<![CDATA[NBC Bay Area - Bay Area Sports News, Sports Teams, and Scores for the Sharks, 49ers, Raiders,Giants, Bears and More]]> Copyright 2014 http://www.nbcbayarea.com/news/sports http://media.nbcbayarea.com/designimages/nbc_bayarea_blue.png NBC Bay Area http://www.nbcbayarea.com en-us Mon, 20 Oct 2014 01:05:49 -0700 Mon, 20 Oct 2014 01:05:49 -0700 NBC Owned Television Stations <![CDATA[Niners Buried by Broncos' Scoring Avalanche]]> Sun, 19 Oct 2014 20:57:56 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/180*120/ManningRecTD.jpg

It was still early in the second quarter Sunday night in Denver when the Broncos, already up 14-3, were driving for another touchdown.

“Wow,” said analyst Cris Collinsworth on the NBC TV coverage. “We’re in Colorado, and this has the feel of an avalanche.

He was right.

The Broncos then scored on Peyton Manning’s third touchdown pass of the night – the 509th of his career, breaking Brett Favre’s NFL record – and Denver had a 21-3 lead en route to a Rocky Mountain massacre.

The Broncos won, 42-17 , to break San Francisco’s three-game winning streak and drop San Francisco back to 4-3.

On this night on a nationally televised stage, the 49ers defense was no match for Manning’s mastery. Playing without linebackers Patrick Willis, NaVorro Bowman and Aldon Smith and missing defensive backs Chris Culliver and Jimmie Ward, Manning and his excellent receiving corps had a field day. It was the most points allowed by the 49ers defense since Jim Harbaugh became head coach.

Before being relieved after three quarters, Manning was 22-of-26 for 318 yards, four TDs and no interceptions. Eight of those throws went to Demaryius Thomas, who caught eight passes for 171 yards and two scores. The Broncos running game, too, slashed one of the NFL’s best rush defenses.

This was an across-the-board wipeout.

From the start, the 49ers offense couldn’t generate any consistency, meaning Manning and Co. kept getting the ball back quickly, then adding points.

The Niners went three-and-out on their first possession, had a drive stall before missing a field goal and went three-and-out again before finally getting a Phil Dawson field goal when a long drive from their own 13 stalled at the Broncos’ 4. That’s when the Broncos drove for their third score on Manning’s record-breaking TD pass.

In addition to the 49ers’ bad night on both sides of the ball, San Francisco lost cornerback Chris Cook (hamstring) and center Daniel Kilgore. Kilgore had to be carted off the field – so his loss could be long-term.

Fortunately, the beatdown in Denver only counts as one loss. In the NFC West, the 49ers are still in the hunt (behind the 5-1 Cardinals and ahead of the 3-3 Seahawks) and now have a bye week to get a bit healthier and regroup before their next game on Sunday, Nov. 2 against the visiting Rams.

As former NFL scout and ESPN analyst Matt Williamson tweeted late in the game, “Brutal night for the #49ers, but like I said on Friday’s Podcast: Just stay alive and make your run in December when it matters most.”

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Aldon Smith Could Have Suspension Reduced: Report]]> Sun, 19 Oct 2014 20:02:41 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/tlmd_aldon_smith.jpg

A report out Sunday night said San Francisco 49ers linebacker Aldon Smith could have his nine-game suspension reduced.

South Bay 49ers fans watched the game against the Denver Broncos Sunday night at the San Jose Bar & Grill--and saw the team could have used him.

According to Pro Football Talk’s Mike Florio, the league may reduce his suspension by a game or two due to good behavior. If it is reduced two games, the suspension would be over.

As it stands, he would come back for the game on Nov. 16.

The NFL suspended him last August for violating conduct and substance abuse policies.

But according to Comcast SportsNet Bay Area's Matt Maiocco, 49ers General Manager Trent Baalke said he has no knowledge of any suspension reduction.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Raiders Have Hope, But No Victories]]> Sun, 19 Oct 2014 17:34:21 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/178*120/StepfanTayy.jpg

After watching his Raiders almost topple the Chargers last week, new head coach Tony Sparano went into Sunday’s game against the Arizona Cardinals with hope.

“If those guys can give me that kind of effort going forward here, this thing is going to turn,” he said.

Well, not this week.

The Raiders lost again, this time by a 24-13 score to visiting Arizona, dropping to 0-6 this season, their 12th consecutive loss. And, after Jacksonville’s victory over Cleveland earlier Sunday, the Raiders now rank as the NFL’s only winless team.

The Raiders spotted Arizona a 14-0 lead, and it proved too much to overcome.

With just over four minutes remaining in the fourth quarter, down by just eight points, the Raiders still had a chance to get the ball back if they could make a third-down stop. But on a third-and-8 from their own 41, Cardinals quarterback Carson Palmer hit a wide-open John Brown for 22 yards to the Raiders’ 37. Then, just over three minutes left, the Cardinals converted another third-and-8, with Palmer hitting Andre Ellington for 10 yards.

The Cardinals held onto the ball long enough tack on a 41-yard field goal to increase their lead to 24-13 and lock up the game with just 33 seconds remaining.

As the San Francisco Chronicle’s Vic Tafur noted, the Raiders had come in dead last in the NFL in third-down defense, with successful stops just 51 percent of the time. Those two conversions by Arizona made them successful on 9-of-14 Sunday. With the game still in reach, the defense didn’t get the job done when it needed to.

After the Cardinals built their 14-0 lead, Oakland came back to make it a game on a short touchdown run by Darren McFadden and two Sebastian Janikowski field goals.

For the second straight game, rookie quarterback Derek Carr showed promise, completed 16-of-28 for 173 yards, including a 55-yard completion to a streaking Brice Butler. But Oakland couldn’t come up with key third-down conversions on the drives that ended in field goals, and the defense couldn’t contain Palmer (22-of-31 for 253 yards and two TDs), or the 1-2 running back duo of Ellington and Stepfan Taylor (128 yards rushing).

As the hopeful Sparano had said before the game, “this thing is a marathon.” He knows it may take time. But, he said, “We’re going to get it right.”

Until then, the 0-6 Raiders are now in the lead for the No. 1 pick in the 2015 draft. But, opportunity awaits.

Next Sunday, the Raiders travel to face the Browns – who lost to the Jaguars this week.

If there’s a winnable game on the schedule, this is it.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Best of NFL: Week 7]]> Sun, 19 Oct 2014 20:38:23 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/457509990.jpg Don't miss the most dramatic images from the seventh week of the 2014 NFL season.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Bay Area Kansas City Royals Fans: "We Just Want Them to Win"]]> Sun, 19 Oct 2014 16:19:22 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/160*120/royalsfans.JPG

Meet the Johnsons — possibly the bravest people in San Francisco right now.

Ron and Kimberly Johnson, who live in Lafayette but are supporting the Kansas City Royals, decided to dress up in Royals gear and pose for TV crews and passers-by in front of AT&T Park in San Francisco Saturday.

They brought their three children along as well, who held a "KC Loyal" sign. "Our kids made the sign at school," Kimberly Johnson said smiling.

