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Astros make it hurt; Giants fall again in Houston

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Astros make it hurt; Giants fall again in Houston

Aug. 20, 2011BOX SCORE GIANTS VIDEOMLB PAGE MLB SCOREBOARD
HOUSTON (AP) -- Rookie Jose Altuve and J.D. Martinez are giving the Houston Astros a good look at their future.Altuve hit an inside-the-park drive for his first major league home run, a leadoff shot that sent the Astros over the San Francisco Giants 7-5 Saturday night.
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Altuve had three hits and Martinez homered, doubled and drove in four runs as the Astros matched a season high with their fourth straight win."It's nice to see everyone do well, not just us," Martinez said. "I feel that the guys are starting to jell together and see what everyone can do. What they bring to the table and what their role on the team is. It's nice to see us putting everything together and winning games."Rookie Jordan Lyles (2-7) gave up two runs, both of them unearned, in five innings. Mark Melancon got two outs for his 13th save."I can't say enough about them," Lyles said of his fellow rookies. "The night that Altuve and J.D. had. The monster shot that J.D. had. It's a little bit easier when they put up big innings like that."Astros manager Brad Mills said Lyles did a good job of pitching around the seven hits he allowed.Madison Bumgarner (7-12) was tagged for seven runs and 11 hits in 6 2-3 innings."I felt like it was a battle the whole night trying to get the ball where it's supposed to go," Bumgarner said. "I was trying to fight through it and make pitches. They did a good job tonight of hitting the ball."
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"Just one of those days," he said. "You don't really have anything working. Just have to find a way to get through it. It stinks that I gave up that many runs, especially with our offense scoring five runs."Aubrey Huff homered and Cody Ross and Pablo Sandoval each drove in two runs for the Giants, who have lost three in a row and 16 of 22.Altuve opened the bottom of the first with a drive off the wall in left-center field. Ross came over from center field to track down the ball and relayed to shortstop Mike Fontenot, whose throw to the plate was high and wide.Third base coach Dave Clark put up a stop sign, but Altuve ran through it and scored."As soon as I hit it, I knew it was in the gap," Altuve said. "I just kept running hard. I saw that the center fielder didn't know where the ball was. I just kept running. As I was close to third base, I tried to look up, but Sandoval was blocking me, so I couldn't see. When I realized there was a sign, it was too late."The home run was the first inside-the-parker for the Astros at Minute Maid Park since Adam Everett on Aug. 6, 2003. The last Houston player to hit an inside-the-park shot for his first career homer was pitcher Butch Henry on May 8, 1992, at Three Rivers Stadium in Pittsburgh.Tony Campana of the Cubs was the last player whose first big league home run was inside the park. He did it Aug. 5 against Cincinnati.The Astros scored four times in the third for a 5-0 lead. Martinez hit a double that drove in Lyles and Altuve, who had both singled. Later in the inning, an error by Bumgarner set up Jimmy Paredes' RBI single and Clint Barmes' sacrifice fly.Ross cut it to 5-2 with a two-out, two-run single in the fourth. Huff hit a solo homer in the seventh.Martinez extended the lead to 7-3 with his fifth homer, a two-run shot that chased Bumgarner.Melancon relieved in the ninth and gave up Sandoval's two-run double before getting two groundouts to end it.NOTES: Giants OF Carlos Beltran, on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to Aug. 8 with a strained right hand, took batting practice from the right side and hit from both sides in the batting cage before the game. ... Houston recalled LHP Wesley Wright from Triple-A Oklahoma City and optioned RHP Jeff Fulchino to Triple-A Oklahoma City. ... Houston wore jerseys with "Los Astros" across the front for the first time in team history. ... RHP Henry Sosa (0-2) gets the start in the series finale Sunday against the Giants. San Francisco announced LHP Dan Runzler (1-2) as its starter. It would be Runzler's first start of the season. Giants manager Bruce Bochy said LHP Jonathan Sanchez, who has a left ankle sprain, would not start after reporting soreness in his ankle after throwing off a flat surface Friday. ... Bill Doran was the last Astros player to lead off a game with an inside-the-park home run, doing it on April 22, 1987, against Atlanta in the Astrodome.

Without Green, Iguodala, fourth quarter turns into disaster for Warriors vs Rockets

Without Green, Iguodala, fourth quarter turns into disaster for Warriors vs Rockets

OAKLAND -- The defending champion Warriors started cracking in the hours before tipoff Tuesday night and broke apart when they usually come together.

The fourth quarter was a disaster area and it cost the Warriors, as the Houston Rockets wiped out a 13-point deficit and tagged them with a 122-121 loss before a stunned sellout crowd at Oracle Arena.

So ends, as it should, the spurious notion of a rubber-stamp championship for the Warriors. A strain here and a tweak there and they found themselves on the painful end of the score.

The Warriors learned prior to the game that forward Andre Iguodala, their valuable Sixth Man, would be out nursing a strained back. They were hit with another injury, this one to Draymond Green, who was highly effective, late in the third quarter.

“He was our best player tonight,” coach Steve Kerr said. “He was the guy who was bringing the energy and the life.”

Green’s numbers -- 9 points, 11 rebounds and 13 assists -- barely hint at his value in this game. Green and Iguodala are the primary defensive communicators, and Green held it down fairly well -- until he, too, was gone.

“Our communication wasn’t very good and we didn’t stick to the game plan; we gave them too many wide-open threes,” said Klay Thompson, who scored 11 first-quarter points but only 5 over the final three.

“We did a good job in the half-court of keeping them in front,” said Kevin Durant, who also scolded himself for committing eight turnovers. “But in transition we got cross-matched so many times and we just didn’t communicate well enough.”

Games aren’t always lost in the fourth, despite the frequent narrative, but this one most assuredly was. With Green in the locker room accompanied by ice, the Warriors were outscored 34-20 in the fourth quarter.

After shooting 45.8 percent through three quarters, the Rockets took it to 56 percent in the fourth, closing the game on a 13-5 run over the final 4:01.

The Warriors don’t yet know when Green and Iguodala will return, whether it’s as soon as Friday at New Orleans or a matter of weeks. Until they do, Kerr will have to resort to patching things together.

Problem is, aside from the scoring of Nick Young (23 points on 8-of-9 shooting, including 6-of-7 from deep) and Jordan Bell (8 points on 4-of-5 shooting in 12 minutes), the bench did not distinguish itself.

That was particularly true on defense, which happen to be where Iguodala and Green make their greatest impact. The reserves accounted for 13 of the 25 fouls called on the Warriors.

“We’ve got to be better,” Durant said. “We’ve got to be better, and we’re looking forward to practice Wednesday.”

D'Antoni claps back at Draymond, Warriors after Rockets' 122-121 win

D'Antoni claps back at Draymond, Warriors after Rockets' 122-121 win

Draymond Green usually gets the last word.

Not this time.

"Somebody said we don't take it seriously on defense. Well obviously they don't take it seriously either," Rockets head coach Mike D'Antoni said after the Rockets knocked off the Warriors 122-121 on Tuesday night., according to Santa Rosa Press Democrat's Phil Barber.

The jab stems from Green's comments after practice on Monday.

"You should believe that. I'm turning over a new leaf. Number 1 -- they want it to be a shootout, which is fine. But we're gonna play some defense. We score pretty well, but we're a damn good defensive team, too. So we're gonna play some defense.

"I don't know how serious they take defense with that comment, but I know they added some good defensive players," Green told reporters Monday.

Green won't get his next shot at D'Antoni and the Rockets until January 4 in Houston.