Zito fantastic, Giants win to earn series split

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Zito fantastic, Giants win to earn series split

July 7, 2011BOX SCORE GIANTS VIDEOMLB PAGE MLB SCOREBOARD
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) Barry Zito has been on quite a roll since coming back from the disabled list, and his timing couldn't be better for the Giants.All it took was a rehab trip to the minor leagues to get San Francisco's left-hander back on track.Zito won his third straight start, allowing one run and four hits over eight innings, and the Giants held on to beat the San Diego Padres 2-1 on Thursday night."Whenever you go to the lower levels in the minor leagues you remember the process to get here," Zito said. "You forget sometimes after being here for so many years that there's a huge line of guys behind every one of the guys in here that are waiting to take somebody's job. So you go down there and you enjoy the game a little more."It hadn't been much fun at all for Zito after he signed a seven-year, 126 million contract in 2007. He averaged 10 wins a season, had a 4.45 ERA with the club heading into this season and was being talked about as the odd man out in the Giants rotation after impressive starts by youngsters Ryan Vogelsong and Madison Bumgarner.Now the argument could be made that Zito is San Francisco's hottest pitcher.
Giants Insider gallery: Zito K's seven
Zito had a season-high seven strikeouts, did not walk a batter and retired 14 of the final 16 hitters while beating the Padres for the first time in nearly three years."More than anything it's the confidence he's going out there with," Giants manager Bruce Bochy said. "I think he's got a better perspective on baseball in general. He's just getting back to going out there having fun and competing and not putting that added pressure on himself."Zito, who last pitched eight innings in a 1-0 win over the New York Mets on July 16, 2001, left to a standing ovation from the sold-out crowd at AT&T then watched Brian Wilson clinch the win with his 25th save in 29 tries.Eli Whiteside homered and Pablo Sandoval extended his career-high hitting streak to 18 games while helping San Francisco to its second straight win over its division rival after losing the first two games of the series.Ryan Ludwick homered for San Diego, who fell to 3-4 on its 10-game road trip.Zito (3-1) had gone 0-6 with a 5.79 ERA in his nine previous starts against the Padres before his most impressive outing of the season helped the NL West-leading Giants to their fourth win in the last nine games."We had some good swings, he just had us off balance," San Diego manager Bud Black said. "It's what he does. I've been watching Barry since his rookie year and his style hasn't changed. The only thing different I can see is maybe three or four miles off his fastball."Zito's solid outing helped San Francisco to its 50th win, the first time the Giants have reached that milestone before the All-Star break since 2003.Zito breezed through the first three innings before Chris Denorfia singled leading off the fourth. Denorfia stole second and advanced to third on Jason Bartlett's single.Bartlett was thrown out trying to steal second and spiked San Francisco's Bill Hall, knocking him out of the game with a laceration on his left leg. Emmanuel Burriss replaced Hall and promptly caught Chase Headley's popup to left, and Zito struck out Ludwick to end the inning.
RECAP: Giants' Hall could be headed to disabled list
The Giants, who dropped three straight before beating San Diego a day earlier on Nate Schierholtz's walkoff home run in the 14th inning, gave Zito just enough support.Whiteside homered leading off the third, only the second given up this season by San Diego starter Cory Luebke. It was also the first run Luebke (2-3) allowed since moving into the rotation after beginning the year in the bullpen."It wasn't a terrible pitch but he stayed back and hit it out of the park," said Luebke, who matched his season-high with eight strikeouts. "In retrospect it probably wasn't the right pitch to throw, but that happens."Miguel Tejada doubled off Luebke in the sixth, took third on Sandoval's hit and scored on Pat Burrell's soft single to right to make it 2-0.Ludwick hit his 11th homer with one out in the seventh, but Zito retired the next two batters then survived a scare in the eighth when Rob Johnson hit a fly ball to deep center. Zito squatted on the mound as the ball was in the air then popped back up when center fielder Andres Torres made the catch.Notes: After the game San Diego announced that C Nick Hundley will undergo arthroscopic surgery on his right elbow and will be placed on the DL. C Luis Martinez has been recalled and will join the team in Los Angeles for its three-game series against the Dodgers. ... Giants 2B Freddy Sanchez has progressed to hitting off a tee but Bochy says a bigger test will come when Sanchez (dislocated right shoulder) begins throwing again. ... IFOF Brandon Belt was activated from the DL and optioned to Triple-A Fresno (PCL). ... Tejada returned to shortstop but Bochy says the veteran infielder will continue to see time at second base. ... San Diego RHP Aaron Harang (right foot contusion) will come off the DL and start Saturday against the Dodgers. "The foot, in his words, is a non-issue," Black said. ... Wilson handed out over 1,000 gloves to children in the Junior Giants program. The team is also selling limited edition Willie McCovey bobblehead dolls through Sunday as part of the Junior Giants Stretch Drive program.

