Pablo homers again, but D'Backs rally past Giants


Pablo homers again, but D'Backs rally past Giants


SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. (AP) Addition by subtraction certainly seems to be the case for Pablo Sandoval.After losing 38 pounds in the offseason, to a svelte 240, Sandoval already has two home runs this spring, the latest a booming solo shot in San Francisco's 4-3 loss to the Arizona Diamondbacks on a chilly Sunday afternoon."He's on a mission to get back to his form of a couple of years ago," Giants manager Bruce Bochy said. "I like the way he's shown up in camp. He's just got a great look about him. I knew with him not playing winter ball he'd probably need some extra at bats, but I didn't think he'd be swinging it this well this early."Sandoval hit an 0-2 pitch from Arizona's Daniel Hudson far beyond the right-field fence, the ball nearly clearing the grassy slope that serves as a picnic area. Like his two-run homer against the Los Angeles Dodgers on Saturday, it came from the left side of the plate for the big switch hitter.Matt Cain, in his spring debut, allowed three hits in two scoreless innings for the Giants. Ryan Vogelsong walked two and struck out two in two scoreless innings that followed Cain.Arizona scored all four in the fourth on Konrad Schmidt's leadoff homer, a two-run single by Juan Miranda and an RBI single by Tony Abreu."Tony Abreu had a really good at bat," Diamondbacks manager Kirk Gibson said. "He's been a little jump at his previous games. You look at the first pitch. It's away and he took it. That's the kind of ball you get yourself out on. Then he got in to the count and stayed on the ball."It was the second late-inning outburst in a row for Arizona. The Diamondbacks scored five in the ninth to force extra innings against Colorado before the Rockies won 8-7 in 10."We started out like, 0 for 6 with runners in scoring position, but finished very nicely," Gibson said.Paul Goldschmidt, who played last season at Class A Visalia, had a double in Sunday's rally after hitting a three-run homer in Saturday's comeback.Arizona's Ian Kennedy allowed two runs in the second inning. Cody Ross led off with a double, then Pat Burrell walked. After Sandoval struck out, Ryan Rollinger and Emannuel Burriss each singled in a run.Snow dusted the nearby hilltops with a 50-degree temperature at first pitch. Although the temperature never reached the mid 50s, a crowd 10,342. Saturday's inaugural game at Salt River Fields drew a capacity 12,514.

Raiders counting heavily on lightning rod CB against Patriots


Raiders counting heavily on lightning rod CB against Patriots

MEXICO CITY – The Raiders cornerback David Amerson didn’t practice all week, but ran just well enough to be considered “doubtful” for Sunday’s game against New England.

Translation: Outlook for Sunday is not good, but Jack Del Rio’s fingers remained crossed real, real tight. The Raiders hope there’s a way he can be active against Tom Brady’s buzz saw attack, because their cover men are beat up.

Amerson has missed two straight with a foot injury, and has dealt with injury all year. Gareon Conley’s season officially ended Monday, when he was placed on season-ending injured reserve. Antonio Hamilton and Demetrius McCray were already there.

Reggie McKenzie hasn’t reached out for reinforcements. That leaves TJ Carrie, Dexter McDonald and Sean Smith to play cornerback. Carrie’s been the rock, a sure tackler who hasn’t made spectacular plays but doesn’t give them up. McDonald has been forced into action, with holes let in his game.

Smith should be the No. 1 guy in this group, the steadying presence on the outside. That hasn’t been the case this year, where he lost a starting job in training camp and sub-package snaps during the season, only to have injuries to Conley and Amerson bring him in the fray.

He’s also been dealing with felony assault and battery charges in Los Angeles stemming from a July 4 incident in Pasadena.

Smith has been a lightning rod for fan criticism, a byproduct of his $9.5 million salary this year and explosive plays allowed early in the year.

If there’s an anvil weighing on his mind, teammates insist you’d never know.

“We’re human at the end of the day,” Amerson said. “You feel it, but you have to find a way to remain even keel and professional and do your job well.”

Smith will be counted on heavily Sunday against New England, especially if Amerson can’t play as expected. He has proven vulnerable to speed without help and proper disruption at the line of scrimmage, though that hasn’t been an issue lately because the Utah alum has recovered well after a rough start.

He got pulled after struggling against Vernon Davis in Washington. He didn’t play against the Chargers after giving up two huge plays to Baltimore the week before.

Amerson originally sprained his foot in Week 7 against Kansas City – he hasn’t played since – and Smith was called upon to respond. He wasn’t targeted in that game, and has been strong in coverage ever since.

Smith has allowed three catches for 12 yards in four targets over the last two games. The ninth-year veteran insists he wasn’t doing anything markedly different, and had zero interest in patting himself on the back for recent jobs well done.

“I’m not,” Smith said. “I’m out there doing my job, man, the best way I can.”

Smith says the off-field distractions during a roller-coaster season, one of his career’s most trying yet, haven’t impacted him much

“Nope. Not at all,” Smith said. “As long as I wake up a Raider, I’m all right. I’ll deal with whatever happens. I’ll always be there for my guys, and I’ll do whatever it takes to help our team win.”

Raiders defensive backs laud Smith’s locker room presence, saying he’s an excellent teammate. Cornerbacks in general must have a short memory when things go bad, to refocus and prevent that from happening again. Smith apparently has that in spades.

“I know how things go, especially when you have a target on your back,” Amerson said. “Sometimes you get hit with the perfect pass and you give up some plays. You can’t do anything about that but take advantage of the next opportunity. Sean’s a good player, and he definitely has that mindset.”

Smith will lend experience to this big game, something the Raiders need after suffering so many injuries.

"It sucks that so many of us have gone down,” Smith said. "You want to have all your guys out there, but that’s the NFL. Injuries happen. As long as everybody comes to work and acts like a pro, we’ll be all right. We all have a job to do. We all would like to start, but you have to be ready when your number’s called.”

Kevin Durant takes shot at Zaza Pachulia while center's kid play one-on-one


Kevin Durant takes shot at Zaza Pachulia while center's kid play one-on-one

Kevin Durant doesn't take it easy on anyone. Not even the children of teammate Zaza Pachulia.

After practice on Saturday in Philadelphia, Pachulia's two sons, Davit and Saba, were playing one-on-one at the facility the Warriors were using. Kevin Durant filmed one sequence and posted it to his Instagram Story.

One of Pachulia's sons grabbed the ball and drives around the other without dribbling. As he makes the shot, Durant offers his commentary and took a shot at the Warriors starting center.

"That's a travel. Such a travel. Same thing your pops do," Durant said, taking a shot at Pachulia.

Durant also had another message for Pachulia written on the video.

"Yo, @zazapachulia at some you have to teach the boys how to play off the bounce," Durant wrote.