Giants try to avoid sweep ... and second place


Giants try to avoid sweep ... and second place

August 3, 2011

ARIZONA (61-49) vs.
GIANTS (61-49)

Coverage begins at 12:00 P.M. on Comcast SportsNet Bay Area

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) -- The Arizona Diamondbacks traded for Jason Marquis over the weekend in hopes of bolstering their starting rotation.

His impressive career numbers against the San Francisco Giants surely played a part in their decision to acquire him.

Marquis makes his Diamondbacks debut as visiting Arizona tries to take sole possession of the NL West lead with a three-game sweep of the Giants on Wednesday.

The Diamondbacks (61-49), who haven't been alone atop the division this late in the season since Sept. 5, 2008, are in position to accomplish that feat after winning 6-1 on Tuesday.

URBAN: Giants know Arizona is for real

Arizona entered this series two games behind San Francisco (61-49), but after Ian Kennedy defeated Matt Cain in Monday's 5-2 victory, Daniel Hudson outdueled Tim Lincecum to forge a first-place tie.

"It's a lot of fun but at the same time there's a long way to go," Hudson said. "The division goes through San Francisco and we have a lot of games left with the Giants."

Justin Upton, batting .436 with 21 RBIs over a 14-game hitting streak, hit his MLB-best seventh homer since July 21 while Paul Goldschmidt went deep in just his second game since getting recalled from Double-A Mobile on Monday.

"To come up here in this environment and do what he's done is a huge lift for us," manager Kirk Gibson said of the 23-year-old first baseman, who had 30 homers and 94 RBIs in 103 games in the minors.

"He's become part of our team. You have to be awed by it. He's shown great character by the way he's controlled his emotions."

Marquis (8-5, 3.95 ERA), meanwhile, suddenly finds himself in the midst of the NL West race after he was acquired from Washington on Saturday.

The right-hander's success against the Giants could give the Diamondbacks an advantage as they try for their first sweep at San Francisco since July 25-27, 2008. Marquis, 5-3 with a 2.31 ERA over 11 career starts against the Giants, is 4-2 with a 2.61 ERA lifetime at AT&T Park.

"I've always liked pitching in that ballpark, for one," Marquis told "Ultimately it comes down to executing pitches, I've come up with pretty good game plans with some of my pitching coaches and catchers in the past. Maybe my style of pitching suits me against their lineup. I'm looking forward to Wednesday and getting off to a good fresh start, and we'll see what happens."

"Anytime you pitch a big game, that's what you live for, that's why we play this game."

Marquis, 2-1 with a 2.67 ERA over his last five road outings, has made things difficult on both Aaron Rowand and Carlos Beltran. Rowand is 4 for 24 lifetime against Marquis while Beltran has gone 3 for 20.

San Francisco is 4 for 35 (.114) with runners in scoring position and has been outscored 31-8 during its season worst-tying five-game skid.

"These two clubs see each other two more times," manager Bruce Bochy said. "We're going stagnant with these bats and we need to get them going."

As their offense continues to falter, the Giants hope to regroup behind Ryan Vogelsong (8-1, 2.23), who's been somewhat rocky on the road of late but continues to shine at home. The right-hander allowed three runs over the first two innings Friday at Cincinnati before retiring 16 of the final 19 batters he faced during the 4-3, 13-inning loss.

Vogelsong, however, is 5-1 over 10 games - nine starts - at AT&T Park, compiling an MLB-leading 1.28 home ERA.

He gave up two runs and six hits in six innings but didn't factor in the decision of a 3-2 loss at Arizona on June 16.

Del Rio: 'Nobody should feel comfortable,' following Norton firing


Del Rio: 'Nobody should feel comfortable,' following Norton firing

ALAMEDA – Raiders head coach Jack Del Rio put out a statement Tuesday explaining why he fired defensive coordinator Ken Norton Jr.

He went into greater detail Wednesday afternoon, his first time facing the media since a change was made

Specifics will be discussed further down this story. We don’t, however, want to bury the lede.

Del Rio’s main message wasn’t about Norton. It applied to all in Silver and Black. This season has not met lofty expectations. That is unacceptable.

“I know one thing,” Del Rio said. “Nobody should feel comfortable, because what I’ve been watching is not good enough.”

Del Rio didn’t absolve himself from blame. Norton got fired, but everyone has played a part in this disappointing 4-6 record.

“It’s always shared,” Del Rio said. “A change was made, obviously. We all share in it, all of us, starting with me. It’s coaches and players. It’s a team game, and we’re all in it together. And nobody is coming to help us.”

The Raiders must look inward to start a prolonged winning streak they’ve shown little evidence they can create.

The seat will be warm under players and coaches alike, even if only one change was made. Expect further shakeup on the coaching staff after the season, if vast improvements don’t come down the stretch, possibly with several position coaches being shown the door. More than a few higher profile players could be cut or allowed to leave, especially on defense.

While Del Rio has taken more heat the past month than at any other time in his Raiders tenure, expect him to be around a longer term. He was given a contract extension in February, and has significant capitol built after changing the culture in Oakland and re-teaching this team how to win. One bad year, even if this season continues heading downhill, shouldn’t erase that.

Del Rio was looking to shake things up, and Norton was the obvious move. Experienced play caller John Pagano was on staff – he was Chargers defensive coordinator from 2012-2016 – and firing the popular Pagano’s style could create some new waves and looks that any offensive Norton would make an impact in the locker room and prove this story’s opening quote, that no one should feel comfortable.

Del Rio hopes firing Norton will be a shock to the defense’s system.

“I really felt like I needed to shake things up,” Del Rio said. “We couldn’t continue doing what we’ve been doing to this point. So I made the call. The whole idea is to change what we’re doing and make sure…what I’m looking for at the end of the day is for us to play fast on defense. We weren’t playing fast enough. We weren’t playing confident enough.”

49ers claim outside linebacker off waivers from Patriots


49ers claim outside linebacker off waivers from Patriots

The 49ers on Wednesday were assigned outside linebacker Cassius Marsh off waivers from the New England Patriots.

The Patriots waived Marsh on Tuesday after acquiring him in September from the Seattle Seahawks in exchange for fifth- and seventh-round draft picks.

Marsh (6 foot 4, 245 pounds) appeared in 46 games in his four NFL seasons. Three of his four career sacks came in 2016 while with the Seahawks. He was Seattle's fourth-round pick in 2014.

Marsh is the second defensive player the 49ers have claimed off waivers this week. The club acquired former Jacksonville Jaguars defensive lineman Sheldon Day on Monday. The 49ers released defensive linemen Tony McDaniel and Datone Jones within the past week.

The 49ers are at their roster maximum of 53 players. The club will have to clear a roster spot if Tank Carradine, as expected, is activated off injured reserve in order to play Sunday against the Seattle Seahawks at Levi’s Stadium.