Resurgent McCarthy gets the ball against Tigers


Resurgent McCarthy gets the ball against Tigers

April 15, 2011
DETROIT (6-7) vs.
A's (6-7)

Coverage begins at 6:30 P.M. on Comcast SportsNet California

OAKLAND (AP) -- A three-game winning streak spurred by solid pitching has the Detroit Tigers in position to reach .500 for the first time this year.

They're hoping Rick Porcello can avoid another rough outing to get them there.

The right-hander tries again for his first win of 2011 as the Tigers attempt to beat the Oakland Athletics for a fourth consecutive time Friday night.

Detroit (6-7) is on its longest winning streak of the season after dropping seven of its first 10.

The Tigers, who went 81-81 last season, are benefiting from some superb efforts on the mound. Over the last three games, the staff has compiled a 2.00 ERA to overcome an offense that's had a .231 batting average and scored 11 runs.

They needed another terrific outing Thursday, as Phil Coke and two relievers combined for a three-hitter in a 3-0 win at Oakland (6-7) in the opener of a four-game set.

REWIND: Raburn's double dooms A's in loss to Tigers

Porcello (0-2, 9.00 ERA) will try to keep the run going, but will also need to overcome his own issues as he continues to struggle living up to the lofty expectations after being Detroit's first-round pick in 2007.

The right-hander was 14-9 as a rookie two years ago, but slumped to 10-12 in 2010. He was 1-2 with a 7.91 ERA through his first four starts last year, and 2011 is proving to be worse.

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Porcello has turned in identical lines through two games, allowing five runs and nine hits in five innings of defeats to Baltimore and Kansas City. The 9-5 loss to the Royals on Sunday saw him labor through 97 pitches, issue three walks and an commit an error on a wild pickoff throw to first.

"As the game went on, I didn't do a good job of mixing my pitches," Porcello said. "I got into a pattern, and they got all over that and started waiting on my sinker."

He's lost his last three starts versus the A's with a 6.75 ERA. Porcello didn't pitch in Oakland last season, and is 0-2 with a 9.31 ERA there.

NEWS: Spotlight on Detroit

Some production from slumping Miguel Cabrera and Victor Martinez could help Porcello end his woes.

Cabrera hasn't managed a hit in seven at-bats over the last two games after batting .385 with four homers and 10 RBIs over the previous 11.

Martinez's slump has been going on for six games as he's 2 for 21 with one RBI. However, he owns a .329 average in 20 games at Oakland and is 6 for 14 with four doubles and a homer off Brandon McCarthy, the A's scheduled starter.

McCarthy (1-0, 3.52) has been impressive through two starts after missing all of last season with shoulder problems. The right-hander turned in another strong performance Sunday, yielding two runs and nine hits in 7 1-3 innings of a 5-3 win at Minnesota.

REWIND: McCarthy strong, Matsui goes yard in A's win

"Any time I go out there, (command) has got to be one of my strong points," McCarthy told the team's official website. "I have to be able to hit my spots and move the ball around. I did a pretty good job of that (Sunday) and was able to stay consistent."

McCarthy is 1-3 with a 4.83 ERA in 12 games - five starts - against the Tigers. He last faced them on May 19, 2009 while with Texas, and allowed four runs in seven innings of a 4-0 loss.

Mark Ellis is batting .217 following his 0-for-3 performance Thursday after totaling three hits in the previous two games. He's 4 for 8 with two homers off Porcello.

The road team has won five of the last six games played between these two teams. ... The Tigers have won back-to-back games for the first time this season, with both victories coming via walkoff hits. ... Since the beginning of the 2009 season, Miguel Cabrera is hitting an MLB-best .390 (101259) against AL West pitching (minimum 40 AB). ... Gio Gonzalez has allowed less than two runs in 13 of his last 21 starts (zero runs in seven of those 21 starts). ... Hideki Matsui, who went deep against the White Sox yesterday, has hit just one home run over his last 35 games against the Tigers (including the postseason). ... Since the beginning of the 2009 season, Coco Crisp has been successful on 50 of his 55 stolen base attempts. Over that span, Crisp's 90.9 stolen base percentage is tops in the majors (minimum 40 attempts).

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.”

D'Antoni claps back at Draymond, Warriors after Rockets' 122-121 win

D'Antoni claps back at Draymond, Warriors after Rockets' 122-121 win

Draymond Green usually gets the last word.

Not this time.

"Somebody said we don't take it seriously on defense. Well obviously they don't take it seriously either," Rockets head coach Mike D'Antoni said after the Rockets knocked off the Warriors 122-121 on Tuesday night., according to Santa Rosa Press Democrat's Phil Barber.

The jab stems from Green's comments after practice on Monday.

"You should believe that. I'm turning over a new leaf. Number 1 -- they want it to be a shootout, which is fine. But we're gonna play some defense. We score pretty well, but we're a damn good defensive team, too. So we're gonna play some defense.

"I don't know how serious they take defense with that comment, but I know they added some good defensive players," Green told reporters Monday.

Green won't get his next shot at D'Antoni and the Rockets until January 4 in Houston.