When asked what kind of reaction they were getting from San Francisco Giants fans walking by them, Ron Johnson said: "People have been mostly civil, except this one guy who got kinda angry."

The last time the Royals were in a World Series was in 1985, when they won the championship. Giants fans are going to extreme lengths to show support for their team — which won two of the last four World Series — with at least two local radio stations pulling Lorde's "Royals" from their playlist. Turns out, Lorde herself was inspired by an old photo of Royals third baseman and Hall of Famer George Brett, which prompted her to write the song.

As for what could have possibly motivated the Johnsons to do something like this — just a few days before the Giants face off against the Royals for Game 1 of the World Series — Ron said it was "our way to show support for our team."

"I've been a Royals fan for a long time and idolized George Brett as a kid," he said.

"We just want them to win," his wife chimed in. "And we'd really really love to get some tickets to the game."

<![CDATA[Giants World Series Tickets Start at Around $550 on StubHub]]> Sun, 19 Oct 2014 16:11:22 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/180*120/457329374_8.jpg

San Francisco Giants fans wanting to attend World Series games at AT&T Park will have to pay a pretty penny to see the game -- even just to stand and watch.

Ticket prices on StubHub for Game 3 in San Francisco, as of Saturday night, were starting at $550, just for standing room only. For fans wanting to sit down, the cheapest seats were going for about $700.

The most expensive Game 3 seat costs about $27,500 in the Premium Field Club section.

And for those wanting to buy parking passes for Game 3 on StubHub, the cheapest rate is $222, as of Sunday morning.

For those trying to buy tickets on the Giants' official web site, it says, "There is limited or no ticket availability left for this game. Click the Buy link below to continue to search for tickets."

The average ticket prices for World Series games in Kansas City are even higher, according to the San Francisco Chronicle.

Here's another option:

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[SJ Earthquakes Fans Say Goodbye to Buck Shaw Stadium]]> Sun, 19 Oct 2014 01:04:44 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/sj_earthquakes_final_game.jpg

Over 10,000 San Jose Earthquakes fans packed Buck Shaw Stadium to capacity for the professional soccer team’s final home game on the Santa Clara University campus.

The Earthquakes marked the end of seven seasons at Buck Shaw Stadium with a 0-0 draw against the Vancouver Whitecaps.

Die-hard fans, calling themselves the Casbah, held a funeral, complete with tombstones and a corpse. But they're ready for a fresh start.

"We’re in last place, you know. And there’s no way but up," Earthquakes fan Luis Cuellar said. "And I was just thinking without death, there’s no resurrection. So that gave me the idea for a funeral.”

The Earthquake’s new stadium near San Jose International Airport is expected to be finished in March and can seat almost double their last home. It opens just a few months after Levi’s Stadium debuted as the San Francisco 49ers' new venue.

The Earthquakes and 49ers join the long-time established San Jose Sharks as making the South Bay a sports destination with appealing stands.

“Silicon Valley has a lot of wealth and innovation and ideas," Earthquakes President Dave Kaval said. "I think the active lifestyle that sports has I think is a good connection with what people do in Silicon Valley.”

Lily Mae’s restaurant has already seen a boost in customers because of the 49ers' new stadium.

Adding the Earthquake’s new place will just extend the flow of big-spending sports fans another few months after football season.

“We’re like ‘Come on. Come on!’ So we can offer you all these drinks," Lily Mae's owner Rhonda Manning said. "We got a great Kool-Aid mimosa. We’re ready to go!”

Just this week, the Earthquakes fired their coach after an awful 2014 season. So, this is truly new beginnings for the team.

Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[Don't Forget: Giants' Ishikawa Nearly Retired]]> Fri, 17 Oct 2014 16:53:26 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/180*120/457343240_8.jpg

Before he retired the Cardinals with his now-legendary 9th inning blast, Travis Ishikawa almost retired himself.

Earlier this season, at the ripe old age of 31, the journeyman first baseman was four years removed from his last regular job in the Major Leagues, with the 2010 World Series-winning San Francisco Giants, and struggling to stick with a team, any team.

An April job with the Pirates ended quickly, and Ishikawa was faced with a harsh reality: accept a minor league contract, or accept the fact that he might be done.

He picked the former, from his old boss, Brian Sabean and the Giants.

That meant trekking down to Fresno, where his family drove to watch him toil in the minors. That was when he thought about quitting, his wife, Rochelle, told the San Francisco Chronicle.

That is, until injuries to the Giants' normal lineup led to a July callup.

Ishikawa was back, and he stuck around and played his way onto the postseason roster and into the starting left fielders' position, a job he'd only performed three times in the regular season.

He was there Thursday for his bat, despite a poor play earlier in the game, and was left there by manager Bruce Bochy even in the late innings, when other skippers might have gone with the defensive replacement.

The Giants travel to Kansas City for Game 1 against the Royals on Tuesday night.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Ishikawa's Walk Off Special to Internment Camp Survivors]]> Sat, 18 Oct 2014 19:09:08 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/180*120/457340162_8.jpg

Travis Ishikawa will live on forever in San Francisco Giants history after his walk-off, three-run home run clinched the National League pennant and sent the team to its third World Series in five seasons

"It's a dream come true -- with all that I've been through in the past five years," he said after the game. "To not even know if I was going to be playing anymore or even be here this season, to be here right now -- it's special."

It's no secret that Ishikawa has had a tough year, but he hung on to baseball -- just like his ancestors did.

Ishikawa is in a small club of Japanese Americans in the Major Leagues, honing a sport that they once played to survive.

"I can remember playing baseball in camp quite a bit and traveling from one corner of the camp to another to play other teams in the camp," said Joe Yasutake, an internment camp survivor.

It was baseball that helped keep spirits up after Japanese Americans were ordered in 1942 by the U.S. government to be moved into internment camps.

Ishikawa's own paternal grandparents were sent to internment camps in Colorado.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Will Clark, Matt Williams Reflect on 1989 Quake]]> Fri, 17 Oct 2014 18:52:15 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/216*120/2014-10-17_17-14-32.jpg

Decades later, San Francisco Giants players and coaches still have vivid and indellible memories of the 6.9-magnitude Oct. 17, 1989 quake that rocked the Bay Area.

In this video (in the player above) produced by Giants Clubhouse back in 2009, former Giants stars Matt Williams and Will Clark, skipper Roger Craig and broadcasters Joe Morgan and Mike Krukow revisit the moment the World Series stopped.

“The asphalt was just rolling under your feet,” recalled Criag.

“Willie {Mays) and I were just looking at each other, and Willie in his high-pitched voice says, ‘Let’s get out of here!’” said Morgan.

“I looked into the outfield down the left field line and down the right field line and saw the dust falling from the upper deck,” said Williams. “And then I got scared. Not for me, but for my family.”

“As soon as I looked up I could see the light towers going 'wham,'" recalled Clark. "I was like this is not good."

You can watch the full story in the video player at the top of this page.

Photo Credit: Giants Clubhouse]]>
<![CDATA["War Machine" Attempts Suicide: PD]]> Sat, 18 Oct 2014 10:54:24 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/War-Machine-vegas-MMA.jpg

A professional mixed martial arts fighter accused of beating his porn star ex-girlfriend and one of her male friends tried to commit suicide in a Las Vegas jail, authorities said.

