Sharks

Marcum bests Cain as Brewers beat Giants 4-2

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Marcum bests Cain as Brewers beat Giants 4-2

July 22, 2011BOX SCORE GIANTS VIDEOMLB PAGE MLB SCOREBOARD
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) Nyjer Morgan pointed his finger at the crowd, crossed his arms and taunted a sea of Giants fans he was once among many times.Even wins don't come quietly for the Milwaukee Brewers anymore.Jonathan Lucroy and Yuniesky Betancourt drove in two runs each, Morgan stole the spotlight after a spectacular catch and the Brewers held on to beat the San Francisco Giants 4-2 on Friday night."I put the overhand out there because I heard someone say I flipped them off," said Morgan, a San Francisco native whose alter-ego "Tony Plush" has been known to provide such antics. "I love it. Love it."Shaun Marcum (9-3) pitched seven solid innings to push the Brewers back into first place in the crowded NL Central standings. Pittsburgh and St. Louis are one game back.
URBAN: Did Brewers' Morgan cross the line?
Lucroy's two-run single highlighted a three-run second inning off Matt Cain (8-6) that gave the Brewers a big lift with All-Star Ryan Braun getting the night off to rest his strained left calf.Francisco Rodriguez pitched a perfect eighth and John Axford held the Giants scoreless in the ninth for his 27th save.All of that, of course, became an afterthought late.Morgan spiced things up after making a catch against the wall in left-center field that robbed Nate Scheirholtz of extra bases in the seventh. Morgan exchanged words with fans in the bleachers, pointed at some and crossed his hands in a taunting gesture.That only riled up the fans at AT&T Park more, in the bleachers and beyond. Morgan continued bobbing his head and pointing at the crowd, and he was booed relentlessly by fans walking into the dugout after the final out.Brewers manager Ron Roenicke loved the energy but admitted he would prefer Morgan to tone down his antics, especially after home plate umpire Joe West requested the same between innings. Not that any of the warnings slowed Morgan, who pointed to the crowd again after the final out."Hey, this guy's been awesome for us," Roenicke said. "So we'll keep him happy."Not that any of the antics did much to spark San Francisco.Aaron Rowand's solo home run in the sixth and Pablo Sandoval's RBI groundout in the first were all the Giants could squeeze out of Marcum. The right-hander allowed four hits and two runs, striking out five and walking none.
Giants Insider gallery: Brewers beat CainMarcum settled down and retired 11 straight hitters after Andres Torres' leadoff double in the first. Not until Aubrey Huff's two-out single in the fourth did a Giant reach base, and by then Milwaukee was well in control.The Brewers scored three runs in the second capped by Lucroy's two-run single. Left fielder Cody Ross' throw home on the play beat Betancourt, but catcher Eli Whiteside was playing behind the plate and couldn't corral the ball, allowing Milwaukee to go ahead 3-1.Betancourt drove in his second run with a two-out single in the sixth that sneaked between the infielders and into left, scoring Rickie Weeks from third to give the Brewers a 4-1 lead."I didn't make my pitches when I needed and it cost us," Cain said. "They can hit the ball and they can run. They run the bases aggressively."That was more than enough for a short-handed Milwaukee team.Braun was given the day off as part of a plan to ease his return from a strained left calf that forced him to sit out more than a week before the All-Star game, which he also missed. He had started the last two games in Arizona and the team arrived late in San Francisco, so Roenicke figured it would be an ideal time to rest his slugger. Mark Kotsay was 0 for 4 in Braun's place.Rowand tried to bring the Giants back with a pinch-hit home run in the sixth. The solo shot was Rowand's fourth career pinch-hit homer and second this season, trimming Milwaukee's lead to 4-2.NOTES: Brewers backup OF Carlos Gomez will have surgery Monday to repair his broken left collar bone, Roenicke said. The team is hopeful Gomez will return this season. ... Brewers RHP Brandon Kintzler is scheduled to have a screw inserted in his forearm to help a stress fracture heal. His chances of returning this season are less likely. ... Giants C Buster Posey had the screws removed from his surgically repaired left ankle, manager Bruce Bochy said. Posey is out for the season after tearing three ligaments in his ankle and fracturing a bone in his lower leg in a home-plate collision with Florida's Scott Cousins on May 25. ... The Giants' 48th straight sellout this season pushed the total to 2,005,900.

Bad offense, not bad officiating, is main culprit for Sharks' skid

Bad offense, not bad officiating, is main culprit for Sharks' skid

For just the second time this season, the San Jose Sharks have lost consecutive games.

It’s the first time since the club opened the season 0-2, and were outscored 9-4. San Jose played much better in Thursday’s loss to Florida and Saturday’s defeat at the hands of Boston than they did to start the campaign, but have now been on the wrong side of four goal reviews.

The Sharks have lost each of the last two games by two goals, so there’s an understandable temptation to chalk these losses up to questionable officiating. Yet even if you disregard the notion that the officials got each call right (which they did), it’s one that must be resisted.

