Kings

Giants' push for .500 continues with L.A. in town

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Giants' push for .500 continues with L.A. in town

April 11, 2011

LOS ANGELES (5-4) vs.
GIANTS (4-5)

Coverage begins at 6:30 P.M. on Comcast SportsNet Bay Area

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) -- Last season, the Giants marched to their first World Series title in 56 years with a record that never dipped below .500. They haven't been above .500 in 2011.

Clayton Kershaw and the archrival Los Angeles Dodgers are looking to make sure that doesn't happen in the coming days.

The Giants will try to avoid another loss to Kershaw and get their record back to the break-even mark when they face the Dodgers on Monday night in the opener of the second series between the clubs on the young season.
URBAN: 'Revenge' on Dodgers fans a senseless notion

San Francisco (4-5) went on an impressive run to its first World Series championship since 1954, finishing 92-70 to capture the NL West before winning 11 of 15 playoff games.

It may be early, but things aren't going nearly as well this season.

The Giants reached .500 for the first time over the weekend, but dropped back below the mark and saw their three-game winning streak snapped with Sunday's 6-1 loss to St. Louis.

The struggles began at Chavez Ravine.

San Francisco opened the season with a 2-1 loss at Los Angeles (5-4) on March 31, and went on to drop three of four in the series.

Kershaw (1-1, 2.08 ERA) was outstanding in the season opener, outpitching Giants ace Tim Lincecum by striking out nine while allowing four hits in seven scoreless innings. The left-hander was even better in his last start at San Francisco, throwing a four-hitter in a 1-0 victory Sept. 14.

He has a 1.23 ERA in seven games - six starts - against the Giants, but just a 2-1 record to show for it.

Kershaw wasn't as sharp Tuesday, allowing three runs and two homers while fanning eight in six innings of a 3-0 loss at Colorado.

"It was a frustrating night," he said. "They put some good swings on it. I'm not going to discredit them. They hit some balls hard, they hit some balls far."

The Dodgers lost 7-2 at San Diego on Sunday, failing to complete a three-game sweep.

Matt Kemp went 8 for 13 with five stolen bases over the weekend, increasing his season average to .438. The center fielder went 5 for 12 with two doubles, a homer and three RBIs in the last series with the Giants.

He's singled in both of his at-bats against scheduled San Francisco starter Madison Bumgarner (0-1, 9.00), San Francisco's scheduled starter.

Bumgarner won his only career start against the Dodgers, yielding two runs - one earned - in 5 2-3 innings of a 5-2 victory last July 19.

The 21-year-old left-hander struggled to get 2011 off to a positive start Tuesday, surrendering three runs and five hits with three walks before being lifted after three innings of a 3-1 loss at San Diego.

"He's going to be fine," manager Bruce Bochy told the Giants' official website. "The game didn't get out of hand. Give him credit."

Catcher Buster Posey should be back in the lineup after being rested Sunday. The reigning NL Rookie of the Year has at least one hit in seven of eight games.

Posey is 4 for 8 with a homer and two RBIs in San Francisco's last two home matchups with the Dodgers, but is 2 for 12 against Kershaw.

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

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AP

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.”