'Awful' Giants kick off three game set in Big Apple


'Awful' Giants kick off three game set in Big Apple

May 3, 2011

GIANTS (13-15) vs.
NY METS (12-16)

Coverage begins at 3:30 P.M. on Comcast SportsNet Bay Area

NEW YORK (AP) -- R.A. Dickey is becoming familiar with the New York Mets' struggles at the plate, but their most recent effort may be cause for some optimism.

The San Francisco Giants don't appear to have any of that offensively.

Dickey and the Mets will try to take advantage of the Giants' slump when they open a three-game series at Citi Field on Tuesday night.

The Giants (13-15) have dropped eight of 11 while hitting .203 and scoring two runs or fewer in eight of those contests, including three shutouts.

The reigning World Series champions were outscored 11-4 while losing three of four to Washington, capped by Monday's 2-0 loss. The lineup mustered three hits and failed to generate any support for Madison Bumgarner for a third consecutive start.

"There's not much we can do if we're not hitting," manager Bruce Bochy said. "We're awful right now. We know it."

REWIND: Giants' skid continues with three-hit effort in D.C.

Aubrey Huff is one of the main culprits, batting .190 with two homers and 15 RBIs on the season while mired in a 3-for-37 slump with two RBIs over his last 11 games.

The first baseman hit .290 while leading San Francisco with 26 homers and 86 RBIs last season.

"We're not doing anything offensively - including myself," Huff said. "We're all struggling. I'm the worst of it."

Huff is hitting .441 (15 for 34) over his past nine meetings with the Mets, but he's just 1 for 6 against the knuckleballer Dickey (1-3, 3.82 ERA).

The right-hander is hoping to snap his own skid. He's 0-3 with a 4.67 ERA over five games - four starts - since allowing one unearned run in six innings of a 9-2 win at Florida in his season debut April 3.

Dickey has received eight total runs of support over his last four starts, getting one Wednesday while yielding two runs in 6 2-3 innings before the Mets (12-16) rallied with a four-run ninth in a 6-3 win at Washington.

"Anytime you're down and you fight back in it, it's good for morale," said Dickey, who was the hard-luck loser in a 2-0 defeat to San Francisco on July 15 after allowing one run in seven innings.

New York's bats have struggled over the last four games, hitting .220 with nine runs while going 4 for 34 with runners in scoring position. They were 1 for 16 in those situations Sunday, leaving 19 men on base, but they collected 14 hits in a 2-1, 14-inning win at Philadelphia, ending a three-game slide.

Ronny Paulino may have earned a second consecutive start after getting a career-high five hits, including an RBI double in the 14th.

"That's pretty impressive, five hits in his first full game," manager Terry Collins said of the catcher, who's played just two games since being activated from the disabled list Friday. He also started the year serving the remainder of a 50-game suspension for violating baseball's drug program with Florida last year.

David Wright is also providing some offensive punch, getting five hits in three games, with three coming Sunday before he scored on Paulino's double. The All-Star third baseman is hitting .338 in 40 career games against the Giants.

San Francisco's Ryan Vogelsong (1-0, 1.74) gets the ball again in place of the injured Barry Zito (foot), and he's trying to build on his first win as a starter since beating New York with Pittsburgh on Sept. 19, 2004.

The right-hander was sharp Thursday, yielding two runs and four hits with eight strikeouts in 5 2-3 innings of a 5-2 victory at Pittsburgh in his first start since 2004.

Kings adamantly disagree with perplexing foul call at end of loss to Rockets

Kings adamantly disagree with perplexing foul call at end of loss to Rockets

SACRAMENTO -- Every time the Houston Rockets tried to pull away, the Sacramento Kings answered Wednesday night in the team’s home opener. It was a heavyweight contender throwing body blows at a 100-to-1 underdog riding a huge home crowd advantage.

And then the ref called the fight.

With the Kings trailing 98-95 with 26 seconds remaining, the Rockets attempted to inbounds the ball and George Hill made a play. From the video replay, it appeared that the ball tipped off the fingertips of Houston's Eric Gordon and the nearest official called Kings ball.

Hill and teammate Garrett Temple celebrated the turnover and the sold out crowd went crazy.

The play went under review and not only was the call overturned, but Hill was assessed a personal foul. Gordon went to the line and hit two freebies to give the Rockets a 100-95 lead and effectively ended Sacramento’s chances.

In the confusion of the moment, it turns out that an official on the opposite side of the court called a personal foul and the replay wasn’t to check on possession, but to determine which Kings player would be assessed a personal foul.  

The Kings can’t call shenanigans on the officials, the league has stiff penalties for that. But they seemed just as confused as everyone else in the building when asked about the call during postgame interviews.

“I could have swore that the refs pointed out of bounds, our ball, but they said they called a foul, so it is, what it is,” Hill said following the game.

Hill avoided digging himself a hole with the league and a potential fine as reporters tried to dig deeper. 

Head coach Dave Joerger gave an account of what the officials said following the call, but he too seemed perplexed by the play.

“That was a foul,” Joerger said of what the officials told him on the sidelines. “I adamantly disagreed. They said they called it at the time, which I didn’t see. So that was more my argument than whether it was a foul or not.”

Sacramento continued to compete in the final seconds, but they were forced to foul intentionally down the stretch and the Rockets were able to hold them at bay to come away with the 105-100 victory.

Report: Gordon Hayward 'unlikely to return' this season


Report: Gordon Hayward 'unlikely to return' this season

Despite the severity of Gordon Hayward's injury, there was a small bit of hope that he might be able to return this season.

It appears that won't happen.

Hayward underwent surgery Wednesday night and is "unlikely to return this season," his agent Mark Bartelstein told ESPN.

"We expect him to make a full recovery and return to his All-Star form," Bartelstein told ESPN.

The Celtics' prized offseason acquisition suffered the terrifying ankle injury just five minutes into his Boston debut on Tuesday night. He was diagnosed with a dislocated left ankle and broken tibia.

After playing in Cleveland on Tuesday, the Celtics returned to Boston for their home opener on Wednesday against the Bucks. Prior to the game, a 30-second video message from Hayward to the fans was played in the arena.

“What’s up, everybody? Just wanted to say thank you to everyone who’s had me in their thoughts and prayers,” Hayward said. “I’m going to be all right. It’s hurting me that I can’t be there for the home opener. I want nothing more than to be with my teammates and walk out on that floor tonight. But I’ll be supporting you guys from here, and wishing you the best of luck. Kill it tonight.”