Zito looks sharper in Giants' win over Dodgers

403569.jpg

Zito looks sharper in Giants' win over Dodgers

March 4, 2011BOXSCORE GIANTS POSTGAMEVIDEOMLBPAGE MLBSCOREBOARD
GLENDALE, Ariz. (AP) Barry Zito has heard the doubters who question whether he can still pitch. Heck, he even thinks he's got something to prove to himself.The left-hander took a step toward answering some of the questions by striking out two in three innings as a split squad of San Francisco Giants defeated the Los Angeles Dodgers 5-3 on Friday night."I definitely have work to do, but I'm encouraged," Zito said. "I want to prove that I have what it takes to be productive."He gave up one earned run on two hits and walked one in his second spring start, two days after manager Bruce Bochy confirmed Zito remains the team's No. 4 starter."There's been some talk and things like that around camp. I don't know how much of that is based in truth, but at the end of the day this is the major leagues and you got to prove yourself every year," Zito said. "I've proven that I have good stuff in me, but it's a matter of making that happen on the field. I'm taking this very seriously."Thomas Neal and Buster Posey homered for the Giants, who earned their Cactus League-leading sixth victory on a 75-degree night at Camelback Ranch, where 11,261 fans poured in to see the World Series champions take on their California rivals.The Giants open the season at Dodger Stadium on March 31.Zito had a better outing than he did Monday against Milwaukee, when he allowed two earned runs on three hits, walked five and struck out two."I just want to stay in the moment when I'm out in the game," he said. "A lot of the times when I got off track last year, I was looking with too broad a lens instead of just pitch to pitch."Bochy said he thought Zito was better in the third inning."In the first two innings, he was out of sync," he said. "In that third inning, he slowed things down and had a better rhythm going, so he finished up on a good note, which is good news."Zito is 40-57 with a 4.45 ERA in his first four years with the Giants after signing a 126 million, seven-year contract before the 2007 season. He was left off the postseason roster for all three rounds last year as the Giants won their first World Series title since 1954."I don't think he quite gets the credit that he deserves. Wins and losses are things he can't control," Bochy said. "We've had a tough time getting him runs. He makes every start and gives us everything he's got, and that's all we can ask."Right-hander Jon Garland made his spring debut for the Dodgers after signing with them as a free agent. He allowed one run and one hit in three innings, struck out two and walked none. Garland will be the team's No. 5 starter after spending last season in San Diego."Very nice," first-year Dodgers manager Don Mattingly said. "He made it look pretty easy. He threw the ball pretty good."Garland hit Giants right fielder Cody Ross on the left wrist in the second. Zito struck designated hitter Marcus Thames on the right hand in the bottom of the inning.Dodgers closer Jonathan Broxton walked one in one inning in his second spring appearance.Neal's first homer of the spring on the first pitch from Matt Guerrier landed in the Dodgers' bullpen in left field, giving the Giants a 2-1 lead in the fifth. Posey followed with his second homer on a 3-2 pitch from Ron Mahay in the sixth.San Francisco extended its lead to 5-1 in the seventh when Mike Fontenot lined a two-run, two-out single to left field off Travis Schlicting.The Giants led 1-0 in the second when Ross scored on Travis Ishikawa's soft fly to center field and Matt Kemp's throwing error.Zito walked Jamie Hoffman to load the bases in the second. Ivan DeJesus Jr. grounded into a double play, with Thames scoring on a fielder's choice to tie the game.Giants center fielder Andres Torres, out of the starting lineup since last weekend because of a sore left oblique, returned as the leadoff hitter and was 1 for 3 with a strikeout in five innings.Notes: The Dodgers made their first cut of the spring, reassigning LHP Dana Eveland to minor league camp. He didn't pitch an inning because of a strained left hamstring sustained in the first day of drills. ... Giants backup C Eli Whiteside, bothered by right elbow inflammation, threw long toss on Friday and could play in a game next week. ... It was San Francisco's second game of the day, with a split squad having beaten Milwaukee 7-2 in Scottsdale. ... The Giants beat the Dodgers 8-3 last weekend, and the teams meet twice more this spring.

Team USA dominates Puerto Rico to win 2017 World Baseball Classic

Team USA dominates Puerto Rico to win 2017 World Baseball Classic

LOS ANGELES -- Marcus Stroman tossed six hitless innings, Ian Kinsler slugged a two-run homer and the United States routed Puerto Rico 8-0 on Wednesday night to win its first World Baseball Classic in four tries.

Stroman dominated the tournament's highest-scoring team. Puerto Rico lost for the first time in eight games after outscoring the opposition 55-26. The U.S. territory finished runner-up for the second time, having lost to the Dominican Republic in the 2013 final.

Stroman, who was named the tournament's MVP, avenged his shakiness in the Americans' 6-5 loss to Puerto Rico during pool play. The right-hander from the Toronto Blue Jays retired the side on three grounders to open the game. In all, he gave up one hit, struck out three and walked one on 73 pitches.

