Tempers flare in Giants' 9-2 loss to Phillies

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Tempers flare in Giants' 9-2 loss to Phillies

Aug. 5, 2011BOX SCORE GIANTS VIDEOMLB PAGE MLB SCOREBOARD
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) -- Shane Victorino thought reliever Ramon Ramirez hit him on purpose. Phillies manager Charlie Manuel saw it that way, too.Victorino, Ramirez and Giants catcher Eli Whiteside all were ejected after benches cleared in the top of the sixth inning of Philadelphia's 9-2 victory over San Francisco on Friday night.Tempers flared when Ramirez hit Victorino in the lower back with a pitch, moments after Jimmy Rollins stole second with a six-run lead. Victorino began walking toward the mound and Whiteside, the catcher, stepped in front of him. Placido Polanco raced in from second base and was tackled by Whiteside.Giants Insider gallery: Anatomy of a Brawl
"Yeah, absolutely, I think he did," Victorino said of Ramirez plunking him intentionally. "That's why I took a step forward. I had no intentions of going out there and charging the mound. I just wanted to go out there and get an answer. ... Obviously, Eli felt like, from looking at his reaction, I was going to go. He started jumping around. Polanco came in and he tackled Polanco. Everything escalated from there."These teams have become quite the rivals of late after the Giants beat the favored Phillies in six games of the NL championship series last fall on the way to capturing the franchise's first World Series since moving West in 1958.Carlos Beltran didn't agree with Rollins' steal."You can ask Jimmy Rollins about that. I would not have done it," San Francisco's new slugger said.Manuel figures Ramirez just became frustrated."He hit Vic, then he came after Vic. Vic almost has to go unless he wants his teammates to call him chicken," Manuel said. "I think (Ramirez) was getting hit and he got mad and he was going to plunk somebody. He was going to send a message."John Mayberry Jr. hit a two-run homer for his second clout in as many games and Vance Worley (8-1) won his sixth straight decision as the Phillies ran their winning streak to a season-best eight games.Victorino and Hunter Pence also homered for the majors-best Phillies, who haven't lost since the Giants took two of three from them last week. San Francisco has dropped seven of eight during the same span.Giants first baseman Aubrey Huff was in the middle of the scrum and Rollins shoved San Francisco bench coach Ron Wotus as they exchanged words. Victorino pushed plate umpire Mike Muchlinski trying to get back into the fray, then was held back by Wotus and Phillies hitting coach Greg Gross.Manuel got stepped on and somebody pulled on the back of his pants. Polanco, taken to the ground by Whiteside, said he rushed to Victorino's defense.
RELATED: Giants, Phillies clear benches, brawl at AT&T Park
"I was trying to grab somebody," Polanco said. "It's not the first one and it's not going to be the last one. Once you're over there and you're playing for something, the Adrenalin level goes up. You want to win and you compete and things like that happen. ... We're both in first place and we want to win the division."The umpiring crew, which declined to comment after the game before reviewing video, met for several minutes once things settled down and then made the ejections. Crew chief Mike Winters said he could address the brawl Saturday."It's baseball and things happen fast," Giants manager Bruce Bochy said. "Tempers flare. It's part of the game. It's part of the game. It's competition. Things aren't going well for us. It happens and you deal with it. ... I thought it was fairly clean out there. You hope your guys are trying to break up the fight. We'll have to see what happens when MLB looks at the video."Philadelphia led 8-2 at the time, then Pence homered for the second straight night in the seventh.Whiteside hit a solo homer in the fifth for the Giants before being tossed the next inning."I called for a fastball inside and it was a little too far inside. It was a two-seamer," Whiteside said. "I have no comment on the fight. ... I played a little quarterback in high school."Worley allowed two runs on seven hits, struck out six and walked one in seven innings, beating the Giants for the second time in three starts after tossing a three-hitter on July 26.Giants starter Jonathan Sanchez (4-6) lasted 4 2-3 inning in his return from biceps tendinitis that landed him on the disabled list for 36 games. He 0-3 in his last five starts.Sanchez took over in the rotation for struggling lefty Barry Zito, who went back on the disabled list with the same sprained right foot that shelved him earlier this year.Giants manager Bochy went back to his regular lineup - with Beltran batting third and Pablo Sandoval cleanup - a day after Cliff Lee shut out the Giants 3-0. Sandoval hit a sacrifice fly in the first to put the Giants ahead, but the Phillies jumped on Sanchez in the fourth.Victorino had a one-out homer and Mayberry connected four batters later. Raul Ibanez added an RBI groundout. Ramirez relieved after back-to-back singles by Polanco and Victorino in the fifth.NOTES: Rollins stole his 25th base in the fifth and 26th in the sixth. ... Injured Giants C Buster Posey, the reigning NL Rookie of the Year who went down for the season in a home-plate collision with Florida's Scott Cousins on May 25, could be completely off crutches this weekend or early next week. He is on one crutch after tearing three ligaments in his left ankle and fracturing a bone in his lower leg. ... Bochy said Zito will pitch four or five innings in a rehab outing Sunday for Class A San Jose. ... RHP Matt Cain goes Saturday for the Giants, trying to beat Philadelphia for the second time in as many starts. His win at Philly last week was his first ever vs. the Phillies. ... The Phillies will send LHP Cole Hanmels to the mound against the Giants on Saturday. He's 4-3 against the Giants in nine starts, including a loss in Philadelphia. He is 1-2 over his last four starts. Cody Ross has four home runs in 32 at-bats against Hamels, while Beltran has three in 36.

