W's continue post-break skid with loss to Wolves

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W's continue post-break skid with loss to Wolves

Feb. 27, 2011BOXSCORE WARRIORS VIDEONBAPAGE NBA SCOREBOARD

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) Maybe the Minnesota Timberwolves should hold more of those brutally honest team meetings.A day after a frank discussion in which players and coaches vented about their frustrating season, the Wolves showed some rare determination and ended a seven-game skid with a 126-123 victory over the struggling Golden State Warriors on Sunday.Kevin Love led Minnesota as usual, this time with 37 points and 23 rebounds to extend his NBA-leading double-double streak to 46 games. But it was two defensive stops by rookie Wes Johnson that ultimately sealed the victory.With a chance for Golden State to win in the final seconds, Monta Ellis drove the lane as the nervous Target Center crowd - which has witnessed many blown fourth-quarter leads this season - held its breath. But Johnson swatted Ellis' shot away, and Michael Beasley was fouled after picking up the loose ball with just more than 3 seconds to play.Anthony Tolliver hit two free throws on the ensuing possession, and Johnson helped force a Warriors turnover on the final inbounds play."This was almost a must-win for us," Love said. "We felt like we haven't been playing well the past five or six games, and we had to come out and win this one. So we're just happy we did."Love had his fourth 30-point, 20-rebound game of the season as the Timberwolves overcame a 14-point deficit. The All-Star forward also went 18 for 23 from the free throw line to tie Minnesota's franchise records for attempts and makes.Love's double-double streak, however, has been a painful consolation as the Wolves have failed to show much improvement from last year's woeful campaign. Everything finally came to a head on Saturday as the players and coaches met to clear the air in the hopes of sparking something."I feel like everybody took it the right way. Nobody took it hard," Beasley said. "There's no hard feelings, you know? It's kind of what we needed. I feel like everybody took it to heart and didn't want to be all talk. We came to play."So did the Warriors, save for a miserable third quarter that proved too difficult to overcome as Golden State lost its third straight since the All-Star break. Stephen Curry led the way with 33 points while Dorell Wright added 26.After scoring 73 points in the first half, the Warriors managed only 16 in the third quarter on a terrible 5-for-27 performance from the floor."Just didn't play well in the third quarter whatsoever," David Lee said. "Couldn't buy a bucket on offense. Couldn't stop anybody on defense. Made a good comeback, we didn't give up, but that's beside the point."The Warriors had won three straight heading into the All-Star break as they tried to make a run at the final playoff spot in the West. After consecutive double-digit losses to Boston and Atlanta, a trip to Minneapolis might have seemed just the antidote for Golden State.Instead, it proved to be a rough start to the road trip."It's a seven-game road trip that's going to more or less make or break the rest of our season and this is not the way to start," Lee said.Minnesota started 7 for 9 from the floor and shared the ball well early before becoming stagnant on offense. Meanwhile, Wright, Ellis, Curry and Lee took turns getting hot for Golden State, as the Warriors built a 14-point lead in the second quarter."Just a painful loss, but you have to move on and get ready for the next game," Warriors coach Keith Smart said.Notes: Love's free throw at the 1:08 mark of the third quarter was the 3,000th point of his career. ... The Warriors arrived in Minnesota on Saturday night and immediately went through a practice. "Get them in the gym, get them breathing, and also get the bad taste of the last game out of our system," Smart said. ... Timberwolves G Martell Webster (back) missed his third straight game. Before the game, coach Kurt Rambis declined to comment on whether he would consider shutting down Webster for the rest of the season, saying he would need more information from the team's medical staff before being able to make a decision like that. ... Minnesota G Jonny Flynn admits he didn't expect a complete recovery from offseason surgery on his left hip would take so long. "I think it's really going to take a full summer of just going after it every day, really focusing completely on my rehab to get where I need to be," he said.

Melancon wastes Blach's gem, Giants fall to Padres in 12 on Myers' homer

Melancon wastes Blach's gem, Giants fall to Padres in 12 on Myers' homer

BOX SCORE

SAN FRANCISCO -- Wil Myers hit a three-run homer in the top of the 12th inning to send the San Diego Padres past the San Francisco Giants 5-2 on Sunday.

Myers' seventh home run and second in two games came on a 1-0 fastball from reliever George Kontos (0-2). Cory Spangenberg singled against Kontos leading off the inning, and Erick Aybar singled two batters later.

Hector Sanchez, who played parts of five seasons with the Giants, had a pinch-hit, two-run homer off San Francisco closer Mark Melancon in the ninth to send the game to extra innings.

Sanchez turned on a 1-1 cut fastball over the heart of the plate for his first home run of the season and third career pinch-hit homer.

It was Melancon's second blown save in seven chances.

Sanchez represented the tying run after shortstop Eduardo Nunez booted Luis Sardinas' leadoff grounder for an error.

Ryan Buchter (2-1) pitched two shutout innings for the Padres. Jose Torres worked a scoreless 12th for his first save.

Melancon's flop followed a full meltdown by the Giants' bullpen Saturday, when the Padres tagged San Francisco relievers for 11 runs in three innings of a 12-4 win that included Myers' three-run homer.