He allowed just three balls past the infield until Angel Pagan's double in the left-field corner leading off the seventh, when Stroman departed to a standing ovation, having staked the Americans to a 7-0 lead.

Stroman walked Carlos Beltran leading off the second, but the defense helped him out. Yadier Molina hit the ball to shortstop Brandon Crawford, who started a double play before Stroman struck out Javier Baez to end the inning.

The U.S. pounded out 13 hits and finished with a 6-2 record while making the final for the first time in front of 51,565 at Dodger Stadium.

Kinsler homered off an 0-1 pitch from Seth Lugo into left-center field in the third, scoring Jonathan Lucroy, who singled leading off.

Lugo of the New York Mets allowed four runs and five hits, struck out seven and walked four in four innings. The right-hander won his first two starts of the tournament, including in the second round against Stroman and the U.S.

In that game, Stroman gave up six consecutive singles in a four-run first inning and took the loss against Puerto Rico last Friday in San Diego.

The Americans made it 4-0 in the fifth on RBI singles by Christian Yelich and Andrew McCutchen.

Fans wore flags of both countries as capes and decorated their faces in team colors. Puerto Rico boosters pounded cowbells, tooted horns and blew whistles early on before their team fell behind 4-0.

Fans were on their feet chanting "U-S-A" when the Americans loaded the bases in the seventh with two outs. They were rewarded with Crawford's two-run single that chased J.C. Romero, extending the lead to 6-0.

The U.S. tacked on another run on Giancarlo Stanton's RBI single off Hiram Burgos past diving shortstop Francisco Lindor.

Burgos' wild pitch moved runners to second and third before he walked Lucroy to load the bases a second time. Kinsler flied out to end the inning.

The Americans led 8-0 in the eighth on McCutchen's RBI single with two outs.

The U.S. defeated two-time champion Japan, while Puerto Rico beat the Netherlands to reach the final.

The three games at Dodger Stadium drew 109,892.

Instant Replay: Kings blown out by Bucks, Antetokounmpo at home

Instant Replay: Kings blown out by Bucks, Antetokounmpo at home

BOX SCORE

SACRAMENTO -- The Milwaukee Bucks are where the Sacramento Kings hope to be in two seasons - young, athletic and on their way to the playoffs. Wednesday night at Golden 1 Center, the visiting team jumped all of the Kings early on their way to a 116-98 win. 

The Greek Freak didn’t let up on his fellow countryman, Georgios Papagiannis. Giannis Antetokounmpo went at the Kings from the opening tip, finishing the night with 32 points, 13 rebounds, six assists, two steals and a block.  

Former Kings Jason Terry and Spencer Hawes heard boos every time they touched the ball. Unfortunately for Sacramento, they hit almost every shot they took, combining for 19 points on 6-for-9 shooting.

Greg Monroe added 15 points and five rebounds. Mirza Teletovic finished with 13 points off the bench and Khris Middleton hit 3-for-6 from long range to score 13. 

Rookie Buddy Hield put on a shooting clinic. The 22-year-old shooting guard dropped in 8-of-16 from the field on his way to 21 points and four rebounds

Darren Collison set up his teammates from the opening tip. The veteran point guard dropped in 10 points and a team-high seven assists, but it wasn’t nearly enough.

Garrett Temple stepped up his scoring, chipping in 12 points on 5-for-7 shooting and chipped in three rebounds in the loss. 

Willie Cauley-Stein stuffed the stat sheet with 10 points, seven rebounds, two assists and four blocks. 

Arron Afflalo started at the small forward position and added 12 on 5-of-9 shooting. Tyreke Evans came off the bench, posting 18 points in 20 minutes of action behind Afflalo.

Skal Labissiere managed to shake off a rough first half to drop in eight points and grab eight rebounds, and fellow rookie Georgios Papagiannis picked up four points, seven rebounds and two blocks in 23 minutes off Dave Joerger’s bench.  

STANDOUT PERFORMER

Antetokounmpo was as advertised and more. The 6-foot-11 forward gave the Kings fits from start to finish on his way to another huge performance.

TURNING POINT

The Bucks blew up in the first half, scoring 69 points on 61.4 percent shooting from the field and 50 percent from 3-point range. This game was over before the teams headed in for the break.

INJURY UPDATE 

Kosta Koufos and Ty Lawson both missed the game for scheduled rest. Rookie Malachi Richardson is out with a right hamstring thickness tear, but is expected back soon. Rudy Gay is out for the year with a torn left Achilles. 

WHAT'S NEXT 

The Kings hit the road again following the game against Milwaukee. They will face the Golden State Warriors on Friday evening at Oracle Arena, followed by a stop in Los Angeles on Sunday to visit the Clippers.