David West is coming up big for the Warriors

David West is coming up big for the Warriors

OAKLAND -- David West is as much a cleanup man as he is a basketball player.

The veteran power forward, masquerading as a center for the Warriors, cleans up behind teammates, cleans the clocks of opponents and probably cleans his plate after every meal. And he’d hit fourth in any manager’s batting order.

The Warriors during their renaissance haven’t had such a personality. They’ve been a fun bunch, enjoying life, each other and their pillaging of the NBA.

West, 36, brings a more laconic dynamic, and it’s on full display as the Warriors lean into the final weeks of this regular season. He’s a leader who is producing and, more and more, winning over a fan base that was somewhat skeptical early this season.

“David West has been playing brilliantly,” Warriors coach Steve Kerr said Friday night, after West came off the bench for a highly efficient 14-minute stint in a 114-100 win over the Kings.

Showcasing sharp passing, splendid shooting, solid rim protection and his usual old-jerky toughness, West totaled 8 points, four assists, three rebounds, three blocks and one steal. The Warriors were plus-8 when he was on the floor.

Such production, it seems, is a bit of a bonus.

“He’s been very good for us as a veteran leader,” Draymond Green said. “He’s been playing well, but just his presence also has meant a lot to this team.

“D-West is just kind of a no-bull---- type of a guy. He doesn’t say much. But when he does, you know it means a lot. And everybody hears him.”

Said West: “It’s just about adjusting and learning personalities. Obviously, this group has been very successful. I just try to add my 2 cents where I feel like it fits. Try not to over-talk people. I speak to guys directly and just make sure that we’re all on the same page.”

West is in his 14th season. Drafted by the New Orleans Hornets in 2003, he also has played for the Pacers and, last season, the Spurs, before joining the Warriors in July.

The question at the time was whether he still had a lot to give. West is a two-time All-Star and one of the most widely respected players in the league. But did he still have the legs to compete at a high level?

The answer is visible, particularly over the past month, since he returned from fractured left thumb on Feb. 23. West is shooting 53.0 percent from the field, he’s rebounding consistently and he has proven to be a spectacularly good passer -- easily one of the best in the league among big men.

Earlier this week, to quell any lingering concerns about how much athleticism he still has, West rose up and dunked over a crowd of three Dallas Mavericks. It was clock-cleaning at its finest.

“I’m just getting more comfortable,” West said, referring to his game and his locker-room influence. “We’ve developed good chemistry, communicating, harping on our defense more than anything else at this moment, because we feel that’s going to give us a chance if shots aren’t falling.”

