Giants

Giants all-business amid Opening Day 'hoopla'

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Giants all-business amid Opening Day 'hoopla'

April 7, 2011ST. LOUIS (2-4) vs.GIANTS (2-4)URBAN: GIANTS WITH A LOT ON THEIR PLATE
Coverage begins at 12 p.m. on Comcast SportsNet Bay Area.

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) -- Returning home for the first time as the reigning World Series champions might be what the Giants need to overcome a slow start.

Opening a weekend-long celebration of last year's achievements, the Giants will raise their title flag Friday before facing the St. Louis Cardinals at AT&T Park.

REWIND: Giants World Series page

Though San Francisco went 2-4 at Los Angeles and San Diego, the atmosphere should be electric for the home opener and throughout the weekend. The Giants will receive their championship rings Saturday, and reigning NL rookie of the year Buster Posey will be honored Sunday.

"For a couple of games there's going to be a lot of hoopla," manager Bruce Bochy said. "It's going to be special."

"I'm sure the guys are looking forward to getting home," he said. "We have to enjoy the moment. But at the same time, you've got to put your so-called game faces on. These games are important. We need to play well. We need to play better."

Bochy, however, knows his team must stay focused on the Cardinals. All four of San Francisco's losses came by two or fewer runs.

RELATED: St. Louis stats roster depth chart

Scheduled starter Jonathan Sanchez believes the Giants not only must improve this weekend, but find a way to play better overall than they did in 2010.

"It's a new year, a new season. We've got to work. We've got to win this year," he said. "We've got to work harder, because there's going to be a lot of teams out there that want to beat us. We're just going to bring the same thing we did last year to this year and go from there."

Slugger Albert Pujols is 4 for 22 with one of those home runs, but isbatting .478 with three homers his last six games in San Francisco. Heis 4 for 5 with a double versus Sanchez.

The Giants should have some momentum after ace Tim Lincecum struck out 13 and Posey, Aubrey Huff and Pablo Sandoval each had three hits in Wednesday's 8-4 win over the Padres.
San Francisco has scored 18 runs in its two victories, but only 10 in the losses.

Posey, 4 for 12 with two doubles versus St. Louis, has hit safely in all six games.
A 13-game winner in 2010, Sanchez hopes for a better result Friday after he allowed four runs -- two earned -- while striking out eight and walking three in 5 2-3 innings of a 4-3 loss to the Dodgers on Friday.
RELATED: Holliday runs Tuesday, swings a bat Wednesday

The left-hander has been solid in two starts versus St. Louis, going 1-0 with a 2.89 ERA.
Sanchez will face a Cardinals' lineup without slugger Matt Holliday, who will miss a sixth straight game after undergoing an appendectomy. Manager Tony La Russa believes Holliday could return later on the team's 10-game western swing.

St. Louis (2-4) also hopes to rebound after a rough homestand versus San Diego and Pittsburgh.

Opening their trip in San Francisco won't make things easier. The Cardinals have lost eight of 12 at AT&T Park since winning their last series there May 22-24, 2006.

"It's a tough road trip," outfielder Lance Berkman told the Cardinals' official website. "We go in there, and the pitching doesn't get any easier obviously when you have the Giants."

The Cardinals, who have not scored more than three runs in any game, are hitting .231 and have two homered twice in 2011.

REWIND: Correia pitches Pirates past St. Louis

Scheduled starter Jake Westbrook has a hit this season, but the Cardinals need him to fare better on the mound after he allowed up eight runs and walked five in 4 1-3 innings of an 11-3 loss to the Padres on Saturday.

The right-hander gave up three runs three runs in six innings of a 6-3 loss in his only previous outing against the Giants on Aug. 20.

Report: Two Giants hitters elect free agency

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USATSI

Report: Two Giants hitters elect free agency

With free agency set to begin five days after the World Series ends, two hitters that played for the Giants during the 2017 season have put their names on the open market.

Veteran third baseman Conor Gillaspie and longtime minor league outfielder Carlos Moncrief have both elected for free agency, according to Baseball America.

The 30-year-old Gillaspie appeared in 44 games for the Giants this past season. He hit just .168/.218/.288 with four doubles, two home runs and eight RBI. He was designated for assignment on August 3 and outrighted to Triple-A Sacramento on August 5. With the River Cats, Gillaspie hit .375 with four doubles in 15 games in August.

Prior to the 2017 season, Gillaspie signed a one-year, $1.4 million deal with the Giants.

As for Moncrief, the soon-to-be 29-year-old finally got his first call-up the majors this past season after eight and a half seasons in the minors. He debuted for the Giants on July 29. In 28 games, he hit .211/.256/.237 with one double and five RBI. While he didn't do much with the bat, Moncrief showed off a cannon for an arm when he patrolled right field.

NBA fines Pelicans C DeMarcus Cousins for incident with fan

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USATSI

NBA fines Pelicans C DeMarcus Cousins for incident with fan

Former Kings center DeMarcus Cousins is in trouble with the league office again.

The NBA fined the Pelicans big man $25,000 for "directing inappropriate language towards a fan" during the final minutes of the team's season opener on Wednesday night against the Grizzlies.

The referee's heard the exchange between Cousins and the fan, and assessed a technical foul to Cousins. That technical foul was rescinded as part of the league's announcement Saturday.

After Wednesday's game, Cousins offered this explanation of the incident:

"That was pretty bogus, man. The ref, he sat there and heard (the fan) speaking to me in a very nasty way. I shouldn't have responded to it, but I'm a human being and I'm also a grown man. I'm not going to let another person just disrespect me. I felt (the ref) should have handled it, he decided not to, but he handled my end of it. I look forward to speaking to the league," Cousins told reporters, according to USA Today.

Cousins makes his first trip back to Sacramento since being traded by the Kings on Thursday, Oct. 26.