Bumgarner seeks win No. 2 against Marlins


Bumgarner seeks win No. 2 against Marlins

May 25, 2011

FLORIDA (27-19) vs.
GIANTS (27-20)

Coverage begins at 7 P.M. on NBC Bay Area

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) -- It took until mid-May, but San Francisco's Madison Bumgarner finally earned his first victory of the year.

It seems unlikely it will take as long for him to notch win No. 2.

Bumgarner, who has been the victim of bad luck, looks to build on one of the best starts of his career when he takes the ball for the Giants against the Florida Marlins on Wednesday night.

Bumgarner (1-6, 3.71 ERA) entered Thursday's game against the Los Angeles Dodgers as one of six pitchers to make at least eight starts but not have a victory. He no longer needs to worry about being a member of that ill-fated group after coming within one out of his first major league shutout.

In the 3-1 win over the Dodgers, Bumgarner allowed six hits and the lone run scored on Jerry Sands' RBI double with two outs in the ninth. The 21-year-old left-hander was then replaced by closer Brian Wilson.

"I'm just glad to finally get that first win out of the way," Bumgarner said. "The last few games, I felt like there's been a big difference from the first four, even though it didn't work out for me. But it taught me a lot and what I need to focus on."

Although it was his first win, Bumgarner has a 1.60 ERA over his last five starts for the Giants (27-20). He has been hurt by an offense that has backed him with an average of 2.29 runs, fourth-worst in baseball.

"I feel good about throwing a good game and keeping us in there," Bumgarner said. "Wins and losses are something you really can't control, so I tried not to focus on that."

Bumgarner's focus will be on a Marlins team that won Tuesday's series opener 5-1, snapping the Giants' five-game winning streak.

REWIND: Nolasco, Marlins end Giants' streak

"It was a big win to start the road trip against these guys," said winning pitcher Ricky Nolasco, who came within two outs of throwing a complete game.

Gaby Sanchez had a three-run double - one of his three hits - and Mike Stanton hit his 11th home run for Florida (27-19), which won for the third time in four games.

Stanton is heating up, batting .343 with six homers and nine RBIs in his last 10 games after hitting .160 with two RBIs in his previous seven. The California native is batting .353 with two home runs and five RBIs in five games against the Giants, and is also 2 for 3 with a pair of doubles lifetime against Bumgarner.

In Bumgarner's only career start against the Marlins on July 29, he gave up three runs and six hits in six innings a 5-0 loss.

Tuesday's loss was the Giants' first at AT&T Park since April 24, snapping a nine-game home winning streak. San Francisco scored its only run in the bottom of the ninth inning on a sacrifice fly by Miguel Tejada.

Although the Giants lost for just the fourth time in 16 games, Buster Posey extended his hitting streak to 12 games with a pair of singles. The catcher is batting .400 during his run, and will get his first look at Chris Volstad (2-3, 5.73) on Wednesday.

Volstad gave up three runs and four hits in five innings in Thursday's 5-1 loss to the Chicago Cubs. The right-hander has not had much success away from Florida this season, going 0-1 with an 8.04 ERA.

He has fared well against the Giants, however, going 1-1 with a 1.20 ERA in two starts.

Raiders counting heavily on lightning rod CB against Patriots


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.”

Kevin Durant takes shot at Zaza Pachulia while center's kid play one-on-one


Kevin Durant takes shot at Zaza Pachulia while center's kid play one-on-one

Kevin Durant doesn't take it easy on anyone. Not even the children of teammate Zaza Pachulia.

After practice on Saturday in Philadelphia, Pachulia's two sons, Davit and Saba, were playing one-on-one at the facility the Warriors were using. Kevin Durant filmed one sequence and posted it to his Instagram Story.

One of Pachulia's sons grabbed the ball and drives around the other without dribbling. As he makes the shot, Durant offers his commentary and took a shot at the Warriors starting center.

"That's a travel. Such a travel. Same thing your pops do," Durant said, taking a shot at Pachulia.

Durant also had another message for Pachulia written on the video.

"Yo, @zazapachulia at some you have to teach the boys how to play off the bounce," Durant wrote.