West is on a one-year deal for the veteran’s minimum, $1.55 million. He sacrificed bigger dollars for a chance at his first championship. He’s doing his part. And he neither takes nor leaves any mess.

Dempsey hat trick lifts US over Honduras in statement win

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AP

Dempsey hat trick lifts US over Honduras in statement win

BOX SCORE

SAN JOSE — Bruce Arena's return as U.S. coach reignited American confidence, and his players responded with an emphatic rebound in World Cup qualifying.

Clint Dempsey returned from an irregular heartbeat to score his second international hat trick, 18-year-old phenom Christian Pulisic had one goal and set up three others, and the U.S. routed Honduras 6-0 Friday night to get right back in contention for an eighth straight World Cup berth.

Surprise starter Sebastian Lletget got his first international goal in the fifth minute after Pulisic's shot deflected off the goalkeeper, Michael Bradley doubled the lead in the 27th and Dempsey scored off Pulisic's perfectly weighted chip in the 32nd.

Finding room to maneuver in a central midfield role, Pulisic made it 4-0 just 12 seconds into the second half with his fourth international goal, Dempsey rounded the keeper to score following a Pulisic feed in the 49th, and Dempsey got another on a 23-yard free kick in the 54th. With 55 international goals, Dempsey moved within two of Landon Donovan's American record.

In its first competitive match since Arena replaced Jurgen Klinsmann, the U.S. moved from last to fourth in the final round of the North and Central American and Caribbean region, tied at three points with Honduras but ahead on goal difference, Mexico leads with seven points, followed by Costa Rica with six and Panama with four.

The top three nations qualify for next year's tournament in Russia, and the fourth-place nation advances to a playoff. With a victory at Panama on Tuesday, the Americans could move into the top three.

The U.S. had never before won a hexagonal game by more than three goals.

And oh how the American Outlaws and others among the lively home crowd loved every second of this long-awaited showing, chanting "Michael Bradley!" and "Demp-sey! Demp-sey!" through the Bay Area rain and cool March air.

Then, it was "Bruce Arena! Bruce Arena!"

Gloom descended upon the Americans in November when they opened the hexagonal with a 2-1 home loss to Mexico and a 4-0 wipeout at Costa Rica. The defeats caused the U.S. Soccer Federation to fire Klinsmann, who had coached the Americans since 2011, and bring back Arena, who lead the team from 1998-2006.

Dempsey, 34 and hoping to reach a fourth World Cup, was sidelined from August until this month by an irregular heartbeat and likely was starting only because of injuries to Bobby Wood and Jordan Morris. Tim Howard, the Americans' 38-year-old goalkeeper, got the shutout after returning only two weeks ago from a leg injury sustained in the loss to Mexico.

Geoff Cameron, back from a knee strain that had sidelined him for fourth months, was shifted to right back from central defense because of injuries to others, and Jorge Villafana was inserted on the left.

But there were yet more injuries. Lletget hurt his left ankle on Ever Alvarado's tackle and was replaced in the 18th minute, and defender John Brooks was stretchered off the field, hand over his face, in the 69th due to dehydration.

From the opening whistle, the U.S. played more aggressively than in the latter years of Klinsmann's reign. Arena revamped the midfield, giving a prominent role to Pulisic, who last week became the youngest American to score in the Champions League. He inserted Lletget and Nagbe, who were largely overlooked by Klinsmann last year, on the flanks.

The U.S. went ahead when Jozy Altidore picked up a loose ball and on his second try poked the ball ahead to Pulisic. His left-footed shot that went off goalkeeper Donis Escobar, and Lletget tapped in the ball with his right foot from 2 yards.

Bradley, given his debut by Arena in 2006, doubled the lead when he took a pass from Alejando Bedoya, cut to his left, took four touches and cut the ball back to beat Escobar with one-hopper from about 25 yards.

Showing poise beyond his years, Pulisic created the third goal when he lofted a pass to Dempsey, who allowed the ball of bounce off his right shoulder. Dempsey held off Henry Figueroa and while falling scored with his right foot from 8 yards.