Ross, Posey, Huff go yard in Giants' 3-1 win over K.C.


Ross, Posey, Huff go yard in Giants' 3-1 win over K.C.


SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. (AP) After another strong spring outing, Barry Zito appears to be ready for the start of the season.Zito pitched six efficient innings, giving up a run and two hits in six innings as the San Francisco Giants beat the Kansas City Royals 3-1 on Saturday."He threw very well. He had good command for the most part," Giants manager Bruce Bochy said. "He got into a few jams but got out of them. I'm very pleased with how he is throwing and where he is at."He was pounding the strike zone. The last two or three outings, he has thrown a lot of strikes."Zito, who walked four and struck out two, got support from solo home runs by Cody Ross, Buster Posey and Aubrey Huff.Ross hit his third homer of the spring off left-hander Bruce Chen in the second inning. Posey hit his third in the fourth, and Huff connected for his fourth in the sixth.Zito is 40-57 with a 4.45 earned-run average in 131 starts over four years since leaving the Oakland Athletics to move across San Francisco Bay to join the Giants as a free agent October of 2006. He has never quite recaptured the form that earned him the American League Cy Young Award in 2002. He started out 5-0 in 2010, but finished the season at 9-14.Earlier this month, the San Francisco Chronicle reported Zito's spot on the Giants' roster wasn't guaranteed. However, Bochy immediately denied truth to the report and Zito is 2-0 in four starts with the Giants this spring and pitched five innings in a minor-league game.Now that right-hander Matt Cain has rebounded from elbow stiffness with two solid outings, the Giants' rotation appears to be set with right-handers Tim Lincecum and Cain, and left-handers Jonathan Sanchez, Madison Bumgarner and Zito.The Giants' starters have limited opponents to two earned runs or fewer in all but one of their games, and that was the opener on Feb. 25 against Arizona.The closer's role is another story, however.San Francisco was hit by the news before the game that closer Brian Wilson will be out temporarily and possibly longer with a strained left rib cage muscle. He will be re-evaluated on Monday. Wilson, who led the National League in saves with 48 last year, also was bothered by a stiff back earlier in camp.
NEWS: Giants Wilson injured, Opening Day in question
Some of the candidates to step in in Wilson's absence pitched on Saturday - left-hander Jeremy Affeldt and right-handers Sergio Romo and Santiago Casilla.Bochy figured that people would speculate that the job would be Casilla's, "but you shouldn't read anything into that. We needed them to get their work in, and this was the only real way to do it with the way Zito was pitching. All three pitchers are expected to throw again on Sunday, when the Giants play split-squad games against Oakland and the Chicago Cubs.
URBAN: Giants can't afford to lose Wilson for long
Casilla struck out two of the three men he faced in the ninth, relying on a potent curveball."There were a couple of filthy ones," Bochy said.NOTES: Bochy said he was going to try to get Huff more time in left field before the team breaks camp. Huff started 97 games at 1B last season, 33 in RF and 24 in LF. Bochy's decision could mean the team is considering keeping rookie 1B Brandon Belt on the opening-day roster. ... 2B Freddy Sanchez increased his hitting streak to six games. ... Royals OF Melky Cabrera drove in the only run with on a ground ball in the sixth. He was hitless in three at-bats but still is hitting .488 (20 for 41).

Cowboys expose 49ers' biggest weakness in bashing: Talent


Cowboys expose 49ers' biggest weakness in bashing: Talent

If there is such a thing as being “due” in sports (and there actually isn’t, so you can probably stop reading now), the San Francisco 49ers had Sunday coming to them.
After all, the anomaly of being the “best winless team in football” based on margin of defeat lasts only so long until the “winless” part trumps the “best” part, because even the Los Angeles Chargers – the previous “best bad team in football” – aren’t the Chargers all the time.
So it was that the Dallas Cowboys exposed every weakness the 49ers have with the simplest thing there is.
The Cowboys did everything they wanted, but only whenever they wanted it, in a 40-10 dope-slapping that could actually have been worse than it was. The 49er offense was properly stymied (again), gaining only 290 yards (4.5 yards per play) and the defense was thoroughly Elliotted (as in Ezekiel-ed, who averaged 8.1 yards in his 27 touches). San Francisco’s warts were rubbed until they glowed, and if not for the fact that head coach Kyle Shanahan already knew where they were, he’d have been shocked to see how visible they were.
And therein lies the takeaway from another day at Not-So-Great-America. It turns out that the 49ers weren’t very good at much of anything before Sunday except just how far away they are from what Shanahan and general manager John Lynch believe is their destiny. C.J.  Beathard remained the rookie quarterback he is, and Carlos Hyde's hard-won 68 rushing yards led to no scores. Indeed, San Francisco's only touchdown came on a four-yard improv sprint from Beathard, who is by no means a running quarterback except in abject flight.

