<![CDATA[NBC Bay Area - Top News - [BAY ONLY INCLUDES CSN]Sports]]>Copyright 2018http://www.nbcbayarea.com/newsen-usFri, 20 Jul 2018 03:59:23 -0700Fri, 20 Jul 2018 03:59:23 -0700NBC Local Integrated Media<![CDATA[Top Stories]]>Wed, 07 Jun 2017 06:14:06 -0700]]><![CDATA[Raiders]]>Wed, 07 Jun 2017 06:13:32 -0700]]><![CDATA[College Sports]]>Wed, 07 Jun 2017 06:14:39 -0700]]><![CDATA[49ers]]>Wed, 07 Jun 2017 06:15:24 -0700]]><![CDATA[Sharks]]>Wed, 07 Jun 2017 06:16:03 -0700]]><![CDATA[Athletics]]>Wed, 07 Jun 2017 06:16:37 -0700]]><![CDATA[Warriors]]>Wed, 07 Jun 2017 06:17:10 -0700]]><![CDATA[Giants]]>Wed, 07 Jun 2017 06:17:45 -0700]]><![CDATA[49ers to Open 10 Training Camp Practices to Public]]>Thu, 19 Jul 2018 21:58:12 -0700https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/jimmyg-49ers-0719.jpg

The San Francisco 49ers on Thursday announced they will open 10 training camp practices to the public at the team's SAP Performance Facility next to Levi's Stadium.

Tickets went on sale at 4 p.m. Thursday on a first-come, first-served basis for the following dates:

  • July 26-29
  • July 31-Aug. 2
  • Aug. 6-7
  • Aug. 12

Tickets can be purchased at www.49ers.com/trainingcamp and carry a $5 donation fee to the 49ers Foundation, the team said. Children under 2 will not need tickets.

Tickets will be 100 percent mobile and available through the 49ers app, the Levi’s Stadium app or 49ers Account Manager mobile, the team said.

Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[Rugby World Cup Sevens Becoming a Tough Ticket in SF]]>Wed, 18 Jul 2018 19:50:07 -0700https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/Rugby_World_Cup_Sevens_Becoming_a_Tough_Ticket_in_SF.jpg

The Rugby World Cup Sevens begins Friday at AT&T Park and runs through the weekend. So far, about a 100,000 tickets have been sold for the event that comes to U.S. soil for the first time. Colin Resch reports.]]>
<![CDATA[Bay Area Golf Fans in for a Treat Over the Next Year]]>Wed, 18 Jul 2018 00:02:56 -0700https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/Bay_Area_Golf_Fans_in_for_a_Treat_Over_the_Next_Year.jpg

The Monterey Peninsula is a golfing heaven. Not just to play but also to spectate. And over the next 11 months, the world’s best juniors, amateurs and professionals will descend upon it. The U.S. Girls Junior Championship is already underway at Poppy Hills. Colin Resch has the story in the video above.]]>
<![CDATA[Warriors Coach Steve Kerr Receives Contract Extension ]]>Tue, 17 Jul 2018 23:54:54 -0700https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/kerrstevepresserwet.jpg

Golden State Warriors coach Steve Kerr has received a contract extension following the franchise's repeat championship and third title in four years during his tenure.

Kerr and general manager Bob Myers, who are close friends and colleagues, said when the season ended that something would get done quickly once they began formal discussions. Kerr had one year remaining on his original $25 million, five-year contract. Details of the extension were not announced Tuesday.

The 52-year-old Kerr has said he hopes to coach at least another decade and perhaps 15 years. His Warriors swept LeBron James and Cleveland in the fourth straight NBA Finals matchups between the rivals.

Kerr stayed healthy and on the bench while continuing to deal with symptoms such as headaches and dizzy spells stemming from a pair of back surgeries following the 2015 title.

The Warriors marked themselves as a dynasty with their latest crown. They joined Bill Russell's Boston Celtics, the Chicago Bulls led by Michael Jordan and the Lakers' trio of title runs fueled by George Mikan in the 1950s, Magic Johnson and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar in the `80s, and Shaquille O'Neal and Kobe Bryant nearly 20 years ago as the only franchises in NBA history to capture three championships in four years.

Golden State captured the franchise's first title in 40 years during 2014-15, with Kerr as a rookie head coach. Now, the Warriors are gearing up for one more season in Oracle Arena before opening their state-of-the-art Chase Center in San Francisco's Mission Bay neighborhood in August 2019.

James offered a shoutout to Kerr during the finals.

"I could sit here and say today -- `Listen, Golden State is a great team ...' -- I didn't even mention their head coach," James said. "Their head coach is the one who kind of puts it all together, makes it all flow. To be able to put egos and the right position and spot on the floor where everybody feels good about the outcome and things of that nature -- when it comes to team sports, that's something that you would hope that you could be a part of."

Kerr owns a 265-63 record (.808), guiding the Warriors to a record 73-win season in 2015-16 before a runner-up finish to the Cavaliers. His Warriors then went a record 16-1 during the 2017 postseason on the way to another title.

He was tested more as a coach this season, aside from his 43-game absence to begin the 2015-16 season when then-top assistant and current Lakers coach Luke Walton led the Warriors to a record 24-0 start and 39-4 mark before Kerr's return to the bench.

Late in the regular season this year, Golden State lost seven of 10 during one noteworthy funk for a team that when healthy starts four All-Stars and can score in flurries with a pass-happy offense that racks up assists.

For weeks ahead of the 2018 playoffs, the Warriors hardly looked like that super team that dominated through the previous postseason. They lost their final regular-season game at Utah by 40 points.

Yet Kerr and his players insisted all along they would find another level when there was something bigger to play for.

Kerr was forced to use a mindboggling 27 different starting lineups to get through the regular season and wind up a No. 2 seed behind Houston, with the Western Conference finals marking the first time the Warriors had to open a series on the road since 2014.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC Bay Area

Photo Credit: Monte Poole]]>
<![CDATA[Rugby World Cup Sevens: Preparations Underway at AT&T Park]]>Mon, 16 Jul 2018 19:20:35 -0700https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/rugbycolin_3511860.JPG

It's half sporting event and half carnival, and it's coming to San Francisco. The largest rugby event ever on U.S. soil begins Friday, and it takes place at the home of the Giants, AT&T Park. Colin Resch has the story on the Rugby World Cup Sevens Tournament in the above video.

Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[Jeff Samardzija Placed Back on the DL With Shoulder Injury]]>Sun, 15 Jul 2018 19:17:03 -0700https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/sharkus.jpg

SAN FRANCISCO -- It was clear on Saturday night that Jeff Samardzija still isn't right. On Sunday morning, Samardzija was put back on the disabled list. 

The right-hander lasted just four innings against the A's with diminished velocity and poor command, and afterward admitted that he had trouble getting and staying loose during the start. That has been an issue for Samardzija going back to spring training, and he will spend the final day before the break getting examined by team doctors and undergoing another MRI. 

Manager Bruce Bochy said he did not know what's next for Samardzija. He likely will need another extended break, although surgery has not yet been discussed. Bochy said Samardzija will throw a bullpen session at some point after the break to see if his shoulder has improved. He will get treatment throughout the All-Star break. 

Samardzija missed 18 games at the start of the season and then 35 more after he tried to return. Bochy credited him with trying to stay on the field and pitching through pain. 

"He's such a competitor," Bochy said. "He wants to be out there. He willed his way through four innings yesterday, I think."

To take the roster spot, the Giants added Kelby Tomlinson to the roster. Derek Holland likely will take the rotation spot after the break, although the Giants do not need a fifth starter right away because they're off after three games in Oakland next weekend. 

Photo Credit: Alex Pavlovic]]>
<![CDATA[Bay Bridge Series: A's Are Hot, Giants Not at All-Star Break]]>Sun, 15 Jul 2018 19:02:29 -0700https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/180*120/giants-as-0715.jpg

SAN FRANCISCO -- There were many positives in the first half for the Giants, but the All-Star break came with a whimper.

The lineup scattered five hits, Andrew Suarez had a rare dud, and the Giants fell 6-2 to the A's in the third game of this six-game set. They've lost two straight after a good win on Friday night and enter the break with a 50-48 record and in fourth place in the National League West.

Here's what you need to know from "Don't Miss Your Red-eye Flight" Day...

--- Suarez was cruising through his final start of the half before the wheels came off in the fourth. Suarez didn’t allow a hit to that point, but Jed Lowrie walked with one out and the A’s followed with four consecutive singles. A sacrifice fly capped the four-run inning. Suarez gave up four earned in five innings, walking two and striking out five. He had allowed four total runs in his four previous starts.

--- Because of all his injuries, Ray Black often wasn’t allowed to pitch back-to-back days in the minor leagues. Bruce Bochy tested him Sunday, sending him out for the seventh a few hours after Black got a couple outs in relief of Tony Watson. Black easily handled the test, striking out two and getting a pop-up to center. His fastball was down a tick… to 97.

--- Chase d’Arnaud hit a solo shot, his second since being called up. The veteran is tied with Pablo Sandoval for the team lead in homers in July. That’s nice for d’Arnaud, not so great for this offense. The Giants have just six homers this month.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Steph Wetter? Curry Jumps Into Lake Tahoe After Losing Bet]]>Sun, 15 Jul 2018 15:40:46 -0700https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/stephwetter_1.jpg

Steph Curry lived up to his Splash Brother moniker on Sunday, and jumped into Lake Tahoe after losing a bet with his father, Dell Curry, at the American Century Championship.

The Splash Father bet the Splash Son he would trail by fewer than 20 points at the end of the tournament. The elder Curry had room to spare on Sunday, too, and was just 18 back of his son. 

The two-time MVP was a man of his word. 


Last year, the Currys made the same bet, and it was Dell Curry who had to purify himself in the waters of Lake Tahoe. He tied for 30th at the event this year, while Curry tied for 11th. 

Photo Credit: NBC Sports Bay Area staff]]>
<![CDATA[A's Muscle Up to Take Down Astros Again]]>Wed, 11 Jul 2018 20:51:17 -0700https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/as-astros-0711.jpg

Chris Bassitt limited the Astros to three runs over five innings and got offensive production from Khris Davis and Chad Pinder as the A's beat the Astros 8-3 on Wednesday night.

Davis legged out his first triple of the season and drove in three runs, while Pinder hit his ninth homer and drove in three runs as well. Matt Chapman drove in a run with a sacrifice fly in the first inning. Josh Phegley provided an insurance run with a single to right in the top of the ninth.

Emilio Pagan, Ryan Dull and Ryan Buchter combined to pitch four scoreless inning in relief of Bassitt.

With the win, the A's move to 52-41 and go for the series win in Houston on Thursday.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Giants Top Cubs on Buster Posey's Walkoff Hit in the 13th]]>Wed, 11 Jul 2018 21:23:39 -0700https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/191*120/giants-cubs-0711.jpg

SAN FRANCISCO -- Derek Holland brought a small bottle of baby oil onto the field at 11:30 a.m. Wednesday morning in an effort to help get Brandon Belt into the All-Star Game. Many hours later, Holland upgraded to his walk-off Alhambra jug.

Buster Posey smacked a long single off the bricks to give the San Francisco Giants a 5-4 win over the Cubs in the 13th inning on Wednesday afternoon. The game-winner, the eighth walk-off of the season for the Giants, came after hours of frustration at the plate.

The Giants scored four runs in the first and then shut it down. They had 10 baserunners from the third through the eighth, but did not score. In the meantime, the Cubs chipped away. A couple of homers in the middle innings tied the game.

The Giants got the leadoff runner on again in the ninth but could not score, but they weren't burned, in large part because of Will Smith. The closer lowered his ERA to 0.95 with two scoreless innings and Dereck Rodriguez came out of the 'pen for three scoreless innings. In the 13th, the lineup finally broke through.

Brandon Belt walked with two outs and Andrew McCutchen bounced a single into left. Posey, who handles high-velocity pitchers well, won it off hard-throwing rookie James Norwood, who was making his MLB debut.

—- Johnny Cueto was sharper than in his return, but still struggled with his command at times and pitched without his usual velocity. In five innings, he gave up three earned on six hits and three walks. HIs fastball averaged 89.4 mph.

—- Cueto appeared to hurt his right hand while taking a swing in the bottom of the fourth inning. He yelled out in pain as he left the batter’s box and was immediately checked by a trainer once he returned to the dugout. Cueto stayed in the game, but gave up a two-run homer in the top of the fifth and barely escaped. Bochy let him stay in after a four-pitch walk and rocket to the track from Javier Baez, and Cueto struck out Kyle Schwarber and got Addison Russell to line out to center.

—- Making his second start in as many days, Chase d’Arnaud hit a leadoff homer against Mike Montgomery. The shot to left was his first as a Giant. Called up Saturday, d’Arnaud likely will see the majority of the starts at second base against left-handed pitchers.

—- The Cubs tied it in the seventh when Baez took Tony Watson deep to center. Watson had not allowed a run in his previous 18 innings, the longest active streak in MLB. He had thrown 20 2/3 consecutive scoreless innings at home.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Melvin Excited by What He Sees From Raiders]]>Wed, 11 Jul 2018 08:40:52 -0700https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/186*120/RMMelvvin.jpg

When the Raiders open the 2018 season, they’ll have some new faces on defense. Veterans such as linebackers Derrick Johnson and Tahir Whitehead, ends Tank Carradine and Frostee Rucker and cornerback Rashaan Melvin have been added. All could play significant roles.

The former Indianapolis Colts standout, Melvin, could be one of the biggest impact players. Along with second-year man Gareon Conley, Melvin could help anchor a cornerback group that needs to improve significantly from 2017 if Oakland wants to contend in the AFC West.

Melvin, 28, started the past two seasons with the Colts and had three interceptions in 2017, along with 13 passes defensed and 36 tackles. The 6-foot-2, 196-pounder from Northern Illinois goes into the start of training camp – set for July 25 – excited by what he sees in Oakland on both offense and defense.

“It’s a veteran group,” Melvin said on Sirius XM NFL Radio recently. “We have a 12-year vet in every position group. We have guys who have been successful in the league and who can teach the young players how to be successful in the system. On offense we have the same thing, a running back and offensive line who have been together for a while and guys who have been to multiple Pro Bowls who can help mold the organization into what you want it to be.”

Melvin said he was eager to sign with the Raiders as a free agent because of the Oakland fans, the talent on the roster and the enthusiasm of head coach Jon Gruden.

Said Melvin: “Gruden is there. He’s a wonderful coach. His style of coaching, the energy he brings to the team, for me that’s a spotlight. There will be a lot of eyes on the team. It’s an opportunity for me to show that I am one of the very best cornerbacks in the NFL. That’s why I chose to go to Oakland.”

Melvin last year graded as the 17th-best corner in the NFL, according to the analytic website Pro Football Focus. Melvin’s play could be a boost to a defense that ranked 26thin the NFL in pass defense in 2017, giving up 241.1 yards per game.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Giants Manage Just Three Hits in Shutout Loss to Cubs]]>Tue, 10 Jul 2018 22:12:26 -0700https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/171*120/giants-cubs-0710.jpg

SAN FRANCISCO — Derek Holland packed more entertainment into a one-minute promo for Brandon Belt on Monday than the rest of the team did into Holland’s return to the rotation. The Giants lost 2-0, managing just three hits off Jose Quintana and three Cubs relievers.

The Giants, sorely missing Evan Longoria, have dropped 11 of 16 against left-handed starters. Here's what else you need to know...

—- Holland’s return to starting couldn’t have gone much better. He was charged with one earned in 6 1/3 innings and tied a season-high with eight strikeouts. Holland got a season-high 18 swinging strikes, including 12 with his slider.

He left with a runner on second and one out in the seventh, and the Cubs scored the night’s first run on an error. Addison Russell took third on a wild pitch and scored when Nick Hundley’s throw got away from Pablo Sandoval. The Cubs scored a second run when Victor Caratini smashed a double off Sam Dyson.

—- Chase d’Arnaud picked up his first hit as a Giant, a broken-bat single to center field in the fifth inning.

—- Ray Black made his second appearance since his promotion Sunday morning, and this one went much smoother. Black froze Willson Contreras with a 78 mph curveball to get his first strikeout and then threw 99 mph past Russell. A pop-up ended the perfect inning. Black maxed out at 99.2 mph.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[A's Rally in Ninth But Fall Short in 11 Innings to Astros]]>Tue, 10 Jul 2018 21:57:08 -0700https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/160*130/as-astros-0710.jpg

HOUSTON -- Alex Bregman homered twice and his tapper just in front of the plate in the 11th inning led to a bizarre play that ended the game, as catcher Jonathan Lucroy's throwing error handed the Houston Astros a 6-5 victory over the Oakland Athletics.

