Surging Giants look to stay hot behind Sanchez

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Surging Giants look to stay hot behind Sanchez

May 11, 2011

ARIZONA (15-19) vs.
GIANTS (19-16)

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

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) -- Clutch hitting and stellar pitching have the San Francisco Giants on the cusp of their longest winning streak in 10 months.

Facing the Arizona Diamondbacks may also be playing a part.

The Giants will try to make things a bit easier on their pitchers when they go for a five-game winning streak by continuing their success against the Diamondbacks on Wednesday night.

San Francisco (19-16) has needed just 11 runs and a .218 average to string together four wins in a row - three in walk-off fashion - thanks to the staff's 1.00 ERA.

The Giants last won five in a row from July 10-17, and the pitchers could be key in matching that run.

They've come up big in the last two games. The Giants followed Sunday's 3-0 win over Colorado with a 1-0 victory against Arizona (15-19) as Cody Ross connected for a game-ending RBI single in the ninth inning of Tuesday's series opener.

URBAN: Boss is back

"We kind of have that fire going into those last innings knowing that anything can happen," said Tim Lincecum, who pitched eight innings Tuesday. "And stuff like this does, and it seems to happen to us quite a bit."

The Giants have won 16 of the last 20 meetings with Arizona, including eight of 10 and five in a row at home.

Jonathan Sanchez (2-2, 3.55 ERA) takes the mound Wednesday looking to continue his own home dominance of the Diamondbacks.

The left-hander is 4-0 with a 2.67 ERA and 30 strikeouts in 30 1-3 innings while holding Arizona to a .167 average over five starts in the series at AT&T Park since the start of 2009.

Sanchez, however, has struggled lately, laboring through another outing Thursday. He allowed five runs and five hits with six walks and six strikeouts in five innings of a 5-2 loss at New York.

That came after he walked six and hit two batters while allowing one unearned run and two hits in five innings of the Giants' 2-1 win at Washington on April 30.

"I'm not getting anything over the plate," Sanchez said. "I try to do my best. Nothing's working right now."

Eli Whiteside has caught Sanchez's last two starts, and feels a lack of confidence is the issue.

"I don't think anything drastic needs to be (done)," Whiteside told the team's official website. "Maybe a mechanical thing or something in his head. I think one thing is confidence. Go out there and have a couple of good innings, get his confidence up a little bit and then go back to being the old Johnny."

The Diamondbacks have dropped seven of eight on the road while hitting .204.

Armando Galarraga (3-2, 5.29) gets the ball looking to show some improvement after going 0-2 with a 4.40 ERA over his last three starts. The winless stretch has come after he won his first three games despite a 6.00 ERA.

Galarraga has served up 11 homers, one behind Texas' Colby Lewis for the most in the majors.

His latest effort ended with one out in the fifth inning after he allowed three runs and three hits while matching his career high with six walks in Friday's 4-3, 11-inning loss at San Diego.

Galarraga, though, was impressive in his only start versus the Giants, allowing two unearned runs in six innings of a 7-2 road win with Detroit on June 18, 2008.

Instant Analysis: Five takeaways from A's loss despite five home runs

Instant Analysis: Five takeaways from A's loss despite five home runs

BOX SCORE

Hit five home runs, and a team has to like its chances of winning.

The A’s simply couldn’t keep up with the Houston Astros’ bats, however, in an 11-8 loss Wednesday night that snapped Oakland’s four-game winning streak. Khris Davis went deep twice, and Ryon Healy, Jed Lowrie and Matt Olson all went deep as the A’s set their season high for home runs.

But Houston racked up 17 hits against Jesse Hahn (3-6) and four relievers and evened this three-game series at a game apiece. It was the second time Hahn has gotten knocked around by Houston inside of a week.

The A’s took an early lead, 5-4, in the third on the second of Davis’ two homers, part of a four-run rally for Oakland. But the Astros answered right back with five runs in the bottom half, and the A’s never recovered from that momentum swing.

Hahn’s struggles continue: Hahn was trying to rebound after the Astros hung nine earned runs on him last Thursday at the Coliseum. Things didn’t improve Wednesday at Minute Maid Park, as the right-hander lasted just two-plus innings and allowed six runs on nine hits. Is this a case of one team simply having Hahn’s number or do the A’s make a move and try someone else in the rotation? It bears watching.

Krush Davis x 2: It was apparent early this would be a slugfest, with Khris Davis homering twice within the first three innings as the A’s tried to keep pace. He led off the second with a shot to left field, then came back with a three-run blast to left in the third that put Oakland up 5-4. The homers were his team-leading 20th and 21st.

Reddick-ulous night: Josh Reddick filled up the stat sheet against his old team in every way imaginable. He went 3-for-4 with three RBI and two runs, and twice caught the A’s by surprise by stealing third base. For good measure, he turned in an excellent running catch in right field to rob Yonder Alonso.

Strange offensive night: What to make of this night offensively for the A’s? They hit a season-high five homers but also struck out a whopping 17 times. No matter … you can’t hang this one on the offense, because …

The pitching staff just couldn’t hold things down: Josh Smith was called upon to hold down the fort after Hahn departed in the third, but Smith was tagged for three runs on four hits. Daniel Coulombe and John Axford also got touched for runs. Rookie Michael Brady did turn in 1 1/3 scoreless innings.

Cubs outfielder vows he didn't give Trump the middle finger at White House

Cubs outfielder vows he didn't give Trump the middle finger at White House

WASHINGTON – Albert Almora Jr. didn’t use Wednesday’s Oval Office photo op as a subtle form of political protest, but it did sort of look like the Cubs outfielder gave President Donald Trump the middle finger, at least from that angle in an image that went viral on Twitter.    

“There was two fingers! Look closely, there was two fingers!” a veteran player yelled across the room as reporters gathered around Almora’s locker inside the visiting clubhouse at Nationals Park. 

“Guys were giving me a hard time about it,” Almora said, “but I pointed out the second finger. We’re all good.”

In another White House visit that didn’t look nearly as unofficial or informal as the Cubs said it would be, one snapshot became Almora with part of his left hand in his pocket. Almora stood near Kris Bryant – who held a 45 Wrigley Field scoreboard panel – and Trump at his desk with the World Series trophy.

“Obviously, it’s unfortunate,” Almora said with a laugh. “I’m getting ready to take a picture and I’m posing there. But you guys know that I would never do that to the president of the United States. 

“I respect everybody. It is what it is. We laugh about it now, but there’s definitely two fingers out there.”

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