A's spring training Day 8: Top pick AJ Puk attracts a crowd

A's spring training Day 8: Top pick AJ Puk attracts a crowd

MESA, Ariz. — The A’s are excited about 2016 top pick A.J. Puk, that much was apparent by the crowd the lefty attracted for his first “live” bullpen session Tuesday.

Among those watching closely were executive vice president of baseball operations Billy Beane, general manager David Forst, manager Bob Melvin and pitching coach Curt Young.

Puk, who shaved about 20 pounds off his 6-foot-7 frame over the winter, looked strong against a group of hitters that included touted infield prospects Franklin Barreto and Yairo Munoz.

Melvin in particular liked the way Puk, the No. 6 overall pick out of the University of Florida, worked his curve ball into the mix. That’s a pitch he hadn’t used since high school, but he dusted it off back in the fall instructional league with some encouragement from minor league pitching coordinator Gil Patterson, and he’s working to sharpen it this spring as a complement to his fastball, slider and changeup.

“It’s just nice to have another pitch that’s slower than my other three pitches,” Puk said before Tuesday’s workout.

“It’s a four-pitch mix,” Melvin said. “He’s really starting to distinguish between this slider and curve ball. It was quite a crowd around his cage too. When you’re a young kid you tend to notice that, but I thought he responded really well.”

Puk, 21, is rooming with shortstop Richie Martin, a teammate at Florida whom the A’s made their top pick in 2015. They also lived near each other in Tampa this offseason and worked out together.

Puk comes off very quiet upon meeting him, but Martin warns against being fooled.

“It takes him a while, but once he feels comfortable he’ll break out. You’ll see.”

Melvin was impressed with Puk’s physical shape, saying he’s fielded his position well in pitchers’ fielding drills.

CAMP BATTLE Jesse Hahn will start the A’s Cactus League opener Saturday against the defending World Series champion Chicago Cubs. It’ll be a chance for Hahn to make an early impression in his bid for the fifth starter spot.

“After the year he had (in 2016), it’s important for him this year. We have to show some faith in him,” Melvin said. “He performed well for us the year before. Last year wasn’t really consistent. We’ll try to get him out there and get him off to a good start.”

Kendall Graveman will take the ball in Sunday’s spring home opener against the Angels. Sonny Gray and Sean Manaea both will pitch Monday against the Giants and Jharel Cotton and Andrew Triggs will be among the group throwing Tuesday against the Indians.

PROSPECT WATCH: Sean Murphy, the A’s third-round pick in June, has shown a very strong throwing arm early in camp. Is it any wonder Melvin, an ex-catcher, was impressed?

“The kid can throw, it’s special,” Melvin said. “We really like him.”

NOTEWORTHY: Still no word on when reliever Santiago Casilla will arrive at camp from the Dominican Republic. Melvin said he isn’t concerned at this stage, and noted that Casilla has been working out at the team’s complex in the Dominican Republic and gave a motivational talk to the younger players there.

Cousins thanks Sacramento: 'Wouldn't trade it for anything'

Cousins thanks Sacramento: 'Wouldn't trade it for anything'

The Kings traded DeMarcus Cousins to the New Orleans Pelicans on Monday, prompting the All-Star big man to post a heartfelt message on his Instagram account.

Words can't even express how hard it is for me to have to leave the city of Sacramento and all of the amazing people that I have met while out here. I gave it my all for you and you gave it right back. The most amazing fans on the planet and I just want you to know that your support has meant everything to me. It's hard to believe that it was seven years ago that this young kid from Alabama showed up in Sacramento scared and not knowing a soul. As I look back upon my time here, I wouldn't trade it for anything. I have met so many amazing people, many of whom went out of their way to make me feel right at home from day one. Each and every one of you have played such an important part in my life and helping me become the person I am today. I don't just consider you all as fans, you all are my family...and a couple thousand miles aren't going to change a thing. Thank you Sacramento. 
#LoyaltyisLove #sactownkingforever

Cousins, 26, averaged 27.8 points, 10.7 rebounds, 4.9 assists, 1.4 steals, 1.3 blocks and 34.4 minutes per game for the Kings this year.

Words can't even express how hard it is for me to have to leave the city of Sacramento and all of the amazing people that I have met while out here. I gave it my all for you and you gave it right back. The most amazing fans on the planet and I just want you to know that your support has meant everything to me. It's hard to believe that it was seven years ago that this young kid from Alabama showed up in Sacramento scared and not knowing a soul. As I look back upon my time here, I wouldn't trade it for anything. I have met so many amazing people, many of whom went out of their way to make me feel right at home from day one. Each and every one of you have played such an important part in my life and helping me become the person I am today. I don't just consider you all as fans, you all are my family...and a couple thousand miles aren't going to change a thing. Thank you Sacramento. #LoyaltyisLove

A post shared by DeMarcus Cousins (@boogiecousins) on