Justin Verlander pitched six sharp innings and the Astros took a 4-0 lead into the ninth before Oakland tied it.

Stephen Piscotty hit a solo homer with two outs in the top of the 11th off Collin McHugh (5-0) to put the A's ahead, but the Astros staged their own rally.

All-Star closer Blake Treinen (5-2) walked pinch-hitter Josh Reddick, who went to third on a single to right field by rookie Kyle Tucker. With the infield playing in, Tony Kemp hit a grounder to shortstop Marcus Semien. He made a low throw home that Lucroy was unable to handle, allowing Reddick to slide in safely with the tying run.

One out later, Bregman's dribbler started out foul before spinning into fair territory just a few feet up the first base line. Bregman failed to run initially, so Lucroy scooped up the ball and reached for Bregman as he backpedaled _ the bat still in his hand _ in an effort to dodge the tag.

But the ball slipped out of Lucroy's bare hand, pinballed off plate umpire David Rackley and Lucroy, and then fell to the ground. Still with plenty of time, though, Lucroy picked up the ball, set his feet with an angle to throw to first base _ and fired the ball off the back of Bregman's helmet as he ran up the line.

The ball deflected into foul territory in right field, and Tucker trotted home with the winning run.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC Bay Area

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Warriors Reach Deal With Steph Curry's Future Brother-In-Law]]>Tue, 10 Jul 2018 19:38:23 -0700https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/leedamionfloater.jpg

Steph Curry is going to be teammates with somebody who will soon be a family member.

Damion Lee agreed to terms on a two-way contract with Golden State, according to ESPN's Chris Haynes.

Lee is engaged to Curry's sister, Sydel.

Lee, who will turn 26 years old in October, played in 38 games for the Santa Cruz Warriors last season.

Over his final 11 appearances, he averaged just under 19 points while shooting 41 percent from deep.

After two 10-day contracts with the Hawks, Atlanta signed Lee for the remainder of the season.

He averaged 10.7 points, 4.7 rebounds, 1.9 assists and 1.3 steals in 15 games (11 starts).

Drew Shiller is the co-host of Warriors Outsiders. Follow him on Twitter @DrewShiller

Photo Credit: Drew Shiller]]>
<![CDATA[Goodwin's Stock May Continue to Rise]]>Tue, 10 Jul 2018 08:02:08 -0700https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/178*120/GoodGoodwin.jpg

The 49ers’ acquisition of Marquise Goodwin in 2017 may turn out to be one of the franchise’s best moves in a long time.

The former University of Texas track standout and wide receiver was largely overlooked in four seasons with the Buffalo Bills. Over those four years he had 10 starts and 49 catches. There was little on his resume to indicate he was ready for a breakout last season.

Yet now, as the 49ers prepare to open training camp on July 25, Goodwin at age 27 could be ready to join the ranks of the NFL’s top receivers.

Goodwin had 56 catches in 2017 for 962 yards and two touchdowns, with an average of 17.2 yards per catch. He made catches on short, intermediate and long routes. He wasn’t just a deep-threat sprinter, but a skilled, all-around target who meshed well with new quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo. The 49ers were so impressed by his performance – that included a strong work ethic and playing through the pain of the loss of his infant child – that the franchise in March signed him to a three-year extension that could be worth as much as $20.3 million.

Said general manager John Lynch at the time of the signing: “From the minute Marquise joined our team he has shown us everything we want to see in a 49er.”

This week, the analytic website Pro Football Focus noted how steep Goodwin’s rise was with his new team. In 2016 with the Bills, Goodwin was given a 51.6 overall grade by PFF, which ranked 93rd among NFL wideouts. In 2017, his grade was 80.0, which ranked 26th.

As Patrick Holloway of SB Nation wrote Tuesday, Goodwin came close to a 1,000-yard season in just his first year in the offensive scheme of head coach Kyle Shanahan. This coming season, with more familiarity and confidence in the playbook and with Garoppolo, Goodwin could be poised for a monster season. Opposing defenses began focusing late last season on stopping Goodwin, yet he prevailed. Now, veteran Pierre Garcon returns from injury and the receiving corps appears much stronger with second-year man Trent Taylor, second-round pick Dante Pettis and others such as Kendrick Bourne, Aldrick Robinson and rookie Richie James.

Goodwin, too, is a deep threat who will stretch the field. In 2017, Goodwin ranked as the No. 4 wideout in the league on deep post routes, with a grade of 123.6, far above the NFL average of 98.6.

Once Garoppolo became the starter, Goodwin became his favorite target. The QB threw nearly 25 percent of his passes to Goodwin and had 25 percent of his completions to him.

Lynch, for one, believes Goodwin is positioned to get better and better and help the 49ers become a winner again.

Said Lynch: “Marquise earned this (contract) extension by coming in every day focused on doing his job and, as a result, he made himself and his teammates better.”

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Sandoval Wins it For Giants With Walkoff Hit in the 11th]]>Mon, 09 Jul 2018 22:44:57 -0700https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/173*120/giants-panda-0709.jpg

Pablo Sandoval singled home the winning run with one out in the bottom of the 11th inning a day after driving in five runs, sending the San Francisco Giants to a 2-1 victory over the Chicago Cubs on Monday night.

Brandon Crawford loaded the bases when he was intentionally walked by Pedro Strop to bring up Sandoval, who hit a sharp single to left against a five-man infield.

Andrew McCutchen and Brandon Belt started the rally with consecutive one-out singles off Steve Cishek (2-1), who entered with one out in the 10th and immediately gave up Hunter Pence's triple before working out of trouble.

Ty Blach (6-5) pitched a 1-2-3 11th for the win.

The Giants came through an inning after missing a big chance with Pence on third. Pinch-hitter Chase d'Arnaud struck out with the Cubs playing with five infielders, making him 0 for 16 in his last nine games. Then Steven Duggar also struck out.

Ben Zobrist hit a two-out double in the ninth off Will Smith but David Bote then grounded out.

A day after the Giants scored 13 runs, they needed every last chance.

Alen Hanson tied the game in the fifth when he blazed around the bases to score from first on Anthony Rizzo's second error of the inning. The ball skipped by the first baseman and rolled past the visitor's bullpen in right-field foul territory. The speedy Hanson slid headfirst with his left hand touching home before catcher Willson Contreras could tag him.

Cubs right-hander Kyle Hendricks struck out eight and pitched into the ninth as manager Joe Maddon got a pair of relievers up in the bullpen. After Brandon Belt drew a one-out walk, Hendricks' night was done and he gave way to Randy Rosario.

Hendricks is winless in four starts since beating the Cardinals on June 16.

Giants starter Andrew Suarez has allowed two or fewer runs in each of his last six outings. He gave up one run on three hits, struck out five and walked four in six innings.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC Bay Area

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Montas, Piscotty Help A's Blank Astros For 3rd Straight Win]]>Mon, 09 Jul 2018 20:30:02 -0700https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/160*122/as-astros-0709.jpg

Frankie Montas and two relievers combined for a five-hitter, Stephen Piscotty homered and hit an RBI single and the Oakland Athletics beat the Houston Astros 2-0 on Monday night.

Houston starter Gerrit Cole struck out 11 and scattered three singles across six scoreless innings before Brad Peacock (1-4) took over for the seventh. Piscotty, who finished with three of Oakland's six hits, greeted him with his home run to left field to make it 1-0. He added an insurance run with a single in the eighth.

The Athletics have won three in a row and 11 of their last 13. The loss snapped Houston's six-game winning streak.

Montas (5-2) also allowed just three singles with two walks and two strikeouts in six innings to get back on track after yielding 17 hits and nine runs combined in his last two starts.

Lou Trivino struck out three in two perfect innings before closer Blake Treinen allowed two singles in the ninth, striking out Evan Gattis for his 23rd save to help Oakland improve to 35-0 this season when leading after seven innings. It's the 20th straight save opportunity he's converted dating back to May 4.

Marwin Gonzalez walked with two outs in the second inning, but Houston didn't get a hit until a single by Jose Altuve with one out in the fourth. But he was soon erased when he took second and tried to reach third on a wild pitch, and Montas struck out Josh Reddick to end the inning.

Houston had just one hit in the sixth inning before George Springer and Alex Bregman hit consecutive singles. Montas was able to escape the jam when Altuve grounded into a double play.

Cole retired the first eight batters before Jonathan Lucroy's single with two outs in the third inning.

Cole walked Jed Lowrie with two outs in the sixth before an infield single by Khris Davis. But he struck out Matt Olson to end the threat.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC Bay Area

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Giants' Buster Posey Out of All-Star Game Due to Hip Injury]]>Mon, 09 Jul 2018 20:56:36 -0700https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/180*120/buster+posey-0709.jpg

San Francisco Giants catcher Buster Posey will not play in next week's All-Star Game due to a hip injury, manager Bruce Bochy told reporters on Monday.

Posey will miss the All-Star Game next week because he had long ago scheduled a cortisone injection to try to calm lingering inflammation in his right hip. The Giants are hopeful that the injection, coupled with four days off, will get Posey right.

Bochy said this has been the plan for about a month, and the Giants have just been trying to get Posey to the break.

“It’s flared up on him,” he said. “He’s missed some time because of it. Our hope was to make it through the week and then give him this injection.”

Posey has played in 74 of 92 games this year, meaning the 31-year-old is on pace to play the fewest games in a season since 2011, when Posey suffered a season-ending injury in a home-plate collision with Scott Cousins.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Crawford to Start 2018 All-Star Game, Posey Named as Reserve]]>Sun, 08 Jul 2018 20:05:45 -0700https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/poseycrawfordusatsi.jpg

SAN FRANCISCO -- At the end of April, Brandon Crawford was batting .189. Now he's an All-Star starter. 

The hottest stretch of Crawford's career earned him an easy win in the fan vote, and the second All-Star appearance of his career. Crawford will head to Washington D.C. alongside Buster Posey, who lost the fan vote to Chicago's Willson Contreras but was selected by his fellow players. Posey is an All-Star for the sixth time. 

Crawford made mechanical adjustments after his rough start and took off, batting .412 with four homers and 21 RBI in May, and .326 with four homers and 14 RBI in June. With a week until the end of the first half, he leads National League shortstops with a .301 average and ranks second in OPS (.847) and RBI (39). Crawford is playing his usual Gold Glove defense, and with 2.5 Wins Above Replacement, he ranks second among NL shortstops and 19th among all position players in the league.

Crawford, 30, was also an All-Star in 2015, which prior to this season ranked as his best offensive year. He got into that game in the bottom of the fifth. This time around, he'll take the field at Nationals Park for the first pitch. 

Posey is hitting .287/370/.415 with 18 doubles, five home runs and 27 RBI.

The Giants have hung around .500 throughout the season and the organization did not make a particularly strong push for fan votes, leaving Posey just short of another starting nod. Brandon Belt looked like a lock to make the team at one point, but he missed 13 games after having his appendix removed and others in the league -- most notably Paul Goldschmidt -- caught fire over the past month. Tony Watson took a 1.56 ERA into the day All-Stars were announced, but it is generally very difficult for relievers to make the team when they're not closing games.

Photo Credit: Alex Pavlovic]]>
<![CDATA[Sandoval Drives in 5, Giants Erupt for 13 Runs to Beat Cards]]>Sun, 08 Jul 2018 21:37:06 -0700https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/pablohomercelebratecardinalsap.jpg


SAN FRANCISCO -- Pablo Sandoval homered and had five RBIs to back an uneven start by Madison Bumgarner as the San Francisco Giants beat the St. Louis Cardinals 13-8 on Sunday.

Andrew McCutchen and Alen Hanson each added three hits. Brandon Belt and Gorkys Hernandez had two apiece to help the Giants split the four-game series.

Bumgarner (2-3) earned his second win this season despite an erratic outing. Making his seventh start after missing the first two months with a broken left pinkie, Bumgarner allowed four runs and seven hits in 5 1/3 innings. He walked two and hit a batter with a pitch.

The Giants bailed out their ace with a pair of three-run innings and a five-run sixth while setting a season high for scoring.

After Jose Martinez's RBI single off Bumgarner in the fifth put St. Louis ahead 4-3, San Francisco rallied against reliever John Brebbia.

Belt doubled and went to third on All-Star Brandon Crawford's single. Sandoval followed with his eighth home run, a three-run drive that bounced into the waters of McCovey Cove.

Sandoval added a two-run single in the sixth. The five RBIs were one shy of his career high.

Brebbia (1-3) also took the loss against the Giants on Friday.

Matt Carpenter hit his 17th home run and Yairo Munoz also went deep for St. Louis.

Cardinals starter Jack Flaherty gave up three runs, two earned, in 2 1/3 innings.

Photo Credit: NBC Sports Bay Area staff]]>
<![CDATA[Cueto Roughed Up Early in Return, Giants Crushed by Cards]]>Thu, 05 Jul 2018 22:04:15 -0700https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/cuetocardinalshomerap.jpg


SAN FRANCISCO - Through five innings Thursday night, the only Giant to touch first base did so by accident. Pablo Sandoval thought he had drawn a walk with two outs in the fifth, but as he stood on first, the umpires - at the urging of the Cardinals - realized that Sandoval had only just taken ball three. 

The Giants eventually would get that hit, but they wouldn't accomplish much more on their first night back home. Johnny Cueto was shelled in his first start since April 28, the lineup made Luke Weaver look like Justin Verlander, and the bullpen completed the boat race. An 11-2 loss to the Cardinals was the fourth straight for a club that looked ready to get into gear while sweeping the first-place Diamondbacks over the weekend. As always with this club, it was two steps forward, two steps back. 

Here's what you need to know from the start of a long homestand ... 

--- Cueto had an odd first inning during which he appeared to be playing a light game of catch for his first 20 pitches or so. He can often look that way during starts, but this seemed even more casual than usual. Cueto threw just two fastballs above 90 mph in the 28-pitch frame and gave up a three-run shot Jedd Gyorko on an 89-mph sinker that cut right back over the plate. 

--- Cueto hit 90 mph just five times in 76 pitches, topping out at 91.7 on one pitch late in his outing. Perhaps because the velocity was down, he didn't throw many fastballs, just 27 on the night. Cueto threw 24 sliders and 23 changeups, and in his final two innings he seemed to have a better feel for those two pitches. 

--- Weaver, who entered with a 5.16 ERA, had a perfect game until a 50-50 play in the sixth. Gorkys Hernandez hit a grounder to third and Gyorko lost the ball as he tried to pop up after a diving stop. It was ruled a base hit. The shutout was lost moments later on Alen Hanson's two-run shot to the arcade. 

--- It wasn't a great night for two lefty starters who have shifted to the bullpen. Ty Blach gave up four runs in the sixth while recording just two outs. Derek Holland struck out seven in 3 1/3, but also gave up a two-run homer. 

--- The Giants got out-hit 18-2. Yikes.

Photo Credit: Alex Pavlovic]]>
<![CDATA[Giants Shut Out, Swept by Rockies, Held to Just Three Runs]]>Wed, 04 Jul 2018 19:58:23 -0700https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/iannettapanikap.jpg


The Giants were riding high into Colorado, but they were held to just three runs in the entire series as the Rockies completed the three-game sweep with a 1-0 win on Wednesday.

The only run of the game came on a Chris Iannetta solo home run in the bottom of the seventh off Andrew Suarez.

The Giants offense mustered just three hits against Rockies pitching. 

According to Elias Sports (via Henry Schulman), the previous three-game for the Giants in Coors Field was seven runs.

Aside from the Iannetta home run, Suarez pitched well. In seven innings, he allowed five hits, one earned run, didn't walk a batter and struck out six.

Following the loss, the Giants will head home and open a four-game series against the Cardinals on Thursday night. Johnny Cueto is slated to return from the disabled list and start against St. Louis.

Photo Credit: NBC Sports Bay Area staff]]>
<![CDATA[Piscotty Comes Up Clutch as A's Sweep Padres]]>Wed, 04 Jul 2018 16:01:19 -0700https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/piscottyus.jpg


The third double of the day was the biggest for Stephen Piscotty as it ended a tie and gave the A's a 4-2 win over the Padres Wednesday in Oakland. 