Jonathan "War Machine" Koppenhaver, 32, was found Tuesday in a cell at the Clark County Detention Center sitting on the floor with his feet resting on the bunk, Las Vegas Metropolitan police said in a statement.

The officer noticed what appeared to be a torn piece of linen around his neck that was tied to the leg of his bunk, police said.

The officer called to Koppenhaver several times, but he did not respond, according to police. When the officer went inside the cell he noticed that Koppenhaver was struggling to breathe, police said.

The officer cut the ligature from Koppenhaver’s neck and his breathing became less strained and he started to speak, police said.

Koppenhaver was moved to a medical isolation cell, where he was placed on suicide watch.

Police said they found a suicide note inside Koppenhaver’s cell.

Koppenhaver, a former porn actor, was booked into Clark County jail in August.

He's accused of beating adult film actress Christy Mack and her male friend at a Las Vegas home on Aug. 8 before fleeing to the Los Angeles suburb of Simi Valley, where he was arrested a week later.

Koppenhaver faces charges including attempted murder and dozens of assault counts.

Koppenhaver made his Ultimate Fighting Championship debut in 2007 and legally changed his name in 2008. He lost his only pay-per-view bout that same year.

He fought out of San Diego for a variety of promotions and had a 14-5 record as a welterweight. He lost his last fight, in Iowa, last October.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Photo Credit: Simi Valley Police/Getty Images
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<![CDATA[Raiders May See Holes in Cardinals' Coverage]]> Fri, 17 Oct 2014 09:42:19 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/176*120/JhayJonesTD.jpg

The Arizona Cardinals come to Oakland Saturday as the surprising No. 1 team in the NFC West.

The Cardinals are 4-1, are the third-ranked defense in the NFL against the run and have some dynamic playmakers, such as wide receivers Larry Fitzgerald and Michael Floyd and defensive end Calais Campbell.

At 0-5 and with an 11-game losing streak, the Raiders hardly seem like a team that could pull an upset Sunday at O.co Coliseum. Oakland, after all, hasn’t beaten a team with a winning record in 42 games, dating to Nov. 27, 2011. NFL oddsmakers have made the Cards 4-point favorites.

But there are a couple of silver linings for the Raiders, who are coming off their most explosive game of the season offensively.

First, the Raiders passing game may be able to take advantage of a Cardinals secondary that has been suspect through its first five games. And second, Oakland’s offensive line has been giving rookie quarterback Derek Carr time to throw. That combination may allow the Raiders to score, stay in the game – and perhaps pull out an upset late in the game if Arizona makes a mistake or two.

Carr, coming off a four-touchdown game against the Chargers, may be able to make some plays against the Arizona secondary, especially with receivers such as Andre Holmes, James Jones and Brice Butler playing well. According to NFL.com, Cardinals cornerbacks Patrick Peterson and Antonio Cromartie have been very beatable this season. Quarterbacks have a 132.4 rating when targeting Peterson, who’s allowed four TD receptions; Cromartie has allowed a QB rating of 103.2.

And the Oakland blockers have been very protective of Carr.  He's been sacked just three times. That, combined with his quick release, may give Carr time to go after Peterson and Cromartie for big gains.

Oakland offensive coordinator Greg Olson told reporters this week the protection, avoiding sacks and getting the ball out quickly have been points of emphasis for the offense.

“It’s everybody together,” he said. “Running backs, offensive line, the qurterback getting the ball out, wide receivers knowing when to break off the route and sight adjust or look hot. I think everyone’s involved in that and it’s encouraging. I think that’s one of the encouraging things that we’ve seen and it’s really encouraging when you have a young quarterback.”

The Raiders may be forced to throw, because running against Arizona has been very tough. Arizona is giving up just 75.8 yards per game on the ground.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Niners Face Toughest Test vs. Broncos]]> Sun, 19 Oct 2014 16:28:56 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/180*120/kaeppieramz.jpg

The 49ers have won three straight games, including a comeback performance on the road Monday night against the St. Louis Rams.

San Francisco is playing tough defense, and quarterback Colin Kaepernick has been as effective as he’s ever been since winning the starting job.

Yet going into Sunday night’s nationally televised game against the defending AFC champion Broncos in Denver, the 49ers are decided underdogs. The Broncos are 7-point favorites of oddsmakers, while NFL pundits and analysts all have jumped on the Denver bandwagon in this one.

At NFL.com, for instance, all five writers picking games this weekend are going with the Broncos.

Of course, there are good reasons for the Niners to be the underdog. They’re on the road at altitude in a short preparation week; standout inside linebacker Patrick Willis is out, and so, too, should be guard Mike Iupati and defensive back Jimmie Ward; the 49ers’ pass rush – a must against Broncos QB Peyton Manning -- has been inconsistent; and the Denver defense has been solid against the run, allowing just 3.3 yards per carry, fifth best in the NFL.

Still, the 49ers have been a resilient group that has rebounded from a 1-2 start and injuries and absences of key players to regain momentum. Defensive coordinator Vic Fangio is very familiar with Manning, and may be able to come up with a scheme to help slow him down. San Francisco’s defense has been a surprising unit, coming up with big plays at unexpected times from unexpected players.

Plus, Kaepernick and the 49ers offense have been scoring points. The run game was dominant in wins over the Eagles and Chiefs, and then the passing game took the lead role in the win over the Rams.

Denver head coach John Fox told reporters this week that the 49ers balance – as well as Kaepernick’s ability to break down defenses with his running ability – makes it very difficult to defend them.

“They have both ways to come at you,” Fox said. “You try to create balance in this league because people can lean on one dimension or the other, so I think it’s a very good roster offensively. You have a very good offensive line; a Pro Bowl tight end; you’ve added receivers with 1,000-yard seasons; you’ve got a couple of capable backs; and Colin is a guy who can hurt you with his legs as well as arm.”

To run their winning streak to four, the 49ers will have to play their best game to date.


Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Giants "We Own the Pennant" T-Shirts Flying Off Shelves]]> Fri, 17 Oct 2014 14:11:03 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/180*120/pennant2.jpg

Get your orange on while you still can.

"We Own the Pennant" t-shirts were flying off store shelves within minutes of the San Francisco Giants winning the NL Championship series — a dramatic 6-3 victory over the St. Louis Cardinals in game 5 Thursday night.

The World Series is not only good news for the Giants and their fans, but Bay Area businesses as well.

Official San Francisco Giants NL pennant shirts were coming off the presses at Graphic Sportswear late Thursday night, with 25,000 to be printed by Friday morning. Todd Wong was one of the first to get his hands on a pennant t-shirt, dropping $70 for two shirts as soon as the Dugout store opened at AT&T Park Friday morning.

"I'm a big fan, I've been a big fan since I was a kid — my dad and I would always go to the games," Wong said.

Tickets to watch the Giants face off the Kansas City Royals at AT&T Park next week are even more expensive, starting at $500 on StubHub. Crews are working around the clock to update the post-season paint on the field with the World Series logo.

Giants fan Lauren Wang said she spent $2,700 on three tickets for her family.

