Warriors

Sandoval powers Giants to second win over Rox

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Sandoval powers Giants to second win over Rox

April 19, 2011BOXSCORE GIANTSVIDEOMLBPAGE MLBSCOREBOARD

DENVER (AP) Facing San Francisco's remarkable rotation is doubly difficult when the Giants are staked to a big, early lead like they've been the last two nights at Coors Field.Jonathan Sanchez gave up two hits over 6 1-3 innings one night after Tim Lincecum flirted with a no-hitter and the Giants beat Colorado 6-3 Tuesday night, spoiling Rockies ace Ubaldo Jimenez's return from the disabled list.San Francisco's offense, which spotted Lincecum a five-run first-inning cushion in an 8-1 win, gave Sanchez (2-1) a four-run lead to work with thanks to Pablo Sandoval's three-run homer before the lefty even stepped foot on the mound."It's great when you start the game 4-0," Sanchez said. "You can just go out there and pitch, throw the ball and see what happens."Just as they did the night before, when Pat Burrell's three-run first-inning homer highlighted a 5-0 lead Lincecom had before he walked out to the mound."It would be nice to not spot them four runs," Rockies shortstop Troy Tulowitzki said. "It's a tough uphill battle for us, especially with the pitchers that they have."
VIDEO: Cody Ross postgame
Aubrey Huff also went deep for the Giants, who go for the sweep Wednesday when Matt Cain faces Jorge De La Rosa after cutting their four-game deficit in the NL West in half by taking the first two games of the series."He didn't have that 98 mph fastball he had last year," Huff said of Jimenez. "Obviously, coming off the DL he's probably just feeling it out a little bit. Still had some great offspeed stuff tonight. Pablo jumped on him but he pitched well after that. After that first inning he kind of settled down."Sanchez gave up three runs, two of them earned, on two hits over 6 1-3 innings, walking four and striking out four, stifling the heart of Colorado's batting order, which finished 0-for-12.Sanchez allowed only one hit through the first six innings one night after Lincecum took a no-hitter into the seventh. Dexter Fowler led off the first with a double but the Rockies went hitless after that until Ty Wigginton singled with one out in the seventh, putting runners at first and second.
VIDEO: Darren Ford postgame
Ramon Ramirez replaced Sanchez and struck out Chris Iannetta before walking pinch-hitter Jonathan Herrera to load the bases for Fowler, who doubled home two runs to make it 6-3. Ramirez then whiffed Ryan Spilborghs on three straight sliders to end the threat.Javier Lopez pitched a perfect eighth and Brian Wilson got the final three outs for his fifth save in six chances.The Giants have won nine of 12 since starting out 1-4.Jimenez (0-1) went on the DL after an awful season opener, the culprit a cut cuticle on his pitching thumb that prevented him from getting oomph on his heater and spin on his breaking pitches. The Rockies didn't slack off during their ace's absence, jumping out to a 12-4 start.After being dominated by Lincecum, the Rockies said they were glad their own ace was back on the mound Tuesday night.He was rusty, however, and once again the Rockies found themselves playing catch-up against a very good pitcher - Sanchez hasn't allowed more than three earned runs over his last 11 starts dating back to Aug. 30 of last season, forging a 1.75 ERA over that span.Jimenez's second pitch plunked Aaron Rowand, who came around to score on Buster Posey's single before Sandoval deposited an 84 mph slider into the Rockies' bullpen in right-center for a three-run homer, his fifth.
NEWS: Rowand leaves game with bruised forearmJimenez allowed just two more singles through five innings. He walked two and struck out six."My velocity was a little bit off. It's not like I'm going to come back throwing 100 mph right away," said Jimenez, whose fastball topped out at 94 mph but found better control when he dialed it back.Jimenez was lifted for a pinch-hitter in the fifth and Seth Smith's sacrifice fly scored Wigginton."Looked like he settled down after the first inning," Giants manager Bruce Bochy said. "He had good stuff, I thought Pablo hit a good pitch. Our guys fought hard that first inning, turns out to be the difference."Huff's two-run homer off Jose Morales made it 6-1 in the seventh."It's an important game," Tulowitzki said of the series finale. "You don't want anyone coming in here and sweeping you. At the same time, it is April still."
Notes: Rowand suffered a bruised left forearm when he was hit by Jimenez and left the game after three innings, replaced by Darren Ford. He's day-to-day. ... To make room for Jimenez, the Rockies sent 3B Ian Stewart, mired in a 2-for-26 start, down to Triple-A Colorado Springs to get more at-bats.