Piscotty's double in the bottom of the eighth brought in Jed Lowrie and Khris Davis to end a 2-2 tie. He went 3-for-4 with three RBI. 

Sean Manaea tossed the first seven innings, allowing two earned runs, running his ERA to 3.33 on the year. 

Blake Treinen came in to close it out in the ninth. The A's are now 48-39 this season. 

Photo Credit: NBC Sports Bay Area staff]]>
<![CDATA[Jed Lowrie's Three-Run Double Rallies A's Past Padres]]>Tue, 03 Jul 2018 21:14:59 -0700https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/173*120/as-padres-0703.jpg

OAKLAND -- Jed Lowrie hit a bases-loaded, bases-clearing double in the decisive sixth, Mark Cahna added a solo homer that inning, and the Oakland Athletics rallied to beat the San Diego Padres 6-2 on Tuesday night.

Chad Pinder added a solo homer in the seventh.

The A's finally got to San Diego starter Clayton Richard (7-8) in the sixth.

Pinder walked to start the sixth as the first five hitters reached base. Khris Davis followed Lowrie's double with a run-scoring single before Cahna's 11th home run, after a double play.

Emilio Pagan (2-0) pitched 1 1/3 innings for the win in relief of A's starter Chris Bassitt.

A's third baseman Matt Chapman returned from the disabled list after missing 16 games with a recurring right hand injury that began bothering him during the offseason. He had played in 149 straight games before the DL stint.

Wil Myers hit a run-scoring double in the fifth right after Eric Hosmer's RBI groundout got the Padres on the board.

Bassitt, who has just one win in five starts since being called up last month, escaped jams in the first and third innings as the Padres stranded five baserunners. The A's made a pair of forceouts at home in the third, including first baseman Matt Olson's nifty throw after a backhanded stop.

Myers' double chased Bassitt. He allowed two runs on seven hits in 4 2/3 innings, struck out six and walked three.

Richard gave up five runs and six hits, walked a season-high five batters over six innings and struck out two in his second straight defeat.

Oakland, which had its six-game winning streak snapped Sunday by Cleveland, won for the 13th time in 16 games despite grounding into five double plays.

Leadoff hitter Travis Jankowski had three hits for San Diego, which will conclude the short two-game series Wednesday having played 23 of its last 28 away from Petco Park.

The A's improved to 6-2 in interleague play.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC Bay Area

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Giants Shut Down For First Seven Innings, Fall to Rockies]]>Tue, 03 Jul 2018 20:35:16 -0700https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/180*120/giants-rockies-0703.jpg

Antonio Senzatela pitched seven scoreless innings in his first start of the season, Nolan Arenado hit his National League-leading 22nd home run and the Colorado Rockies beat the San Francisco Giants 8-1 on Tuesday night.

Colorado's Charlie Blackmon had three hits, including his first homer since June 20. Trevor Story had an RBI triple for the Rockies, who have won five of their last six games.

D.J. LeMahieu added a run-scoring double for Colorado, which has beaten the Giants in 14 of the past 16 games at Coors Field dating to Sept. 7, 2016.

Senzatela, recalled earlier in the day from Triple-A Albuquerque, struck out four and walked none while limiting the Giants to three hits. Senzatela started in the spot vacated by struggling Jon Gray, who started for the Rockies in their season opener but was optioned to Albuquerque last weekend.

Senzatela (3-1) made the team out of spring training and began the season in the Rockies' bullpen before being optioned on May 2 to Albuquerque, where he went 3-1 with a 2.15 ERA in eight starts prior to his recall. As a rookie last season, Senzatela had most of his success as a starter, going 10-5 with a 5.03 ERA in 20 starts.

Chris Stratton (8-6) went 5 2/3 innings and allowed eight runs on 11 hits, including Blackmon's solo shot in the first inning.

The Giants broke through for a run on Alen Hanson's RBI single in the eighth off reliever MikeDunn.

The Giants were trailing 3-0 when Arenado broke the game open in the fifth with a three-run homer. Stratton walked LeMahieu to start the inning and Blackmon singled before Arenado drove a 3-2 offering over the left-center field wall.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC Bay Area

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[A's C Bruce Maxwell Sentenced to Two Years of Probation]]>Mon, 02 Jul 2018 22:06:50 -0700https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/maxwellswingingap.jpg

PHOENIX -- Oakland Athletics catcher Bruce Maxwell has been sentenced to two years of probation on a disorderly conduct charge.

His sentencing Monday came nearly three months after he pleaded guilty to the charge in a gun-related incident.

Police say Maxwell had pointed a handgun at a woman who delivered food to his home in Scottsdale, Arizona, in October.

Police said in court documents that Maxwell lowered the gun once the woman explained why she was there. She then gave him the food and left.

Maxwell missed a four-game series in Toronto in May because he could not enter Canada while awaiting sentencing in Arizona.

Photo Credit: Associated Press]]>
<![CDATA[Giants Unravel in Seventh, Fall to the Rockies]]>Mon, 02 Jul 2018 20:43:23 -0700https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/180*120/giants-rockies-0702.jpg

SAN FRANCISCO -- There are many ways to lose a game at Coors Field, where breaking balls don't break, pop-ups land in the seats, and the vast outfield encourages doubles and triples. A Brandon Crawford error was not the way the Giants expected to fall behind in the first of three games against the Rockies, though.

Crawford's throwing error gave the Rockies a one-run lead in the seventh and they held on for a 5-2 win. The Giants managed just a couple of early runs a day after getting 16 hits at Chase Field. They also wasted a strong performance from Madison Bumgarner. Here are the details ...

--- Bumgarner entered the game with an average fastball velocity of 90.6 mph this season. It was 91.9 mph on 44 fastballs he threw Monday, with a season-high of 92.7 mph on one pitch. The thin air certainly helped, but still, it's clear that his arm strength is coming back start by start. It'll be interesting to see how much room there is left for growth.

--- Bumgarner left Reyes Moronta in a hell of a pickle. The rookie entered with the bases loaded in the seventh, no outs, and Nolan Arenado at the plate. He walked Arenado to cut the lead to 2-1 and a double play tied it, but also helped avoid a catastrophe. The error ended up bringing a third run across.

--- The best way to guarantee you'll be in the lineup every day is to win over the starting staff, and Austin Slater certainly won Bumgarner over in his third start of the road trip. Slater made two impressive catches early on, including a diving stop of a liner with the bases loaded in the third. That one had a catch probability of just 62 percent and saved a pair of runs.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[DeMarcus Cousins Agrees to Deal With Warriors: Report]]>Mon, 02 Jul 2018 22:18:52 -0700https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/180*120/warriors-cousins-0702.jpg

One day after LeBron James agreed to join the Los Angeles Lakers, the Golden State Warriors made a big splash of their own.

The Warriors reportedly agreed to terms on a one-year deal with free-agent center DeMarcus Cousins, multiple sources confirmed to NBCSportsBayArea.com Warriors Insider Monte Poole.

Cousins, who played parts of the last two seasons with New Orleans Pelicans after a 2017 trade from the Sacramento Kings, suffered a torn Achilles tendon in January. The 27-year-old averaged 25.2 points, a career-high 12.9 rebounds, 5.4 assists, and 1.6 blocks in 36.2 minutes per game last season with New Orleans.

He's been voted into the All-Star game in each of the last four seasons, and was second-team All-NBA in the 2014-15 and 2015-16 seasons. 

Once Cousins suits up for the Warriors, Golden State will become the first team in over 40 years to dress five All-Stars from the previous season.

Warriors star Steph Curry in a tweet late Monday welcomed Cousins to Dub Nation.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Sharks Re-Sign Joe Thornton, Tomas Hertl]]>Mon, 02 Jul 2018 15:33:16 -0700https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/thornton-hertl-0702.jpg

Joe Thornton got one heck of a birthday present on Monday.

The Sharks announced that they have re-signed the veteran forward to a one-year contract. It also happens to be Thornton's 39th birthday.

According to The Athletic, the deal is worth $5 million and contains a no-trade clause.

The team also re-signed restricted free agent Tomas Hertl to a four-year deal, the terms of which were not immediately known.

The 2018-19 season will be Thornton's 14th with the Sharks and his 21st overall in the NHL.

"Joe has become one of the faces of this franchise since his arrival in 2005 and we feel it's only fitting that he will be wearing teal going forward. He is a generational playmaker and his accomplishments place him amongst the elite players to ever play the game. He has helped lead this team to new levels and continues to be one of the top two-way centers in the League. Nobody loves the game of hockey more than Joe Thornton and his leadership on and off the ice have been instrumental in this franchise's success. We're excited that he has continued his commitment to this organization and the fans in San Jose," Sharks GM Doug Wilson said in a statement.

Thornton finished with 13 goals and 23 assists in 47 games last season. He missed the final 35 games of the season due to torn right ACL and MCL.

Hertl played in 79 games and recorded 22 goals and 24 assists last season.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Report: JaVale McGee Leaving Warriors for LeBron's Lakers]]>Sun, 01 Jul 2018 20:22:57 -0700https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/javaleusatsi.jpg

Just hours after LeBron James' agency announced he would sign with the Los Angeles Lakers, a Warriors fan favorite is reportedly set to join him.

JaVale McGee has agreed on a deal with the Lakers, ESPN's Chris Haynes reported Sunday evening. 

McGee joined Golden State ahead of the 2016-17 season as something of a joke around the league, known more for his appearances on "Shaqtin' a Fool" than anything else. He leaves the Warriors as a two-time champion, after averaging 5.5 points and 2.9 rebounds in 9.5 minutes per game over two seasons in Oakland.

He started three of four games against his new teammate and the Cleveland Cavaliers in the NBA Finals, finishing plus-31 and averaging 8.0 points, 2.3 rebounds, and 1.3 blocks in just under 14 minutes per game. 

Photo Credit: NBC Sports Bay Area staff]]>
<![CDATA[A's Six-game Winning Streak Ends to Indians]]>Sun, 01 Jul 2018 18:10:54 -0700https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/fowlerwallap.jpg


Cleveland's offense went to town in The Town on Sunday as they pounded out 11 doubles in a 15-3 blowout win over the A's.

The 11 doubles for the Indians is a single-game season-high by any team and the most by a single team in a game in the 50-year history of the Coliseum. It's also tied for the third-most all-time by any team in a single game.

The pounding at the hands of the Indians ended the A's six-game winning streak.

After the A's scored twice in the bottom of the seventh to cut Cleveland's lead to 5-3, the Indians exploded in the top of the eighth for eight runs. They eventually added two more in the top of the ninth to cap off the 15-3 victory.

Frankie Montas got the start for the A's and allowed nine hits and three earned runs in 5.2 innings. He struck out six. The A's bullpen had a rough day. Yusmeiro Petit allowed two earned runs, Chris Hatcher allowed four, Josh Lucas allowed four and Santiago Casilla allowed two.

Photo Credit: NBC Sports Bay Area staff]]>
<![CDATA[LeBron James Agrees to Four-year Deal With Lakers]]>Sun, 01 Jul 2018 17:42:53 -0700https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/lebronflexap.jpg

LeBron James is headed to Los Angeles.

The four-time MVP has agreed to a four-year, $154 million deal with the Lakers, Klutch Sports Group announced Sunday afternoon.

According to Yahoo Sports, the deal includes an opt-out before the fourth season.

The move ends four straight years of the Warriors against LeBron James in the NBA Finals. Now, to get to his ninth straight NBA Finals, LeBron will have to go through the back-to-back reigning champs in the Western Conference playoffs.

Now in the Pacific Division, LeBron will now face the Warriors and Kings four times during the regular season.

LeBron had spent his entire 15-year NBA career in the Eastern Conference. His first seven were spent in Cleveland. Then he spent four seasons in Miami before returning to the Cavs for the last four years.

Photo Credit: NBC Sports Bay Area staff]]>
<![CDATA[Giants Outslug Diamondbacks for Series Sweep]]>Sun, 01 Jul 2018 23:02:59 -0700https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/180*120/giants-cutch-0701.jpg

Brandon Belt and Joe Panik drove in two runs each and Hunter Pence delivered a pinch-hit, two-run double, leading the San Francisco Giants to a 9-6 win over the Arizona Diamondbacks on Sunday and a sweep of the weekend's three-game series.

The Giants had 11 hits in the first five innings and cruised to their seventh win in eight games. It was their first sweep of the Diamondbacks since September of 2016.

A four-run fifth inning highlighted by Pence's double off reliever Silvino Bracho gave the Giants an 8-3 lead. Cory Gearrin (1-1) got one out in the fourth inning to earn the win in relief of starter Derek Holland.

The Giants tagged Diamondbacks starter Zack Godley (9-6) for seven runs on nine hits in four-plus innings, ending his four-game winning streak. But Holland didn't make it out of the fourth, chased after loading the bases with an intentional walk with San Francisco leading 4-3.

The Diamondbacks couldn't take advantage, as Belt raced well beyond the first base bag into shallow right field to throw out Christian Walker at first and end the inning.

Holland allowed three runs on seven hits in 3 2-3 innings.

Godley's five walks were the second most he's issued in a start this season.

Arizona rallied with two runs in the seventh on Paul Goldschmidt's 18th home run of the season, and Jarrod Dyson became the eighth player in team history to record at least two hits, two runs batted in and two stolen bases in a single game.

The Diamondbacks brought the tying run to the plate in the ninth with two outs, but Will Smith struck out Jake Lamb for Smith's second save.

WALKER IN LEFT: Walker, normally a first baseman, started Sunday in left field for the first time in his 44-game major-league career.

FREQUENT FLIER: To help provide coverage for the bullpen in the midst of a long stretch without an off day, Arizona called up Bracho from Triple-A Reno before Sunday's game. Pitcher Jimmy Sherfy was sent back to Reno. Bracho has been recalled five times this season.

FIRST PITCH FOR FIRST PICK: Recently drafted Phoenix Suns big man Deandre Ayton, the first overall pick in June's NBA Draft, threw out the ceremonial first pitch before Sunday's game.

TRAINER'S ROOM: Giants: 3B Pablo Sandoval was hit by a pitch in the right elbow in the third inning and left the game before the bottom of the inning. X-rays were negative and the injury was announced a right elbow contusion. ... 3B Evan Longoria is about a week away from taking some swings as he works his way back from a broken left hand, manager Bruce Bochy said. ... RHP Jeff Samardzija's final rehab start for Triple- A Sacramento is set for Monday and he is expected to pitch five or six innings of around 90 pitches.

Diamondbacks: INF Ketel Marte was held out after suffering a right leg cramp in Saturday's game. Manager Torey Lovullo said he felt the team ``dodged a bullet'' as far a more serious injury.

UP NEXT: Giants: LHP Madison Bumgarner (1-2) is set for his sixth start of the season in the series opener against the Colorado Rockies on Monday in Denver.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC Bay Area

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Couture Agrees to 8-Year Extension With Sharks: Source]]>Sat, 30 Jun 2018 10:24:01 -0700https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-955145576.jpg

Logan Couture agreed to a $64 million, eight-year contract extension with the San Jose Sharks on Saturday, according to a person familiar with the deal.

The person told The Associated Press that the deal will become official as soon as Sunday, when Couture is eligible to sign the extension. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because the deal hasn't been announced.

Couture is entering the final year of a $30 million, five-year contract and now will be locked up through the 2026-27 season.

Couture was a first-round pick by San Jose in 2007 and has said he never wants to leave the franchise. He has developed into one of the Sharks' top forwards since making his debut in 2009 and is coming off a career-high 34-goal season.

Couture was San Jose's most dependable center last season, often matching up against the opponent's top line and providing plenty of offense of his own from the second line. Couture had 21 assists last year and was a major part of the power play and penalty killing units.

The 29-year-old has 213 goals and 224 assists in 582 career games. He also has been a postseason standout, leading the NHL with 30 points in 2016 when he helped San Jose reach the Stanley Cup Final for the first time in franchise history before losing to Pittsburgh in six games.

Couture has 34 goals and 47 assists in 96 career playoff games, ranking in the top 10 in the NHL in playoff goals and points since making his postseason debut in 2010.

Locking up Couture was the first move made by general manager Doug Wilson this offseason. San Jose still is looking to re-sign center Joe Thornton and is making a run at New York Islanders center John Tavares.