"It was an arm and a leg — but how many times do you get to go to the World Series?" she said.

Photo Credit: MCT via Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Levi's Stadium Assault Witnesses Urged to Step Forward]]> Thu, 16 Oct 2014 16:27:04 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/722-triple-gore.jpg

Police investigating the beating of two men inside a crowded Levi’s Stadium restroom that left one of the victims in serious condition are asking for more witnesses to come forward.

The alleged Oct. 5 attack by Amador Rebollero, 27, and his brother, 34-year-old Dario Rebollero, both from the town of Traver in Tulare County, injured one man and put his cousin in the hospital. Prosecutors said Thursday the victim in more serious condition is “partially paralyzed” 11 days after the attack.

Authorities have not identified the victims.

“The investigation is on-going and anyone with information is being asked to come forward and speak with investigators,” Santa Clara Police Lt. Kurt Clarke said in a release.

Prosecutors say the attack happened when the possibly-paralyzed victim was in line in the men’s room behind Amador Rebollero and “nudged” him on the shoulder to point out an available urinal.

A video posted on YouTube, which was confirmed by police as showing the fight in question, shows a stocky man with a goatee wearing a No. 21 Frank Gore shirt punching a thinner man in a Colin Kaepernick No. 7 shirt. The thinner man falls flat on the floor. The video camera stays with this man for a while, showing him motionless.

The witness told police he started filming "because he could sense an attack," and then Amador Rebellero threw punches at the man without warning.

After the assault, both defendants, who prosecutors say have gang tattoos, fled from the bathroom, but were soon tracked down and arrested by officers.

The Rebollero brothers were arraigned last week on felony assault charges.

Anyone with information on the case is asked to call Santa Clara PD Sgt. Carreira at (408) 615-4849 or Sgt. Parker at (408) 615-4813. A message can also be left on the police department’s tip-line at (408) 241-9495.

<![CDATA[Limping but Effective 49ers Defense Will be Challenged]]> Thu, 16 Oct 2014 08:47:30 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/180*120/peyvsnynerz.jpg

Even if the 49ers defense were at full strength, Sunday night’s game against the Broncos in Denver would be a challenge.

The 4-1 Broncos and quarterback Peyton Manning are averaging 389 yards per game and rank No. 3 in the NFL by scoring 29.4 points per game.

Now the 4-2 49ers – already without standout linebackers NaVorro Bowman and Aldon Smith – go into this Sunday night clash likely without All-Pro inside linebacker Patrick Willis and defensive back Jimmie Ward, both injured in the victory over the Rams on Monday night.

The Niners defense has been terrific of late, as young players and backups have stepped in, learned and prospered. San Francisco ranks No. 2 in the NFL in total defense, giving up just 287.2 yards per game. But how long can the 49ers continue to patch holes and stay afloat? Especially against Manning, who is so adept at studying film and picking apart weaknesses.

San Francisco defensive coordinator Vic Fangio, however, has been a miracle worker, adjusting for absences and getting the most out of players such as cornerback Perrish Cox, nose takle Ian Williams and linebackers Michael Wilhoite, Aaron Lynch, Dan Skuta and Chris Borland, who would play for Willis Sunday if his toe injury doesn’t come around quickly.

In speaking with Bay Area reporters Wednesday on a conference call, Manning says the 49ers will be strong defensively, even without some of their best players.

“They have excellent players, well coached,” he said. “Tough against the run. They do a great job of first down. That’s where they get a lot of their stops. Everybody think it’s all about third down, but they stop teams on first down and make third down awfully tough.”

Manning also knows all about Fangio, having played in Indianapolis when Fangio was defensive coordinator with the Colts four seasons.

“I used to enjoy talking ball with him and competing against his defenses in practice,” said Manning. “It was always competitive, and the different places he’s been, his teams have always been very well coached.”

One thing that might bode well for the 49ers is that they finally got a pass rush in the victory over the Rams, getting five Monday night to match their total for the previous five games.

If the 49ers can get some pressure on Manning Sunday night – just as they did in St. Louis – they might be able to stop the Broncos, even with all their spare parts. But as 49es head coach Jim Harbaugh noted, it will be a challenge. Perhaps the biggest so far this season.

“Big challenge. Huge task,” Harbaugh told reporters Wednesday. “Great quarterback, capital ‘G’ at the highest level. And that competitive challenge is something that I think our team, our defense, will be up for.”


Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Carr Gets Chance to Show He's For Real]]> Thu, 16 Oct 2014 08:33:57 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/180*120/sdvskahr.jpg

After his big game against the Chargers this past weekend, Derek Carr is getting some national notice.

The rookie quarterback may be 0-5 as a starter for Oakland this season, but observers aren’t putting that on Carr. Certainly, the team has been woeful in many other areas, including on defense, on the line and in the running game.

As Carr gets ready for his next test, leading the 0-5 Raiders against the NFC West-leading Arizona Cardinals this Sunday afternoon at O.co Coliseum, people are seeing big growth in a player who just might be the guy to lead a franchise turnaround.

Current NFL.com analyst and former longtime Dallas Cowboys executive Gil Brandt, for one, is a big believer in the first-year QB from Fresno State who had his best day in the 31-28 loss to San Diego, throwing for 282 yards and four TDs while positing a quarterback rating that was his best by far this season (107.7).

“That performance – which included touchdown passes of 77 and 47 yards – showed this Oakland team is not like its predecessors in terms of downfield ability,” wrote Brandt this week. “And it demonstrated Carr’s promise. He has great touch on the ball and outstanding competitiveness. He’s a mature guy, but he’s also a fighter, and I see plenty of big days ahead for him.”

For the season now, Carr is 102-of-167 (61.1 percent) for 1,016 yards, eight TDs and five interceptions, with an 81.8 quarterback rating.

Carr posted his numbers despite playing with a knee and ankle injuries suffered in the loss to the Dolphins in London on Sept. 28. Those injuries are still bothering him, but not enough to keep him off the field.

As Bill Williamson of ESPN.com reported, Carr was reported limited in practice Wednesday for the fourth straight practice because of those problems, but it’s not going to keep him from playing Sunday against Arizona.

At this point, Carr is settling in and taking command. When Dennis Allen was fired as head coach and replaced by Tony Sparano, Carr was given the go-ahead to play more aggressively, and the result was a breakout game against a solid Chargers team.

“I’m the same person,” Carr told reporters this week. “I didn’t change who I was. But instead of sitting back and not stepping on toes, he (Sparano) said, ‘It’s your team. It’s your team, take it over. That means you can demand more now. We’re past the rookie step. There’s no more rookie. You’re the leader of this football team. The franchise, here, now go.’ Now I can demand things from guys.”

So, what Raiders fans may now see for the remaining 11 games is a more wide-open offense and a more gunslinging Carr. He showed in the game against the Chargers that he’s got a strong, accurate arm and he’s not afraid to use it.

Oakland still may not come away with very many victories in 2014 – just one would be different – but if Carr can develop and show this franchise that he can be a playmaker this season, the Raiders can be comfortable in building around him and not having to worry if they need a quarterback.

A key test comes Sunday against a talented Arizona defense. Carr had one terrific game. Can he put together two in a row?