Their actual lack of offense, not a perceived lack of good officiating, is the main culprit behind the losing streak.

Timo Meier’s goal on Saturday stands as San Jose’s lone tally on this three-game homestand. It’s not for a lack of trying: The Sharks pumped 72 shots on net in the last two games, but could not solve Roberto Luongo or Anton Khudobin.

You can blame the officiating in San Jose’s last two losses all you want, but a good offensive team would have converted subsequent chances to make up for the goals taken off the board. The Sharks have not been a good offensive team this season, and could not make up for it.

San Jose’s inability to finish chances has been their main weakness all season, but they were still able to win games thanks to their defense and goaltending. The latter’s lapsed at times over the last two games, and the former let them down on Saturday when Aaron Dell allowed three goals on only 20 shots.

But that, as well as the discussion around the recent officiating, only serves to mask the Sharks’ real issue. San Jose just simply cannot score.

They’ve only scored on 7.41 percent of their shots this season, according to Natural Stat Trick, which is the third-worst rate in the league. There’s too much talent on the roster to expect that to continue all season, but the Sharks faltered offensively down the stretch last season, too.

Plus, they’re relying significantly on players on the wrong side of 30. Brent Burns, 32, hasn’t scored a goal, and Joe Pavelski, 33, is on pace to score fewer than 20 goals.

He hasn’t failed to reach that mark in a decade. At some point, it must be asked: are the Sharks just unlucky, or is age catching up to their star players?

The answer is probably a bit of both. How much of a role either factor has played is up for debate, but that either has led to San Jose’s failure to score goals is not.

Poor officiating is easier to diagnose than a poor offense, but it’s the latter, not the former, that’s responsible for the Sharks’ most recent skid.

Gameday: How the well-rested Nets will test the Durant-less Warriors

Gameday: How the well-rested Nets will test the Durant-less Warriors

Roughly 20 hours after winning in Philadelphia, the Warriors on Sunday take their act to Barclays Center in Brooklyn, where they’ll be without Kevin Durant as they try to sweep a back-to-back set for the first time this season.

Coverage on NBC Sports Bay Area begins at 2pm, with tipoff scheduled for 3:05pm.

It’s the third back-to-back set of the season for the Warriors (12-4), who have split the first two. This one follows a stirring comeback victory over the 76ers on Saturday and it comes against a Nets team sure to test their endurance.

That test is automatically tougher with Durant, who scored scored 27 points against Philly but will be sidelined Sunday with an ankle sprain.

Brooklyn (6-9) is playing without two guards who figured prominently in their plans, as both Jeremy Lin and D’Angelo Russell are out with injuries.

BETTING LINE:
Warriors by 11

MATCHUP TO WATCH:
Stephen Curry vs. Spencer Dinwiddie. Curry broke out his mini-slump in the third quarter Saturday in Philly, scoring 20 points on 6-of-7 shooting, including 4-of-4 from deep. He’ll see plenty of Dinwiddie, whose wingspan approaches 6-9. Starting in place of the injured D’Angelo Russell, Dinwiddie has become a solid catalyst for Brooklyn’s fast-paced offense. His 5.57-1 assist-to-turnover ratio leads all NBA point guards. If he plays exceptionally well, the Nets may have a legitimate chance.

INJURY REPORT:
Warriors: F Kevin Durant (L ankle sprain) is listed as out. C Damian Jones is on assignment with the G-League Santa Cruz Warriors.

Nets: G Jeremy Lin (ruptured patellar tendon) and G D’Angelo Russell (L knee surgery) are listed as out.

GAME OFFICIALS:
Kane Fitzgerald (crew chief), Ben Taylor and Scott Wall.

LAST 10:
Warriors: 8-2, Nets: 3-7.

SERIES HISTORY:
The Warriors swept two games against Brooklyn in each of the last two seasons and have won 14 of the last 19 overall.

THREE THINGS TO WATCH:
THE GAS TANK: After expending a lot of energy in wiping out a 24-point second-half deficit against the 76ers, the Warriors now confront the NBA’s most hyperactive team. Brooklyn leads the league in pace for the second consecutive season under coach Kenny Atkinson. The Nets are rested and they want to run. With the Warriors shorthanded and coming off a game on the previous night, Brooklyn will push at every opportunity.

TRUST THE D: The Nets rank second in field-goal attempts but 25th in field-goal percentage and 26th in 3-point percentage. They rely on volume to stay in games, and sometimes it’s enough. The Warriors, with the exception of the first half on Saturday, have tightened their defense and now rank fifth in defensive rating. They may have to go deep into the bench, but they’re defense should hold up.

THE GLASS WAR: On sheer rebounding numbers the Warriors and Nets are about equal, thanks largely to Brooklyn ranking second behind Phoenix in both field-goal attempts and missed shots. Where the Warriors separate is in rebounding percentage, where they rank sixth and Brooklyn is 25th. If the Warriors can stay even on the glass against a team that also is comfortable playing “small,” it likely will be enough to put them over the top.