Thornton will be 39 next season and coming off his second major knee injury. He tore the ACL and MCL in his right knee on Jan. 23 and never returned to the lineup. He had a similar injury to his left knee the previous season and played four games in the postseason before undergoing offseason surgery.

Thornton still performed at a high level last season after taking some time to get back up to speed. He had 11 goals and 15 assists in his final 28 games before the injury.

The Sharks also met with Tavares this week, hoping to lure the top available free agent to San Jose. Tavares, who turns 28 in September, is one of the top centers in the league and would step into Thornton's old role on the top line.

The No. 1 overall pick by the New York Islanders in 2009 is coming off one of his most productive seasons as a pro. He had 37 goals and 47 assists last season, finishing one off his career best in both marks.

Adding Tavares would provide perhaps the only missing piece to make the Sharks one of the top contenders for the Stanley Cup next season. San Jose lost in six games in the second round to eventual Western Conference champion Vegas and has a stellar defense led by Marc-Edouard Vlasic and Brent Burns, a reliable goaltender in Martin Jones, and forwards like Couture, Evander Kane and captain Joe Pavelski already under contract.

Pavelski also is entering the final year of his contract and is eligible for an extension starting Sunday. Pavelski turns 34 this month.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC Bay Area

Photo Credit: Rocky W. Widner/NHL/Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Report: Sharks Are Tavares' Top Choice If He Leaves Isles]]>Thu, 28 Jun 2018 22:02:06 -0700https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/tavaresthorntonap.jpg

If John Tavares is going to leave the New York Islanders, the Sharks reportedly may be in the driver's seat. 

Should Tavares decide to officially become a free agent, "[it's] believed" his top choices, in order, are San Jose and his hometown Toronto Maple Leafs, according to Arthur Staple of The Athletic. Tavares will inform the Islanders whether or not he intends to re-sign, on an eight-year deal worth up to $100 million, on Friday.

The 27-year-old was impressed by owner and SAP co-founder Hasso Plattner's presence as the Sharks made their pitch on Tuesday, The Athletic's Craig Custance reported. Plattner, who was seen at a practice earlier this season, rarely makes public appearances 

Tavares has until 9 p.m. PT on Saturday to sign an eight-year deal with the Islanders. He can first sign with a new team on Sunday 12 hours later. 

Should he reach free agency, Tavares would become the best player to hit the open market in at least a decade. Since the 2009 No. 1 pick came into the league that fall, he is fifth in goals (272) and ninth in points (621). Joe Pavelski (259 goals) and Joe Thornton (585 points) are the only current Sharks in the top 15 of either category.

San Jose currently has around $19 million in salary cap space for next season, according to CapFriendly. The maximum the team can offer Tavares is $15.9 million annually, or 20 percent of next season's salary cap. The Sharks still need to sign restricted free agents Tomas Hertl and Chris Tierney to new deals, and reportedly intend to re-sign Thornton.

Photo Credit: Marcus White]]>
<![CDATA[Giants Unable to Complete Sweep of Rockies]]>Thu, 28 Jun 2018 16:40:55 -0700https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/djrockiesgiantsusatsi.jpg


SAN FRANCISCO — The Giants and Rockies will play three games at Coors Field next week. They previewed that series on Thursday at AT&T Park.

The teams totaled 26 hits and 17 runs on a sunny day, and in the end, it was a two-run shot by DJ LeMahieu that decided it.

Sam Dyson had been shaky since taking over the ninth and LeMahieu got to him, blasting a two-run shot to left with one out in the ninth. The Rockies snuck out of San Francisco with a 9-8 win, avoiding the sweep. The Giants finished 7-3 on their homestand. Here's what else you need to know ...

--- The Giants handed a one-run lead to Dyson after an odd eighth inning. Gorkys Hernandez walked following a blown call by the home plate umpire and Buster Posey's flare to left was missed by Gerardo Parra, loading the bases. Alen Hanson hit a go-ahead two-run double down the right field line.

--- It was a rough day for a couple of right-handed starters. Chris Stratton and Jon Gray combined to give up three runs in the first and seven in the fourth. The timing is especially poor for Stratton, who will face the Rockies again next week. His rotation spot could be up for grabs with Jeff Samardzija and Johnny Cueto on the way back.

--- Brandon Belt hit his second homer since having his appendix removed. The blast was his 13th on the season.

--- Nolan Arenado opened the scoring with his 19th homer of the season. The shot to left was Arenado’s 23rd career homer in 98 games against the Giants. He is very good.

--- Arenado and Brandon Crawford both made errors. Without looking it up, we’re just going to assume that’s the first time that has happened in a Giants-Rockies game.

--- Opposing baserunners were 20 for 24 against Nick Hundley entering the day. The Rockies twice tried to steal second in the eighth inning, and Hundley cut down Trevor Story and then Parra.

Photo Credit: NBC Sports Bay Area staff]]>
<![CDATA[Raiders Have Added More Muscle to a Strength]]>Thu, 28 Jun 2018 07:47:04 -0700https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/180*120/centerrHudd.jpg

When Jon Gruden hired Tom Cable as his offensive line coach with the Raiders this spring, he touted Cable’s experience and personality in developing blocking units.

“He’s coached in a lot of different schemes, different runners, different quarterbacks, different head coaches,” said Gruden. “He’s versatile. He’s a tough guy. Usually the tough coaches, they help develop tough lines.”

A priority for Cable will be to restore the team’s running efficiency after a down season. After running the ball very well in 2016, the Raiders weren’t nearly as consistent in 2017.

Yet Cable takes over an offensive line that – even with its problems in 2017 – was one of the NFL’s best in protecting its quarterback.

In fact, Mark Chichester of the analytic website Pro Football Focus recently ranked the Raiders tied for third in the NFL in pass-blocking efficiency in 2017, with a grade of 82.3 (on a scale to 100.0).

Four of the starters from last season – Donald Penn at left tackle, Kelechi Osemele at left guard, Rodney Hudson at center and Gabe Jackson at right guard – are back, but right tackle Marshall Newhouse (a weaker link) is gone, so Oakland may actually improve its pass protection in 2018 under Cable and a rookie starter in place of Newhouse.

“One of the main reasons for their success was the historic performance by center Rodney Hudson, who allowed a total of just three quarterback pressures all season and ended the campaign with a pass-blocking efficiency of 99.6, giving him the best mark ever recorded by a center,” wrote Chichester. “Earlier this spring the Raiders made moves to improve their offensive line, as they released Marshall Newhouse, who ranked 56th among 81 qualifying tackles in PBE in 2017 and subsequently drafted his replacement – Kolton Miller – who ranked first among Pac-12 tackles in that same statistic. So, if the other key figures of the line stay healthy, the expectations continue to be high for the Raiders line in 2018.”

Though Miller, the team’s No. 1 pick out of UCLA, has yet to go head-to-head with pass rushers in helmet and pads, so far the Raiders are happy with what they see of him. Once training camp begins on July 25, Cable will be eager to help Miller get up to speed by the season’s opening regular-season game.

In spring organized team activities and the recent full-squad minicamp, Miller looked good to Cable.

“It’s not too big for him,” said Cable, of Miller’s jump to a higher level. “He’s kind of put an exclamation point on our choosing him.” Cable added Miller has had “amazing” consistency for a rookie.

If Miller proves an improvement on Newhouse, Derek Carr and the passing game could be very effective this season.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Brandon Crawford's Walk-Off HR Gives Giants Win Over Rockies]]>Wed, 27 Jun 2018 22:25:13 -0700https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/172*120/giants-rockies-0627.jpg

Brandon Crawford homered with one out in the bottom of the ninth inning to give the San Francisco Giants their fourth straight victory, 1-0 over the Colorado Rockies on Wednesday night.

After starters Madison Bumgarner for San Francisco and Kyle Freeland for Colorado put up matching performances of seven spotless innings, the game was decided by the bullpens.

Left-hander Harrison Musgrave (0-3) entered in the ninth to face the left-handed-hitting Crawford. The move backfired when Crawford launched a high drive that cleared the wall in right field for his third career walk-off homer, sending the Rockies to their fourth consecutive loss.

Crawford was mobbed by teammates at home plate as the Giants improved to 42-39 at the halfway point of the season, 12 games ahead of their pace from a year ago.

Reyes Moronta (4-1) got two outs for the win.

Bumgarner retired the first 14 batters he faced before Carlos Gonzalez became the first Colorado hitter to reach on a broken-bat double that landed just inside the left-field line.

Bumgarner walked the next two batters to load the bases before escaping the jam by striking out Freeland. The 2014 World Series MVP allowed just two hits with eight strikeouts in his second consecutive scoreless start. He pitched eight shutout innings to beat San Diego for his first win of the season last Thursday.

Freeland was just as stingy, permitting only four hits and pitching around a pair of errors by first baseman Ian Desmond. Freeland got Pablo Sandoval to ground out with runners on first and third to end the fourth, and retired Crawford on a popup with runners at the corners to end the sixth.

Freeland has 11 quality starts in 16 appearances this season.

TRAINER'S ROOM: Rockies: RHP Scott Oberg and LHP Mike Dunn were activated from the disabled list. RHPs Jeff Hoffman and Brooks Pounders were optioned to Triple-A Albuquerque.

Giants: RHP Jeff Samardzija (right shoulder) will likely need at least one more rehab start after lasting just four innings for Triple-A Sacramento on Tuesday. Samardzija's outing was cut short because he threw 40 pitches in the first.

MILESTONE: Bumgarner struck out DJ LeMahieu to open the game, giving him 1,500 Ks for his career in 1,534 1/3 innings. He's the ninth-fastest lefty to reach the mark in the live ball era starting in 1920.

UP NEXT: Jon Gray (7-7) looks to beat the Giants for the first time in six career starts in the series finale. Gray is coming off his third career 12-strikeout game, the most in Colorado history. Chris Stratton (8-5) pitches for San Francisco.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC Bay Area

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[A's Sweep Tigers, But Record Home Run Streak Ends]]>Wed, 27 Jun 2018 19:40:56 -0700https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/169*120/as-tigers-0627.jpg

In a pitcher's duel, the A's record of hitting a home run in a road game came to an on Wednesday night. The record was halted at 27 games.

No matter though, the A's completed a four-game sweep of the Tigers with a 2-0 win.

Chris Bassitt earned the victory despite walking five batters. Over six innings, Bassitt allowed just two hits and struck out five to bring his ERA down to 2.82.

Jed Lowrie was the lone batter the A's to end the night with multiple hits, going 2-for-4 with two doubles.

The A's are now 43-38 on the year.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Raiders Mack, Carr and Irvin Make NFL's Top 100 List]]>Wed, 27 Jun 2018 08:01:33 -0700https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/180*120/Kahr.jpg

The Raiders go into training camp in late July with three players ranked among the top 100 in the NFL.

Defensive ends Khalil Mack (No. 16) and Bruce Irvin (No. 85) and quarterback Derek Carr (No. 60) are the Oakland players included in this year’s annual list put together by the NFL Network.

Yet the Raiders took a step back from a year ago, in which four players were on the list – with Mack and Carr rated much higher.

In 2017, Mack was No. 4 and Carr was No. 11. Also on the list in 2017 was wide receiver Amari Cooper at No. 53 and guard Kelechi Osemele at No. 95.

The choices and rankings this year reflect the Raiders’ rough year in 2017, with the Raiders slumping from a playoff team to 6-10. Carr had a rough season, as did Cooper. Mack was still a force, but didn’t have the sack total he had the year before. Osemele was still terrific, but the offensive line as a whole wasn’t as good.

Irvin, however, made the list for the first time as a Raider after having eight sacks and forcing four fumbles last season as a linebacker. This year, he’ll be lining up at defensive end in a 4-3 scheme.

Even though Carr will be trying to rebound, he’s already had a strong start to his career. He’s been on the Top 100 list three consecutive times. He first was selected at No. 100 in 2016.

Now playing for new head coach Jon Gruden, Carr says he expects to have a much better season in 2018. He told reporters this offseason he hopes Gruden “is hard on me” to raise his game to a higher level.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Lynch Ranked Among NFL's Top General Managers]]>Wed, 27 Jun 2018 07:34:24 -0700https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/180*120/lynchjjoonn.jpg

The sample size for John Lynch is small.

Lynch has been an NFL general manager for only about a year and a half. He’s been in charge of two draft classes for the 49ers and two offseasons hunting veteran free agents. His legacy as an NFL executive will be determined by what he does over a decade or more, not this snippet in time.

Yet  those around the NFL see that the former elite safety is on the right track.

This week, Vinnie Iyer, an analyst for The Sporting News, ranked Lynch No. 12 in his rating of all 32 league GMs.

That’s a big leap, considering many were skeptical of the 49ers’ hiring of Lynch in early 2017 after the franchise cleaned house. Previously, Lynch had no front-office experience in pro football.

Yet in his tenure, Lynch has hired head coach Kyle Shanahan, who appears to be the man the 49ers needed to turn around a struggling franchise, and re-stocked the roster with both young draft picks and veteran free agents. He also pulled off the deal for Patriots backup quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo last season at the trade deadline, a move that has vaulted the 49ers into instant respectability.

As the 49ers prepare for the opening of training camp on July 25, Iyer writes Lynch already has proven his worth.

“Lynch has been on the job for only two offseasons, but he has proved to be a natural with his knowledge of the game,” wrote Iyer. “He has come out swinging with his franchise QB and exciting cogs to help Garoppolo while also creating the foundation of a special 4-3 defense with (Solomon) Thomas and (Reuben) Foster. The 49ers have the talent to get back to the playoffs soon.”

In his time with the 49ers, Lynch has brought in a slew of impact players on offense and defense. Among them: fullback Kyle Juszczyk, wide receivers Marquise Goodwin, Trent Taylor and Pierre Garcon, offensive linemen Weston Richburg and Mike McGlinchey and cornerbacks Richard Sherman and Ahkello Witherspoon.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Giants Edge Rockies on Game-Winning Walk]]>Wed, 27 Jun 2018 00:26:22 -0700https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/178*120/giants-rockies-0626.jpg

SAN FRANCISCO — Derek Holland and Chad Bettis spent much of this night glaring in at home plate umpire John Tumpane. After one inning, Holland even walked over the plate and motioned Tumpane over for a quick chat about some of the perceived squeezing.

Both pitchers worked with the zone, though, and in the end it helped the Giants. Holland and Bettis turned this into a pitcher’s duel and Gorkys Hernandez won it in the eighth, taking a couple of close pitches from Adam Ottavino to force a walk with the bases loaded. Sam Dyson closed out the 3-2 win.

The victory was the sixth in eight games on this homestead for the Giants. Here are the details…

—- Hernandez has been playing professional baseball since 2006 and he just reached double-digit homers for the first time. Hernandez took Bettis deep in the third to pick up his 10th shot of the first half. The closest he came before this season was 2016, when he hit eight homers for the Sacramento River Cats.

—- Holland went a season-high 6 2/3 innings, scattering six hits and two walks. Every time he ran into trouble, he pulled through. The Rockies put runners on the corners with one out in the third but Charlie Blackmon lined into a double play. They had two on with no outs in the fifth but Holland whiffed two and got a flyball to center. Two more reached with one out in the sixth, but Holland struck out Ian Desmond and got an inning-ending groundout.

—- Hunter Pence owes the BABIP Gods a beer or two. Two days after he bounced a game-winning hit inside the bag, he reached with a pinch-hit single that dribbled until it tapped third base. The infield single had a launch angle of negative 76 degrees.

—- Austin Slater scored the go-ahead run by beating a good throw home from left fielder Gerardo Parra. The young outfielder reached 29.2 feet per second, which puts him right there with some of the faster recordings by the Giants this season. In terms of sprint speed, he’s up there with McCutchen, Hanson, Tomlinson, Blanco and Hernandez. Sneaky fast.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[A's Pick Off Tigers in Second Straight, Lowrie-led Comeback Win]]>Tue, 26 Jun 2018 21:51:36 -0700https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/lowriewin.jpg


DETROIT -- Jed Lowrie drove in the tiebreaking run in the top of the ninth inning for a second straight game, and the Oakland Athletics rallied from six runs down to beat Detroit 9-7 on Tuesday night, handing the Tigers their seventh straight loss.

Detroit led 6-0 after three innings, but Oakland came back to tie it at 7-all in the seventh. Lowrie - whose ninth-inning homer gave the A's a victory at Detroit on Monday - singled home Matt Joyce in the ninth. It was Lowrie's fourth hit of the night.