If he can, it will appear even to people outside the organization that the Raiders have found their guy, and it’s Derek Carr.


Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Giants Fans Happy to Pay $100 to Park]]> Thu, 16 Oct 2014 14:06:28 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/150-parking.jpg

Talk about green-collar baseball.

Some San Francisco Giants fans are shelling out stacks of greenbacks for the pleasure of parking their cars around AT&T Park, according to reports.

A parking spot around the ballpark is now fetching $100 or more, according to the San Francisco Chronicle.

Emphasis on "more." 

And for the most part, Giants fans appear to be paying the piper cheerfully. One fan, 50-year-old Steve Ladrech, of Martinez, told the paper that $70 to park "isn't horrible," nothing "it's the playoffs."

Giants-owned lots, which can accomodate as many as 3,000 cars, are charging $45 to park instead of the normal $30 during the regular season.

For once, the on-street parking with meters charging as much as $7 an hour seemed to be the best bargain. Those spots were long gone before the first pitch, however.

Photo Credit: Brodie Brazil]]>
<![CDATA[Giants Win Game 4, Lead NLCS 3-1]]> Thu, 16 Oct 2014 06:20:53 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/180*120/457282342_8.jpg

The San Francisco Giants took Game 4 of the National League Championship Series against the St. Louis Cardinals with a 6-4 win.

Wednesday night's win at AT&T Park gives the Giants a 3-1 series lead over the Cardinals.

Game 5 is scheduled for 5 p.m. Thursday at AT&T Park and will feature a rematch of Game 1 starters Madison Bumgarner of the Giants and Adam Wainwright of the Cardinals.

Visit NBC Bay Area's San Francisco Giants page for more coverage.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Kamara James, U.S. Fencing Olympian, Dies in Modesto]]> Thu, 16 Oct 2014 08:52:48 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/KamaraJames.jpg

Kamara James, a former U.S. fencing Olympian, died suddenly in Modesto this month, USA Fencing announced.

James, a New York City native, was 29. The cause of death was not announced, but friends and former teammates noted that the Princeton graduate had battled mental illness.

James was an outstanding scholar, using near-perfect SAT scores to secure an academic scholarship to Princeton. She took a year off from college to qualify for the Olympics, and raised more than $50,000 to pay her own way there, according to USFencing.org.

She had retired from fencing after the 2004 Games.

According to friends, James had just settled down into a "stable drug regimen" to soothe her mental illness before her death.

Details of a memorial service are pending.

CORRECTION: An earlier version of this story used an incorrect photo to identify Kamara James.

Photo Credit: Photo Credit: Keeth Smart via www.usfencing.org]]>
<![CDATA[Giants Take Game 3, Lead NLCS 2-1]]> Tue, 14 Oct 2014 18:40:51 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/walk-off-win-sf-giants.jpg

The San Francisco Giants took Game 3 of the National League Championship Series in dramatic fashion by defeating the St. Louis Cardinals 5-4 in the bottom of the 10th inning.

Tuesday's win at AT&T Park gives the Giants a 2-1 lead over the Cardinals in the NLCS.

Game 4 is scheduled for 5 p.m. Wednesday at AT&T Park and will feature a pitching match up between Ryan Vogelsong of the Giants and Shelby Miller of the Cardinals.

Visit NBC Bay Area's San Francisco Giants page for more coverage.

Photo Credit: Getty]]>
<![CDATA[Randle Faces Shoplifting Charge]]> Tue, 14 Oct 2014 17:31:13 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/joseph-randle-mugshot-inset.jpg

Frisco police say they arrested Dallas Cowboys running back Joseph Randle for allegedly shoplifting $123 in underwear and cologne Monday night at Stonebriar Centre Mall.

According to police, Randle, 22, was stopped by Dillards loss prevention employees and detained at about 8:15 p.m. after they saw him make a purchase at a counter and then walk to another part of the store where he allegedly put a tester bottle of Gucci Guilty Black cologne ($84) and a 2-pack of black Polo underwear ($39.50) into his Dillards bag.

When he left the store and into the parking lot, he was stopped by store employees.

After Frisco police compared the contents of Randle's Dillards bag with his receipt and watched surveillance footage of him in the store, he was placed under arrest on a Class B misdemeanor for theft between $50 and $500 and put into a Frisco police car.

While there, the officer said Randle said if he knew he was going to be arrested he would have just kept walking to his car.

According to the police report, Randle told officers that he didn't pay for the merchandise because he did not want to take the time to do it.

After being booked into jail, Randle posted $350 bond and was released at about 1:20 a.m. Tuesday.

Randle, a second-year player out of Oklahoma State who was drafted by the Cowboys in the fifth round of the 2013 NFL Draft, is a backup running back for the team. In six games this season, Randle has carried the ball 16 times for 113 yards. In 2013, the back carried the ball 54 times in 13 games for a total of 164 yards.

According to RotoWorld, in 2013 Randle signed a four-year $2.39 million contract that included a $188,820 signing bonus.  His base salary in 2014 is $495,000. He is set to make $585,000 in 2015, $675,000 in 2016 and is a free agent in 2017.

At this time, there has been no statement from the Dallas Cowboys.

NBC 5's Catherine Ross contributed to this report.

Photo Credit: NBC 5 News
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<![CDATA[Giants Fans Psyched About Game 3 in Playoff Push]]> Tue, 14 Oct 2014 09:56:10 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/1013-2014-ATTPark.jpg This afternoon, more than 40,000 fans will pack AT&T Park to watch the Giants square off against the Cardinals in Game 3 of the NLCS. Stephanie Chuang reports.

Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[Baalke Deserves Credit for 49ers' Depth]]> Tue, 14 Oct 2014 10:08:15 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/184*120/dahnttayy.jpg

It’s starting to become very clear that 49ers general manager Trent Baalke did some tremendous work this past offseason.

As the Niners have reeled off three straight victories to get to 4-2, veteran wide receivers Stevie Johnson and Brandon Lloyd – acquired via trade and free agency, respectively – have played big roles. In addition, another free agent, safety Antoine Bethea, has played very well, as has offensive tackle Jonathan Martin, acquired in trade from Miami.

Plus, there’s the 2014 rookie class.

Top pick Jimmie Ward has overcome some rough patches to play more consistently in the secondary. Second-round pick Carlos Hyde has become a solid No. 2 running back behind Frank Gore and linebacker Aaron Lynch, a fifth-round selection, has become an impact player on passing downs.

On Monday night, two more rookies shined.

After inside linebacker Patrick Willis had to leave the 31-17 victory over the Rams with an apparent foot or toe injury, third-round pick Chris Borland took over for him and was solid. Later, fourth-round pick Dontae Johnson came in at cornerback after Ward suffered a quadriceps injury and the secondary had to be reshuffled.

Borland, who hadn’t played a single snap on defense this season, recorded two tackles and was praised by head coach Jim Harbaugh for his work. Harbaugh also noted the contribution of Johnson, who sealed the victory with a 20-yard interception return for a touchdown late in the game.

