Warriors

Padres pound Zito, beat Giants 11-3

500150.jpg

Padres pound Zito, beat Giants 11-3

July 16, 2011BOX SCORE GIANTS VIDEOMLB PAGE MLB SCOREBOARD
SAN DIEGO (AP) This is one the San Diego Padres would like to bottle up and save.The normally punchless Padres erupted for 11 runs behind 3-run homers from Jesus Guzman and Orlando Hudson, and a solid seven strong innings from rookie Corey Luebke to break a season-high seven-game losing streak with an 11-3 win over the San Francisco Giants on Saturday night."When you have a losing streak, it is a little bit of weight off your shoulders," San Diego manager Bud Black said. "To do it like this, I think is a good thing because it can build confidence. The trick is to come back and win again and keep swinging the bats."The amount of runs was unusual for the offensive-challenged Padres, who have the NL's worse offense.It was the first time the Padres hit multiple homers in a game since May 13 at Colorado. The span of 56 games was the longest stretch in the majors since the 1983 Cleveland Indians went 63 games without multiple homers.The Padres, who had scored just five runs in their previous 65 innings, were 1 for 40 with runners in scoring position before Guzman's homer."The three-run homer, is a very good thing," Black said. "It was great to see. Luebke made it stand up, but the story was our offense."San Diego had hit just four three-run homers this season before Saturday night's game.The Padres, who have scored the fewest runs in the NL and has the league's lowest batting average, scored their most runs since an 11-2 win against Atlanta on June 24."Just to see Guzzy get things started like that just lifted everybody up and got the ball rolling," said Luebke.Guzman had a career-high four RBIs and connected off Barry Zito (3-2) in the first inning. Hudson hit his long ball off the lefty in the third inning to give San Diego a 7-0 lead."You never relax too much out there but it allows you to pound the zone more and try to eat up some innings," Luebke said.Luebke (3-3), who lost a 2-1 decision to Zito and the Giants last week, gave up two runs on four hits while striking out five and walking one.Since coming out of the bullpen to join the starting rotation on June 26, Luebke is 2-1 with a 1.50 ERA in four starts."We felt very comfortable putting him in the rotation" Black said.It was a reversal of fortunes for Zito, who was 3-0 with a 1.29 ERA in three starts since coming off the DL June 28 after missing more than two months with a right foot sprain.Zito, who threw a season-high eight innings in his win over San Diego last week, allowed eight runs on seven hits with four walks over 3 2-3 innings."It was difficult for me to get the ball down tonight," Zito said. "For the most part, the curveball didn't have the finish down, and the change up, either."Zito's lack of command cost him in the first inning when he issued two walks and hung a breaking ball with two outs that Guzman hit for his second homer.Guzman singled in another run in the third with two outs and Hudson followed with a three-run home run, his second of the season.The Padres, who scored just 10 runs during the seven-game losing streak, have scored in double figures only four times this season.San Francisco scored on a sacrifice fly by Cody Ross, Miguel Tejeda's fourth homer and pinch-hitter Mike Fontenot's RBI double.Notes: The Padres had not hit multiple homers in spacious Petco Park since May 4 against Pittsburgh. ... San Diego became the last team in the major leagues to reach 50 homers. Toronto's Jose Bautista leads the majors with 31 home runs. ... Padres 3B Chase Headley was out of the starting lineup after suffering a strained right calf that forced him out of Friday night's game against San Francisco in the first inning. Headley is the club's leading hitter with a .300 average. ... Because Headley is not expected to play, at the earliest, until San Diego starts a road trip Tuesday at Florida, the Padres called up 2B Logan Forsythe from Triple-A Tucson and optioned rookie C Luis Martinez to Tucson. ... Giants 2B Mark DeRosa (left wrist sprain) began a rehab assignment with Single-A San Jose and is expected to join Triple-A Fresno on Tuesday.

Golden State, do we have a problem? Another loss to Rockets awakens Warriors

Golden State, do we have a problem? Another loss to Rockets awakens Warriors

In saying goodbye to their impressive road win streak and a chance to make franchise history, the Warriors also experienced an awakening that should linger somewhere in their minds for months to come.

The new and improved Houston Rockets are a serious threat to the defending champs having a parade in downtown Oakland for the second consecutive June.

That threat likely can’t be realized, however, unless the Warriors put the worst of themselves on full display, as they did Saturday night at Toyota Center in a 116-108 loss to the Rockets.