Joyce doubled off Shane Greene (2-5) to lead off the ninth. Lowrie also came in to score an insurance run on a single by pinch-hitter Dustin Fowler.

Chad Pinder and Lowrie hit consecutive homers in the fifth for the A's, who extended their record streak to 27 straight road games with a home run.

Ryan Buchter (2-0) pitched a scoreless eighth for Oakland, and Blake Treinen finished for his 19th save in 21 chances.

The Tigers scored four runs in the first. Nicholas Castellanos hit an RBI double, and Niko Goodrum drove in two runs with a double of his own. James McCann's RBI single made it 4-0.

Dixon Machado added a two-run triple in the third for Detroit.

Oakland starter Frankie Montas allowed six runs and eight hits in three innings.

Blaine Hardy was breezing along for the Tigers until he gave up three unearned runs in the fourth. First baseman John Hicks mishandled a throw for an error with two outs. Mark Canha followed with an RBI double, and Jonathan Lucroy added a two-run double to make it 6-3.

Hicks rebounded a bit with an RBI single in the bottom of the fourth, but Hardy didn't retire a batter in the fifth. Pinder hit a two-run homer, and Lowrie followed with a solo shot to make it 7-6. Hardy was taken out after a walk to Khris Davis, and Buck Farmer came on in relief and shut the A's out for two innings.

Oakland finally tied it in the seventh. With rain coming down hard at times, Detroit reliever Louis Coleman had all sorts of problems. He got only one out and allowed a single and two walks. Alex Wilson took his place with the bases loaded and allowed a run-scoring grounder by Matt Olson.

Hicks struck out with the bases loaded to end the eighth.


Tigers: LHP Daniel Stumpf, on the disabled list with ulnar nerve irritation, made a rehab appearance Monday night with Triple-A Toledo. He threw 1 2/3 hitless innings against Indianapolis.


Oakland LHP Sean Manaea (7-6) takes the mound Wednesday night against Detroit RHP Mike Fiers (5-4). Manaea is 2-0 this month with a 2.81 ERA.

Photo Credit: Associated Press]]>
<![CDATA[Raiders Show Interest in Safety from Mississippi State]]>Tue, 26 Jun 2018 08:40:15 -0700https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/180*120/bbbryantt.jpg

There is some intriguing talent available in the upcoming NFL supplemental Draft. Players eligible include a trio of defensive backs in Western Michigan’s Sam Beal, Virginia Tech’s Adonis Alexander and Mississippi State’s Brandon Bryant.

Indications are the Raiders may consider participating in the draft.

Chase Goodbread of NFL.com reported this week that the Raiders were on hand for Bryant’s workout for scouts from 14 NF teams.

The supplemental draft is scheduled for July 11. If the Raiders decide to select a player, they’d lose a pick in the regular draft in 2019. For example, if Oakland decides to select Bryant in the third round of the supplemental selection process, it would lose a third-round pick in the spring of 2019.

Bryant, 6 feet and 215 pounds, played three seasons at Mississippi State and had five interceptions and 157 tackles. He was a three-year starter at safety.

Bryant became eligible for the supplemental draft after he was held out of spring practice for academic reasons, and then declared he would enter the draft.

Said Bryant, after his workout for the NFL teams: “Wherever I get drafted or if it’s as a free agent, I just need an opportunity and I’ll make the most of it.”

Goodbread reported this week that this year’s trio of defensive backs makes the supplemental draft much more appealing than in recent years.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Will 49ers Grow Into a Playoff Team in 2018?]]>Tue, 26 Jun 2018 10:41:28 -0700https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/180*120/2leaders.jpg

A year ago at this time, nobody was predicting big things for the 49ers.

They had a rookie general manager in John Lynch, a rookie head coach in Kyle Shanahan, a starting quarterback named Brian Hoyer and questionable talent across the roster.

As The Sporting News’ Vinnie Iyer wrote in July of 2017: “Kyle Shanahan and John Lynch are smart enough to know their rebuilding effort won’t have overnight success. The stockpile of young talent for later is more important than forcing the issue now, when it would take a miracle to fly close to the Seahawks and Cardinals’ airspace in the short term (in the NFC West).

“The big changes include a stopgap QB (Hoyer) and newly schemed D, meaning patience and clean-up are the watchwords in San Francisco.”

Almost 12 months later, however, and many have thrown the word “patience” out the window when it comes to the 49ers’ future. Some see their future as now.

With quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo, another seemingly solid draft class and some key free-agent signings, the 6-10 49ers of 2017 have become media dark horses for 2018.

In fact, analyst Marc Sessler of NFL.com Tuesday wrote there are five reasons to believe the Niners can be a playoff team this season.

No. 1 is Garoppolo, who led the team to five straight victories once he took over the starting job late last season. No. 2 is “the mind of Kyle Shanahan.” No. 3 is the rapid regeneration of the roster with young talent. Reason No. 4 is the relative weakness of the NFC West, in which the Seahawks are in decline and the Cardinals and Rams (can they do it again or were they just a fluke?) have major questions. The fifth reason is a mix of young and veteran talent on the roster, from vets such as Richard Sherman and Pierre Garcon to rookie right tackle Mike McGlinchey, Solomon Thomas and Reuben Foster.

Last season, Shanahan showed he could revitalize an offense that had been dull and dormant for years. With more talent to play with, Shanahan’s 49ers could make noise in 2018.

Wrote Sessler: “The story of professional football is laced with teams that rose to power off the time-tested combination of a star quarterback paired with a beyond-his-years head coach. Bill Walsh and Joe Montana loom as the obvious example. It happened again when John Elway worked under Mike Shanahan in Denver. …

“Wherever he’s gone, Kyle has made the most of the pieces around him.”

Sessler says Shanahan is a “creative force.”

Niners fans will start to see if Shanahan and Co. can indeed make a huge turnaround and become a playoff team when they gather for training camp, which is scheduled to open July 25.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Will Raiders Lose Wide Receiver Martavis Bryant?]]>Fri, 22 Jun 2018 08:40:15 -0700https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/188*120/Bryanttemm.jpg

Martavis Bryant came with baggage when he arrived in Oakland this spring.

The former Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver missed all of the 2016 season for violating the NFL’s substance-abuse policy. Any further violations could mean the Raiders would lose him in 2018, when they hope he can add some speed and deep-ball playmaking ability to the receiving corps.

The 6-foot-4-inch, 211-pounder had three productive seasons with the Steelers, catching 126 passes for 1,917 yards and 17 touchdowns, averaging 15.2-yards per catch.

After working with him this spring, Raiders quarterback Derek Carr was excited by what he gives the offense.

“He is so fast, especially for a guy that big,” Carr said in May. Even on short routes and screens, Bryant’s speed makes every catch a threat to be taken all the way to the end zone.

Said Carr: “We’ve all seen him catch screens. It’s fun to watch.”

But now, with the start of training camp approaching in July, there’s a cloud hanging over Bryant.

Michael Gehlken of the Las Vegas Review-Journal has reported the Raiders are waiting for a ruling from the NFL that could lead to Bryant’s suspension.

“Multiple team officials declined comment as they left for a weekslong break before training camp, but they acknowledged the club is awaiting final word on the situation,” Gehlken wrote. “It is believed to pertain to the NFL’s substance-abuse policy.”

This week, Vic Tafur of The Athletic reported Bryant has not been notified by the NFL that he may be facing discipline, and that Bryant has not failed or missed a mandated drug test.

Yet as Michael David Smith of NBC’s Pro Football Talk reported Thursday, “It is possible for a player to violate the substance-abuse policy without failing or missing a test.” Smith noted that players can be disciplined, for instance, if they don’t adhere to requirements such as working with “a clinician” overseeing offseason activities and training. That also would be considered a violation, Smith reported.

Losing Bryant, 26, would be a blow to the Raiders offense going into training camp.

When Bryant was traded to the Raiders in April, he told reporters he was grateful for getting a fresh start.

Added head coach Jon Gruden: “I think a change of scenery can unleash his greatness.”

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Trent Taylor Was Mr. Clutch for 49ers Late in Games]]>Fri, 22 Jun 2018 07:50:41 -0700https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/180*120/teeTeee.jpg

Pierre Garcon is Mr. Reliable. Marquise Goodwin has elite speed as a deep threat. Dante Pettis comes into the NFL with the potential to make big plays.

As the 49ers head toward training camp – rookies and veterans are scheduled to begin reporting on July 25 – Garcon, Goodwin and Pettis are likely to be the headliners of the wide receiver corps. Yet second-year man Trent Taylor is expected to be the team’s No. 1 slot receiver.

After catching 48 passes as a rookie in 2017, the 5-foot-8 former Louisiana Tech standout hopes to build on what he did in his opening act as a professional player.

Taylor showed he’s reliable in the clutch and quick enough to make gains after catching short throws from Jimmy Garoppolo. Taylor and Garoppolo made for a good combination late in the season. Taylor’s overall catch rate was a terrific 71.7 percent. On 60 passes aimed his way, he caught 43. He was even better late in games.

How good was Taylor in the clutch?

Very good.

This week, Ben Cooper of the analytic website Pro Football Focus included Taylor at No. 4 among all NFL receivers in fourth-quarter or overtime performance in 2017.

Wrote Cooper: “Taylor wasn’t the flashiest rookie of 2017, but he made his mark through consistent play that gave his team a chance to win games. Both of his touchdowns in 2017 came in the fourth quarter and both were because of his shiftiness. On both plays, Taylor found pockets of space and gave his quarterback a reliable option to punch it in late in a game. That reliability was evident in his 4Q/OT catch rate, which was fourth among receivers (80 percent).

“With Jimmy Garoppolo at quarterback, Taylor was a perfect 6-for-6 in 4Q/OT catches, with one touchdown. Look for Taylor to become a favorite of Garoppolo’s as they develop even more chemistry in 2018.”

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Bumgarner Tosses 8 Shutout Innings in Giants' Win vs. Padres]]>Fri, 22 Jun 2018 00:02:08 -0700https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/bumgarnerpadresusatsi.jpg


SAN FRANCISCO -- Madison Bumgarner pitched eight innings of three-hit ball for his first win of the season, Mark Melancon earned his first save in a year and the San Francisco Giants beat the San Diego Padres 3-0 on Thursday night.

The Giants won for the fourth time in five games and sent the last-place Padres to their fifth straight loss.

Bumgarner (1-2) struck out eight and walked two in his best start since coming off the disabled list. He also drove in the first run with a sacrifice fly.

The ace left-hander outdueled Tyson Ross (5-5), who gave up one run and four hits in seven innings. He struck out three and walked three.

Bumgarner began the season on the DL with a broken pinkie on his pitching hand sustained in his final spring training start when he was hit by a line drive. He was 0-2 with a 4.67 ERA in three previous outings since being reinstated.

Bumgarner's sacrifice fly scored Pablo Sandoval in the fifth. Sandoval singled leading off the inning and Joe Panik followed with a double.

It was the fourth time in his career Bumgarner made a scoreless start and had the game-winning RBI, tying Stephen Strasburg and Fernando Valenzuela for the most such games by any pitcher in the last 40 years, according to STATS

The Padres' best scoring chance came in the fifth, when Jose Pirela was thrown out at home trying to score from second on Manuel Margot's one-out double to deep right. Giants catcher Buster Posey tagged out Pirela after a perfect relay from Andrew McCutchen and Panik.

San Francisco added two insurance runs in the eighth, when Posey singled through a drawn-in infield after Alen Hanson's leadoff triple against reliever Phil Maton.

Melancon, who started the season on the DL with a right elbow flexor strain, pitched the ninth for his first save since June 20, 2017.

Bumgarner was winless in six previous starts against the Padres. He was 0-4 with a 4.73 ERA during that stretch.

Padres: OF Wil Myers (left oblique strain) and Maton (right lat strain) were reinstated from the 10-day DL, and RHP Colin Rea (right shoulder strain) was activated from the 60-day DL. . OF Franchy Cordero (right elbow bone spur) was transferred to the 60-day DL and RHP Phil Hughes (right rhomboid strain) was placed on the 10-day DL. . OF Franmil Reyes was optioned to Triple-A El Paso. . RHP Bryan Mitchell (right elbow impingement) had an MRI on Wednesday that showed inflammation in the affected area but no ligament damage, manager Andy Green said. Mitchell is expected to start throwing in four or five days.

Giants: SS Brandon Crawford was reinstated from the paternity list and was in the starting lineup. . INF Kelby Tomlinson was optioned to Triple-A Sacramento. . RHP Hunter Strickland (broken right pinkie) will have more X-rays in two weeks to determine if two pins he had surgically inserted on Wednesday can be removed. The 29-year-old reliever was injured when he punched a door in frustration after a blown save against Miami on Monday. . RHP Johnny Cueto (right elbow inflammation) will throw 40 pitches in a rehab start with Triple-A Sacramento on Saturday. . RHP Jeff Samardzija (right shoulder tightness) threw 73 pitches in his second rehab start with Sacramento.

LHP Clayton Richard (6-6, 4.31 ERA) will make his team-leading 16th start for the Padres. He's 5-2 with a 3.04 ERA over his last eight. Giants RHP Chris Stratton (8-4, 4.22) hasn't allowed a run over 13 2/3 innings in two career starts against San Diego.

Photo Credit: Associated Press]]>
<![CDATA[Warriors' Iguodala Making the (Golf) Rounds in Bay Area]]>Thu, 21 Jun 2018 20:08:10 -0700https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/iggygolf0621_3216229.JPG

When Andre Iguodala was traded to the Golden State Warriors in 2013, he became one of the key components to the team's recent run of three NBA championships in four seasons.

That also was about the same time he got serious about golf. Recently, he's been spending time on the newly renovated South Course at Corica Park in Alameda.

"That’s the one. Good looking shot," he said after teeing off at the 16th, admiring the spin he put on the ball.

Unfortunately, Iguodala did not get his first hole-in-one that time, but he's guaranteed to keep trying. These days, the Warriors forward can’t get enough of the game. And he’s turned it into a family affair.

"I can play anywhere, but I like playing courses that have beautiful fairways, a lot of different options, especially with the tee boxes," he said. "I can bring my family out here. My wife is getting into it. My son can really play. I have a 1-year old who’s swinging Fisher-Price clubs, so she’ll be here really soon. So, looking forward to it."

Iguodala said Corica Park has become a staple for Warriors players during the season. The team plane is parked just a few miles away.

"A couple of us, we sneak in before the flights, get about 30 minutes, go to the range, hit some balls and feel like we’re at home," he said.

Iguodala told a golfing story that happened sometime before the Warriors finished off the Cavaliers in the NBA Finals earlier this month. And, yes, it involved Steph Curry.

"It was one of the greatest rounds I’ve ever seen a human being play," Iguodala said. "He shot 5-under."

Iguodala did not say where the fabulous round happened, but he mentioned Curry's appearance last year in the Web.com Tour's Ellie Mae Classic at TPC Stonebrae in the hills above Hayward.

"If he plays at that tournament again this year, he’ll make the cut," Iguodala said.

Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[Shanahan Eager to See Foster-Smith Duo at Linebacker]]>Thu, 21 Jun 2018 08:14:16 -0700https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/180*120/Malck.jpg

When the 49ers open training camp in July, head coach Kyle Shanahan will be eager to watch linebackers Malcolm Smith and Reuben Foster play together.

Last season, Shanahan had hoped to pair the duo, but Smith was lost for the season and Foster, too, missed time because of injuries.

Now each is healthy and Foster has been cleared from allegations of assaulting his former girlfriend. Though the team or the NFL could still suspend Foster for some games during the regular season, the Niners look as if they’ll finally have the pairing of Foster – now in his second season – and the veteran Smith at the Mike and Will linebacker spots for most of the season.

That could be a huge boost for the 49ers defense. Smith’s experience and Foster’s talent could transform the linebacking corps in 2018. Throw in rookie third-round pick Fred Warner and Eli Harold – penciled in to start at the Sam linebacker spot – and San Francisco suddenly has a strong group at a position of weakness the past few seasons.

Shanahan is especially eager to see Foster and Smith work together more in training camp after their time together on the field in the recent minicamp.

“They balance each other out very well,” said Shanahan, to reporters. “So, I think it’s a good tandem.”

Warner, who could compete with Harold or open the season as a backup to both Foster and Smith, says Foster and Smith are incredible players.