It’s not yet known what the extent of Willis’ injury is. He was scheduled for an MRI Tuesday. The results will determine if he’ll be able to play this Sunday against the Broncos in Denver. If he can’t, Borland will get his first start.

Fellow inside linebacker Michael Wilhoite – who’s starting in place of the injured NaVorro Bowman – says Borland played well against the Rams, telling a reporter, “He knows the derfense. He understands where he’s supposed to be. … the one thing Chris can do is, he can play the game of football.”

Johnson, meanwhile, said his interception was the result of pressure on the Rams quarterback and his seconday mates doing their jobs.

“The guys had their receivers covered up in the back, and our front had tremendous pressure,” Johnson told Cam Inman of the Bay Area News Group. “The pick-six is for all the defense.” But, Johnson was in the right place at the right time and had the athleticism to make the play.

So far in 2014, injuries have taken out key 49ers players on both offense and defense, but the roster has been stocked with plenty of talent to overcome them. Baalke deserves credit for that.


Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Commentator Weighs In on Report Linking GoPro to Schumacher Injury]]> Tue, 14 Oct 2014 17:12:17 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/AP886669197394.jpg

The French commentator whose reported remarks had sparked reports that a GoPro camera may have played a role in Formula 1 racing legend Michael Schumacher's brain injury is now urging everyone to "stop all speculation."

Schumacher, 45, has been immobile and unable to speak after he fell and hit a rock in a skiing accident last year while he was wearing a GoPro camera mounted on his helmet.

European news outlets had reported that racing commentator Jean-Louis Moncet told Europe 1 radio that Schumacher's son Mick told him the placement of the camera contributed to the brain injury — but Moncet denied that Tuesday on Twitter.

"The problem for Michael was not the hit, but the mounting of the GoPro camera that he had on his helmet that injured his brain," Eurosport had earlier quoted Moncet as having said.

But Moncet appeared to contradict that suggestion in a tweet Tuesday.
"STOP ALL SPÉCULATION," he tweeted. "Mick could not say something about camera or injury of Michael because we did not speak together."
Following the initial report linking the GoPro to Schumacher's injury, shares of the Bay Area-based company plummeted, losing as much as 10 percent in trading Monday, Business Insider reported.

A GoPro spokesman declined to comment on the report linking the camera to Schumacher's injury but said the company was monitoring the situation closely.

Schumacher emerged from a medically-induced coma in June but remains in serious condition.

Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Raiders' Holmes Emerging as Receiving Threat]]> Tue, 14 Oct 2014 08:45:24 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/184*120/aaholmesztd.jpg

There’s really not much on Andre Holmes’ resume that points to him becoming a standout wide receiver in the NFL.

Though he set receiving records galore at Division II Hillsdale College, he went undrafted, was signed by the Minnesota Vikings and then waived. Holmes then had brief stints with the Dallas Cowboys (twice) and New England Patriots before being waived again in May of 2013.

That’s when the Raiders claimed him.

Though he’s bounced around and shown both the good and the bad – great size and good speed, but a penchant for dropping passes – it now appears Holmes’ stock finally is on the rise. Perhaps for good.

Holmes showed flashes of brilliance in his first season with the Raiders, catching 25 passes for 431 yards and a touchdown. But as this season began, he disappeared. Through the first three games he was thrown to just nine times, with six catches for 74 yards.

But over the past two, Holmes has emerged. He’s been targeted 20 times and has nine catches for 195 yards and three TDs. In Sunday’s near-victory over San Diego, Holmes had 121 yards receiving on four catches for two scores – a 30.3 per-catch average.

With the development of rookie quarterback Derek Carr now accelerated, the Raiders are in need of playmaking wide receivers, and Holmes appears to be in sync with Carr. At 6-foot-4 and 210 pounds, Holmes provides a big target and is athletic enough to go over smaller cornerbacks.

As Bill Williamson of ESPN.com wrote, the play of young receivers Holmes and Brice Butler was a highlight of the Chargers game. Both made big, significant plays. But it’s Holmes who seems to have the bigger upside, with his size.

“I have always been intrigued with him and think he has the best shot of any of the Oakland receivers to emerge as their No. 1,” former NFL scout and current analyst Matt Williamson told Bill Williamson. “He is very gifted. It will be great for him and Carr to grow together.”

Sunday marked just the second 100-yard receiving day for Holmes in the NFL. Last season, he had 136 yards vs. the Cowboys on Thanksgiving.

Michael Beller of Sports Illustrated wrote this week that it appears Holmes has won the trust of Raiders coaches to earn his improved playing time. He’s played 111 snaps over the last two games after getting a total of 66 over the first three games.

Wrote Beller: “He’s a big guy at 6-foot-4, 210 pounds, and he ran a 4.53 40-yard dash, so there’s enough speed here to make him a downfield threat. Carr’s arm talent was unquestioned coming out of Fresno State, and that will only make Holmes better.”

Holmes will get his next chance to shine this Sunday, when the 0-5 Raiders take on the 4-1 Cardinals at O.co Coliseum.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Air Force Captain Proposes to Cheerleader During Game]]> Tue, 14 Oct 2014 10:05:30 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/212*120/457130192.jpg

The Arizona Cardinals may have defeated the Washington Redskins on Sunday, but Cardinals cheerleader Claire Thorton, 23, was the big winner when her Air Force Captain boyfriend got down on one knee during a break in the game and proposed.

Eric Straub, 26, dressed in his flight suit, completed a successful mission when Thorton said “Yes!” in front of thousands of screaming NFL fans who watched the proposal on the stadium’s Jumbotron.

"It was pretty amazing,'' Thornton told TODAY.com. "I was shaking really bad. He's like 'Put the ring on!' And I'm like, you put it on me!'

Thorton thought that Straub, an F-15 pilot in the Air Force, was getting a special welcome home from the Cardinals during the game since he had just returned from a deployment in the Middle East the night before.

Meanwhile, the airman had already organized with Cardinals officials that he would propose to his cheerleader girlfriend when he came out on the field.

“It was so loud you couldn't hear anything. I had all these things I wanted to say, but once I got down on my knee, I had no idea what to say. I think all I said was, 'I love you marry me!' It was funny.''

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Niners Storm Back to Beat Rams]]> Mon, 13 Oct 2014 20:58:44 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/178*120/beeloyddskor.jpg

On paper, the script for Monday night’s matchup between the 49ers and Rams seemed clear: The Niners’ powerful running game would roll right over host St. Louis, which hasn’t been able to stop the run this season.

Yet when the Rams jumped off to a surprising 14-0 lead, the script changed. The 49ers went to the air with devastating results, storming back for a 31-17 victory -- San Francisco’s third straight.

Same end result. The 49ers just took a different route.

The 49ers now are 4-2 and very much in the thick of the race in the NFC West, sandwiched between the 4-1 Cardinals and 3-2 Seahawks.

The game began with the 49ers offense out of sync. The running game was hitting a brick wall, and the team’s first three possessions ended with punts. St. Louis, meanwhile, marched to two first-quarter scores for a 14-0 lead.

The game’s turning point came just before halftime, after the 49ers had closed the gap to 14-3 on a 54-yard Phil Dawson field goal.

