice.The Blue Jays took advantage of sloppy Oakland defense to tie it in the sixth. Davis led off with a double and Escobar singled off the glove of third baseman Kevin Kouzmanoff before Lind hit a sacrifice fly. Hill hit an RBI single and took second on McCarthy's throwing error before Juan Rivera reached on a throwing error by Kouzmanoff. Edwin Encarnacion made Oakland pay with an RBI double and Travis Snider capped the rally with an RBI groundout.Escobar's single was originally ruled an error but was changed to a hit after the game. Either way, Kouzmanoff was left frustrated."Those plays have to be made," Kouzmanoff said. "Those are routine plays and I didn't get my job done at third base tonight."Limited to 22 starts over the past three seasons because of shoulder problems, McCarthy made his first start since Oct. 2009. He allowed five runs, four earned, and seven hits in eighth innings, walked one and struck out two."It felt the way I remembered," McCarthy said. "It's fun to be back in a big league ballpark and competing in a big league game."Reyes allowed five runs and nine hits in 3 1-3 innings, walking one and striking out three.Coco Crisp hit a one-out double off Jon Rauch in the top of the ninth but Davis ended the inning with a running catch on the warning track to retire Jackson.NOTES: Seven of Oakland's 13 hits were for extra bases, including six doubles. ... Blue Jays OF Jose Bautista left the team Tuesday for the birth of his first child, a daughter. He's expected to miss the entire three-game series against Oakland, returning Friday when Toronto visits the Los Angeles Angels. ... Davis returned to the lineup after missing two games with a sore right ankle. ... Attendance was 11,077.

Fultz a perfect fit, but do Kings have assets required to trade up?

Fultz a perfect fit, but do Kings have assets required to trade up?

It’s lonely at the top, which is where Markelle Fultz sits on almost every 2017 NBA Draft board. The Brooklyn Nets should be set for the next decade with a big time scoring point guard. Instead, it’s the Boston Celtics who have no choice but to take Fultz with the No. 1 overall selection after a savvy trade that sent veterans Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett and Jason Terry to the Nets for a stack of picks and players back in 2013.

Fultz can do it all. He’s deadly from the outside, he can take you off the bounce and he has elite passing skills to boot. In a draft packed with star potential, specifically at the point guard position, the freshman from Washington stands out well above the rest.  

It would take a major shake up at the top for Fultz not to have his name called first on draft night, but there are plenty of very talented players sitting on the board behind him. Here is a deeper look at the potential top overall selection.

The Positives:
Fultz has tremendous size, length and athleticism for an NBA point guard. He measured in at 6-foot-5, 195-pounds with a 6-foot-10 wingspan and has a frame built to take on muscle. At just 19-years-old, he is already well defined physically and has plenty of room to grow and get stronger.

A crafty, high-end scorer, Fultz changes speed and direction well and has an advanced Euro-step for a young player. He averaged 23.2 points in 35.7 minutes a night for the Huskies while shooting 47.6 percent from the field and 41.3 percent from three. He can score from all three levels, finish well above the rim and play through contact.

In his lone season in college, Fultz showed that he is not only a legitimate scoring threat, but he is a willing passer and an unselfish teammate. While Lonzo Ball is considered the true pass first point guard of the draft, Fultz had a higher assist rate (35.5 to 31.5) and lower turnover rate (13.4 to 18.2) than the star guard from UCLA.

Fultz rebounds well for his position, averaging 5.7 rebounds per game at Washington. He also has potential as a defender, posting 1.6 steals and 1.2 blocks, although he is a work in progress on that end of the floor.

Known as a high-character kid and tireless worker off the court, Fultz has the entire package. He can also play the lead or shooting guard spot, which will come in handy if the Celtics decide to pair him with All-Star Isaiah Thomas in the backcourt.

The Negatives:
9-16 is a concern. Great college players should be able to will their team to victory, even if the talent around them is suspect. Washington was certainly worse off without Fultz down the stretch, losing their last six while he sat with a knee injury.

Shot selection and sloppy ball handling was also an issue this season. In Fultz’ defense, he played with a group that lacked overall talent and those issues might eventually disappear when he’s added to a roster that made it to the Eastern Conference Finals.  

Fultz is a quality chase down defender, but he fell asleep on plenty of plays or didn’t show a consistent fight on the defensive end. Lack of focus allowed for plenty of back cuts. He also showed an inconsistent effort fighting through screens.

