Raiders

Lincecum wild as Giants fall to Braves 5-2

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Lincecum wild as Giants fall to Braves 5-2

April 23, 2011BOX SCORE GIANTS VIDEOMLB PAGE MLB SCOREBOARD
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) Tim Hudson understood why he had to come out with the ninth inning so close to over, a single out the only thing keeping him from a complete game.Still, that didn't make it any easier to actually leave.Hudson outdueled Tim Lincecum and nearly pitched his first complete game this year, leadoff man Martin Prado drove in Atlanta's first three runs and the Braves beat the San Francisco Giants 5-2 on Saturday to secure just their third series win of the season.
REWIND: Hanson handcuffs Giants, Braves win opener 4-1
"It's pretty disappointing. Obviously to go out and get two outs in the ninth, you want to finish it," Hudson said. "My pitch count got up there and I was laboring a little bit. But I'm not a guy who takes a lot of pride in complete games."Hudson (3-2) followed up Tommy Hanson's strong outing a night earlier with his own impressive performance in a matchup of two undersized, hard-throwing righties who share a first name.Hudson allowed nine hits, struck out four and didn't walk a batter in an efficient, 112-pitch outing. Manager Fredi Gonzalez left Hudson in to start the ninth but he gave up Pat Burrell's leadoff double and a sacrifice fly to Miguel Tejada.Lincecum (2-2) was tagged for five runs and six hits in 6 1-3 innings after he carried a no-hit bid into the eighth inning Monday at Colorado. The two-time NL Cy Young Award winner also walked a career-high six and struck out six, while allowing his most earned runs since also giving up five last Aug. 15 during a career-worst, five-start losing streak.RELATED: MLB standings
Brian McCann added a two-run single in the seventh off Javier Lopez to end an 0-for-10 drought and further back Hudson. This outing was reminiscent of the pitcher's dominant days across San Francisco Bay as a member of Oakland's "Big Three" - with Hudson still hitting 91 mph on the radar gun even at the end."It's a lot of fun to come out and pitch in front of a packed crowd, against the defending champs and one of the best pitchers going right now," Hudson said. "It'll be nice to come in tomorrow and go for the sweep."Atlanta's No. 3 starter had made it only six innings in his previous two outings. This time, he worked ahead and calmly got out of trouble when the Giants created chances.While his only clean innings came in the first and sixth, he was helped by two double plays. Hudson had only thrown 72 pitches through six, 23 fewer than Lincecum."He's probably a little mad at me I took him out. We gave him an opportunity," Gonzalez said. "Huddy was outstanding."Craig Kimbrel retired pinch-hitter Buster Posey on a flyball to center for the final out for his sixth save in seven chances and second in as many games.The reigning World Series champion Giants lost their third in a row and had their streak of four straight winning series snapped. Lincecum was handed only his third loss in nine career starts against Atlanta.
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"You can't accept pretty good results when you walk six guys," Lincecum said. "It's almost like a guy's on every inning. Obviously you're not helping yourself or your team with a back-against-the-wall kind of situation. Today was one of those situations where I did it to myself."Lincecum's day began with back-to-back walks to Prado and No. 2 hitter Jason Heyward and still escaped the first facing the minimum. Prado was caught stealing, then Freddie Freeman grounded into a double play after Heyward reached.Lincecum received a mound visit from pitching coach Dave Righetti after a one-out single to Nate McLouth and a walk to Hudson in the third. Prado then singled in Atlanta's first run to tie the game. McLouth scored that run and then again on Prado's go-ahead single in the fifth. Prado reached on a fielder's choice in the seventh for another RBI.Gonzalez rested Chipper Jones as planned, but Jones also was nursing a sore right knee that wasn't considered serious. McCann is likely to sit out Sunday's series finale, with Jones back in the lineup for his 39th birthday. Gonzalez doesn't want both stars on the bench the same days if possible. Cody Ross had his first hit and drove in his first run of the season after being activated from the disabled list earlier in the week.
VIDEO: Amy G's Giants Xclusive -- Cody Ross
Burrell hit a one-out double in the second and easily beat a close play at the plate to score on Ross' ensuing single. After that inning, Hudson allowed only three more baserunners to reach second.Giants Sunday starter Jonathan Sanchez was fighting a flu bug that required him to receive an IV for dehydration, but manager Bruce Bochy expected the left-hander to make his start.NOTES: Hudson improved to 2-2 in six regular-season starts at AT&T Park. ... Lincecum singled leading off the fifth for his first hit of the year after an 0-for-10 start. ... Freeman singled in the ninth to reach base safely for the 15th time in 16 games. ... Neither injured Giants CF Andres Torres (strained left Achilles' tendon) nor RHP reliever Santiago Casilla (inflamed pitching elbow) will make the team's upcoming 10-game East Coast road trip. Instead, they will travel to Arizona to rehabilitate and perhaps get into some extended spring training games. ... San Francisco drew 42,395 fans for its eighth sellout in as many home games this year.