“In the first quarter, every time we made our push, we gave up easy baskets,” Draymond Green told reporters in Houston. “In the second quarter, we put them on the line the entire quarter, which slowed down our pace and let them control the tempo of the game. In the third quarter, we fought back to kind of get there but not get over the hump. And then we finally did, but we just didn’t have the right amount of focus it takes to win a game like that.”

Indeed, the Warriors were guilty of questionable shot selection at various points. They were largely allergic to rebounding, taking a 46-33 drubbing in that category. And far too often they were impatient and therefore utterly careless with their passing, resulting in 19 turnovers that led directly to 23 Houston points.

“It seemed like we kept making one silly play after another,” coach Steve Kerr said.

Sounds familiar, eh? The Warriors know their greatest weaknesses and hear about them ad nauseam from the coaching staff, yet still struggle to consistently address them.

Stephen Curry, who committed a team-worst six turnovers, lamented two possessions in particular. On one, he missed Kevin Durant “butt-naked at the top of the key,” and on another he had Durant open for a dunk but flipped it to Klay Thompson for a 3-pointer that missed.

“I made two of the worst plays of the season on those two possessions,” Curry conceded. “It’s kind of one of those nights when I personally didn’t have the right vision on the floor I’ve got to take responsibility for that.”

This is why the Warriors deserved to lose this game, which gave the Rockets a 2-1 victory in the season series and the homecourt tiebreaker should the two teams finish with identical records.

The Warriors took a 122-121 loss to Houston at Oracle Arena on opening night, then went to Houston on Jan. 4 and claimed a 124-114 victory.

This is enough to prove the Rockets are capable of beating the Warriors. We also note that in the other loss, Warriors’ turnovers gifted 21 points to Houston.

“We know the recipe against this team,” Curry said. “They’re going to shoot a lot of 3s. They’re going to make some tough shots. But if you turn the ball over and if you foul, which we did both in the first half, then that plays right into their hands. It’s just a lack of focus on the game plan.”

That lack of focus is something that has nagged the Warriors numerous times over the course of the season.

Here’s Houston’s problem: The postseason Warriors tend to be a bit sharper than the regular season Warriors.

And the Rockets, well, remain a postseason mystery. Chris Paul, who was so magnificent Saturday night, has an inglorious postseason history, complete with multiple collapses. MVP candidate James Harden also has dubious postseason resume, with epic pratfalls against the Warriors and the Spurs.

So the events of Saturday night, and the three games in the regular season, serve as reminders that if the Warriors play smart and tough and are fully engaged, they’re still the better team. Despite the chance to set a franchise record with a 15th consecutive road victory, the Warriors were less than fully engaged.

There’s a better than even chance of them being fully engaged in the postseason, should these teams meet again.

“We always talk about hitting singles,” Kerr said. “Well, we were trying to hit home runs all night, and you can’t do that against these guys.

“On the bright side, we know we can play a lot better. And we will.”

Daniel Cormier can finally feel like a champion again

cormier-us.jpg
USATSI

Daniel Cormier can finally feel like a champion again

Daniel Cormier was awarded the UFC light heavyweight championship Saturday night at UFC 220 after his loss to Jon Jones was overturned when Jones failed a prefight drug test. Cormier said leading up to the fight that he didn’t feel like a champion. He probably feels like one now.

The San Jose-based 205-pounder defeated No. 2-ranked Volkan Oezdemir by secon-round TKO to retain the title.

“I felt as if I was fighting for a vacant title because (Jones) beat me last time,” Cormier (20-1) said in a postfight interview referring to his loss last July.

“I fought for a vacant title and I got the job done so I’m the UFC champion again.”

Cormier, who turns 40 in March, nearly won the fight a round earlier. In the final minute of the first frame, Cormier landed a right hand flush on the challenger’s face. After securing a takedown and taking Oezdemir’s back, Cormier locked in a rear naked choke but was forced to relinquish the hold when the bell rang.

Oezdemir, 28, was given a second chance, but he couldn’t capitalize. Cormier dominated the second round from the beginning. The AKA-product once again took down Oezdemir, transitioned to a crucifix, and landed a barrage of shots until the referee called the fight at the 2:00 mark.

“He was so game. I knew he was a dangerous guy. He hit hard,” Cormier said of Oezdemir (15-2). “But once I was able to get him to the ground, I knew it was my world.”

And for now, the rest of the light heavyweight division is just living in it.