A's walk off, win series with Texas on Matsui's HR

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A's walk off, win series with Texas on Matsui's HR

May 2, 2011BOXSCORE A'SVIDEOMLBPAGE MLBSCOREBOARD
OAKLAND (AP) Hideki Matsui would much rather have hit his first home run at home in the Coliseum weeks ago.Yet Oakland's new designated hitter could hardly complain about how the clout finally came - even if an announced crowd of 9,193 was all that saw him do it during a rare Monday matinee.Matsui clobbered the first pitch of the 10th inning from Darren Oliver and sent it deep into the right-field seats for a game-winning homer, lifting the Oakland Athletics to a 5-4 victory over the Texas Rangers."Hopefully after today's game there will be 100 more people," Matsui quipped.Grant Balfour (2-1) walked three batters in the top of the 10th to load the bases for pinch-hitter Yorvit Torrealba, who struck out swinging on the right-hander's 30th pitch.Josh Willingham hit a tying home run leading off the eighth against Texas reliever Arthur Rhodes, and the A's took three of four from the reigning AL champions.Matsui's clout against Oliver (1-3) was the third of the season for the slugger and Oakland's first walkoff homer of 2011. He added an RBI groundout in the fifth."If you saw it or heard it, you knew it was way back there," A's teammate Andy LaRoche said of the winning drive.Texas has lost six of eight and 12 of 19 following a 9-1 start.Michael Young hit a two-run double and a sacrifice fly but the bullpen couldn't hold a one-run lead for Texas starter Derek Holland, who allowed eight hits and three runs in seven innings.The Rangers were hoping to gain some momentum from the series finale heading into a three-game series at Seattle in which Texas will miss Mariners ace and reigning AL Cy Young Award winner Felix Hernandez."We're not where we want to be but we're not going to panic either," manager Ron Washington said. "It was real tough. I thought we played hard, things just didn't fall into place."Oakland's Kurt Suzuki homered for the second time in three games and went 6 for 16 with two homers, five RBIs and three runs scored during the series. The first-time father was activated from the paternity leave list before Friday's opener with the Rangers following the birth of daughter, Malia, on Thursday.Matsui is batting .242 in his first season with the A's and still finding himself at the plate."The adjustments are ongoing on a daily basis," he said. "That's what I have been doing and it's what I will keep doing."Young and Adrian Beltre had back-to-back sacrifice flies in the fifth but Texas couldn't bounce back from a 7-2 loss Sunday. Washington sat second baseman Ian Kinsler and used third baseman Beltre as the designated hitter to give him a day off his legs.Brandon McCarthy, facing Texas for the first time since 2006, allowed four runs and six hits in six innings, struck out four and walked two.The A's overcame two more errors - both by McCarthy - that gave them an AL-leading 27, one more than the Rangers after Texas also had one Monday. Oakland is also tied with Houston for most errors in the majors."We've been up and down through April," McCarthy said. "To start May like this is something we needed. The bullpen was outstanding. They stood up and got my back."David DeJesus put the A's ahead when he scored on a safety squeeze bunt by Cliff Pennington in the second. Suzuki hit his third home run leading off the fourth.Oakland third baseman LaRoche did his part to keep himself in the lineup with a pair of base hits. He batted 6 for 11 during the four games with Texas.A's center fielder Coco Crisp had the day off as a precaution after he returned Sunday from a three-game absence with tightness in his left hamstring.Lee Greenwood's "Proud to Be An American" blared between the first and second innings a day after President Barack Obama announced the death of terrorist Osama bin Laden. A's public address announcer Dick Callahan asked fans to "Raise their Budweisers" in appreciation for those who serve our country. One female fan sported a short-sleeved flag shirt.Notes: Rangers RHPs Tommy Hunter and Neftali Feliz will be sent on rehab assignment to Double-A Frisco on Wednesday. Hunter, on the 15-day disabled list all season with a right groin strain sustained in spring training, got through a bullpen session Monday at extended spring training in Arizona with no issues. He will start for the RoughRiders on Wednesday and go three or four innings. Feliz threw a bullpen in Oakland. Sidelined since April 23 with right shoulder inflammation, he will pitch an inning of relief Wednesday for Frisco. ... Injured A's closer Andrew Bailey (strained forearm) will throw to hitters on the field Wednesday. ... Oakland LHP starter Dallas Braden played catch for the first time since being placed on the 15-day DL with a shoulder injury April 18.

Warriors stay ready, strike gold amid the 2017 NBA Draft scramble

Warriors stay ready, strike gold amid the 2017 NBA Draft scramble

OAKLAND -- Considering their status as reigning champs without a pick, members of the Warriors personnel department could have turned out the lights and left team headquarters to watch the NBA Draft from a nearby tavern.

They instead stayed in business mode Thursday night, observing the draft-night chaos up close, waiting for the right moment and the right player.

And for the second consecutive year, the Warriors paid a team for its 38th overall draft pick, sending a reported $3.5 million to the Chicago Bulls in exchange for the rights to Oregon big man Jordan Bell, the Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Year.

“Everybody we talked to had a lot of good things to say about him,” president/general manager Bob Myers said. “He’s one of the few guys we looked at and really wanted to see if we could get. I actually was not optimistic we would be able to get him. But somehow it came to fruition.”

Myers added that the Warriors, along with many mock drafts, projected Bell as a first-round pick.

Bell led the Pac-12 in field-goal percentage (63.6) while shooting almost exclusively in the paint. The 6-foot-9 center/forward was sixth among Pac-12 rebounders at 8.8 per game and 13th in steals at 1.3 per game.

The Long Beach Poly High product possesses a wingspan a fraction shy of 7-feet and bears, by some accounts, a resemblance to Draymond Green inasmuch as he is a defense-first player with a deep reservoir of energy.

