NCAA

A's break tie with three-run 6th, top Orioles 6-2

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A's break tie with three-run 6th, top Orioles 6-2

May 27, 2011BOX SCORE A'S POSTGAME VIDEOMLB PAGE MLB SCOREBOARD
OAKLAND (AP) Maybe Oakland manager Bob Geren should get ejected more often.The offense-starved Athletics scored three runs in the sixth inning after Geren was tossed by home plate umpire Angel Campos for arguing balls and strikes then added an insurance run on Josh Willingham's eighth home run of the season on the way to a 6-2 win over the Baltimore Orioles on Friday night."I didn't even really know he got ejected until they announced it," said Willingham, who had an RBI double during the A's three-run sixth. "He can get thrown out tomorrow night if we can get three runs the next inning. That's fine with me."Geren's first ejection of the season and 10th of his career seemed to spark the A's, who reached double digits in hits for a second consecutive game.Oakland put runners on base in every inning, batted around during the sixth and reached double digits in hits for a second consecutive game. Every starter had at least one hit and five different players drove in runs.It was the perfect start to the A's six-game homestand against the Orioles and Yankees following a tumultuous four-game series in Los Angeles when reliever Brian Fuentes publicly criticized Geren for a lack of communication. Former Oakland reliever Huston Street also was critical of Geren in published reports this week."You can't expect double digit hits every night but getting them in back to back games is a good start," Geren said. "Guys are feeling a little more confident about themselves offensively. I like what I'm seeing."Ryan Sweeney hit a tiebreaking single in the sixth inning and also doubled and scored twice while Oakland matched its season high with four double plays.Vladimir Guerrero singled to extend his hitting streak to 12 games for Baltimore, which had its five-game winning streak snapped.Brad Ziegler (1-0) pitched two scoreless innings for the win while Joey Devine and Michael Wuertz pitched an inning apiece to complete the six-hitter.The A's had lost seven of nine since moving into a tie for first in the AL West on May 17, primarily due to an offense that is last in the American League in runs scored.That wasn't an issue against Baltimore."If we can put up four or five runs a game, I like our chances on any given night with our pitching staff," Willinghgam said. "We haven't helped them as much as we should have so far this year but hopefully we can start coming around and putting some consistent games together."The A's scored all their runs in the sixth with two outs. Sweeney's RBI single snapped a 2-2 tie, while Willingham and Kurt Suzuki also drove in runs to help Oakland take a 5-2 lead. All the runs came off Baltimore reliever Alfredo Simon (1-1).Willingham hit his eighth home in the eighth.Hideki Matsui's two-out RBI-single in the first gave the A's a 1-0 lead after third baseman Mark Reynolds' fielding error prolonged the inning.Baltimore got the run back against Gonzalez, who struggled with his control all night."We had him on the ropes," Orioles manager Buck Showalter said. "We had some disciplined at-bats and you don't get (Gonzalez) in that situation very often, and it's unfortunate. It's frustrating because you've got a chance to beat a really good pitcher tonight."Gonzalez gave up consecutive singles to open the second then issued back-to-back walks, the second to Reynolds that forced in Guerrero. Gonzalez then struck out J.J. Hardy and got Jake Fox to ground into an inning-ending double play.The A's got another big two-out hit in the second when David DeJesus lined a shot that glanced off Reynolds' glove and landed in left field. That slowed the ball enough to allow Mark Ellis to score from second.Gonzalez got a scare in the fifth while trying to cover first base on an attempted double play. The throw from shortstop Cliff Pennington sailed behind Gonzalez, who rolled his left ankle while reaching back for the ball.Fox scored easily from second on the error while Gonzalez limped noticeably around the infield. The Oakland lefty stayed in the game and gave up a walk to Nick Markakis before Guerrero hit into a double play.Gonzalez, who finished with seven strikeouts and five walks, left after giving up a leadoff single to Wieters in the sixth.Oakland loaded the bases in the fifth to chase Baltimore starter Chris Tillman but failed to score when Simon struck out Suzuki and Ellis.Tillman gave up two runs and six hits with two strikeouts. The right-hander, who has three straight no-decisions, also walked three and hit a batter.Notes: The A's made a few roster moves in anticipation of the expected return of two-time All-Star reliever Andrew Bailey. Oakland traded LHP to the Detroit Tigers in exchange for IF Scott Sizemore, who is expected to report to the team's Triple-A club in Sacramento. LHP Bobby Cramer was called up from Sacramento to take Purcey's place on the 25-man roster. ... Tillman has not allowed a home run in seven consecutive starts. ... Markakis singled in the third to extend his hitting streak to 12 games.

Limping Love leads Stanford to Big Game win over Cal

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AP

Limping Love leads Stanford to Big Game win over Cal

BOX SCORE

PALO ALTO — Bryce Love rushed for 101 yards and a touchdown despite missing most of the fourth quarter after aggravating an ankle injury, and No. 20 Stanford held off California 17-14 on Saturday to keep its Pac-12 title hopes alive.

K.J. Costello completed 17 of 26 passes for 185 yards and a touchdown, Ben Edwards made a key interception in the fourth quarter and Cameron Scarlett rushed for 49 yards on the final drive in place of Love to help the Cardinal (8-3, 7-2 Pac-12) milk the clock and win its eighth straight Big Game.

