NCAA

Rock bottom? Cubs shut out Giants 7-0

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Rock bottom? Cubs shut out Giants 7-0

Aug 29, 2011BOX SCORE GIANTS VIDEOMLB PAGE MLB SCOREBOARD
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) -- Tim Lincecum reached a new low this season and so did the San Francisco Giants' offense.At this rate, the defending World Series champions are going to need an incredible September to avoid missing the postseason altogether.Not even the memories of last fall's memorable title run are enough to get this team going now."At this time last year we were in a similar spot but we were gaining ground, not going backward," said Lincecum, who gave up three home runs and allowed five runs in a 7-0 loss to the Chicago Cubs on Monday night. "Right now it's obviously frustrating for everybody. It's one of those situations where it's hard to keep your head up when things aren't really going our way."
RELATED: Giants Insider gallery: Giants fall five games back
The loss dropped the Giants five games behind first-place Arizona in the NL West with 27 games to play. At the same point a year ago, they were three games out of the division lead before going 18-8 in September.Manager Bruce Bochy has tried everything to shake his team out of the slump. On Friday he held a meeting with San Francisco's pitching staff and told them not to worry about the lack of run support.After the Giants managed only two hits against Cubs starter Randy Wells, Bochy might want to try again."It's hard to figure what's going on," said Bochy, who met with general manager Brian Sabean in his office after speaking with reporters following the game. "We've tried different things, lineups, yelling, meeting, but it's a tough rut, there's no getting around it."San Francisco managed only a two-out double by Andres Torres in the third and Mike Fontenot's pinch-hit single with one out in the eighth.Beyond that, the Giants managed only a walk against Wells."Right now nothing is really going our way," said Carlos Beltran, who went 0 for 4 with two strikeouts. "We come to the ballpark every day trying to make things happen, and nothing's happened. It just hasn't happened."
URBAN: The Giants just aren't very good
That continues to be a big problem for the Giants, who went into August with a two-game lead in the division. Now San Francisco needs a strong finish to avoid missing out on the postseason altogether.Lincecum, a two-time NL Cy Young Award winner, had allowed only five runs over his previous five starts. He pitched out of jams in the first and sixth but gave up solo home runs to Alfonso Soriano and Geovany Soto before Blake DeWitt's three-run blast in the seventh.It's the first time in his career that Lincecum (12-11) has allowed three home runs in one game."My purpose is to go out there and pitch and give my team a chance to win, whether it's giving up one run or two runs or zero runs. That's my job and I didn't do that tonight," said Lincecum, whose 11 losses are a career-high. "I made three poorly executed pitches when it counted and they hit them out of the park. Just three really (bad) pitches."Wells (6-4) pitched a two-hitter for his first career complete game while the Cubs backed him with four home runs to snap a four-game losing streak.Carlos Pena accounted for the fourth homer, a solo shot off reliever Steve Edlefsen in the seventh.It was the third time this season Chicago has had four or more home runs in one game. The Cubs have 38 home runs in August, most in the National League."To do that kind of damage against Lincecum was a huge plus," Chicago manager Mike Quade said. "When it was 1-0, you think it might just end up that way. The offense was fantastic."The way Wells has been pitching it didn't matter what Lincecum did.Wells faced only four batters over the minimum and only allowed two runners to reach second base. He matched his season-high of seven strikeouts and walked one while winning his third consecutive start on the road. The right-hander, who hasn't lost since July 28, improved to 2-1 in four career starts against the Giants.Soriano's home run was his 23rd of the season, one shy of tying Pena and Aramis Ramirez for the team lead.Soto's homer, leading off the seventh, snapped an 0-for-25 streak by the Cubs' catcher.Lincecum finished with four walks and four strikeouts. He needs seven more to reach 200 for the fourth consecutive season.Notes: One day after Bochy hinted LHP Jonathan Sanchez (left ankle sprain) might be done for the year, Sanchez acknowledged his recovery hasn't gone as quickly as he hoped but said he's hopeful of pitching again this season. ... LHP Barry Zito is scheduled to throw another bullpen session on Wednesday and could begin a rehab assignment soon. ... RHP Matt Garza (6-10) starts for the Cubs on Tuesday and will make his first career appearance against the Giants. Garza has only two wins and a 5.07 ERA on the road this season. ... Former San Francisco mayor and current California Sen. Dianne Feinstein was among those in attendance.

Limping Love leads Stanford to Big Game win over Cal

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AP

Limping Love leads Stanford to Big Game win over Cal

BOX SCORE

PALO ALTO — Bryce Love rushed for 101 yards and a touchdown despite missing most of the fourth quarter after aggravating an ankle injury, and No. 20 Stanford held off California 17-14 on Saturday to keep its Pac-12 title hopes alive.

K.J. Costello completed 17 of 26 passes for 185 yards and a touchdown, Ben Edwards made a key interception in the fourth quarter and Cameron Scarlett rushed for 49 yards on the final drive in place of Love to help the Cardinal (8-3, 7-2 Pac-12) milk the clock and win its eighth straight Big Game.

Stanford can earn a spot in the Pac-12 championship game against USC but needs some help.

The Cardinal can get there if No. 15 Washington State loses to No. 16 Washington next week. If the Cougars — who beat Stanford 24-21 on Nov. 4 — beat the Huskies, they get the nod because of the tiebreaker.

The nation's leading rusher going into the game, Love was held in check most of the game by Cal's defense and sat out the final 11:43 after re-injuring his ankle that has bothered him for the past month. He did stay on the field long enough to score a 57-yard touchdown — his 11th run of 50 yards or longer this season.

Scarlett, Love's primary backup all season, also came up big for Stanford. Scarlett rushed for 61 yards, the majority coming on the Cardinal's last drive that took the final 7:25. Scarlett's 2-yard gain on 4th-and-1 kept the drive going.

Patrick Laird ran for 153 yards and a touchdown on 20 carries while Ross Bowers passed for 182 yards and a touchdown for California. The Golden Bears (5-6, 2-6) need a win in their final game to become bowl eligible in coach Justin Wilcox's first season.

THE TAKEAWAY

California: The Bears made the Cardinal sweat and kept the game a lot closer than many thought possible. Wilcox's defense did a good job bottling up Love most of the game but couldn't stop Scarlett on the final drive which was huge. Still, there are plenty of positives for Cal to take out of this one.

Stanford: It wasn't the best game for David Shaw's team but the Cardinal gritted it out and held off a pesky Cal team that had plenty to play for. The conference title can still happen but before that Stanford has a pretty big game coming up against Notre Dame.

UP NEXT

California: Ends the regular season at UCLA on Saturday.

Stanford: The Cardinal stay home and will host No. 9 Notre Dame on Saturday. Stanford has won the last two and six of last eight against the Irish.

Raiders counting heavily on lightning rod CB against Patriots

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AP

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.”