It’s a comparison that Bell, asked about it, embraces.

“Draymond, because people always say I’m undersized,” Bell told Basketball Insiders last month. “He’s one of those players you can’t really say what position he is, but he’s a force on defense.”

Moreover, Myers cited Green as one of the players best suited to mentor Bell.

“Draymond is a good one,” the GM said. “He’s not afraid to tell players what he thinks. He’s going to be a good teacher.”

Bell in three seasons became the Ducks’ all-time leader in blocks. He blocked eight shots in a Midwest Regional win over Kansas that sent Oregon to the Final Four. He became during the NCAA Tournament the first player since Hakeem Olajuwon (in 1985) to snag at least 12 rebounds in five consecutive tournament games.

“Defending is one of my best attributes,” Bell told Basketball Insiders. “Being able to switch 1-through-5. Play small ball. Blocking shots. Timing. Decision-making on offense.”

These are the characteristics that prompted the Warriors to put a red-letter “B” next to Bell’s name on their draft board -- even though his offensive skills are unrefined.

“We love his ability to defend,” Myers said. “He could probably defend most positions, and in the NBA that’s huge. To be able to switch pick-and-rolls, rebound, block shots, finish, there are a lot of boxes he checks.

“ . . . We just like the way he plays basketball. We’ll find a place for him.”

The Warriors also are closing in on a deal for one of Bell’s Oregon teammates. Forward Chris Boucher is expected to sign a two-way contract with the team.

“That’s something we’re trying to move toward,” Myers said of Boucher, who is rehabilitating an ACL surgery.

“But we like players that win. We like players that can play. I don’t care what school they are or what their background is, or what position. Winners. That’s what we’re trying to do, is win. If we end up getting that done, that’s another player that was on a very good team.”

Kings finish 2017 NBA Draft with night that can turn franchise around

Kings finish 2017 NBA Draft with night that can turn franchise around

SACRAMENTO -- The Kings had a big draft night. The kind of night that might turn a franchise around. They entered the evening with three picks, including two in the top 10. With their first selection, they filled the franchise’s biggest need when they drafted De’Aaron Fox and then they went to work.
 
Vlade Divac and his team of front office execs jumped on an early trade, dealing the No. 10 overall selection to the Portland Trail Blazers for No. 15 and No. 20. North Carolina’s Justin Jackson was too appealing to pass on, and like Fox, he fit a major position of need. 
 
Sacramento came back with the 20th selection, taking one of the biggest risk/reward picks in the draft. Duke’s Harry Giles is playing on rebuilt knees, but before that, he was one of the top prospects in all of basketball. If he can stay healthy, the Kings may have drafted the biggest steal of the night. 
 
They topped off the evening with the selection of Wooden and Naismith Award winner Frank Mason III with the 34th overall pick. The Kings entered the night without a single point guard and they ended it with two very exciting options. 
 
“I’m very excited about the talent that we brought here tonight,” Divac said. “They’re going to just be an addition to what we’re trying to build here in the second half of the season.”
 
The Kings turned down overtures to move up to draft Fox. The 19-year-old speedster will step in and immediately compete for the starting point guard spot and he’s very excited to be a King.
 
“It’s just the vibe that I got when I was out there,” Fox told local Sacramento media via phone. “I felt like they really wanted me.” 
 
John Calipari is known for his bevy of All-Star bigs throughout the league, but he’s also produced a long line of big-time guards. Sacramento is hoping that Fox can live up to the billing of other former Calipari guards like Derrick Rose, Tyreke Evans and John Wall. According to Divac, the Kings were so high on Fox, they would have taken him higher. 
 
“Screaming,” Divac said about the reaction in the room to Fox falling in their lap. “It was a guy that we all loved and in some way, if we had the number 1 pick, he would’ve been our guy.”
 
“De’Aaron is our future,” Divac added.
 
Without a perfect fit at 10, Divac made an adjustment on the fly to add more assets. The decision to trade 10 for 15 and 20 was very similar to the last season when the Kings dealt the eighth overall pick for No. 13, 28 and the draft rights to Bogdan Bogdanovic. By splitting the pick in two, the Kings were able to land two talented pieces that mesh with the current roster build.
 
Jackson and Fox know each other well. The duo played AAU ball together and Fox says he considers Jackson an older brother.  He is friends with Willie Cauley-Stein and Skal Labissiere from their Kentucky connection.
 
“I feel like we can grow together,” Fox said of the Kings’ young core. “Of course, it’s going to take some time, but every franchise takes time.”
 
Fox is the jewel of the night and Jackson will compete for time at the wing, but Giles is the wildcard. The 19-year-old big can play the four and the five and has elite potential. 
 
“I’m so excited he was there for us at the 20,” Divac said. “That kind of talent you can’t pass.”
 
The Kings have done their homework on Giles. The type of knee injury that he sustained is similar to former NBA players Danny Manning, Amaré Stoudemire and Kenyon Martin. Manning and Martin each played 15 years in the league and Stoudemire lasted 14 seasons before retiring in 2016. After meeting him in person in Sacramento and working him out, they are very confident that he will be able to overcome his injuries and have a successful career in the NBA. 
 
Mason III will remind Kings fans of Isaiah Thomas, another undersized point guard that fell to the second round. The Kansas star posted 20.9 points, 5.2 assists and 4.2 rebounds for the Jayhawks last season. He’s a hard-nosed leader that can jump out of the gym and will instantly become a fan favorite in Sacramento. 
 
It’s a huge haul. Sacramento added two points guards, a wing and a big from some of the best basketball schools in the country. More than that, they added high character winners to a changing culture. 
 
For the first time in a while, the Sacramento Kings have accumulated assets. They have hit the ground running in their attempted rebuild and for one night, they are the talk of the NBA.