Urban: Beltran doesn't change Giants formula


Urban: Beltran doesn't change Giants formula

July 28, 2011


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Mychael Urban

PHILADELPHIA -- We're at three books and counting on the 2010 Giants, and if the 2011 Giants scale similar heights, expect to see five or six more.None of them will include a storybook first game for Carlos Beltran, but Beltran's first day in orange and black worked out quite well for all involved nonetheless.Beltran likely made a terrific first impression on Giants fan during his introductory press conference in the bowels of Citizens Bank Park, at one point trying to cease the incessant Phillies-related queries by admonishing in full smirk, "This is not about the Phillies." Later he joked that all he needed to know from Giants manager Bruce Bochy, who gave up uniform No. 15 for his new All-Star outfielder, was whether he wanted diamonds on his compensatory watch or not.

Bochy insisted he didn't want a watch, and that had to strike a solid chord with his club's fans, too.Watch? No, Bochy's body language suggested. Wrist bling's not my thing. Help me get another one of these rings, though, and we're square.RECAP: Lincecum shuts down Phillies; Giants take series
And it's in that vein that Beltran's 0-for-4 debut with the Giants can be considered a rousing success. Last year and this, the club has succeeded not because one particular player has carried a massive load but because everyone chips in here and there on the way to a win, and the win -- not individual glory or stats -- is all that ever matters.So something seemed fitting that despite Beltran's quiet night at the plate, he chipped in with a nice sliding catch in right field and the Giants picked up an awfully big win, 4-1, to secure the series victory in the finale of a three-game set against virtually everyone's "best team in the National League."Side note on that sliding catch: Think Giants GM Brian Sabean didn't swallow his tongue a tad when Beltran's right knee slammed hard into the turf, unearthing a pair of divots the size of Rhode Island? Even Tim Lincecum, who pitched a masterful six shutout innings, struck a pose of grave concern in the immediate aftermath, as if to say, "Dude, appreciate the effort, but go easy on those creaky things."Two days removed from a bout of food poisoning, Lincecum was anything but easy on the Phillies, battling through a muggy evening at less than full strength with six innings of frequent genius. In scattering three hits and four walks while striking out six, he picked up his ninth win and dropped his ERA to 2.78.And on the day the Giants welcomed the legitimate power threat they've lacked all season, Pablo Sandoval celebrated by becoming the first player who's been with the team all year to reach 10 homers.Does Beltran deserve any credit for that? Not really. But if you were down on the field during batting practice, you felt a palpable sense of excitement emanating from all Giants, and given that the Phillies wanted Beltran as much as the Giants, you're safe to assume the opposite effect was going down in the home dugout all night.The bottom line in this business is winning, and the Giants won again to take the series, two games to one.Beltran didn't have much to do with it, but isn't that almost a good sign?
His time will come soon enough. Book it.

Wondolowski's PK in stoppage time helps Earthquakes draw with Union


Wondolowski's PK in stoppage time helps Earthquakes draw with Union


SAN JOSE -- Chris Wondolowski scored on a penalty kick in stoppage time to give the San Jose Earthquakes a 2-2 tie with the Philadelphia Union on Saturday night.

Shea Salinas drew a foul on Joshua Yaro in the penalty area to set up the penalty kick in the 95th minute. With his 10th goal, Wondolowski became the first player in MLS history with eight straight double-digit seasons.

Roland Alberg scored in the 55th to put Philadelphia (8-11-6) up 2-1.

Valeri Qazaishvili scored three minutes for San Joe (9-10-6). He eluded two defenders before punching it between two more defenders.

Jack Elliott tied it in the 35th with his first goal of the season, knocking the ball in on the left side of the net.

As legal process unfolds, Raiders CB Sean Smith continues to battle for playing time

As legal process unfolds, Raiders CB Sean Smith continues to battle for playing time

OAKLAND – Raiders cornerback Sean Smith had a rough week. He’s losing grip on a starting spot, but that concern pales in comparison to mounting legal issues that put him in a Los Angeles County jail Thursday morning.

He was formally charged with felony assault and battery for beating his sister’s boyfriend on July 4 in his hometown of Pasadena, surrendered to authorities and was released on an $80,000 bond.

He was back in the East Bay to play Saturday’s exhibition against the Los Angeles Rams, where he was a third cornerback entering in sub packages. Smith had two tackles and a nice pass defensed in the end zone.

Smith’s legal issues shouldn’t stop him from playing and practicing with the team in the near future. He has an arraignment sent for Sept. 29, where will plead not guilty and fight the charges levied against him.

“We’ll let him battle what issues he has legally,” Raiders head coach Jack Del Rio said. “I don’t have much to add to it. You hear the story of him defending his sister, and things occurred that have been taken issue with, so he's having to defend himself right now.”

An NFL spokesman said the league is looking into the matter, but didn’t have further comment at this time. It’s possible the league could place Smith on the commissioner’s exemption list, an option for players charged with violent offenses. He would essentially go on paid leave if that were the case. Smith will make $9.5 million in guaranteed money this season.

Smith will battle TJ Carrie and first-round cornerback Gareon Conley – he remains on the PUP list with a shin injury – for playing time in the Raiders defense. He practiced better last week, but must show consistency to get back in the team’s good graces.