Sharks

Kurz's Instant Replay: Giants 9, Rockies 3

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Kurz's Instant Replay: Giants 9, Rockies 3

BOX SCORE

SAN FRANCISCO Battery mates Matt Cain and Buster Posey led the way as the Giants cruised to a 9-3 win over the Colorado Rockies at AT&T Park on Saturday afternoon.

Posey continued his recent tear by going 2-for-4 with one walk, including a two-run homer in the third inning. Cain, who was just 2-3 with a 4.40 ERA in his last nine starts before Saturday, was effective in 7 13 innings of work in picking up his 11th victory. He gave up just two runs, both earned.

The Giants broke out of their home scoring slump in a big way, after they had scored just a total of two runs in their last 27 innings here, batting .144 in the process. That included Friday night, when they were held to just three hits against Colorado in a 3-0 defeat.

The Giants will remain in at least a tie for first in the N.L. West with Los Angeles when the day is over, as the Dodgers play in Miami later on Saturday.

Starting pitching report

Cain went 7 13 innings, surrendering two earned runs on seven hits with one walk and six strikeouts in lowering his ERA under three (2.99). He tossed 90 pitches, 62 of which were strikes.

With the win, Cain is now tied with teammate Tim Lincecum for third-most wins in the majors since the start of the 2009 season (50). When he gets at least three runs of support, Cain is a perfect 10-0 this season and 68-9 in his career.

Colorados Drew Pomeranz lasted four innings before Josh Roenicke replaced him in the bottom of the fifth. Pomeranz allowed four runs, all earned, on six hits and one home run to Posey. He struck out three and walked one on 73 pitches (45 strikes) in suffering his seventh loss of the season against just one win.

Bullpen report

Jose Mijares came on in relief of Cain with one out in the seventh and two men aboard. He retired Carlos Gonzalez before giving way to Sergio Romo, who got Henderson to fly out to center. Brad Penny closed out the game and allowed one unearned run in the ninth. Eric Young flied out with two men on base to end the game.

Roenicke surrendered four runs, all earned, and five hits after relieving Pomeranz in the fifth inning. He walked two and failed to record a strikeout. Mike Ekstrom and Rex Brothers each pitched an inning for Colorado, with Brothers surrendering an earned run in the eighth.

At the plate

Posey launched his team-leading 19th home run, just the Giants 18th at home, in the third inning with Melky Cabrera on base to give San Francisco a 4-0 lead.

In addition to his 7 13 innings of work on the mound, Cain helped his own cause with a two-out RBI single in the second inning to give the Giants a 2-0 lead at the time.

In fact, every one of the Giants starting nine had at least one hit, including newcomer Hunter Pence. The new right fielder hit a two-out RBI double in the fifth inning for what was just his seventh hit since a trade with Philadelphia.

Angel Pagan and Joaquin Arias both tripled in the game, giving the Giants 38 three-baggers this season. That trails only Colorados 40.

For Colorado, DJ LaMahieu hit his first career home run to lead off the eighth inning against Cain, but the game was effectively out of reach by then.

In field

Along with his proficient afternoon at the plate, Posey gunned down Jordan Pacheco trying to steal in the top of the fifth inning. In the top of the sixth, with Cain in his first precarious situation of the afternoon, Brett Pill snagged a Carlos Gonzalez liner with two on and one out and nearly doubled off Josh Rutledge at first.

Attendance

The Giants recorded their 141st straight sellout on a sun-splashed, perfect afternoon for baseball in the lower 70s with a light breeze.

Up next
The Giants and Rockies will meet in the rubber match of their three-game series on Sunday, again at 1:00 PST, as Barry Zito (9-8, 4.19 ERA) will face Colorado right-hander Alex White (2-6, 5.75 ERA).

Zito will be making his 17th career start against Colorado, and is 6-2 with a 2.39 ERA in 18 total outings. He threw a complete game shutout over the Rockies on April 9 at Coors Field. He earned the win in his last start vs. St. Louis last Tuesday allowing two earned runs in 6 23 innings of a 4-2 Giants win.

White had a no decision against the Dodgers in his last start after tossing four shutout innings in a 3-1 Rockies win on Tuesday.

