Torres slams Giants to 7-3 win over Cardinals

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Torres slams Giants to 7-3 win over Cardinals

May 30, 2011BOXSCORE GIANTSVIDEOMLBPAGE MLBSCOREBOARD
ST. LOUIS (AP) Andres Torres was so excited about his first career grand slam, he nearly passed Madison Bumgarner on the way to second base.Bumgarner stuck out an arm for the stop sign and Torres applied the brakes in time, giving the National League's worst offense a big boost in the San Francisco Giants' 7-3 victory over the St. Louis Cardinals on Monday."I wasn't thinking, just running," Torres said. "When I saw it was out I felt great."Bumgarner won his second straight after losing his first six decisions and also played a big role at the plate in 90-degree heat with high humidity. The 21-year-old left-hander is from Hickory, N.C."This feels like home, it's what I grew up playing in," Bumgarner said. "I like this weather, it feels good to get out there and sweat a little bit."Kyle McClellan (6-2) was knocked out after four innings in the worst outing of his first season in the Cardinals' rotation, missing a chance to tie for the major league victory lead. Albert Pujols hit his ninth homer and Allen Craig doubled twice with an RBI.Cody Ross also homered for the Giants, who are last in the National League in runs even after this outburst and had been shut out twice the previous four games. Bumgarner, 4 for 19 at the plate, doubled and scored on Miguel Tejada's hit in the third, then walked on a full count ahead of Torres' second homer of the season in a five-run fourth."Walking the pitcher there killed me," McClellan said. "I get him out, that changes everything. Just all in all, not a good game."Bumgarner (2-6) scattered six hits in seven innings and struggled only in the third when he gave up three straight hits and both runs. It's his seventh straight outing of six or more innings with three or fewer runs allowed, with a 2.12 ERA during that stretch."He's pitched well enough to have a much better record. He knows it," manager Bruce Bochy said. "For a young kid he's got great poise, he doesn't get caught up in the elements."Torres, the Giants' leadoff man, doubled his season RBI total when he drove an 0-1 pitch over the right field wall in the fourth and also doubled. San Francisco won easily despite going 1 for 18 after the grand slam and leaving the bases loaded in the fifth after three straight walks from Miguel Batista.Torres matched his career high for RBIs with what he believed to be his first grand slam since winter ball in Puerto Rico in 2004 or 2005.Matt Holliday singled in four trips after missing six starts with a quadriceps injury and is hitting .344, tied for the National League lead with teammate Lance Berkman, who was 0 for 4.The Cardinals dropped to 9-2 in starts by McClellan, who has yielded a team-high nine homers. McClellan was behind in the count to eight of the first 10 hitters and both of his walks came in the Giants' five-run fourth that made it 7-2.Manager Tony La Russa said McClellan tweaked his hip in the first inning. McClellan initially said he had not been injured, but later said he had landed awkwardly."It raised some concern," McClellan said. "There's nothing wrong."Aaron Rowand bruised his right hip when he landed on the ball diving into second base on a pickoff attempt in the fifth and was taken out in the bottom of the inning. The team said he was day to day.Pujols hit his 99th career homer at 6-year-old Busch Stadium - and first at home since April 23 - off Ramon Ramirez in the eighth and had an RBI single in the third for his second multi-RBI game in the last four. Only seven players have 100 or more homers in their current stadium."He crushed the ball on the home run," La Russa said. "He's hit the ball a lot better than his average."NOTES: Ross' homer ended an 0-for-14 slump. ... Attendance of 40,849 was the Cardinals' second shutout of the season. ... Ryan Theriot doubled in the third and has a 13-game hitting streak, tied for the longest active streak in the NL with the Giants' Buster Posey, out for the season with a broken ankle. ... McClellan allowed nine homers in 75 1-3 innings as a setup man last year, and has allowed nine in 67 2-3 innings this year.

Manaea exits A's game in Anaheim with left shoulder tightness

Manaea exits A's game in Anaheim with left shoulder tightness

ANAHEIM — A’s starter Sean Manaea left Wednesday night’s game after two innings with tightness in his throwing shoulder.

It’s a troubling sign for an Oakland rotation that’s already been hit hard by injuries.

The A’s are about to welcome back Kendall Graveman from his own shoulder issue — he’s scheduled to come off the disabled list and pitch Thursday night. Sonny Gray’s return from a lat injury could come next week if he emerges from Thursday’s Triple-A rehab start OK.

But if Manaea goes on the shelf for any period of time, it certainly cancels out a portion of that optimism. The 25-year-old lefty usually sits in the low to mid-90’s with his fastball. Throughout Wednesday’s start, his fastball was in the 88-89 mile-per-hour range, only registering as high as 90 a handful of times. Manaea gave up three runs in the second inning against the Angels. For the season, he’s 1-1 with a 5.18 ERA in five starts.

More information should be coming after the game. The A’s trailed the Angels 3-2 in the bottom of the fifth.

Stanford star McCaffrey boosts NFL Draft stock with special teams skills

Stanford star McCaffrey boosts NFL Draft stock with special teams skills

INDIANAPOLIS -- More and more college coaches are putting their starters and even their stars on special teams as they seek to pile up every possible point in an era of pedal-to-the-metal shootouts and never-safe leads.

