Urban: World Series Live Blog, Game 3

163502.jpg

Urban: World Series Live Blog, Game 3

Oct. 30, 2010
GIANTS PAGE GIANTS VIDEO
UPDATED: 6:25 P.M.
Mychael UrbanCSNBayArea.com

ARLINGTON,Tx. -- Expect some more lineup changes for the Giants on Sunday, and dont be shocked if one of them has Pat Burrell on the bench.Burrell hasnt had an impact game since the Division Series, and he was particularly bad on Saturday, striking out all three times he faced Rangers starter Colby Lewis.Hes uppercutting like he gets paid for the height of what he hits, and hes not hitting anything, anyway.Hes also something of a defensive liability, so if hes not hitting, hes essentially useless to the Giants.
Who plays left? Texas starter Sunday is right-hander Tommy Hunter, so perhaps Giants manager Bruce Bochy gives lefty-swinging Nate Schierholtz his first postseason start, in right field, and moves Cody Ross over to left.Its not ideal, but at the very least it improves the defense.

UPDATED: 4:40 P.M.

Mitch Moreland just hit the first Rangers homer of the World Series, pounding the ninth pitch he saw from Jonathan Sanchez into the right-field bleachers for a 3-0 lead.Had certain scouts gotten their wish, it never would have happened.Some people in the Rangers organization, Im told, wanted Moreland to convert from first baseman to pitcher. He even made an appearance in a Minor League game and hit 93 on the gun.But he fought the idea, and rose from third on the depth chart at first base when the season started to, for the moment, World Series hero.Just goes to show that even paid experts swing and miss sometimes. The Rangers, by the way, arent swinging and missing much against Sanchez, whos giving up a lot of loud contact through the first three innings. He might not be long for this one.

UPDATED: 3:45 P.M.
Having covered the As as a traveling beat writer for a decade,Ive been here in this part of the Lone Star State at least 20times over the years.Finally, a playoff city other than San Francisco where I dont feel lost.When the Division Series was in Atlanta, it took me 25 minutes to find my way out of Turner Field late one night after a game. When the Championship Series was in Philadelphia, a friendcolleague ofmine got lost looking for a 7-11 late one night and we didnt rightourselves until wed been aimlessly walking on the fringes of downtownfor a good 40 minutes. None of thats going to happen here, no sir-eee. Im intimately familiar with Arlington, Rangers Ballpark and even Rangers fans.Or so I thought. When I came here to cover the As, I stayed at a hotel within walkingdistance of the yard. Our postgame wind-down was always at one of threeor four spots, also close to the yard. And the fans were a lot like Asfans; not too many of them, but smart and passionate and generally nice.Now Im staying in a different hotel and quickly discovering that thoseexperiences while following the As were atypical Arlington.The typical Arlington experience is a series of 15-minute cab rides, nomatter where you want to go. Its a funky, spread-way-out township inwhich everything is, according to anyone you ask,about 15 minutes away. Waffle House? Fifteen minutes away. A good hole-in-the-wall BBQ joint?Fifteen minutes away. Walmart? Fifteen minutes away. Mellow place tograb a pop? Fifteen minutes away.The ballpark? You got it. Fifteen minutes away from the hotel.The ride in to the park today was an eye-opener, too. The closer wegot, the redder it got. Blue is one of the Rangers colors, too, butpeople seem to like the red better. Its a bigger color, and they dothings big here.Theyre doing the World Series big, too. At least the Rangersbandwagon is big. For the final couple of miles before we reached theparking lot, all we saw were tailgate parties. It was like a festival.It was a festival.The parking lots were ridiculously packed, and apparently the townshipof Arlingtons law against the sale of liquor in stores doesnt stopanyone now on the Rangers bandwagon. I saw fewer drunks back when Idhit Pioneer Days in Chico State as a college kid.As I pulled my orange-tinted tie out of my backpack once we parked, Iimmediately heard a challenge to mine and the Giants masculinity. Asleast I think thats what I heard. The dude who said it was so hammeredhe sounded like he had piping-hot marbles in his mouth.I couldnt get into the park fast enough, lest things get uglier still. It was a long walk, though.About 15 minutes, in fact.

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

dempsey-usa.jpg
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.