Said Warner of Foster, according to David Bonilla of 49erswebzone.com:  “He’s a very physical player and something that I didn’t know about him that I know now is he’s probably the smartest guy in the room because this dude has the memory of an elephant.”

Warner said in meetings, Foster doesn’t even take notes, yet absorbs every detail and displays what he learns in practices and drills. Every day, Warner says he learns from watching Foster.

Smith, meanwhile, has been a mentor to Warner, especially when it comes to pass coverage.

“We’ve worked after practice just about man coverage on tight ends or running backs, even though that’s not something that we even touch on even in practice or in a meeting,” said Warner. “He wants to touch on that with me because he says, ‘If you can do this, you can play on any team in the NFL.’ Just stuff like that.

“I guess this will be his eighth or ninth year in the league, so he’s been there, done that. He’s been a Super Bowl MVP, so I’m just trying to soak in as much as I can.”

The 49ers have not yet announced an official date for the start of training camp.

<![CDATA[Alameda Golf Course Set to Reopen After Major Facelift]]>Wed, 20 Jun 2018 20:19:13 -0700https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/corica_golf_0620_3205831.JPG

A new Bay Area golf course will open to the public this week, and it will open to rave reviews.

After all, it's already received high praise from amateur golfers and Golden State Warriors stars Steph Curry and Andre Iguodala.

While the narrative in recent years has been that golf is a dying sport, there are signs pointing towards resuscitation. When the bulldozed and rebuilt from scratch south course reopens at Alameda’s Corica Park on Friday, it will join Palo Alto’s Baylands Golf Links as the second local course to do so in less than a month.

George Kelley, the CEO of Greenway Golf, which oversaw the construction and manages the facility at Corica, says golf is not going away.

"I really believe that there’s a resurgence in golf right now," he said. "You can say what you want about golf and the downturn in the number of players. Testimony is the athletes who love golf. Both Steph and Andre said they play every day in the off-season. I mean, they’re living for golf."

Last week, Curry got a sneak peek of Corica the day before the Warriors' victory parade while Iguodala tee’d up the day after.

"Yeah, I played the course before it was completely redone, and it’s a different vibe," Iguodala said. "Took down a lot of trees. Raised it a little bit. Kind of has a links-y feel to it. But it’s a lot of fun. You can use every club in the bag, which is the type of course that I like."

That was the goal of famed architect Rees Jones. The course design was meant to mimic the great links-style courses of Australia’s sandbelt.

"With the wind here and the fact that you have a lot of average golfers, this golf course is really going to suit the ground game, which could make it very popular for the average player," Jones said.

Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[A's Pummel Padres With Barrage of Long Home Runs]]>Wed, 20 Jun 2018 16:26:10 -0700https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/olsonbarretopadresap.jpg


SAN DIEGO -- Light-hitting Franklin Barreto connected for a 424-foot, three-run home run, one of five long balls the Oakland Athletics hit in routing the San Diego Padres 12-4 on Wednesday.

Josh PhegleyMark CanhaMatt Olson and Jed Lowrie also went deep for Oakland.

The A's hit seven homers in sweeping the two-game series. Stephen Piscotty tied Tuesday night's game with a homer with two outs in the ninth off Brad Hand and Lowie hit a two-run shot with two outs in the 10th for a 4-2 victory.

Barreto and Phegley went back-to-back with their first homers of the season in the second inning off left-hander Joey Lucchesi (3-3), who had been on the disabled list for more than a month. Barreto, hitting .071 coming in and batting seventh, homered into Oakland's bullpen well beyond the fence in center field on a full-count pitch. Phegley homered off the Western Metal Supply Co. brick warehouse in the left field corner on a 1-1 pitch. Lucchesi hit Olson with a pitch opening the inning and then walked Piscotty ahead of Barreto's homer.

Robbie Erlin got the last out of the second before allowing consecutive homers to Canha and Olson in the third. It was Canha's ninth and Olson's 15th. Phegley added a sacrifice fly.

Lowrie connected off Phil Hughes in the eighth, his 11th.

Frankie Montas (4-1) benefited from the long balls as he threw 6 2-3 strong innings. He held the Padres to one run and five hits, struck out six and walked three. He allowed Cory Spangenberg's RBI single in the third.

Lucchesi went just 1 2/3 innings, allowing four runs and three hits.

Trailing 10-1, the Padres had infielder Cory Spangenberg pitch the ninth. He allowed two runs on two hits and two walks in his second appearance of the season.

San Diego's Christian Villanueva homered in the ninth, his 16th.

Padres: Placed RHP Bryan Mitchell on the 10-day disabled list with an impingement in his right elbow to make room for Lucchesi on the 25-man roster. Mitchell (0-3, 7.08 ERA) hasn't pitched since June 5. Mitchell has been disappointing since being acquired from the New York Yankees along with third baseman Chase Headley. The Padres wanted Mitchell so badly they were willing to take on Headley's $13 million salary, but the deal has backfired. Headley was released on May 19 and Mitchell was demoted from the rotation to the bullpen.

Athletics: RHP Chris Bassitt (0-2, 2.45) is scheduled to start Thursday night's opener of a four-game series at the Chicago White Sox, who counter with RHP Lucas Giolito(4-7, 7.19).

Padres: RHP Tyson Ross (5-4, 3.51) is set to start the opener of a four-game series Thursday night at San Francisco, opposite LHP Madison Bumgarner (0-2, 4.67).

Photo Credit: Associated Press]]>
<![CDATA[Giants Fend Off Marlins For Series Win]]>Wed, 20 Jun 2018 23:55:46 -0700https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/178*120/giants-marlins-0620.jpg

SAN FRANCISCO — The most dramatic series of the season -- for mostly the wrong reasons -- ended with a handshake line.

Derek Holland was solid, the lineup broke through against hard-throwing righty Jose Ureña late, and the bullpen escaped -- barely -- in a 6-5 win. After losing the series opener, and their closer, on Monday night, the Giants took the next two from the pesky Marlins. The end came with more drama. Sam Dyson, in his second save opportunity since taking over, was pulled after giving up two runs and putting the tying run on second. Reyes Moronta closed it out.

Here’s how the rest of it went down ...

— This game started with more bad injury news in a season full of it. Alen Hanson, a revelation as a utility infielder and fill-in, fouled a ball off his knee in the bottom of the first and crumpled to the dirt. He had to be helped off the field by trainer Dave Groeschner and manager Bruce Bochy. Hanson was diagnosed with a left knee contusion.

— Gorkys Hernandez is playing through some serious rib discomfort, but that didn’t keep him from winning an epic battle with Jose Ureña in the sixth. On the 14th pitch of the at-bat, Hernandez looped a two-run single into right to give the Giants a five-run inning and 5-1 lead. Earlier in the inning, Brandon Belt had roped a game-tying double to right-center.

— Holland walked off to a standing ovation after giving the Giants some length. Tony Watson cashed in two of his runs; Holland was charged with three earned in six innings. He struck out seven and walked two.

— Bochy loves Ty Blach in a “do everything” bullpen role, and on this day that meant being the setup man. Blach had a perfect eighth inning, holding a two-run lead. His last three outings: 6 2/3 relief innings last Thursday; a scoreless sixth inning to hold a lead last night; a scoreless eighth today.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Several Mistakes of Past Decade Still Haunt Raiders]]>Wed, 20 Jun 2018 08:24:11 -0700https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/180*120/deeeAlynn.jpg

The Raiders certainly have made some big mistakes over the past 10 years.

Firing offensive coordinator Bill Musgrave after the 2016 season was one. Taking Rolando McClain, Darrius Heyward-Bey and D.J. Hayden in the first round also rank high. Trading two high picks for quarterback Carson Palmer – and then trading Palmer to the Cardinals for next to nothing – also was a brutal 1-2 punch.

Yet they weren’t as bad as hiring Dennis Allen as head coach in 2012, says Brad Gagnon of Bleacher Report.

Gagnon, in identifying every NFL team’s biggest mistake of the past decade, points to the hiring of Allen by general manager Reggie McKenzie as a huge, costly mistake. He’s also not kind to McKenzie.

Gagnon said McKenzie’s decision to let go of Hue Jackson after the 2011 season and go with Allen in 2012 set the franchise back. Under Allen, hired away from the Denver Broncos, Oakland went 8-28. Allen was fired just four games into his third season.

“The offense fell off a cliff with the defensive-minded Allen in control, and replacing offensive coordinator Greg Knapp with Greg Olson after the 2012 season didn’t help,” wrote Gagnon.

“Allen’s Raiders were blown out time and again throughout his tenure, with a 38-14 loss in London at the hands of a mediocre Dolphins team serving as the straw that broke the camel’s back. He was fired during the team’s Week 5 bye.

“Three head coaches and several bad prime draft picks later, McKenzie somehow still has a job. He should have given Jackson one more season to put it together with Palmer under center, but instead he shot from the hip and extended the Raiders’ rebuild.”

Following Allen came Tony Sparano (as interim head coach), Jack Del Rio and now Jon Gruden. It’s been a revolving door of head coaches for the franchise for many years.

The Raiders will open training camp under Gruden in mid-July, following last week’s full-roster minicamp.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Piscotty's HR Ties It, Lowrie's Wins It For A's Over Padres]]>Tue, 19 Jun 2018 23:04:26 -0700https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/167*120/as-padres-0619.jpg

Stephen Piscotty homered with two outs in the ninth inning to tie the game and Jed Lowie hit a two-run shot with two outs in the 10th to lift the Oakland Athletics over the San Diego Padres 4-2 on Tuesday night.

Piscotty's shot into the second deck came off closer Brad Hand. Hand was trying for his 22nd save and retired the first two batters before Piscotty homered on a 2-2 pitch, his fifth.

Adam Cimber (3-3) allowed Marcus Semien's one-out single in the 10th and retired Chad Pinder on a fly to right before Lowrie connected for his 10th homer.

Rookie Lou Trivino (4-1) pitched two innings for the win. Blake Treinen pitched the 10th for his 16th save.

Padres rookie left-hander hander Eric Lauer had been in line for the victory after pitching six strong innings. He settled down after allowing an unearned run in the second and held the A's to one run and three hits while matching his strikeout high with seven. He walked two.

The Padres had given Lauer just enough support in the first two innings against Paul Blackburn. Jose Pirela brought in a run in the first on a grounder and Raffy Lopez doubled with one out in the second to bring in rookie Franmil Reyes, who was aboard on a leadoff double.

Blackburn allowed two runs and four hits in five innings, struck out four and walked two.

The A's scored in the second with some help from replay. Khris Davis drew a leadoff walk and was originally called out on a force play on Matt Olson's ground ball. The A's challenged and the call was overturned, with shortstop Freddy Galvis given an error because his foot wasn't on second base when he took the throw. Davis advanced on Mark Canha's single and scored when Piscotty grounded into a double play.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Tensions Boil Over as Giants Snap Losing Streak to Marlins]]>Tue, 19 Jun 2018 23:47:26 -0700https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/giantsrecap.jpg


SAN FRANCISCO - The Giants are apparently feuding with the Miami Marlins. At least this time the drama came with a win. 

Buster Posey homered and was hit on a fiery night at AT&T Park, when the bullpen finally allowed the offensive work hold up. The Giants won 6-3, beating the Marlins for the second time in six tries this season. Here are the details … 

--- A night after Hunter Strickland and Lewis Brinson exchanged words, Dereck Rodriguez's first pitch to Brinson was a 92 mph fastball to the hip. Both benches were warned, but the Marlins still retaliated. Dan Straily hit Posey on the arm in the bottom of the inning and was immediately ejected. Posey was uninjured. 

--- Gorkys Hernandez, who hit zero homers last year, crushed his eighth. The two-run blast put the Giants on top 3-0. Posey had a solo shot in the first. 

--- Dereck Rodriguez had one rough inning, but otherwise pitched well. He was charged with three earned in five innings, all of the damage coming in the fourth. He struck out six and walked none. 

-- Alen Hanson had a rough weekend in Los Angeles, but he bounced back with a huge night: a single and two doubles, including one that would have been a triple if not for iffy baserunning ahead of him. He also made a spectacular play at short to end the eighth. 

--- Will Smith pitched the eighth and started the ninth, but Sam Dyson came on with one out and one on. He got a game-ending double play. 

Photo Credit: Alex Pavlovic]]>
<![CDATA[Teenage Girl Takes NASCAR, Sonoma Raceway by Storm]]>Wed, 20 Jun 2018 09:11:53 -0700https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/203*120/nascar-deegan.JPG

NASCAR returns to Sonoma Raceway this weekend, and if you think the only action happens on Sunday, think again. There’s a young phenom racing in Saturday’s Pro Series, Hailie Deegan, and she just became of legal driving age. Colin Resch has the rest of the story in the above video.]]>
<![CDATA[Giants' Strickland Breaks Hand Punching Door, Out 6-8 Weeks]]>Tue, 19 Jun 2018 16:59:32 -0700https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/180*120/giants-strickland-0619.jpg

Hunter Strickland had a bad Monday night, and it appears it just got worse.

The San Francisco Giants' closer blew a two-run lead against the Miami Marlins, and in a fit of rage afterward, he fractured his pitching hand by punching a door.

Strickland will have surgery on his right hand and is expected to miss 6-8 weeks.

Manager Bruce Bochy made the announcement prior to Tuesday's game and told reporters that Sam Dyson or Tony Watson will fill in as closer.

Pierce Johnson will be recalled to take the roster spot.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Niners' Draft Class Looks Promising]]>Tue, 19 Jun 2018 08:07:33 -0700https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/180*120/bigmyke.jpg

A year ago, the 49ers had a terrific draft.

In John Lynch’s first year as general manager, the team took defensive lineman Solomon Thomas and linebacker Reuben Foster each in the first round, and both flashed potential impact-player talent. They also found a starting cornerback in the third round in Ahkello Witherspoon, a backup quarterback in C.J. Beathard, two talented receivers in Trent Taylor and George Kittle and a safety, Adrian Colbert, with their final seventh-round pick. Plus, a pair of players in running back Joe Williams and defensive lineman Pita Taumoepenu who could contribute in 2018 after injury seasons.

Now, after a long offseason program capped by last week’s full-roster minicamp, the 49ers go into next month’s training camp with a draft class that – so far – appears as good or better than last year’s.

This week, Matt Barrows of the Sacramento Bee reviewed this year’s class as training camp approaches and noted the top four picks appear poised to play big roles in 2018.

Those four are first-round pick Mike McGlinchey, the presumed starter at right offensive tackle, second-round pick Dante Pettis, a punt returner and wide receiver, and a pair of third-round picks, linebacker Fred Warner and cornerback Tarvarius Moore.

McGlinchey still must perform well in training camp and during the exhibition season to win the starting job on the right side, taking over for Trent Brown, who was traded to the Patriots. But, as Barrows pointed out, the Niners have made no pretense that they expect McGlinchey to start.

“Most teams will make their top picks go through a faux he-has-to-earn-it phase in the offseason in which he begins practicing with the second- or third-team groups and – surprise, surprise – ends up working his way on to the first-team squad,” wrote Barrows. “The 49ers dispensed with that in McGlinchey’s case.”

In fact, veteran Pro Bowl tackle Joe Staley, the longtime starter on the left side, believes McGlinchey has big-time talent and will be a key to the offensive line’s performance in 2018. Staley has taken McGlinchey under his wing.

“I’m real excited about my guy, McGlinchey, in my (offensive line) room,” Staley said recently. “He’s my little brother. I’m finally excited. I have a little brother.”

McGlinchey has yet to sign, but is likely to over the next few weeks before the start of training camp.

Then, wrote Barrows, the 49ers will truly find out if they have a gem.

“The true test for any lineman, offensive and defensive, comes when the pads go on for the first time in training camp and the team has its first one-on-one pass-rush drills,” wrote Barrows. “Still, it was hard to tell in the spring that McGlinchey was a rookie. He looked as if he belonged on the right side of the offensive line.”

Training camp will open in mid-July, on a date still to be announced.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Giants Blow 9th-Inning Lead in Loss to Marlins]]>Mon, 18 Jun 2018 22:25:31 -0700https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/168*120/giants-strickland-0618.jpg

SAN FRANCISCO — The Giants talked a lot about how difficult their stretch on the road was. Their first night back was difficult to watch.