Next week in Philadelphia figures to be no less grisly, if you’re waiting for that magic moment when “0” becomes “1.” That is, of course, unless Washington exposes the Eagles as less than what they seem, which is very often the case in the new parity-gripped NFL.

But there are subsequent get-well games at home against Arizona and then at New York against the Giants the week after, so whatever dreams you might have about them running the table backwards and getting the first overall pick in the draft are still light years from realization.
This is, however, another healthy reminder that the job to be done is at least two more years in the undoing before the doing can actually begin. Not that the players or coaches needed another lesson, mind you – they know.
But maybe you needed it, just to keep your delusions in check. Maybe the people who were “due” were all of you.
But that’s unfair, too. You didn’t undo this franchise. All you did was believe, and there’s nothing wrong with that – as long you know there will be more days like this before your team starts handing out the 40-10’s.
In the meantime, there is beer.

Three things you need to know from 49ers' 40-10 loss vs Cowboys


Three things you need to know from 49ers' 40-10 loss vs Cowboys

SANTA CLARA -- Three things you need to know about the 49ers’ 40-10 loss to the Dallas Cowboys in Week 7 on Sunday:

1. A major step backward
So much for the 49ers’ somewhat-impressive streak of close losses.

There was nothing encouraging about what transpired in the 49ers' worst loss at Levi’s Stadium. It was also the franchise's worst home loss since Mike Singletary's team absorbed a 45-10 thumping against the Atlanta Falcons on Oct. 11, 2009.

Was there anything positive to take from this game?

“No, not right now,” 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan said. “It was disappointing. I think all three phases, players and coaches, we’ve got to play better than that, a lot better to give ourselves a chance to win.”

The competitive nature of the 49ers’ past five games was one thing. But with a big home loss on such an emotional day, it is fair to say that the honeymoon is over for Shanahan and general manager John Lynch. The 49ers looked like a team devoid of any leadership, and brings more scrutiny onto the organization’s decision last week to release linebacker NaVorro Bowman.

Now, the 49ers face a crossroads. With another cross-country trip ahead, the 49ers have to regroup in a hurry in order to avoid another embarrassing blowout against the Philadelphia Eagles.

2. Beathard’s first start
Rookie quarterback C.J. Beathard certainly was not the reason the 49ers got blown out. In his first NFL start, he showed a lot of toughness, which was to be expected. He was sacked five times. But most of those sacks could have been avoided. He has to get rid of the ball quicker, especially on three-step drops.

Beathard also showed some promise, too. He let the ball fly deep for Marquise Goodwin, who caught four passes for 80 yards. Beathard completed 22 of 38 passes for 235 yards.

Beathard accounted for the 49ers’ only touchdown with a 4-yard touchdown in the fourth quarter. There seems to be little doubt it was in the best interest of the organization to begin evaluating what it has for the future with the permanent switch from Brian Hoyer to Beathard.

3. Dwight Clark’s Day
The 49ers, of course, did nothing to evoke any memories of the great teams on which Dwight Clark played. Well, they did look a lot like Clark’s first team with the 49ers.

The 49ers of 1979 lost their first seven games of the season. This year’s team matched that start for the worst beginning to a season in franchise history.

More than 35 of Clark’s teammates off the 1981 Super Bowl team were in attendance to honor a pay tribute to Clark, who is battling ALS. Now in a wheelchair and considerably lighter, Clark delivered some poignant remarks at halftime.

Clark, 60, told his old teammate, Keena Turner, who works as vice president of football affairs, that all he wanted was to see some of his old teammates.

“And the 49ers heard that and flew all these players in, so I could see them one more time,” Clark said.