Raiders

Torres lifts Giants past D'backs to fifth straight win

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Torres lifts Giants past D'backs to fifth straight win

May 11, 2011BOXSCORE GIANTSVIDEOMLBPAGE MLBSCOREBOARD

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) Andres Torres spent the better part of the last few weeks watching his teammates celebrating on television.When it was finally his turn, he wasn't about to miss out on all the fun.Torres delivered the go-ahead RBI double, Aubrey Huff hit a tying home run and the San Francisco Giants rallied from three runs down for a 4-3 victory over the Arizona Diamondbacks on Wednesday night."It feels great now to be a part of it again," said Torres, who returned from the 15-day disabled list a day earlier after a strained left Achilles forced him to do a rehab stint at Triple-A Fresno. "I feel healthy again, and I'm glad I can do my part."
GIANTS INSIDER NOTES: Sparkplug Torres is back
Miguel Tejada hit a run-scoring single and then doubled with one out in the sixth to chase Diamondbacks starter Armando Galarraga (3-3), setting the stage for another Giants comeback.He scored on Torres' double to right-center field off reliever Juan Gutierrez to give San Francisco a season-high fifth straight win. The Giants (20-16) improved to four games over .500 for the first time this season."The one thing I have to say is I have to do something for this team," said Tejada, who finished with three hits and started to break out of his season-long slump. "They put a lot of confidence in me, and I have to produce."
VIDEO: Miguel Tejada postgame
He did.So did most of the Giants in another all-around effort.Jonathan Sanchez (3-2) allowed three runs and six hits in six innings. Three relievers kept the Diamondbacks scoreless before Brian Wilson pitched out of jam in the ninth for his 12th saveThe Giants didn't wait as long to come back this time.After wins in the final at-bat in three of the previous four games, San Francisco fell behind again before squeaking out runs and leaning on its bullpen.Tejada came through with the one-out double in the sixth. Then Gutierrez came in and got pinch-hitter Pat Burrell to fly out to left before Torres' double put San Francisco ahead 4-3."We had a ton of chances early," Diamondbacks manager Kirk Gibson said. "We had chances to keep them from scoring, too. It's disheartening but you have to keep plugging."Ramon Ramirez, Javier Lopez and Sergio Romo kept Arizona scoreless over the next two innings. Wilson briefly made things interesting in the ninth - as usual - when Xavier Nady hit a leadoff double.Gerardo Parra walked and Henry Blanco struck out trying to bunt. Russell Branyan grounded out to first, and then Torres caught Kelly Johnson's flyball against the center-field wall for the final out.The bullpen's effort was just the kind of pick-me-up that worked so well for the World Series champions last season. And it was a much-needed boost for the starting pitcher again."That's kind of our way, I think," Giants manager Bruce Bochy said. "If you look at what we did last year, it was somebody different it seemed like coming up with the big game-changing contribution."
VIDEO: Bruce Bochy postgame
Sanchez struggled with his control again but managed to minimize the damage.Johnson had a leadoff double in the first inning, and Stephen Drew drove him in two batters later with a grounder to first base. Blanco had an RBI single in the second and a solo homer to left in the fourth, giving Arizona a 3-0 lead.That seemed to be a comfortable cushion for Galarraga, although no lead seems to be enough against these Giants lately.Tejada showed signs of busting out his slump with a run-scoring single with two outs in the fourth. After loading the bases with a walk to Sanchez, Galarraga threw a wild pitch that went to the backstop and scored Aaron Rowand from third.Huff started the fifth with a solo homer over the right-field wall, tying the score at 3. The home run was Huff's fourth of the season.Galarraga left after 5 1-3 innings, allowing four runs and eight hits and striking out four. Arizona has lost three straight games and four of its last five."I walked the pitcher, I threw the wild pitch," Galarraga said. "The only good swing was the home run. It was down but in the middle of the plate."Notes: Giants C Buster Posey left in the seventh after taking consecutive foul balls from Kelly Johnson off his mask. Bochy will give Posey Thursday off with a day game, and Posey said he was fine after undergoing precautionary tests for a concussion. ... Giants LHP Barry Zito threw off the mound before the game for the first time since he sprained his right foot in a start April 16. He threw about 10 minutes and will have another bullpen session later this week. ... Gibson said RHP Josh Collmenter will make his first start in the majors Saturday against the Dodgers. Collmenter was brought up from the minors a couple weeks ago and has pitched only in relief.