Hunter Strickland melted down in the ninth, coughing up a two-run lead. He walked the leadoff batter, hung a slider that went for a double, walked the next batter, got an out, and then gave up back-to-back singles before departing with a few words for Lewis Brinson, who tied the game. The Giants lost 5-4 in an embarrassing fashion, dropping to 1-4 against the lowly Marlins this season. Here are some things that happened before the inning that ended in boos...

—- Strickland’s performance blew a win for Andrew Suarez, who allowed two runs over seven innings. Suarez entered the night fourth in strikeout-to-walk ratio among lefties with at least 40 innings this season, right behind Chris Sale and Clayton Kershaw. He struck out seven and walked just one.

—- Kelby Tomlinson is here for three days because Brandon Crawford is on paternity leave, and he made an impact his first night back. Tomlinson’s diving stop ended the third, and he made another sliding stop to start an inning-ending double play in the seventh.

—- Pablo Sandoval’s homer was his first this season as a right-handed batter. He got a hanging slider from Caleb Smith and drove it into the first row of seats in left. Sandoval entered the day hitting just .148 against lefties, but he’ll see plenty of them now that Evan Longoria is out six-to-eight weeks.

—- Bruce Bochy gave Sam Dyson some extended time off in Los Angeles so he could freshen up. Dyson needed one pitch to get a double play in the seventh and then breezed through the eighth, ending it with a 94 mph that flummoxed Starlin Castro.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[A's Beat Angels With Lucroy's Walkoff Hit in the 11th]]>Sun, 17 Jun 2018 17:20:00 -0700https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/180*120/as-angels-0617.jpg

OAKLAND -- Jonathan Lucroy hit an RBI single off the center-field wall in the 11th inning and the Oakland Athletics capped their comeback Sunday with a 6-5 win over the Los Angeles Angels.

The A's rallied for two runs in the ninth to tie it at 5, then took advantage of control problems by a pair of Angels relievers to win.

Jed Lowrie led off the 11th with a single and Jake Jewell (0-1) hit Khris Davis with a pitch. After Matt Olson flied, Eduardo Paredes replaced Jewell and walked Mark Canha to load the bases.

Angels manager Mike Scioscia brought left fielder Justin Upton in for a five-man infield but it didn't matter. Lucroy hit a deep drive to win it.

Canha hit an early two-run homer, and added a tying single with two outs in the ninth. Marcus Semien homered to begin the Oakland ninth.

Albert Pujols hit his 625th career home run, Chris Young also went deep and Mike Trout reached base five times for the Angels.

It was another blown save for Scioscia's bullpen, the 15th by the Angels this season.

Blake Parker gave up two runs in the ninth. He also had a blown save Wednesday in Seattle. Canha's tying single came off Cam Bedrosian.

Pujols' drive off Daniel Mengden was his fourth this month and 11th overall this season. It also moved the Angels' 38-year-old slugger within five home runs of tying Ken Griffey Jr. for sixth place all time.

Pujols also had an RBI single in the third.

Trout had homered in four of his previous six games. He had singles in the fifth and ninth, walked twice and was hit by a pitch.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Giants Outlast Marlins in 16-Inning Marathon to Avoid Sweep]]>Thu, 14 Jun 2018 23:56:52 -0700https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/giantsrecapap.jpg


MIAMI -- Pablo Sandoval's tie-breaking two-run single in the 16th inning lifted the San Francisco Giants past the Miami Marlins, 6-3, on Thursday.

Andrew McCutchen hit a two-run homer to continue his torrid month and Mac Williamson also homered for the Giants, who salvaged the final game of a four-game series and beat the Marlins for only the second time in the last 10 meetings.

Giants' starter Dereck Rodriguez pitched 6 2-3 innings, allowing two runs with his father and former Marlins' World Series championship catcher Pudge Rodriguez sitting behind home plate. Ty Blach (4-5) also pitched 6 2-3 innings for the Giants without allowing a run. He gave up seven hits, walked two, and struck out three. Sam Dyson came on for Blach to get the final out with two runners on for his first save of the season.

McCutchen started the 16th with a single, Brandon Crawford walked and Alen Hanson singled to load the bases of Elieser Hernandez (0-4). Sandoval's single to center made it 5-3, and Gorkys Hernandez added a sacrifice fly later in the inning. The runs were the first for the Giants since the second.

Miami had two runners on in the bottom of the 16th for Bryan Holaday, who flew out to end the game.

It was the longest game of the season for the Giants and the second-longest for the Marlins, who went 17 innings in a 2-1 win over the Chicago Cubs on March 30.

Both teams had opportunities in extra innings after the Marlins tied the game in the bottom of the ninth off Hunter Strickland on a sacrifice fly by Lewis Brinson. Second baseman Joe Panik was unable to hold onto a pop up near the foul line, allowing the lead-off runner to reach.

It was the eighth time in the series the Marlins came back to tie the game.

The Giants looked to take the lead in the 11th on a double by Hanson, but Crawford was thrown out at the plate.

Miami threatened in the 13th when manager Bruce Bochy ordered an intentional walk to load the bases with two outs and Hernandez due to bat because the Marlins were out of position players. Hernandez bounced out to Blach.

The Marlins had another opportunity in the 15th with runners on the corners and one out, but Justin Bour grounded into a double play. Bour slammed his helmet to the ground in disgust.

McCutchen hit a two-run homer in the first inning for the second straight game. Five of his eight home runs have been this month. He went 3 for 7 to raise his batting average to .339 (19 for 56) in June, historically the best month of his career. He has 11 multi-hit performances in his last 18 games.

Williamson's fourth home run of the season gave the Giants a 3-0 lead against Dan Straily in the second inning.

JT Riddle's solo shot, his third, cut the deficit to 3-1 in the fifth.

Holaday's two-out base hit to left pulled Miami within 3-2 in the seventh, ending Rodriguez's outing.

Rodriguez scattered seven hits and struck out four in his third start.


Miami's Caleb Smith was not with the club due to a funeral and is expected to go on the bereavement list. Manager Don Mattingly said Smith will make his next scheduled start at San Francisco on June 18.


Holaday threw out Mac Williamson trying to steal second base in the fourth inning. It was the ninth consecutive base stealer Holaday has thrown out, extending his franchise record. The nine straight is the most in the majors since Arizona's Miguel Montero threw out nine in a row in 2011.


Giants: 3B Evan Longoria (left hand) was hit by a pitch in the fourth inning and stayed in the game briefly to run before being replaced in the field.

Marlins: RHP Brett Graves (left oblique) is nearing a return and the plan is for him to begin out of the bullpen.


Giants: LHP Derek Holland (4-6, 4.54 ERA) will take the mound Friday to begin a three-game series at the Los Angeles Dodgers. The Giants are 6-4 against their rivals this season.

Marlins: RHP Jose Urena (1-8, 4.59) begins a three-game series at Baltimore on Friday.

Photo Credit: Alex Pavlovic]]>
<![CDATA[Astros Rock Paul Blackburn Early, Clobber A's 13-5]]>Wed, 13 Jun 2018 22:48:38 -0700https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/astroswinusatsi.jpg


OAKLAND -- Evan Gattis hit two home runs, including the first of back-to-back shots with Marwin Gonzalez during a seven-run second inning, and the streaking Houston Astros beat the Oakland Athletics 13-5 on Wednesday night for their seventh straight win.

Jake Marisnick also homered, Carlos Correa had a two-run triple and Yuli Gurriel had three hits and three RBIs to help Gerrit Cole (8-1) win his sixth straight decision.

The defending World Series champs moved a season-high 19 games over .500. This is Houston's longest winning streak since taking seven in a row from Aug. 31-Sept. 6, 2017.

Oakland outfielder Jake Smolinski became the first A's position player to pitch in a game since utility player Tyler Ladendorf on June 3, 2016. Smolinski allowed a leadoff double to Max Stassi and a two-run home run to Marisnick in the ninth, then retired the next three batters.

One night after homering and setting a career-high with five RBIs, Gattis had another huge day at the plate. He drove in five again, becoming the first player in franchise history to drive in five in consecutive games.

The Astros' slugger had a sacrifice fly in the first inning, hit a three-run home run off A's starter Paul Blackburn (1-1) in the second then went deep again with a solo blast off Emilio Pagan in the seventh. Gattis also walked in the eighth.

Gattis' 10 RBIs in two games also ties an Astros record.

Cole allowed allowed a season-high four runs over six uneven innings, including two home runs, but benefited from the early cushion. The AL leader in strikeouts fanned six and yielded six hits with two walks.

That gives Houston three eight-game winners - Cole, Thursday's starter Justin Verlander (8-2) and Tuesday's winner Lance McCullers (8-3).

Khris Davis homered twice for Oakland, his 18th and 19th of the season. Stephen Piscotty also went deep.

The Astros flexed their defensive muscle in the eighth after Matt Olson reached on an error. Marisnick made a leaping catch in center to rob Matt Chapman of a home run, then threw to second baseman Tony Kemp, who relayed to first to double up Olson.

TRAINER'S ROOM: Athletics: Chapman made another handful of stellar defensive plays at third base, one night after getting hit in the left hand by a 92.3 mph fastball from Astros reliever Collin McHugh.

UP NEXT: Verlander (8-2, 2.58 ERA) makes his 15th start in the series finale for Houston on Thursday. Among qualifying pitchers, Verlander leads the majors in ERA and is second in innings pitched (93 1/3) and third in strikeouts (113). Right-hander Frankie Montas (3-0, 1.25) goes for Oakland.

Photo Credit: NBC Sports Bay Area staff]]>
<![CDATA[Giants Blow Lead in Eighth, Watch Marlins Walk Off With Win]]>Wed, 13 Jun 2018 20:13:36 -0700https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/miguelrojasmarlinsgiantsusatsi.jpg


MIAMI -- Brian Anderson stepped to the plate in the bottom of the ninth inning with the game tied, one out and the bases loaded.

The Marlins' rookie took the situation in stride like a veteran.

Anderson hit a game-ending sacrifice fly to lift the Miami Marlins over the San Francisco Giants 5-4 on Wednesday night.

"In a situation like that, the pressure's not on you, it's on the pitcher," Anderson said. "I tried to stay within myself and get something in the strike zone, something I could elevate."

J.T. Realmuto had two hits and scored twice for the Marlins, who have won three straight for the first time since winning four in a row April 28-May 1.

Andrew McCutchen hit a two-run home run and Buster Posey had three hits for the Giants, who entered the series winning eight of 10 but have dropped the first three games against last-place Miami and eight of the last nine in the series.

"Yyou can't take any team lightly," McCutchen said. "This is the big leagues and regardless of their record or how many fans are in the stands, you've got to be ready to go."

Reyes Moronta (2-1) allowed the first two hitters to reach in the bottom of the ninth, prompting manager Bruce Bochy to call on Hunter Strickland. Pinch-hitter J.B. Shuck hit a hard grounder down the first-base line, but Posey was able to dive to keep the ball in front of him, preventing the Marlins from scoring.

However, Strickland got himself into a 3-1 count against Anderson with one out. Anderson connected on a flyball to center field caught by Gorkys Hernandez, whose throw home was too late to catch Miguel Rojas.

"He didn't crush it, but he got it deep enough," Marlins manager Don Mattingly said.

It was the Marlins' third walk-off win of the season.

San Francisco's Evan Longoria broke a 3-all tie with a hit in the seventh off Tayron Guerrero. It was Longoria's team-leading 11th go-ahead RBI of the season.

The Marlins responded with a two-out RBI double in the eighth by Justin Bour off Sam Dyson, tying the game at 4.

It was the third time in the game the Marlins trailed but bounced back to draw even.

"We're doing what we're hoping, we're getting the lead," Bochy said. "We're just having a hard time holding it."

Drew Steckenrider (3-1) pitched a scoreless top of the ninth.

Andrew Suarez allowed five hits and two runs in five innings for the Giants, pitching in his hometown in front of a number of friends and family members. He struck out three and walked two.

"I just didn't really have a feel for a lot of pitches later in the game," Suarez said. "I just think with all of the humidity and sweating so much, the ball was a little slick. But you have to compete and keep throwing strikes."

Miami's Caleb Smith pitched 6 1/3 innings, allowing eight hits and three runs.

He also had two hits at the plate.

"That was pretty fun," Smith said. "I've been working on it."

McCutchen's two-run blast in the first was his seventh of the season.

The Marlins tied the game at 2 on base hits by Cameron Maybin and Lewis Brinson in the fourth.

The teams traded runs in the sixth. Austin Jackson gave the Giants a 3-2 lead before Bour tied it with a base hit.

The retractable roof was open for the 15th time this season, the most in a year since Marlins Park opened in 2012.

Giants: 1B Brandon Belt (appendix) is likely to have a couple rehab starts with the goal of joining the team on the next homestand beginning June 18 instead of playing this weekend in Los Angeles. ... RHP Johnny Cueto (left ankle) will have another bullpen session Friday. ... RHP Jeff Samardzija (right shoulder) will have a rehab start with Triple-A Sacramento on Friday with a pitch limit of 60-65 pitches.

Giants: RHP Dereck Rodriguez (1-1, 5.25 ERA) will start Thursday's series finale. Rodriguez, the son of former Marlins catcher and Hall of Famer Pudge Rodriguez, spent a lot of time around the Marlins when his father helped lead them to a World Series title in 2003.

Marlins: RHP Dan Straily (2-2, 4.08) is 4-0 with a 2.43 ERA in five career starts against the Giants.

Photo Credit: Associated Press]]>
<![CDATA[Levi's Stadium Could Be Selected as 2026 World Cup Venue]]>Wed, 13 Jun 2018 21:09:52 -0700https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/212*120/LevisStadiumSoccer.JPG

The World Cup is officially coming to North America in 2026, and Bay Area soccer fans could have the opportunity to see the world-famous sporting event right in their backyard.

Levi's Stadium in Santa Clara is listed as one of the 23 potential venues in North America — three in Mexico, three in Canada and 17 in the United States — that could play host to matches during the tournament. That list of 23 hosting sites will eventually be whittled down to 16 in 2020 or 2021, according to U.S. Soccer.

FIFA voted Wednesday to play the 2026 World Cup in North America, with the joint bid from the United States, Mexico and Canada beating out Morocco's bid, 134 votes to 65 votes.

The 2026 competition will be the largest World Cup in history with 48 teams vying for the trophy. The United States in total will play host to 60 matches, including the final, which is proposed to take place at MetLife Stadium near New York City. Mexico and Canada will each host 10 matches during the competition.

A World Cup host nation's team automatically qualifies to compete in the competition, but with three countries slated to host in eight years, the automatic qualifying process becomes complicated. South Korea and Japan, the only other nations to host jointly, both qualified automatically in 2002, but the FIFA Council will decide if all three North American countries will automatically feature in the 2026 tournament.

The United States hosted the World Cup back in 1994. Mexico has twice hosted the competition, in 1970 and 1986.

While Levi's Stadium primarily serves as the home to the San Francisco 49ers, it is no stranger to hosting meaningful soccer tilts. The venue previously played host to Copa América Centenario and Gold Cup matches.

Wednesday's vote comes one day before the 2018 World Cup kicks off in Russia.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Mengden Lit Up in A's Series-Opening Loss to Astros]]>Tue, 12 Jun 2018 22:45:10 -0700https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/178*120/as-astros-0612.jpg

Evan Gattis hit a three-run homer and drove in five runs, Carlos Correa returned from a four-game absence and homered on the first pitch he saw, and the Houston Astros beat the Oakland Athletics 6-3 on Tuesday night for their sixth straight win.

Lance McCullers Jr. (8-3) struck out five over seven strong innings, allowing two runs and five hits while winning a second straight decision. He surrendered Stephen Piscotty's sacrifice fly in the second and then kept Oakland's powerful order in check.

Correa was back in the lineup at shortstop after missing a series sweep at Texas with soreness in his right side after leaving last Wednesday's game against the Mariners following an at-bat in the seventh inning.

Oakland scored on a wild pitch in the first before the Astros answered against Daniel Mengden (6-6). Correa homered leading off the second. Gattis hit his 11th homer three batters later, and then chased Mengden with a two-run double with two outs in the fifth.

Matt Chapman hit three doubles before being hit by a pitch in the left hand in the eighth by Collin McHugh. Chapman's three doubles matched the Oakland single-game record, done for the 28th time and first since Matt Joyce last Sept. 27.

Ken Giles finished for his 11th save in 11 tries as the World Series champions moved to 6-1 so far this season against the A's.