With just 27 seconds remaining before halftime and the 49ers on their own 20-yard line, veteran wide receiver Brandon Lloyd’s out-and-up move left cornerback Janoris Jenkins temporarily befuddled – and Lloyd wide open.

Niners quarterback Colin Kaepernick then rifled a perfect pass, hitting Lloyd in full stride, allowing Lloyd to sprint 80 yards. The touchdown closed the gap at halftime to just 14-10 and gave San Francisco momentum entering the second half.

San Francisco scored on two of its first three possessions of the third quarter, first on an 11-yard pass to Anquan Boldin to cap a 13-play drive, and then on a 32-yard bullet from Kaepernick to Michael Crabtree for 32 yards to end a seven-play drive.

Just like that, San Francisco was up 24-14 going into the fourth quarter.

The key was Kaepernick and his receivers. Kaepernick completed 22-of-36 passes for 343 yards and the three touchdowns. He also ran for 37 yards. It was the first time this season he’s gone over 300 yards passing – but it’s not surprising the way he’s been playing of late.

In his three previous games, Kaepernick has been efficient, throwing for four TDs with just one interception, and Rams veteran linebacker James Laurinaitis had watched the film and said Kaepernick had grown significantly since last season.

No longer is he just a one- or two-read quarterback, he said.

"He seems to be finding the third read better than he has in the past," Laurinaitis said on a conference call with Bay Area reporters. "Before you could say he was going to one read, maybe two, and if not, he’s taking off.” In short, "He’s grown a little bit," he said.

On Monday night, the older, wiser Kaepernick led his team back from a rough start, and the defense – though having to play without linebacker Patrick Willis, who had to leave the game because of an injury – settled down.

The Rams kept things interesting by stopping the 49ers on a fourth-and-goal play late, then driving for a field goal. Later they had one last possession to try to get a tie, but a 20-yard interception return for a TD by rookie cornerback Dontae Johnson put the game on ice.

The 49ers now face perhaps their biggest test yet, having to go to Denver this coming Sunday to face the defending AFC-champion Broncos.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Raiders, Carr Thrive in More Wide-Open Approach]]> Mon, 13 Oct 2014 08:36:04 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/178*120/Kahrrvsd.jpg

It’s possible that Tony Sparano’s Raiders will fare no better than the team did under former head coach Dennis Allen.

Oakland, after all, lost its 11th straight game while also falling to 0-5 this season, with a 31-28 defeat at the hands of the San Diego Chargers Sunday afternoon at O.co Coliseum. With 11 games remaining, it’s hard to see Oakland as a favorite to win any of the scheduled matchups, including this Sunday’s game against the Arizona Cardinals.

Yet though the scoreboard outcome was the same, the way the Raiders played in the first game under Sparano was not.

For the first time this season, the Raiders were playing to win. The energy level was up, as was the physical play of both lines. Running backs had holes to run through and defenders pushed back blockers.

Certainly, in taking over this team, Sparano’s message to his players – to wipe the slate clean and play with enthusiasm – hit home. And nowhere was the change more evident than in the offensive play-calling and the performance of rookie quarterback Derek Carr.

The Raiders took chances, throwing the ball deep. Over his first four games, Carr mostly threw shorter, safer routes. He averaged just 5.7 yards per throw.

But in the first game under Sparano, Carr upped that to 8.3, completing 18-of-34 throws for 282 yards and four touchdowns. Carr went deep early, completing a 77-yard bomb to Andre Holmes to give Oakland a 7-0 lead. He also had a 47-yarder to Brice Butler (though much of that was after the catch), and an18-yarder to James Jones.

Carr didn’t look overmatched. He looked confident, and his arm and accuracy were strong.

During the bye week, after the firing of Allen, the Raiders worked on opening up the offense and being more of an attacking team in the air and on the ground.

“We realized during the bye week that we didn’t have a lot of explosive plays,” center Stefen Wisniewski told Vic Tafur of the San Francisco Chronicle. “And that was something we focused on. And it opened up the running game, too, if people are scared of you going deep on them.”

Nowhere was the new attitude more evident than on the Raiders’ last play.

After connecting with Butler for 11 yards and Jones for 9 to get to the San Diego 45, the Raiders were almost within field-goal range for Sebastian Janikowski. A field goal would have tied the game and sent it to overtime.

But instead of going with another short route and a chance at a tie, Carr threw deep for Butler down the sideline, one-on-one with rookie corner Jason Verrett. Both players went up for the ball, with Verrett winning the battle and coming down with it at the San Diego 5 with just over a minute remaining. San Diego then ran out the clock to secure the victory.

But afterward, Carr said it was a play he would try again in that situation.

“Brice had a double move, so we knew he would have a one-on-one and so I pumped it, the safety was not in the play, I wasn’t worried about the safety,” said Carr. “So I was just giving Brice a chance there.”

This time, things didn’t work out. But Carr showed Sunday that in a more wide-open offense, he can be the kind of quarterback who can take over games. Going forward, he and the Raiders seem destined for some better days.

Said Sparano to reporters after the loss: “The kid is a competitive kid. He’s just getting better and better and better. … You can see it today with what he did.”


Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[San Francisco 49ers vs. St. Louis Rams]]> Mon, 13 Oct 2014 20:59:58 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/176*120/457181256_8.jpg Photo highlights from the Monday Night Football matchup between the San Francisco 49ers and St. Louis Rams.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Late Homers Sink Giants in NLCS Game 2, Series Tied 1-1]]> Mon, 13 Oct 2014 06:08:34 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/180*120/457139424.jpg

The St. Louis Cardinals have evened the National League Championship Series 1-1 after three late homers fueled St. Louis to a 5-4 walk-off win over the San Francisco Giants.

Cardinals outfielder Kolten Wong delivered a walk-off home run off Sergio Romo in the bottom of the ninth inning to end the night.

With the Giants ahead 3-2 in the seventh inning, Cardinals pinch-hitter Oscar Taveras tied the game with a home run off reliever Jean Machi. Matt Adams followed with another home run off Hunter Strickland in the eighth inning that put the Cardinals ahead 4-3.

The Giants tied the game in top of the ninth after a wild pitch from Trevor Rosenthal scored pinch-runner Matt Duffy, who was running on the pitch, from second base.

The Cardinals won after losing All-Star catcher Yadier Molina to a strained oblique muscle in the sixth. Molina was getting further tests and manager Mike Matheny said it ``didn't look real good.''

"We just knew we had to keep grinding,'' Wong said. "When you lose someone like Yadi, it's definitely tough for us, but we told ourselves we've been going through this all year. Grinding up and down, not getting any easy pass, so we're all so confident.''

It was a rare postseason failure for the reliable San Francisco bullpen, which allowed a home run in each of the final three innings.

"They are the reason we're in this situation, and you give (the Cardinals) credit,'' manager Bruce Bochy said. "They threw out some good at-bats and we made a couple of mistakes and they took advantage of them.''

The best-of-seven series resumes Tuesday night with Game 3 in San Francisco with John Lackey going for St. Louis and Tim Hudson starting for the Giants.

Wong hit an 0-1 pitch from Sergio Romo for his second big home run this postseason. The rookie's seventh-inning drive was the decisive blow in Game 3 of the NL Division Series against the Los Angeles Dodgers.