Downing: Raiders offense off track, answers exist ‘in our scheme’

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Downing: Raiders offense off track, answers exist ‘in our scheme’

ALAMEDA – Todd Downing has friends with fantasy football teams. Those faux general managers, like many across the roto world, took Raiders with high draft picks.

They would like to know why Derek Carr isn’t throwing touchdowns in bulk, Amari Cooper’s in a slump and Marshawn Lynch isn’t getting more carries.

“I have friends that have him on their fantasy team that are mad at me for that,” Downing said after Wednesday’s practice. “That’s part of the business.”

Ah, the life of an NFL coordinator. Players get credit when things go right. Play callers sit over a Bunsen burner the rest of the time.

Downing understands that part of this gig.

“I welcome the responsibility that this job has afforded me,” he said. “I understand that I’m going to have to deal with negative comments and consequences when things aren’t going well. I’m looking forward to standing up here in a more positive fashion some time soon.”

Positives were expected right away. He was given the keys to a Lamborghini, with a franchise quarterback under center, 1,000-receivers on each flank and an older back considered among the best of his generation and the NFL’s biggest and most expensive offensive line.

The Raiders ranked No. 6 in total offense before adding Lynch, tight end Jared Cook and receiver Cordarrelle Patterson in free agency. Now they’re 30th heading into Thursday night’s game against Kansas City.

The mob is lighting torches, armed with pitchforks. After six weeks.

Everyone has an opinion on what’s wrong and how to fix this offense. More interior runs, less outside zone. More play action, please. Go deep, a lot. Have Derek hold on to the ball longer. Have Derek get rid of it quick. Do all that at once. Do it now.

Downing’s going to stick with his system. The Raiders will stick with their process, thank you very much, with faith that things will turn.

“When you look at the tape, you can see that we’re so close on so many things,” Downing said. “I know that sounds cliché and I know that sounds like someone sitting up here and trying to give you the rose-colored glasses, but it’s the truth. We know that we’re just this close to making a couple more plays each game and being able to come out on top and feeling like we put together a good product.

“…We’re looking for answers right now, but we know those answers exist in our room and in our scheme. Once we hit our stride, we’re excited to see what it looks like.”

There’s reason to believe that can happen. Take the season’s first two games, for example. The Raiders scored 71 points in that span. There’s talent everywhere in the starting lineup and behind it.

That’s why concern reigns during a four-game losing streak where the offense is averaging 13.1 points. They can’t sustain drives, come through on third down or block consistently in the run game. Their play count is dismally low. According to the Associated Press, the Raiders aver averaging 54 plays per game. Every other team has at least 60. The 2005 49ers were the last team that averaged such a sum. The Raiders haven’t had a 300-yard passer, a 100-yard rusher or a 100-yard receiver.

Offense is blamed for a dismal 2-4 start. Even the universally beloved Carr has taken some heat for lackluster performances.

“I don’t think there’s a single guy that can look back over the last few weeks and say, ‘You know what, I’m really pleased with how I’ve played over the last three weeks,’ or, ‘Called the last three weeks’ or, ‘Coached my position the last three weeks.’ We all own this together,” Downing said. “There’s no one guy that is going to save it or break it or anything in between. We need to do this as a team and everybody needs to make the plays they’re afforded the opportunity to make and I need to call the right plays when afforded the opportunity to call them.”

The Raiders can and must do better before falling further. Righting the ship too late to reach the season’s goals might hurt as much as a completely dismal campaign.

Pressing, however, isn’t the answer.

“You do have to stay patient,” Downing said. “I tell the offense this every week, but it’s never been more true than where we’re at now as an offense. We have a belief in what we’ve done this far, and the system we’ve put in place, and the playmakers we have in that room, and the coaches that are up in the room with me, and you will never see me waiver in my belief of any single one of those guys, including myself. If I did, and I started acting different or started calling games differently, then that would mean I didn’t really believe in the first place.”

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.”