Warriors

Giants shut out behind Lincecum, drop series

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Giants shut out behind Lincecum, drop series

Aug. 18, 2011BOX SCORE GIANTS VIDEOMLB PAGE MLB SCOREBOARDATLANTA (AP) -- Mike Minor knew he couldn't afford any big mistakes going against two-time Cy Young Award winner Tim Lincecum.Instead, it was Lincecum who cracked.Minor pitched six crisp innings and Chipper Jones homered off Lincecum for the only run, leading the Atlanta Braves to a 1-0 victory over the San Francisco Giants on Thursday night.
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"He's obviously the better pitcher," Minor said. "It's a big win."The left-hander pitched brilliantly, allowing just four hits and one intentional walk while striking out a season-high nine. Only two runners got as far as second base against Minor (3-2), who didn't flinch when Cody Ross led off the game with a double."Instead of giving in, I tried to bear down," Minor said. "I knew if he scored, that would be a big run."Lincecum (11-10) was no slouch, surrendering five hits in seven innings with seven Ks. But the wiry right-hander made one pitch he wanted back, serving up a high fastball to Jones leading off the fifth. He sent a drive soaring into the right-field seats for 11th homer, giving the Braves all the offense they would need."You know you're not going to hit too many homers off Lincecum," Jones said. "He made one mistake, and that's all we needed."Lincecum was trying to go inside with the pitch, but it faded back over the plate."Chipper's a great hitter," the Giants starter said. "I gave up that one timely home run. That cost me."Eric O'Flaherty, Jonny Venters and Craig Kimbrel closed out the five-hitter with one inning apiece. Kimbrel struck out two in a perfect ninth for his 37th save in 42 chances, breaking a tie with Todd Worrell for the most saves by an NL rookie since 1969.Worrell had 36 saves for the St. Louis Cardinals in 1986. Kimbrel is closing in on the major league mark for rookies, set just last season by Texas closer Neftali Feliz with 40.Kimbrel has not allowed a run in his last 28 appearances, covering 28 2-3 innings. Over that span, he's given up a mere nine hits and eight walks, with a staggering 48 strikeouts."I'm glad I don't have to face anybody in our bullpen," Jones said.The four-game set was similar in style to the thrilling NL division series between the teams last fall. San Francisco knocked off the Braves 3-1 in the playoffs, with every game decided by one run. This time, Atlanta took three of four, the games decided by a total of five runs.The Giants had to use a makeshift lineup because of injuries, while the Braves showed off some of their impressive young pitching talent. Randall Delgado threw six-plus innings of one-hit ball on Tuesday before heading back to the minors. Another rookie, Arodys Vizcaino, picked up his first big league win in that game. Minor finished the series with another strong effort."It's almost embarrassing how many young pitchers who can help this club we have at the minor league level," Jones said.The Braves won six of seven against San Francisco this season. Atlanta's latest win stretched its lead in the NL wild-card race to six games over the Giants, who came in 2 12 games behind Arizona in the NL West."We might face these guys later on," Jones said, referring to the playoffs. "Every mental edge we can get is helpful."Atlanta wasted a chance against Lincecum in the fourth. Michael Bourn led off with a single and raced around to third on Brian McCann's one-out double into the right-field corner. But Dan Uggla struck out swinging and Freddie Freeman grounded out.Freeman came up with a brilliant defensive play in the fourth, sprawling out on the rolled-up tarp to make a great diving catch on Aubrey Huff's foul popup."We've just got to find our luck," Lincecum said. "We've got to find it soon."NOTES: Braves RHP Peter Moylan will begin a rehab stint at Triple-A Gwinnett on Monday and likely will rejoin the Braves when the rosters expand Sept. 1. ... San Francisco was without closer Brian Wilson for the third night in a row. He's bothered by a sore elbow, though the Giants are hopeful he won't have to go on the disabled list. ... RHP Derek Lowe will start for the Braves in the opener of a three-game series against Arizona on Friday. Lowe is 6-9 with a 4.14 ERA in 19 career starts against the Diamondbacks. ... The Braves lost two previous meetings at Arizona in May. ... The Giants continue their road trip with their first three games of the season against Houston. ... Ryan Vogelsong will try to improve to 3-0 in his career against the Astros, who will be in San Francisco next week for a four-game series.

Without Green, Iguodala, fourth quarter turns into disaster for Warriors vs Rockets

Without Green, Iguodala, fourth quarter turns into disaster for Warriors vs Rockets

OAKLAND -- The defending champion Warriors started cracking in the hours before tipoff Tuesday night and broke apart when they usually come together.

The fourth quarter was a disaster area and it cost the Warriors, as the Houston Rockets wiped out a 13-point deficit and tagged them with a 122-121 loss before a stunned sellout crowd at Oracle Arena.

So ends, as it should, the spurious notion of a rubber-stamp championship for the Warriors. A strain here and a tweak there and they found themselves on the painful end of the score.

The Warriors learned prior to the game that forward Andre Iguodala, their valuable Sixth Man, would be out nursing a strained back. They were hit with another injury, this one to Draymond Green, who was highly effective, late in the third quarter.

“He was our best player tonight,” coach Steve Kerr said. “He was the guy who was bringing the energy and the life.”

Green’s numbers -- 9 points, 11 rebounds and 13 assists -- barely hint at his value in this game. Green and Iguodala are the primary defensive communicators, and Green held it down fairly well -- until he, too, was gone.

“Our communication wasn’t very good and we didn’t stick to the game plan; we gave them too many wide-open threes,” said Klay Thompson, who scored 11 first-quarter points but only 5 over the final three.

“We did a good job in the half-court of keeping them in front,” said Kevin Durant, who also scolded himself for committing eight turnovers. “But in transition we got cross-matched so many times and we just didn’t communicate well enough.”

Games aren’t always lost in the fourth, despite the frequent narrative, but this one most assuredly was. With Green in the locker room accompanied by ice, the Warriors were outscored 34-20 in the fourth quarter.

After shooting 45.8 percent through three quarters, the Rockets took it to 56 percent in the fourth, closing the game on a 13-5 run over the final 4:01.

The Warriors don’t yet know when Green and Iguodala will return, whether it’s as soon as Friday at New Orleans or a matter of weeks. Until they do, Kerr will have to resort to patching things together.

Problem is, aside from the scoring of Nick Young (23 points on 8-of-9 shooting, including 6-of-7 from deep) and Jordan Bell (8 points on 4-of-5 shooting in 12 minutes), the bench did not distinguish itself.

That was particularly true on defense, which happen to be where Iguodala and Green make their greatest impact. The reserves accounted for 13 of the 25 fouls called on the Warriors.

“We’ve got to be better,” Durant said. “We’ve got to be better, and we’re looking forward to practice Wednesday.”

D'Antoni claps back at Draymond, Warriors after Rockets' 122-121 win

D'Antoni claps back at Draymond, Warriors after Rockets' 122-121 win

Draymond Green usually gets the last word.

Not this time.

"Somebody said we don't take it seriously on defense. Well obviously they don't take it seriously either," Rockets head coach Mike D'Antoni said after the Rockets knocked off the Warriors 122-121 on Tuesday night., according to Santa Rosa Press Democrat's Phil Barber.

The jab stems from Green's comments after practice on Monday.

"You should believe that. I'm turning over a new leaf. Number 1 -- they want it to be a shootout, which is fine. But we're gonna play some defense. We score pretty well, but we're a damn good defensive team, too. So we're gonna play some defense.

"I don't know how serious they take defense with that comment, but I know they added some good defensive players," Green told reporters Monday.

Green won't get his next shot at D'Antoni and the Rockets until January 4 in Houston.