Giants starter Ty Blach pitched seven innings of three-hit ball, retiring 10 of his last 11 batters in his second start for San Francisco since taking injured ace Madison Bumgarner's spot in the rotation. Bumgarner is expected to miss three months with a separated left (pitching) shoulder he sustained in a dirt-bike crash.

The Giants, who were hitting a league-worst .217 against lefties going into Sunday, took a 2-0 lead against southpaw Clayton Richard, who pitched 5 1/3 innings of six-hit ball.

Joe Panik, who was hit by a pitch leading off the fourth, scored on Blach's sacrifice fly. Michael Morse doubled in Hunter Pence in the fifth.

The Padres have won 12 of 16 games against the Giants dating to last season.

San Francisco (9-17) has the National League's worst record and is 39-59 since going into last year's All-Star break 24 games over .500 with the best record in the majors.

TRAINER'S ROOM:
Padres: RHP Jarred Cosart, on the disabled list with a hamstring injury, tentatively plans to pitch for Class A Lake Elsinore on a rehab assignment Tuesday, manager Andy Green said. Cosart will throw three innings or about 45-50 pitches.

Giants: RHP Neil Ramirez was designated for assignment and the Giants called up RHP Bryan Morris from Triple-A Sacramento. . CF Denard Span, on the disabled list with a right shoulder injury, tentatively plans to take batting practice in Los Angeles on Monday.

UP NEXT:
Padres: After an off day, RHP Trevor Cahill (1-2, 4.50 ERA) will pitch the home series opener against Colorado on Tuesday. Cahill is 5-6 with a 4.44 ERA in his career against the Rockies.

Giants: RHP Johnny Cueto (3-1, 5.10) starts the series opener against the Dodgers in Los Angeles on Monday. The two-time All-Star gave up three runs in six innings vs. the Dodgers last week and was 3-1 with a 2.67 ERA against them last season.

A's have their work cut out as they welcome back Sonny, Rajai

A's have their work cut out as they welcome back Sonny, Rajai

HOUSTON — If the A’s eventually want to return to the American League West mountaintop, they got a good look at the team they’ll have to conquer.

The Astros boast one of the majors’ most talented and athletic rosters, with enough of a youthful core to suggest they’ll be battling for division supremacy for years to come. They took two of three from Oakland at Minute Maid Park, capped by Sunday’s 7-2 decision in which left-hander Dallas Keuchel held the A’s to just three hits over 7 2/3 innings.

The loss ended a season-opening stretch in which the A’s played 22 of their first 25 against AL West foes. They saw every team in the division at least once, going 9-13 in that stretch and 11-14 overall for the month of April.

It’s tough to glean too much from one month of play, but the Astros (16-9) so far are living up to the hype that stems from several notable offseason additions they made. They hold a three-game lead over the second-place Los Angeles Angels, with Oakland and Texas both five games back and Seattle 5 1/2 back.

Before the A’s bother worrying about who they have to knock off at the top, there are baby steps to conquer.

They need to generate some consistent offense, which has been lacking in their 1-5 start to this nine-game road trip. With that in mind, they’ll gladly welcome back center fielder Rajai Davis, who is expected to return from a strained left hamstring and rejoin the lineup Tuesday in Minnesota.

Also Tuesday, Sonny Gray will make his 2017 debut after missing the first four weeks with a strained lat muscle in his right side. One of the primary April storylines for the A’s involved the players they lost to injury. Now, they at least draw some optimism from the ones they’ll welcome back.

“We need to get these guys back,” A’s manager Bob Melvin said. “We’ve been leaning on (backup center fielder) Jaff Decker a little harder than we need to. You get Raj back doing his thing at the top of the lineup and get your No. 1 pitcher back, hopefully this is a trend on an upward swing as far as getting players back, as opposed to losing them like we have been.”

Jesse Hahn, who took Sunday’s loss, could eventually be out of a rotation spot with Gray’s return. But that decision gets delayed with fellow starter Sean Manaea having just joined the 10-day disabled list with a strained shoulder.

Hahn was solid Sunday, going six innings and allowing four runs (two earned). But he got a taste of the diverse ways that Houston can beat a pitcher. The Astros have speed, as they showed in the first inning when George Springer beat out an infield single and scored all the way from first on Carlos Correa’s double.

They also have run producers up and down the batting order. Evan Gattis, who clubbed 32 homers last season, hit seventh Sunday and drove an RBI double to left that just missed being a two-run homer.

“One through nine, it’s a solid lineup over there,” Hahn said. “You can’t take any pitches off, any at-bats off. You’ve almost got to treat every guy the same or they can hurt you.”

Catcher Josh Phegley says the A’s have a good read on the rest of the division and the challenge that sits before him and his teammates.

“We’ve seen the teams we’re gonna face most of the year. We get a feel for their bullpen, some of the subs they make during the game,” he said. “I like the way our team stacks up against everyone else.”

But the A’s have their work cut out. Last year, they were 13-12 at the end of April, just 1 1/2 games out of first place before eventually finishing in the cellar. As they begin this May, they are three games under .500 and already five games out.

Help is on the way with the return of Gray and Davis. Now the A’s need to parlay that into some victories.