Labanc, Sharks overcoming even strength scoring woes

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USATSI

Labanc, Sharks overcoming even strength scoring woes

Kevin Labanc’s first period goal in the Sharks’ Sunday win over the Ducks certainly didn’t look like it was just his fifth of the season, or only his third since opening night.

The 22-year-old, sprung in alone on a breakaway, sold Anaheim goaltender John Gibson on a fake shot with a leg kick, and snapped the puck past him into the top corner. You know a ‘goal-scorers goal’ when you see it, and you saw it 3:38 into the second period.

Labanc not only broke a 12-game, month-long goalless drought, but picked up his third point in as many games after scoring zero in his previous six. Despite his emergence as a force on the power play, all three points came during five-on-five play.

He’s generated six scoring chances in five-on-five situations in his last three games, according to Natural Stat Trick. That’s as many as Labanc accounted for in the six games preceding this run.

The same can be said about his five-on-five shot attempts (seven) and high-danger chances (two). His six shots on goal in his last three games are just one shy of also matching his five-on-five output over his six games prior.

In those categories, Labanc ranks third, third, and tied for second among Sharks forwards, as well as third in five-on-five scoring chances. He’s also tied with Mikkel Boedker for the forward-lead in five-on-five points over the last three games, despite playing only the eighth-most five-on-five minutes.

As Labanc’s broken out of an extended slump, so have the Sharks. Since returning from the bye week on Jan. 13, San Jose is fifth in five-on-five scoring rate (3.1 goals for/60 minutes), compared to 28th before their bye (1.91).

They’re also 5-1-0 during that time.

The Sharks, much like Labanc, were too reliant upon power play production prior to the NHL-mandated week off. Over half of Labanc’s points came with (at least) a man advantage, and 32 of San Jose’s 108 were scored on the power play.

Since, the second-year forward has only scored five-on-five points, while only five of the Sharks’ 23 goals were power play tallies. The power play’s still converting, but it’s not been the sole driver of San Jose’s offense.

It’s only a six-game sample, but the early five-on-five, post-bye week returns are promising for Labanc and the Sharks. The next step for both is to maintain that pace.

If Labanc and San Jose can, the Sharks may not need to shop for a top-six winger at the trade deadline after all.

Sharks dominate Ducks for two wins in two nights

Sharks dominate Ducks for two wins in two nights

BOX SCORE

ANAHEIM -- Mikkel Boedker had two goals and an assist, Joe Thornton had a goal and an assist, and the San Jose Sharks beat the Anaheim Ducks 6-2 on Sunday night.

Marc-Edouard Vlasic, Kevin Labanc and Melker Karlsson also scored for the Sharks, who have won five of six. Aaron Dell stopped 33 shots.

Rickard Rakell and Ryan Getzlaf scored for Anaheim. John Gibson stopped only 17 of 22 shots and was replaced after giving up his fifth goal. Anaheim had a four-game home winning streak snapped.

Four goals came in the third period. First, Anaheim pulled within one when Ondrej Kase stole the puck from behind the net and quickly fed Getzlaf, who fired it past Dell.

One minute later, the Sharks answered when Thornton's slap shot went in.

Boedker's second goal gave San Joe a 5-2 lead, and Karlsson's goal on goalie Ryan Miller made it a runaway.

The Ducks first found the net in the final minute of the second period, but that took a two-man advantage and a bit of luck.

Rakell was camped a few feet below the crease when he snapped a shot. San Jose's Justin Braun stuck out a stick, but it deflected the puck off the back of Dell's arm and into the net.

It was Rakell's team-high 17th goal this season.

San Jose appeared to take a commanding 3-0 lead on a power play in the second period. Boedker fired a shot from the top of the right circle that whistled past Gibson.

The Sharks took a 2-0 lead early in the second period when Anaheim's No.1 line turned the puck over. Thornton snapped it out to Labanc, who popped free for a breakaway. He beat Gibson on his short side for his fifth goal.

The Sharks took a 1-0 lead late in the first period on a nifty give-and-go when Tomas Hertl skated down the far side and sent a pass through the legs of Anaheim's Brandon Montour and right to Vlasic in front of the net.

Vlasic snapped it past Gibson for his seventh goal of the season.

UP NEXT

Sharks: Return to San Jose on Tuesday night to play the Jets.

Ducks: Remain at home to play the Rangers on Tuesday night.