Warriors the establishment, and the field the barbarians at the gate

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AP

Warriors the establishment, and the field the barbarians at the gate

Programming note: Warriors-Rockets coverage starts tonight at 6:30pm on NBC Sports Bay Area, and continues immediately after the final buzzer.

The NBA offseason ended as it began – with someone burning money for our amusement.

The San Antonio Spurs re-upped center LaMarcus Aldridge, with whom head coach Gregg Popovich had an off-season hug-it-out to repair what seemed to be a fraying relationship.

Thus, after the Golden State Warriors boatraced the field, the NBA responded by firing out $1.942 billion in free agent signings. This proves yet again that the problem with rising salaries in sports is not the fault of the players, but of the owners.

And that contreacts and player movement are an increasingly powerful turn-on in a sport that is facing an existential crisis.

Namely, how to build suspense into a season that looks foreordained for the Warriors without hoping for catastrophic injuries. Indeed, as the Warriors open with Houston tonight, there is far more national buzz around the new-look Rockets than the seemingly invulnerable Warriors.

[SHILLER: Draymond responds to D'Antoni's 'they're not gonna stop us either' claim]

It’s a bit like the old comic book conundrum – why was Wolverine a more compelling character than Superman?

Now this may be our fault as consumers for wanting something new to support our pathetically small attention spans. Or more intriguingly, being drawn to the flawed unknown rather than the excellent known.

But changing the American character is not an easy thing to do, as our most recent political developments have shown. We are who we are, and while we will watch the superb team every time, we will be more interested in the one that looks like it could blow itself to bits at any moment (Houston, or Cleveland, or Oklahoma City), or the long-downtrodden failure that suddenly looks like it might no longer be so downtrodden (Philadelphia, Minnesota, or maybe even Philadelphia again).

Or, weirdest of all, the team that used to be the standard, fell off the edge of the planet to the nation’s glee, and is just now showing signs of reconstruction (the Los Angeles Lakers).

Evidently what we want to say is that we like is change – violent, bizarre change, the crazier the narrative the better.

But here, we have the Golden State Warriors, who have chosen a far more conservative path – winning four of every five games, no matter what month, no matter what opponent, and winning nine of every 10 at home, no matter what month, no matter what opponent. And the measured eyeballs of media ratings say the Warriors are the bait behind which all other teams draft.

In short, the Warriors are the establishment, and the field is the barbarians at the gate. It’s just a matter how you feel about the barbarians, and the gate.

I know how the voting here would go. The rest of you are on your own, watching money getting thrown around in hope of some kind of regime change before the end of the decade.

Draymond responds to D'Antoni's 'they're not gonna stop us either' claim

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AP

Draymond responds to D'Antoni's 'they're not gonna stop us either' claim

Programming note: Warriors-Rockets coverage starts tonight at 6:30pm on NBC Sports Bay Area, and continues immediately after the final buzzer.

A couple weeks ago, Rockets coach Mike D'Antoni said something about the Warriors that made headlines.

"You're not gonna stop them. It's just not gonna happen. They're not gonna stop us either. Should be fun."

On Monday, Draymond Green was asked about D'Antoni's comments.

"You should believe that. I'm turning over a new leaf," Draymond began, before giving his real thoughts. "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."

The Rockets made some significant changes to their roster this offseason, most notably the addition of Chris Paul.

But Houston also added defensive-minded guys in P.J. Tucker and Luc Richard Mbah a Moute.

But as Draymond pointed out:

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

Drew Shiller is the co-host of Warriors Outsiders and a Web Producer at NBC Sports Bay Area. Follow him on Twitter @DrewShiller