Cain takes the ball in search of sweep of Rockies


Cain takes the ball in search of sweep of Rockies

April 20, 2011

GIANTS (10-7) vs.

Coverage begins at 11:30 A.M. on Comcast SportsNet Bay Area

DENVER (AP) -- Colorado hitters have had little success against San Francisco's talented pitching staff this week. Facing Matt Cain in the series finale won't make things any easier.

The NL West-leading Rockies will likely need some rare success against Cain on Wednesday to avoid being swept at home by the surging Giants for the first time in nine years.

Colorado (12-5) has been outscored 14-4 by San Francisco while losing two straight for the first time in 2011. After Tim Lincecum and Ryan Vogelsong held the Rockies to four hits in Monday's 8-1 loss, Colorado managed three hits off Jonathan Sanchez and three relievers in a 6-3 defeat Tuesday.

REWIND: Sandoval powers Giants to win over Rockies

Winners in six of seven, the reigning World Series champion Giants (10-7) have scored a combined nine runs in the first inning of the last two games. That's a trend the Rockies must end if they want to avoid being swept by San Francisco at Coors Field for the first time since Aug. 26-29, 2002.

"It would be nice to not spot them four runs," said Rockies shortstop Troy Tulowitzki, who is 0 for 7 in the series. "It's a tough uphill battle for us, especially with the pitchers that they have.

"(Wednesday is) an important game. You don't want anyone coming in here and sweeping you. At the same time, it is April still."

Colorado faces a daunting task against Cain (2-0, 1.42 ERA), who has carried his 2010 postseason success over to 2011.

After pitching 21 1-3 scoreless innings to go 2-0 in three playoff starts, Cain has allowed three runs and 14 hits over 19 innings in his first three outings this year.

"I definitely go back to the postseason where I mentally was and try to use that to my advantage," Cain said.

The right-hander allowed one run and four hits in six innings of a 5-2 win at Arizona on Friday.

"He's really, I think, grown so much over the past year and a half," manager Bruce Bochy said. "He's got good poise out there."

Cain enjoyed a great deal of success last season against the Rockies, going 3-0 with a 1.69 ERA in four starts. The last two came at Coors Field, where he is 3-0 with a 1.86 ERA in his last four starts dating to 2009.

Though Tulowitzki has struggled the last two nights, he is batting .323 on the season and .304 with three homers, two doubles and a triple versus Cain.

Jorge De La Rosa (2-0, 3.18) will oppose Cain, trying to continue his recent success both this season and against the Giants.

The left-hander gave up season highs of four runs, four walks and five hits Thursday in the nightcap of a doubleheader at New York, but his 6 2-3 innings were also a season high and he got credit for the Rockies' 9-4 victory.

De La Rosa is 6-1 with a 2.26 ERA in nine starts versus San Francisco. However, the loss came in his most recent outing against the Giants on Sept. 26, when he allowed three runs and five walks in six innings of a 4-2 defeat at Coors Field.

San Francisco first baseman Aubrey Huff, 3 for 7 with two doubles versus De La Rosa, homered for the second time in three games Tuesday. He has five RBIs during that span.

The Giants could be without center fielder Aaron Rowand, who left Tuesday's game with a bruised left forearm after he was hit by a pitch from Ubaldo Jimenez. Rowand is batting .320.

Joerger shakes things up, Cauley-Stein responds with big game


Joerger shakes things up, Cauley-Stein responds with big game

SACRAMENTO -- Faced with demotion, you have two options, sulk or come out swinging. Willie Cauley-Stein chose option two Friday evening at Golden 1 Center.

After starting all 14 games to begin the season, Cauley-Stein found himself relegated to the second unit against the Portland Trail Blazers. The 7-footer looked energized by the move and made one play after another as the Kings came away with the 86-82 victory.

“I felt free - period,” Cauley-Stein said following the win. “Both offensively, defensively. I’m quarterbacking on defense. I’m getting to make plays on offense. I just feel liberated. I feel like it’s unlocking.”

The third-year big began the 2017-18 campaign with back-to-back double-doubles, but hadn’t notched double-figures in rebounds since. Over his previous eight games, the Kings’ starting center was averaging just 4.3 boards per game.

Against Portland, Cauley-Stein played sparkling defense, hit 9-of-17 from the floor for a team-high 22 points and hit the glass for 10 boards. He skied above the Blazers bigs for a rebound with 3.4 seconds remaining and his second free throw attempt sealed the win for a Kings team in desperate need of a win.

“Willie’s a hell of a player, obviously,” veteran big Kosta Koufos said. “He’s really athletic, he’s a special talent.”

Koufos and Cauley-Stein made a devastating defensive duo for Sacramento. Both bigs showed on the high pick-and-roll and avoided fouling the Blazers high-powered guards.

“That’s a crazy defensive lineup right there, me and Kosta play really well together,” Cauley-Stein said. “I’ve been waiting for that lineup since we started.”

Damian Lillard scored 29 points, but he shot just 9-of-25 from the field and 5-for-14 from long range. C.J. McCollum knocked down 8-of-15 from the floor, but he missed all four of his 3-point attempts as Sacramento closed out and pressured the shooter all night long.

Cauley-Stein wasn’t the only starter to find himself on the bench to start the game. Dave Joerger turned to a dual point guard backcourt, using De’Aaron Fox and George Hill side-by-side, while bringing rookie Bogdan Bogdanovic in with the second unit.

Playing off the ball for long stretches, Hill responded to the move with 14 points and five assists in 27 minutes. Fox had a quiet offensive night, but his defense on both Lillard and McCollum was inspired.

“We can both attack and he’s a great shooter so that really helps me,” Fox said of Hill. “He’s a mentor on the court. It’s a lot easier to play with him then to watch him play.”

Sacramento held Portland to just 37 percent shooting overall and 28 percent from behind the arc. They pressured the Blazers in the backcourt and slowed the game to screeching halt.

With the win, the Kings snapped their three-game losing streak and improved to 4-11 on the season. They jumped a plane for Portland following the game where they’ll face the same Trail Blazer team Saturday in a rare back-to-back against the same team.

The Kings likely be without the services of shooting guard Buddy Hield, who left the game in the fourth quarter with a sprained right ankle. Hield limped into the locker room on crutches following the victory and the initial indications point to him missing the rematch.

A's hire Matt Williams as third base coach


A's hire Matt Williams as third base coach

OAKLANDThe Oakland A’s named Matt Williams as third base coach on Bob Melvin’s coaching staff for the 2018 season, the club announced today.

Williams spent five seasons on the Arizona Diamondbacks coaching staff as first base coach (2010) and third base coach (2011-13, 16) and also managed the Washington Nationals for two seasons.  He was named National League Manager of the Year by the BBWAA in his first season as manager in 2014, guiding the Nationals to a 96-66 record and an NL East title.  He went 83-79 in 2015 for a 179-145 (.552) record in two seasons as manager.

Williams played 17 seasons in the majors with San Francisco (1987-96), Cleveland (1997) and Arizona (1998-2003).  He was a .268 career hitter with 378 home runs and 1218 RBI in 1866 games.  Williams was a five-time All-Star and won four Gold Gloves as a third baseman.

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