Surging Giants look to stay hot behind Sanchez


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 Replay: Kings shock Grizzlies late for second straight win

Instant Replay: Kings shock Grizzlies late for second straight win


SACRAMENTO -- The Sacramento Kings aren’t done fighting yet. In front of their home crowd, they pulled off their second consecutive shocker, this time dispatching the Memphis Grizzlies in dramatic fashion by the final of 91-90.

Darren Collison battled Mike Conley Jr. all night long at the point guard position. After scoring 19 against the Clippers on Sunday, Collison hit the Grizzlies for 23 points on 8-of-13 shooting and added a team-high seven assists. His free throw with 5.7 seconds remaining proved to be the game winner.

Rookie Buddy Hield continued his hot shooting, scoring 14 points on 5-for-12 shooting. The 23-year-old shooting guard is quickly establishing himself as a big time scoring option for the Kings moving forward.

Willie Cauley-Stein chipped in 12 points, nine rebounds and three assists. 7-footer Kosta Koufos found success against his former team, finishing with 11 points, five rebounds and three blocks before fouling out late.

Ty Lawson led the second unit with 10 points, while Anthony Tolliver went 4-of-7 from the field for nine points.

Conley Jr. received the biggest contract in NBA history during the offseason and he showed why Monday against the Kings. The veteran point guard dropped in 22 points and dished out nine assists as the Grizzlies fell to 40-34 on the season.

35-year-old big man Zach Randolph went to work in the post. The 16-year NBA vet dropped in 17 points and grabbed 15 rebounds, schooling the Kings frontline with the left-handed flip early in the game.

Brandan Wright came off the bench to score 11 points on 5-of-7 shooting and Troy Daniels added 10 points.  

Collison is heating up. Over his last two games, the veteran guard has scored 42 points on 16-for-24 shooting and kept his team in the ballgame.

Despite leading by eight on multiple occasions in the fourth quarter, Sacramento couldn’t close the door on the Grizzlies. Collison drew a foul with 5.7 remaining and his team trailing by one. He knocked down both freebies and Randolph missed a 3-point attempt at the buzzer to help the Kings improve to 29-45 on the season.   

Arron Afflalo missed the game due to a personal matter and Tyreke Evans sat for scheduled rest. Rookie Malachi Richardson is officially out for the season with a right hamstring thickness tear. Rudy Gay is out for the year with a torn left Achilles.

The Kings are back at it Wednesday night at Golden 1 Center when the Utah Jazz roll through Sacramento. Following the matchup with Utah, the Kings travel to New Orleans to face former King DeMarcus Cousins on Friday evening.


Spurs destroy Cavs by 29, back within two of Warriors

Spurs destroy Cavs by 29, back within two of Warriors


SAN ANTONIO -- Kawhi Leonard scored 25 points and the San Antonio Spurs dismantled the ailing Cleveland Cavaliers 103-74 on Monday night in a showdown that turned into a major letdown for the defending NBA champions.

LaMarcus Aldridge and Pau Gasol added 14 points apiece for the Spurs, who won their fifth straight.

Cleveland (47-26) dropped its second in a row, set a season low for points and fell a half-game behind Boston (48-26) for the top seed in the Eastern Conference playoffs.

Cavaliers star LeBron James was injured late in the third quarter after taking an elbow to the base of his neck. He remained on the bench for a while receiving medical attention, then headed toward the locker room and didn't return to the game.

His status was not immediately known.

Cleveland has been out of sync recently, losing three of five, and those struggles only got worse against San Antonio. The Spurs led by as many as 33 points to the delight of the sold-out crowd.

San Antonio (57-16) is two games behind Golden State (59-14) for the league's best record entering a home showdown with the Warriors on Wednesday.

Cleveland opted to play its stars rather than sit them for rest, but the trio of James, Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love sat out the fourth quarter of its second rout in the past two weeks.

James exited with 25 seconds remaining in the third after taking an elbow to his neck from David Lee on a rebound. James continually rubbed the area before collapsing after he crossed midcourt and remained on the floor for about a minute before walking unassisted to the bench. He left for the locker room early in the fourth quarter during a timeout.

James finished with 17 points, eight rebounds and eight assists in 29 minutes.

The Spurs held the Cavaliers scoreless for three minutes after San Antonio coach Gregg Popovich was issued a technical foul during a timeout with 6:38 remaining in the first half.

Leonard hit a right-handed runner as the second quarter closed to give the Spurs a 64-40 lead.

Cavaliers: Cleveland completed its schedule against the West, finishing 16-14. In addition to losing to the Spurs by 29 points, the Cavaliers lost by 35 to Golden State and 30 to the Los Angeles Clippers. . Cleveland F Kyle Korver missed his third straight game with a sore left foot, and the team plans to sit him for several games to see if rest and treatment helps. Korver will sit out Thursday in Chicago and Friday at home against Philadelphia before being re-evaluated, a team spokesman said. The shooting specialist missed seven games earlier this month with an inflamed tendon in his foot. . G Iman Shumpert missed his second consecutive game with a sore right knee. . James needs 24 points to pass Shaquille O'Neal for seventh overall in career scoring. O'Neal has 28,596 career points. . The Cavaliers averaged 116.3 points in their previous four games.

Spurs: San Antonio is holding its opponents to an average of less than 100 points for the 22nd straight season. . Danny Green tied his season high with four blocked shots. . Leonard has scored in double figures in 100 straight games.

Cavaliers: At the Chicago Bulls on Thursday night.

Spurs: Host the Golden State Warriors on Wednesday night.