St. Louis, last in the NL with 105 home runs during the regular season, has hit 11 homers in six playoff games, seven in the seventh inning or later. Earlier, Matt Carpenter connected for the fourth time this postseason.

Seth Maness retired Pablo Sandoval on a comebacker with the bases loaded to end the top of the ninth, and got the win.

Maness came on after closer Trevor Rosenthal couldn't hold a one-run lead. Rosenthal's pitch bounced off the glove off backup catcher Tony Cruz and Duffy, running on a full count, never broke stride and slid home with the tying run.

Molina bent over in pain after a swing and didn't make it out of the batter's box on a double-play ball in the sixth. Wincing, he gingerly walked off the field.

Adams, whose three-run shot off Clayton Kershaw put St. Louis in front for good in their clinching playoff win over Dodgers, homered off Giants reliever Hunter Strickland.

Gregor Blanco's fourth postseason hit in 31 at-bats put the Giants up 3-2 in the seventh, but Taveras re-tied it in the bottom half with a homer off Jean Machi just inside the right-field foul pole.

Carpenter hit a solo home run off Jake Peavy in the third. Randal Grichuk singled with the bases loaded in the fourth to make it 2-0.

The Giants came back against Lance Lynn.


Giants: Hudson pitched well vs. Washington in Game 2 of the Division Series, allowing a run in 7 1-3 innings.

Cardinals: Lackey has a win each of the last three postseason series and is the active leader with 111 postseason innings.

Click here for full Giants coverage.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Mayoral Candidate Received Cash from A's After Stadium Vote]]> Mon, 13 Oct 2014 17:58:07 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/173*120/454313240_8.jpg

A's owner Lew Wolff said City Council member Rebecca Kaplan was a big help in helping secure an extended lease at O.co Coliseum.

And Wolff thanked Kaplan for it, with some of the $2,100 in campaign contributions Wolff and his family have given the mayoral candidate, according to the San Francisco Chronicle.

Kaplan has since returned the cash, which might be a violation of state and local law restricting contributions from people doing business with the city within a three-to-six month period, the newspaper reported.

Kaplan was lauded as a major player in securing the A's two-year lease extension by Wolff, whose family wrote her three $700 checks, on Aug. 19 and on Sept. 3, the newspaper reported.

In her quest to unseat Mayor Jean Quan, Kaplan has promoted her ability to deliver on the Coliseum deal.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Willie Brown: SF Olympic Bid Gets Serious]]> Mon, 13 Oct 2014 17:51:43 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/AP183925728335.jpg

It looks like San Francisco could be getting serious about bringing the Olympics to town in 2024.

No less an authority than former Mayor Willie Brown says that the man leading the very real push to bring the Olympics to the city is Giants president Larry Baer, he wrote in the Chronicle.

The idea is to build a new temporary stadium to host the games in Brisbane, near the to-be-demolished Candlestick Park, that would be torn down as soon as the Games ended, Da Mayor wrote.

But, to accomodate that, the bid committee would need to offer spaces to have all the events in or around the city, meaning no far-flung events, and that transit developments like the Central Subway, the BART extension to San Jose and the Transbay Terminal all need to be completed.

Long shot? Maybe, but the city is serious about it, at least according to the man who used to be mayor.

Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[AT&T Park Ready for NLCS]]> Mon, 13 Oct 2014 18:57:25 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/1013-2014-ATTPark.jpg

AT&T Park's grounds crew is preparing for the National League Championship Series as the battle to reach the World Series shifts to San Francisco.

The San Francisco Giants and St. Louis Cardinals split the first two games at Busch Stadium.

Game 3 is scheduled to begin at 1 p.m. Tuesday and will feature a pitching matchup between Tim Hudson of the Giants and John Lackey of the Cardinals. Games 4 and 5 of the NLCS will also be played at AT&T Park.

Meanwhile, Giants fever is sweeping the city. Boxes of postseason gear and merchandise were being unpacked at the ballpark and filling up sales stands and stores.

Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[Oakland Raiders Fans Egg San Diego Chargers Bus]]> Mon, 13 Oct 2014 08:39:21 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/raiders_bus_image.jpg

It was a rude welcome Sunday by Oakland Raiders fans when the San Diego Chargers' team bus showed up at the Coliseum.

Cameras captured fans pelting the Chargers' bus with eggs. Of course, the Chargers and Raiders have a deep and heated rivalry.

In the past, the fans have too.

No response yet from the Raiders on what happened, but the Chargers did get the last laugh by coming back late to win the game 31-28.

Photo Credit: Jordan Beane]]>
<![CDATA[Outcome is Same, but Raiders Aren't]]> Sun, 12 Oct 2014 16:44:02 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/179*120/chargeroyaltd.jpg

Tony Sparano sent a lot of messages to his players the past week.

The new Raiders head coach buried the past in a ceremony, told his team the 0-4 start was wiped clean and said he wanted to see the Raiders celebrate a victory over the Chargers at O.co Coliseum Sunday.

“He just said he wants to see us smile after a win Sunday,” Oakland defensive tackle Antonio Smith told a reporter this past week.

For most of Sunday’s game, those smiles seemed a very real possibility. The Raiders had the 4-1 Chargers on the ropes, holding a 28-21 lead late in the fourth quarter thanks to some brilliant quarterback play from rookie Derek Carr, a resurgent running game, solid defense and offensive and defensive lines that outplayed San Diego.

But in the end, the Chargers offense was just too much too overcome. San Diego pulled out a 31-28 victory, dropping the Raiders to 0-5 with an 11th straight loss.

After holding the Chargers to a field goal with four minutes left to maintain a 28-24 lead, Oakland couldn’t sustain a drive and had to turn the ball over. Keenan Allen then gave San Diego great field position at the Oakland 39 with a 29-yard punt return, before Philip Rivers led a six-play drive for the go-ahead touchdown on a 1-yard run by Brendan Oliver.

The Raiders still had one last possession, but a deep ball by Carr intended for Brice Butler was intercepted at the Chargers 5, sealing the San Diego win.

But for the first time this season, Sparano had the Raiders playing with life.

Running backs Darren McFadden and Maurice Jones-Drew combined for 110 yards rushing as Oakland had a season-high 114.

And Carr was exceptional. He gave Oakland a quick 7-0 lead with a 77-yard strike to Andre Holmes in the first quarter, then added three more TD passes, to James Jones, Brice Butler and Holmes again.

On the day, Carr was 18-of-34 for 282 yards, and also led Oakland to convert 8-of-13 third-down plays.

Though they lost, the Raiders were a much different team Sunday. The fan base certainly was energized by what it saw in the first game since Dennis Allen was fired as head coach.

Tweeted one: “Even though they lost, I’m really proud of my boys @RAIDERS. They played well and really stepped up. Looking forward to the rest of the season!” Tweeted another: “Good team effort. At least we are improving … next week with Cards is a win yall.”

The Raiders stay home this week and play host to the Arizona Cardinals this coming Sunday at 1:25 p.m., still looking for win No. 1.

After Sunday’s performance, it no longer seems like a hopeless cause.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>