Stanford can earn a spot in the Pac-12 championship game against USC but needs some help.

The Cardinal can get there if No. 15 Washington State loses to No. 16 Washington next week. If the Cougars — who beat Stanford 24-21 on Nov. 4 — beat the Huskies, they get the nod because of the tiebreaker.

The nation's leading rusher going into the game, Love was held in check most of the game by Cal's defense and sat out the final 11:43 after re-injuring his ankle that has bothered him for the past month. He did stay on the field long enough to score a 57-yard touchdown — his 11th run of 50 yards or longer this season.

Scarlett, Love's primary backup all season, also came up big for Stanford. Scarlett rushed for 61 yards, the majority coming on the Cardinal's last drive that took the final 7:25. Scarlett's 2-yard gain on 4th-and-1 kept the drive going.

Patrick Laird ran for 153 yards and a touchdown on 20 carries while Ross Bowers passed for 182 yards and a touchdown for California. The Golden Bears (5-6, 2-6) need a win in their final game to become bowl eligible in coach Justin Wilcox's first season.

THE TAKEAWAY

California: The Bears made the Cardinal sweat and kept the game a lot closer than many thought possible. Wilcox's defense did a good job bottling up Love most of the game but couldn't stop Scarlett on the final drive which was huge. Still, there are plenty of positives for Cal to take out of this one.

Stanford: It wasn't the best game for David Shaw's team but the Cardinal gritted it out and held off a pesky Cal team that had plenty to play for. The conference title can still happen but before that Stanford has a pretty big game coming up against Notre Dame.

UP NEXT

California: Ends the regular season at UCLA on Saturday.

Stanford: The Cardinal stay home and will host No. 9 Notre Dame on Saturday. Stanford has won the last two and six of last eight against the Irish.

Raiders counting heavily on lightning rod CB against Patriots

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AP

Raiders counting heavily on lightning rod CB against Patriots

MEXICO CITY – The Raiders cornerback David Amerson didn’t practice all week, but ran just well enough to be considered “doubtful” for Sunday’s game against New England.

Translation: Outlook for Sunday is not good, but Jack Del Rio’s fingers remained crossed real, real tight. The Raiders hope there’s a way he can be active against Tom Brady’s buzz saw attack, because their cover men are beat up.

Amerson has missed two straight with a foot injury, and has dealt with injury all year. Gareon Conley’s season officially ended Monday, when he was placed on season-ending injured reserve. Antonio Hamilton and Demetrius McCray were already there.

Reggie McKenzie hasn’t reached out for reinforcements. That leaves TJ Carrie, Dexter McDonald and Sean Smith to play cornerback. Carrie’s been the rock, a sure tackler who hasn’t made spectacular plays but doesn’t give them up. McDonald has been forced into action, with holes let in his game.

Smith should be the No. 1 guy in this group, the steadying presence on the outside. That hasn’t been the case this year, where he lost a starting job in training camp and sub-package snaps during the season, only to have injuries to Conley and Amerson bring him in the fray.

He’s also been dealing with felony assault and battery charges in Los Angeles stemming from a July 4 incident in Pasadena.

Smith has been a lightning rod for fan criticism, a byproduct of his $9.5 million salary this year and explosive plays allowed early in the year.

If there’s an anvil weighing on his mind, teammates insist you’d never know.

“We’re human at the end of the day,” Amerson said. “You feel it, but you have to find a way to remain even keel and professional and do your job well.”

Smith will be counted on heavily Sunday against New England, especially if Amerson can’t play as expected. He has proven vulnerable to speed without help and proper disruption at the line of scrimmage, though that hasn’t been an issue lately because the Utah alum has recovered well after a rough start.

He got pulled after struggling against Vernon Davis in Washington. He didn’t play against the Chargers after giving up two huge plays to Baltimore the week before.

Amerson originally sprained his foot in Week 7 against Kansas City – he hasn’t played since – and Smith was called upon to respond. He wasn’t targeted in that game, and has been strong in coverage ever since.

Smith has allowed three catches for 12 yards in four targets over the last two games. The ninth-year veteran insists he wasn’t doing anything markedly different, and had zero interest in patting himself on the back for recent jobs well done.

“I’m not,” Smith said. “I’m out there doing my job, man, the best way I can.”

Smith says the off-field distractions during a roller-coaster season, one of his career’s most trying yet, haven’t impacted him much

“Nope. Not at all,” Smith said. “As long as I wake up a Raider, I’m all right. I’ll deal with whatever happens. I’ll always be there for my guys, and I’ll do whatever it takes to help our team win.”

Raiders defensive backs laud Smith’s locker room presence, saying he’s an excellent teammate. Cornerbacks in general must have a short memory when things go bad, to refocus and prevent that from happening again. Smith apparently has that in spades.

“I know how things go, especially when you have a target on your back,” Amerson said. “Sometimes you get hit with the perfect pass and you give up some plays. You can’t do anything about that but take advantage of the next opportunity. Sean’s a good player, and he definitely has that mindset.”

Smith will lend experience to this big game, something the Raiders need after suffering so many injuries.

"It sucks that so many of us have gone down,” Smith said. "You want to have all your guys out there, but that’s the NFL. Injuries happen. As long as everybody comes to work and acts like a pro, we’ll be all right. We all have a job to do. We all would like to start, but you have to be ready when your number’s called.”