He’s a work in progress on the defensive end, like most young players coming into the league. Most of these issues can easily be coached out of him at the next level.

Projection:
Fultz has an advanced feel and tons of room to expand his game. On the court, he resembles another former Husky in Brandon Roy. Fultz is much further along than Roy was at the same age, but possesses both the ability to score from anywhere on the court, as well as rebound and set up his teammates.  

It’s hard to imagine the Celtics passing on Fultz with the top overall selection, but if they do, teams will scramble trying to move up to select him. He would fit perfectly in the Kings starting backcourt alongside sophomore Buddy Hield, but Sacramento lacks the assets to move from five to one, Fultz’ likely landing spot.

 

Early offense, six strong from Cueto lift Giants past Braves in finale

Early offense, six strong from Cueto lift Giants past Braves in finale

BOX SCORE

SAN FRANCISCO -- The blisters on Johnny Cueto's middle and index fingers that limited his effectiveness in his last few starts haven't yet completely healed.

But the two-time All-Star is learning to pitch with them.

Cueto threw six strong innings and Brandon Crawford drove in three runs as the San Francisco Giants defeated the Atlanta Braves 7-1 on Sunday.

Cueto (5-4) bounced back from his roughest stretch as a Giant. He was 0-3 with a 4.33 ERA in his previous four starts.

"They're not bothering me like they were before," Cueto said through a translator. "I'm just getting used to it but I have to continue pitching until they get better."

The Giants won their third straight home series and posted their 11th victory in 18 games overall.

Crawford's two-run single highlighted a four-run second against R.A. Dickey (3-4) that made it 6-0.

Matt Kemp had three hits for Atlanta. But the Braves couldn't get much going against Cueto, who allowed one run on six hits and a walk. Cueto struck out eight, including five in a row at one point.

"He did what he needed to do to get us out," Kemp said. "We had chances to score runs and we didn't. I think in this series we really didn't do a good score of scoring runs."

Dickey allowed a season-high seven runs (six earned) on six hits and five walks in six innings.

"This can be a challenging place to throw because of the wind because it swirls so much," Dickey said.

Eduardo Nunez and Gorkys Hernandez each had two hits for the Giants. Joe Panik tripled to start the second-inning burst.

Cueto had two productive at-bats, bunting a runner to second in the second inning and driving in a run with a sacrifice fly in the third.

"It's always nice to have a lead and I thought Johnny was the sharpest he'd been this year," Giants catcher Buster Posey said. "Hopefully it's something he can build on. The changeup was working really well and his command of the fastball was really good."

Posey was 0 for 2 with two walks. He hasn't struck out in 55 consecutive plate appearances.

FUN FACTOR:
The Giants scored the game's first run when Nunez came around from third when a knuckleball glanced off catcher Kurt Suzuki glove in the bottom of the first. The play was ruled a passed ball. Asked if he had any empathy for the plight of his counterpart, Posey said "Yes, no question. It's not fun to hit, it doesn't look fun to catch, either."

FANCY FIELDING:
Hernandez made a diving catch in the gap in left-center robbing Emilio Bonifacio of an extra-base hit with one out in the seventh inning.

TRAINER'S ROOM:
Braves: 2B Brandon Phillips left in the fifth for pinch-hitter Jace Peterson. Phillips fouled a ball off his foot in his last at-bat in the third.

Giants: LHP Madison Bumgarner will start his throwing program on Friday, manager Bruce Bochy said. Bumgarner will start out playing catch and make five rehab starts. The 2014 World Series MVP suffered a separated left shoulder in a dirt biking accident. "The progress is happening," Bochy said. "I think he sees light at the end of the tunnel." ... Slumping rookie INF Christian Arroyo was out of the lineup on Sunday and his playing status appears uncertain. Arroyo, who turns 22 on Tuesday, is 0 for 19 in his last five games. "I'll talk to him, about what his situation is," Bochy said. "I'm definitely planning on giving him a couple of days" off.

UP NEXT:
Braves: RHP Julio Teheran will make his first career start against the Angels in Anaheim on Monday. He is 3-9 with a 5.63 ERA in 15 career interleague starts.

Giants: LHP Matt Moore will face the Nationals for the second time in his career. He was with Tampa Bay when he gave up two runs in five innings against Washington in 2012.