Three things you need to know from Raiders’ 31-30 victory over Chiefs

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Three things you need to know from Raiders’ 31-30 victory over Chiefs

OAKLAND – Three things you need to know about the Raiders’ 31-30 victory over the Kansas City Chiefs on Thursday night:

1. Back from the brink

The Raiders are still under .500. They face an uphill climb getting back into playoff consideration following a crippling four-game losing streak.

Still. 3-4 is a whole heck of a lot better than the alternative.

“Yeah, 2-5 did not sound good,” quarterback Derek Carr said. “That made our stomach hurt. We wanted to come out here and get a big win. This is a big win. For our team, especially with the adversity we’ve gone through.”

The Raiders looked lost during their downturn, when a loaded offense averaged 13.1 points per game. They fell to 14th in the AFC and last in their division. Perceived strengths proved suspect. Everything was called into question.

If the Raiders were drowning, Thursday was that point in the movie where the hero reappears taking a huge, dramatic breath.

The Raiders are alive again, especially in beating the AFC West leading Kansas City Chiefs. There’s work ahead to make it more than a really fun night, but Thursday proved their survival instincts are still keen.

“It felt good,” left tackle Donald Penn said. “I wish it would have happened a few weeks ago. We wouldn’t be sitting here like that. You all would have been talking like ‘OK, we’re on a run.' I’m glad to get things going.

“I told them today I was going to go out there and let it rip. I told some other guys to go out there and let it rip. This offense was trying to be too perfect. We had high hopes going into the season when we started, then we hit adversity. We couldn’t find a way to get out of there fast enough. Now we’re getting out of this, but we have to keep it going. One thing we have been doing is we’ve been working as hard as we do every week. It’s starting to pay off.”

2. Dormant volcano erupts

The Raiders offense was horrible four straight games. The season’s first two games proved what a loaded unit can do when functioning well, but those efforts got lost in a wash of bad play.

An MVP-caliber quarterback’s play was openly questioned for the first time. So was a bright young coordinator taking shrapnel for the team’s misgivings. Averaging 13 points per game will make a fan base an angry mob. The offense grossly underperformed, but raw talent didn’t diminish.

Production was hot lava, bubbling underneath the surface. It erupted on Thursday night, with the previously cautious Raiders offense opened up and consistently took yards in chunks.

In doing so, a lost offense may have found an identity, a fallback: The Raiders can flat out sling it.

Quarterback Derek Carr was throwing darts all over the field, completing 29-of-52 passes for 417 yards and three touchdowns. He averaged 8.0 yards per pass play and, at times, threw people open or allowed receivers to make a play in tight coverage.

Pass catchers certainly did that. Amari Cooper had 11 catches for 210 and two scores. Tight end Jared Cook had six receptions for 107 yards. Michael Crabtree only had 24 yards, but snagged the game-deciding touchdown.

It felt and looked like the Raiders offense everyone expected each week, finally back on track. That was clear after Carr threw Amari Cooper a touchdown pass the first two drives.

“We struggled to do a lot of things over the last month,” Carr said. “To start fast, again I think that gives life to a team. That’s a sense of hope, which we always have and belief and those kind of things, but to start fast, it always just gives your team a little boost at the beginning that you have to have.”

In previous weeks, the Raiders were wound too tight. They strived for perfection and failed to attain anything close. They just let loose, and went for it. An offense with no TNT blew up, to the tune of six explosive plays.

“We got so many weapons, we got so many explosive athletes on our offense but just in these last four games that we loss we were just so out of whack,” running back Jalen Richard said. “It was little stuff here and there, technical, maybe a missed assignment here and there. Guys were doing their thing, guys were playing hard. We believed the whole game even when we got down a little bit. We pulled through and got the win.”