Fading fast are the days when superstars would catch their breath on the sideline when the kicker or punter trotted onto the field with the scrubs.

NFL teams love it.

Watching how players handle themselves as a blocker, gunner or returner provides a glimpse into a prospect's range, selflessness and versatility. It also delivers a sneak peek into how coachable he'll be, says Phil Savage, the SiriusXM NFL Radio host who spent two decades as an NFL coach, scout and executive and now oversees the Senior Bowl.

"I think because of the landscape of college football where scoring is at a premium, you've got to figure out a way to put points on the board not only on offense but through your special teams and defensively, as well," Savage says. "These coaches want to get these young players on the field as soon as possible, and a way to do that is utilize them on special teams."

These tapes provide a bonus to pro scouts.

"Now you have a vision of what that player might forecast to in the NFL as a young player and, specifically, as a rookie," Savage said.

Offensive and defensive coaches have a better idea of the types of players they're integrating into their schemes, and special teams coaches no longer get blank stares and blank canvases from the rookie class.

"Not only do you like the fact that they come in and have experience doing it, but you love the mentality if you're a coach and a decision maker that this guy isn't a diva, he's got no ego about it, he understands the team and puts team before self," says ESPN draft analyst Todd McShay.

"And he comes in with the mindset of 'What can I do to help the team and how can I contribute?' Those are the guys that seem to make it and last longer in the league because they're just willing to do different things and whatever it takes."

The prime example in this year's draft class is Stanford running back Christian McCaffrey , a "dynamic player than can do it all," according to Broncos GM John Elway.

McCaffrey gained more than 5,000 yards from scrimmage in his college career and added almost 2,000 more as a returner.

"There's just a lot of big plays open in the return game," McCaffrey says. "You see special teams have such an impact on the game today. Any time I can have the ball in my hands, I feel like I can do something dangerous, and that's really why I love the return game."

Other highly touted draft prospects who polished their resumes on special teams include Michigan safety Jabrill Peppers, LSU safety Jamal Adams, Washington wide receiver John Ross, and USC cornerback Adroee' Jackson, all of whom are projected as high selections.

McShay says "we're seeing more and more programs put an emphasis on special teams and having their key players contribute in one or more areas on special teams."

He pointed to Ohio State, where Urban Myers coaches special teams himself.

"It's a major emphasis there, and so you'll see some more guys typically lined up and contributing that are starters and stars," McShay says. "It's an honor to be on special teams."

Not a burden.

"It is not uncommon now to see people that are going to be picked in the first round having 100-plus special teams plays," suggests NFL draft consultant and former Dallas Cowboys executive Gil Brandt.

He pointed to the University of Florida, where Gators defensive backs cover kickoffs as well as they do receivers.

"Everyone's always trying to get their best guys on the field," Brandt says.

That's a change from years past when coaches feared exposing their star players to the extra hits.

The added value benefits the players, whose multiple talents allow NFL general managers to address many needs.

"We're seeing more emphasis on it in college, and I think NFL teams love to see it because if just means you're getting a bit more for your buck," McShay says.

Top talents who bolstered their value by playing special teams:

CHRISTIAN McCAFFREY , RB, STANFORD: He shined at the combine working out with the running backs and was as impressive running routes. Asked if there was anything he couldn't do, the son of former NFL wide receiver Ed McCaffrey said then: "I can't sing."

JABRILL PEPPERS , S, MICHIGAN: He worked out with safeties and linebackers at the combine, where teams talked of him playing RB and WR in addition to returning kicks. "The bottom line is I'm a ballplayer and I'm a hell of a ballplayer," Peppers said.

JOHN ROSS , WR, WASHINGTON: He caught 81 passes with 17 TDs last season but actually posted more return yards (2,069) than scrimmage yards (1,924) in his college career.

ADOREE' JACKSON , CB, USC: One of the best special teams coverage players in the NCAA, Jackson also scored eight TDs on punt and kick returns in college. His punt return averages rose from 6.0 yards to 10.5 and 15.8.

JAMAL ADAMS , S, LSU: Another star in coverage, Adams' defensive mentality extends to special teams. "I love being on the field and just playing football," said Adams, whose father, George, was a first-round pick by the Giants in 1985.

ALVIN KAMARA , RB, TENNESSEE: In a deep running back group, Kamara separates himself with his special teams acumen. "A lot of teams have been bringing up special teams," Kamara said.

DESMOND KING , CB, IOWA: He had eight interceptions as a junior and three as a senior. "I had a really good special teams season," King said. "Not being targeted as much, I still went out there and competed the best I could and was still making plays."

CHRIS WORMLEY , DE, MICHIGAN: Wormley touts playing for Jim Harbaugh as one of his attributes. "Coach Harbaugh came in and ran our program like an NFL program, like he had with the 49ers," said Wormley, who blocked three kicks his senior season.

ZAY JONES , WR, EAST CAROLINA: Like McCaffrey, he has good NFL bloodlines (son of Robert Jones, brother of Cayleb Jones). He caught 158 passes as a senior, but spent his first two seasons in college also making his mark as a returner.