Warriors

Giants seek support for Bumgarner vs. D'backs

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Giants seek support for Bumgarner vs. D'backs

June 15, 2011

GIANTS (38-29) vs.
ARIZONA (37-31)

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

ARIZONA (AP) -- After showing some offensive life to win the opener of a key road series with the Arizona Diamondbacks, the San Francisco Giants hope to provide Madison Bumgarner with some rare support in their next contest.

Bumgarner looks to avoid a third straight losing start and help the NL West-leading Giants beat the Diamondbacks for a fifth consecutive time Wednesday night.

San Francisco (38-29) had scored more than five runs only once in its previous 10 games, but won 6-5 at Arizona on Tuesday to increase its lead to 1 12 games over the Diamondbacks (37-31). The Giants improved to 6-1 in the season series, and have won each of the last four meetings by one run.

REWIND: Giants hold off D-Backs, preserve win for Cain

"Doesn't matter the team, we usually play tight games," Giants manager Bruce Bochy said. "We don't have too many games that get out of hand either way."

San Francisco has scored at least five runs in each of its games this season at Chase Field, where it has gone 3-1 this year and has won nine of 11.

The Giants hope to give similar support to Bumgarner (2-8, 3.23 ERA), who has gotten either one run or none from the offense in seven of his starts. The right-hander limited Cincinnati to one run over seven innings Thursday, but wound up on the losing end of a 3-0 score.

RELATED: Madison Bumgarner 2011 game logs

It was the third time this season the Giants got shut out with Bumgarner on the mound

"He knows he (does) all he can do to win a ballgame," Bochy said. "We just have to get this figured out. It's gone on longer than even I thought it would."

Bumgarner has received an average 5.88 runs of support while going 2-0 with a 2.42 ERA in four career starts versus Arizona. His worst of those outings came April 17, when he allowed four runs in 6 2-3 innings of a 6-5, 12-inning loss at Chase Field.

Cody Ross had a two-run double and scored on a double steal as the Giants took a 5-0 lead Tuesday, then needed to hold on late. Ross is 5 for 15 with three RBIs in four games against the Diamondbacks this season.

Teammate Pablo Sandoval was 1 for 4 with an RBI in his first game after missing 1 12 months with a broken hand. Sandoval is batting .366 with 19 RBIs in 24 career games at Arizona.

URBAN: Sandoval, Giants pumped on Panda

Joe Saunders (3-6, 4.56) takes the ball for the Diamondbacks looking to bounce back after he allowed five runs on three homers in six innings of a 6-4 loss at Florida on Friday.

The left-hander had been 3-0 with a 2.33 ERA in his previous four starts.

"He made some mistakes, they pounded him, it's going to happen from time to time," manager Kirk Gibson said.

Saunders was not much better in his only career appearance against San Francisco on April 16, giving up five runs and 12 hits in 6 2-3 innings of a 5-3 home loss.

Catcher Miguel Montero hit a three-run homer Tuesday for the Diamondbacks, who have still won four of six. Montero is 9 for 22 with two home runs, five doubles and nine RBIs in his last five games, but is 0 for 7 lifetime versus Bumgarner.

Golden State, do we have a problem? Another loss to Rockets awakens Warriors

Golden State, do we have a problem? Another loss to Rockets awakens Warriors

In saying goodbye to their impressive road win streak and a chance to make franchise history, the Warriors also experienced an awakening that should linger somewhere in their minds for months to come.

The new and improved Houston Rockets are a serious threat to the defending champs having a parade in downtown Oakland for the second consecutive June.

That threat likely can’t be realized, however, unless the Warriors put the worst of themselves on full display, as they did Saturday night at Toyota Center in a 116-108 loss to the Rockets.

“In the first quarter, every time we made our push, we gave up easy baskets,” Draymond Green told reporters in Houston. “In the second quarter, we put them on the line the entire quarter, which slowed down our pace and let them control the tempo of the game. In the third quarter, we fought back to kind of get there but not get over the hump. And then we finally did, but we just didn’t have the right amount of focus it takes to win a game like that.”