3. Return of the 2016 Raiders

Last season’s Raiders owned the fourth quarter. They generated seven come-from-behind victories last season thanks to offensive magic and timely defense.

That’s how they erased a nine-point, fourth-quarter deficit against Kansas City. They never wavered, even in tough times. The defense provided opportunity. With two minutes remaining, the offense got it done.

Derek Carr orchestrated an 11-play, 85-yard drive that ended with a touchdown pass to Crabtree on the second straight untimed down brought on by defensive penalty.

That moment produced great emotion. It should’ve after completing one of the wildest comebacks in franchise history. The drive itself, however, was clinical.

The Raiders believed they would score. They expected it.

"There was no panic, or anxiety or anything like that,” left guard Kelechi Osemele said. “We were going to get the job done. There was never, ever any doubt.”

That’s exactly what last year’s Raiders did. On the regular. They couldn’t respond well to adversity in recent games. They found their magic on Thursday night.

Mark your calendars right now for Raiders-Chiefs 2.0 in December

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Mark your calendars right now for Raiders-Chiefs 2.0 in December

In case you were asking, and you shouldn’t have been because this game deserves to be savored a bit longer, it’s December 10.
 
That’s when the Kansas City Chiefs and Oakland Raiders play each other again, in case Thursday night wasn’t good enough for you.

You philistines.

And while there are some folks who won’t be happy (those who like the Chiefs or bet the Chiefs), there won’t be a more magnificently bizarre game this NFL season – because these two teams are exactly that.
 
Bizarre.
 
The Chiefs, who two weeks ago were the best team in football as voted on by the instant punditocracy, made enough mistakes in the last two minutes of Thursday’s 31-30 defeat to lose 47-10.
 
And the Raiders did the same, capped off by Marshawn Lynch’s gloriously Oaklandish reaction to fellow citizen Marcus Peters’ late hit on Derek Carr – namely, “I got your rules and your respect for officials right here!”
 
But in the end – the glorious, bizarre, untimed end – the Raiders saved themselves from pre-Halloween doom, the Chiefs reverted to the team you can never fully trust, and the rest of the NFL can only shake its collective neckless head in wonderment at the power of the old American Football League.
 
Because that, ultimately, is what this was – a game out of time. This was a throwback game, all the way back to the mid- to late-60s, when the Raiders and Chiefs hated each other not out of historical duty but out of genuine solar-generated animosity. When they both played as though their cars were being looted in the parking lot, and when 750-yard combined passing nights were actually not that unusual. They were hell-bent then, and Thursday showed that they still have that bent in their DNA even now.
 
This was that era, played out in a way that old Raider and Chiefs fans can tell their grandchildren, “Now you’re sitting there scratching your head and all, but I’m telling you that used to happen all the time. You think Marcus Peters was bad? Google Ben Davidson on Len Dawson, little Tad.”
 
And it ended the only way it could for the good of the rivalry – with Oakland winning, and in the most staggeringly improbable way.
 
Not because the Raiders are more noble human beings or a superior life form from a time long ago, but because that December 10 game needs to mean something. The Raiders needed to win Thursday because losing meant their playoff hopes would be deservedly dead, and their remaining nine games would be reduced to competitive afterthoughts, and the year would be reduced to wondering why what should have been never came close to happening.
 
And the Chiefs needed to lose because running away with a division this difficult just seems wrong. There is nothing that says Kansas City isn’t better than Denver, or Oakland or the Fightin’ StubHubs, but it shouldn’t be this easy. The Patriots may have eaten the AFC East and spit the bones into a dumpster long ago, but the AFC West clung harder to its AFL roots than the East ever did.
 
And Thursday was the evidence required to show that, at least for the Chiefs and Raiders, the old days can be recreated with a keen eye for the most malevolent details and the most bizarre turns of fortune.
 
Call it nostalgia on crank – seemingly the only thing we have left that can bond the generations in these otherwise mean-spirited days.