Indeed, the Warriors were guilty of questionable shot selection at various points. They were largely allergic to rebounding, taking a 46-33 drubbing in that category. And far too often they were impatient and therefore utterly careless with their passing, resulting in 19 turnovers that led directly to 23 Houston points.

“It seemed like we kept making one silly play after another,” coach Steve Kerr said.

Sounds familiar, eh? The Warriors know their greatest weaknesses and hear about them ad nauseam from the coaching staff, yet still struggle to consistently address them.

Stephen Curry, who committed a team-worst six turnovers, lamented two possessions in particular. On one, he missed Kevin Durant “butt-naked at the top of the key,” and on another he had Durant open for a dunk but flipped it to Klay Thompson for a 3-pointer that missed.

“I made two of the worst plays of the season on those two possessions,” Curry conceded. “It’s kind of one of those nights when I personally didn’t have the right vision on the floor I’ve got to take responsibility for that.”

This is why the Warriors deserved to lose this game, which gave the Rockets a 2-1 victory in the season series and the homecourt tiebreaker should the two teams finish with identical records.

The Warriors took a 122-121 loss to Houston at Oracle Arena on opening night, then went to Houston on Jan. 4 and claimed a 124-114 victory.

This is enough to prove the Rockets are capable of beating the Warriors. We also note that in the other loss, Warriors’ turnovers gifted 21 points to Houston.

“We know the recipe against this team,” Curry said. “They’re going to shoot a lot of 3s. They’re going to make some tough shots. But if you turn the ball over and if you foul, which we did both in the first half, then that plays right into their hands. It’s just a lack of focus on the game plan.”

That lack of focus is something that has nagged the Warriors numerous times over the course of the season.

Here’s Houston’s problem: The postseason Warriors tend to be a bit sharper than the regular season Warriors.

And the Rockets, well, remain a postseason mystery. Chris Paul, who was so magnificent Saturday night, has an inglorious postseason history, complete with multiple collapses. MVP candidate James Harden also has dubious postseason resume, with epic pratfalls against the Warriors and the Spurs.

So the events of Saturday night, and the three games in the regular season, serve as reminders that if the Warriors play smart and tough and are fully engaged, they’re still the better team. Despite the chance to set a franchise record with a 15th consecutive road victory, the Warriors were less than fully engaged.

There’s a better than even chance of them being fully engaged in the postseason, should these teams meet again.

“We always talk about hitting singles,” Kerr said. “Well, we were trying to hit home runs all night, and you can’t do that against these guys.

“On the bright side, we know we can play a lot better. And we will.”

Daniel Cormier can finally feel like a champion again

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USATSI

Daniel Cormier can finally feel like a champion again

Daniel Cormier was awarded the UFC light heavyweight championship Saturday night at UFC 220 after his loss to Jon Jones was overturned when Jones failed a prefight drug test. Cormier said leading up to the fight that he didn’t feel like a champion. He probably feels like one now.

The San Jose-based 205-pounder defeated No. 2-ranked Volkan Oezdemir by secon-round TKO to retain the title.

“I felt as if I was fighting for a vacant title because (Jones) beat me last time,” Cormier (20-1) said in a postfight interview referring to his loss last July.

“I fought for a vacant title and I got the job done so I’m the UFC champion again.”

Cormier, who turns 40 in March, nearly won the fight a round earlier. In the final minute of the first frame, Cormier landed a right hand flush on the challenger’s face. After securing a takedown and taking Oezdemir’s back, Cormier locked in a rear naked choke but was forced to relinquish the hold when the bell rang.

Oezdemir, 28, was given a second chance, but he couldn’t capitalize. Cormier dominated the second round from the beginning. The AKA-product once again took down Oezdemir, transitioned to a crucifix, and landed a barrage of shots until the referee called the fight at the 2:00 mark.

“He was so game. I knew he was a dangerous guy. He hit hard,” Cormier said of Oezdemir (15-2). “But once I was able to get him to the ground, I knew it was my world.”

And for now, the rest of the light heavyweight division is just living in it.