Both teams left the bases loaded in the fourth.

Mengden was charged with six runs and eight hits.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Warriors 2018 Parade Replay: Dub Nation Celebrates Title]]>Tue, 12 Jun 2018 21:10:50 -0700https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/REPLAY__2018_Warriors_Victory_Parade.jpg

If you missed out on the Warriors Championship Parade or want to relive the celebration, we got you covered. Watch highlights of players celebrating with Dub Nation and the team's pre-parade questionnaire in Oakland below:

<![CDATA[Stratton Solid, But Giants' Bats Silent in Loss to Marlins]]>Tue, 12 Jun 2018 19:08:52 -0700https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/180*120/giants-stratton-0612.jpg

MIAMI -- Trevor Richards pitched six effective innings for his first major league win, helping the Miami Marlins beat the San Francisco Giants 3-1 on Tuesday night.

Richards (1-3) allowed two hits in his seventh major league start. The 25-year-old right-hander struck out two and walked three.

Brandon Crawford's groundout in the first inning drove in the only run for the Giants, who had just three hits.

Kyle Barraclough pitched a perfect ninth for his fourth save in six chances.

JT Riddle had a two-run double for Miami, and Starlin Castro had two hits and knocked in a run.

San Francisco right-hander Chris Stratton (7-4) worked out of a bases-loaded jam in the second inning, but ran into trouble in the third when he again loaded the bases. This time, Castro singled in Derek Dietrich and Riddle followed with a two-run double to right field.

Stratton then settled in and retired his final 13 batters. He allowed four hits in seven innings.

TRAINER'S ROOM: Giants: 1B Brandon Belt (appendix) is expected to join the team in Los Angeles later this week after making progress from emergency surgery on June 2. "He soft-tossed in Arizona, threw, did quite a bit of baseball activities," manager Bruce Bochy said. "Tomorrow he'll take regular batting practice so that's the big step. If he feels fine doing that, then we're getting close on him."

UP NEXT: Giants: LHP Andrew Suarez (2-4, 5.06 ERA) will start the third game of the series on Wednesday in his hometown for the first time in front of a number of family members and friends.

Marlins: LHP Caleb Smith (5-6, 3.70) is 5-4 with a 2.70 ERA over his last nine starts.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Champs Again: Warriors Parade Through Oakland]]>Wed, 13 Jun 2018 15:23:53 -0700https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/180*120/curry-celebrates-parade.jpg

Photo Credit: Ezra Shaw/Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Bumgarner Shaky, Ejected in Giants' 7-5 Loss to Marlins]]>Mon, 11 Jun 2018 19:34:03 -0700https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/180*120/giants-madbum-0611.jpg

Madison Bumgarner blew a sixth inning lead and was ejected on the way out of his second start this season as the Miami Marlins rallied past the San Francisco Giants 7-5 on Monday night.

J.T. Realmuto had three hits including his seventh home run of the season and drove in two and Brian Anderson homered, doubled twice, and drove in two runs for the Marlins.

Bumgarner allowed back-to-back hits to begin the sixth with a 4-2 lead. Cameron Maybin hit a sacrifice fly and then Justin Bour walked on four pitches prompting Bumgarner to voice his displeasure to home plate umpire Jeremie Rehak.

The four-time All-Star was able to convince manager Bruce Bochy to stay in the game, but then immediately allowed a game-tying hit by Lewis Brinson ending his outing. On his way to the dugout, Bumgarner again had words for Rehak, who ejected him.

Bumgarner, who missed the first two months of the season with a broken pinkie finger on his left hand, gave up four runs and six hits in 5 1/3 innings. He walked one while striking out three, throwing 50 of his 91 pitches for strikes.

Brandon Crawford's sacrifice fly in the seventh gave the Giants a 5-4 lead.

Anderson responded with an RBI double to tie the game at 5.

Realmuto followed with a two-run home run to center field off Sam Dyson (2-1). He also had a single and a double to fall a triple shy of the cycle for the eighth time in his career.

Adam Conley (2-0) tossed a scoreless inning and Kyle Barraclough pitched a flawless ninth for his third save in five chances.

Andrew McCutchen and Evan Longoria each had two hits and drove in a run for the Giants.

Bumgarner cruised through the first three innings without allowing a run or a walk before Anderson led off the fourth with a home run.

Realmuto doubled and Brinson tripled to give the Marlins a 2-1 lead later in the inning.

The Giants bounced back with three runs off Wei-Yen Chen in the fifth for a 4-2 lead. McCutchen tied the game with an RBI double before Chen balked in a run and reliever Brad Ziegler walked Nick Hundley with the bases loaded.

Chen allowed four runs and six hits in 4 1-3 innings.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC Bay Area

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Giants' Holland Outduels Nationals' Scherzer in 2-0 SF Win]]>Sun, 10 Jun 2018 21:05:07 -0700https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/180*120/giants-holland-0610.jpg

WASHINGTON D.C. — The Nationals held their annual fundraising gala on Saturday night, so Sunday’s game was pushed back to a rare 4:05 p.m. start so their players would be in, uhh, better shape. Derek Holland and Brandon Crawford left them with a wicked hangover.

Holland pitched five shutout innings opposite the league’s best starter, Max Scherzer, and Crawford took him deep in the fourth as part of a four-hit day. The Giants got a tidy 2-0 win and shot out of town before the rain came. They started this 10-game road trip with a strong series victory. Here are the details...

--- Crawford joined Scooter Gennett and Martin Prado as the only players this season to have three hits in a game off Scherzer. Gennett is one of the players Crawford is chasing in the batting race. He finished Sunday’s game at .338, which puts him right there with Gennett and Freddie Freeman behind NL leader Matt Kemp (.351). Crawford needed a triple for the cycle when he came up in the eighth. He doubled down the left field line for his fourth hit.

--- Holland had it all working in five shutout innings. He got five swinging strikes on his slider, three each on his fastball and curve, and two on his changeup. Holland allowed just three hits, walked two, and struck out four.

--- Scherzer was his usual self, striking out nine in seven innings. He struck out six straight Giants at one point and did so on just 26 pitches. But he hung a two-strike cutter to Crawford and that was all it took.

--- Hunter Strickland and Bryce Harper faced off to open the ninth. There was no drama. On Strickland's third pitch, Harper grounded out softly to Crawford. Strickland picked up his 13th save.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Golden State Warriors Celebrate Another NBA Championship]]>Fri, 08 Jun 2018 21:28:04 -0700https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/180*120/GettyImages-970194032.jpgThey've done it again! The Warriors celebrate after defeating the Cleveland Cavaliers during Game Four of the 2018 NBA Finals. They defeated the Cav's 108-85 to finish the four-game sweep.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[A's Score Three in the Sixth to Beat the Royals]]>Thu, 07 Jun 2018 22:09:46 -0700https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/asrecapus.jpg


OAKLAND -- Matt Chapman doubled in the go-ahead run in the sixth inning to make a winner of Paul Blackburn in his first start of the season, and the Oakland Athletics beat the Kansas City Royals 4-1 on Thursday night.

Matt Olson hit his 13th home run, Stephen Piscotty singled three times and Marcus Semien added two hits and an RBI to help the A's to their third win in four games against the Royals over the past seven days.

Blackburn (1-0) was reinstated from the disabled list before the game after missing the first two months of the season with a strained right forearm he suffered late in spring training. The right-hander yielded three hits, including Alcides Escobar's home run in the third and induced 11 groundouts over six innings.

Kansas City's Jason Hammel (2-6) matched Blackburn until Oakland broke through for three runs in the sixth.

After Hammel retired Jed Lowrie on a fly ball, Khris Davis singled and moved to second when Olson walked. Chapman then hit a towering fly ball that hit near the top of the wall. Royals center fielder Paulo Orlando appeared to have a good jump on it but got twisted around near the wall before the ball ricocheted off the fence, allowing Davis to score.

Semien and Piscotty followed with back-to-back RBI singles.

Lou Trivino and Yusmeiro Petit retired three batters apiece for Oakland. Blake Treinen pitched the ninth for his 14th save.

Oakland finished with nine hits. In doing so, the A's avoided becoming the first team since the 1910 Chicago White Sox to go 14 consecutive games at home with seven or fewer.

Hammel allowed four runs on eight hits in six innings against his former club. He struck out six and walked one.

The Royals have lost five straight.

Olson's home run off Hammel in the fourth extended his hitting streak to a career-high seven games.


Royals: Orlando was recalled from Triple-A Omaha before the game and took the roster spot left vacant when Jon Jay was traded to Arizona in exchange for a pair of minor leaguers Wednesday.

Athletics: Catcher Bruce Maxwell was optioned to Triple-A Nashville. ... OF Boog Powell (sprained right knee) was transferred to 60-day disabled list. ... RHP Santiago Casilla (shoulder strain) is expected to come off the DL soon.


RHP Frankie Montas (2-0, 0.64 ERA) pitches for Oakland on Friday night. Montas has allowed one run over 14 innings since being called up from the minors May 27. The Royals counter with RHP Jakob Junis (5-5, 3.62).

Photo Credit: Associated Press]]>
<![CDATA[A's Fall to Rangers on Milestone Night for Veteran Colon]]>Wed, 06 Jun 2018 20:48:53 -0700https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/214*120/bartolous1.jpg

ARLINGTON, Texas -- Bartolo Colon worked five innings for his 243rd career victory, matching Hall of Fame pitcher Juan Marichal for the most by a player born in the Dominican Republic when the Texas Rangers beat the Oakland Athletics 8-2 on Wednesday night.

The 45-year-old Colon (3-3), in his fourth attempt at the milestone victory, got it against one of the 10 other major league teams he has pitched for since his big league debut in 1997 with Cleveland. He allowed two runs with one strikeout and two walks.

Jurickson Profar homered twice, while Joey Gallo and Ronald Guzman also went deep for the Rangers in the first four innings against Oakland right-handed starter Daniel Mengden (6-5). Profar had his first multihomer game, and added a two-run single in the seventh for a career-high five RBIs.

Colon held the A's scoreless until Khris Davis hit his 15th homer, a two-run shot that made it 6-2 with two outs in the fifth. After getting an inning-ending flyball on his 97th pitch, Colon did fist-bumps with teammates in the dugout.

The well-liked portly right-hander known as "Big Sexy" went to spring training with the Rangers on a minor league deal, and eventually agreed to another minor league deal before starting their fifth game. Colon has appeared in 13 games, with 11 starts in a rotation missing injured Martin Perez after earlier disabled list stints by starters Doug Fister and Matt Moore.

Colon leads all active pitchers with 243 wins and 3,383 2-3 innings pitched. His 2,499 strikeouts are third among active pitchers, behind CC Sabathia and Justin Verlander - all three are former AL Cy Young Award winners. Nicaragua's Dennis Martinez, with 245 wins, is the only Latin American native with more wins than Colon.

Texas led 3-0 in the first after Profar hit a two-run shot and Gallo immediately followed with his 17th homer. Both also homered Tuesday night, when the Rangers went deep a season-high five times against Oakland.

Profar hit another in the third, giving him homers in three consecutive at-bats. He walked in his final plate appearance Tuesday after his sixth-inning homer then.

Guzman's two-run homer in the fourth made it 6-0.

Photo Credit: NBC Sports Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[Bumgarner Solid, But Giants' Streak Ends in Loss to D'backs]]>Tue, 05 Jun 2018 22:36:09 -0700https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/madbumusatsi.jpg

SAN FRANCISCO - Madison Bumgarner's return was supposed to nudge the Giants back above .500. Instead, it snapped a five-game winning streak, but the big lefty wasn't to blame. 

The Giants had no answers for the other lefty starter, Patrick Corbin, wasting six strong innings from Bumgarner in his season debut. The 3-2 loss was the first since last Tuesday, and dropped the Giants back to 2 1/2 games out of first in the tight NL West race. 

The Giants had their chances. They loaded the bases with no outs in the fifth, but Bumgarner, Gorkys Hernandez and Buster Posey struck out. They loaded the bases again in the seventh but Posey flied out. They put two on in the eighth, but Pablo Sandoval grounded out. The tying run got to second in the bottom of the ninth, but Evan Longoria grounded out. 

Here are the rest of the details... 

-- Bumgarner threw 82 pitches before giving way to the bullpen. He gave up two earned, allowing eight hits, walking none, and striking out three. Both runs came in the second, when Ketel Marte and Chris Owings led off with back-to-back doubles. 

-- The fifth inning appeared to be when Bumgarner found his groove. He struck out Corbin on a cutter and threw a fastball up and in to David Peralta that had the outfielder down on his knees. He also waved both arms when he didn't get an outside strike. Bumgarner caught a break when Paul Goldschmidt's double skipped into the seats, keeping a runner at third, and he took advantage of it. The next pitch was an inning-ending groundout to short. 

-- There was a new wrinkle on this night. Bumgarner threw a bunch of changeups, adding to an arsenal that is heavy on three pitches most nights. The tracking systems couldn't agree on how many he threw, but MLB had him at 14 and Baseball Savant said 16. He hadn't thrown 14 changeups in a game since June 27, 2014. He threw three total in his final three starts last season. 

-- Mark Melancon looks like the guy the Giants thought they were getting. In two appearances since coming off the DL, he has five strikeouts. All have come on a big looping curveball. 

-- The Giants drew 36,925 for Bumgarner's season debut. A good crowd, a loud crowd…but it has become very difficult for them to sell out AT&T Park like they used to. 

Photo Credit: Alex Pavlovic]]>
<![CDATA[A's Allow Five Home Runs, Fall to Rangers]]>Tue, 05 Jun 2018 21:43:59 -0700https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/asrecapap.jpg

ARLINGTON, Texas -- Adrian Beltre led off the eighth inning with a tiebreaking homer for the Texas Rangers, who went deep a season-high five times in a 7-4 win over the Oakland Athletics on Tuesday night.

Beltre made it 5-4 when he connected off reliever Lou Trivino (3-1), who then walked Jurickson Profar before Joey Gallopulled a two-run shot into the right-field seats. It was Gallo's 16th homer.

Shin-Soo Choo, Robinson Chirinos and Profar also homered for Texas.

Chris Martin (1-1) pitched a scoreless eighth for his first big league victory, and Keone Kela struck out the side in a perfect ninth for his 14th save - the most in the majors without a blown chance.

It was only the second home run of the season for Beltre, who missed 28 games during two stints on the disabled list because of a left hamstring strain and was playing only his fourth game since being activated. His first homer at home this season was 3,083th career hit, the most among active players.

Khris Davis had an RBI double and scored on Matt Olson's single in the first for Oakland. Davis hit a solo homer, his 14th, in the fifth for a 3-1 lead. Olson's second RBI single of the game made it 4-2 in the seventh.

Choo stretched his majors-best on-base streak to 21 games with a leadoff walk in the first. His game-tying two-run homer in the seventh gave him a 12-game hitting streak, matching Colorado's Charlie Blackmon for the longest active in the big leagues.

Chirinos homered on his 34th birthday.


Athletics: RHP Liam Hendricks (strained right groin) was activated from the 10-day DL, and RHP Daniel Gossett (right elbow strain) went on the DL after an MRI on Monday. ... OF Boog Powell, who has missed 52 games because of a strained right knee, has been in extended spring training. He could start working out with the A's this weekend, and then go on a rehab assignment.

Rangers: SS Elvis Andrus, who has missed 49 games with a broken right elbow and is eligible to come off the 60-day DL next Monday, took groundballs and made throws to first base. He is scheduled to take batting practice on the field soon. "He's progressing nicely, moving forward," manager Jeff Banister said. "Starting to see a little positive excitement that we can see a little light."


Bartolo Colon (2-3), the 45-year-old Rangers right-hander, makes his fourth attempt at getting his 243rd career victory to match Hall of Fame pitcher Juan Marichal for the most by a player born in the Dominican Republic. Colon spent two seasons with Oakland, going 18-6 for the A's in 2013. Athletics right-hander Daniel Mengden (6-4) was 4-1 with a 1.51 ERA in six May starts.

Photo Credit: Associated Press]]>
<![CDATA[Giants Move Back to .500 Before Bumgarner's Return]]>Mon, 04 Jun 2018 23:56:01 -0700https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/giantsrecap.jpg

SAN FRANCISCO - When Madison Bumgarner went down at the end of spring training, all the Giants could have realistically hoped for was a chance to compete when he returned. They wanted to stay afloat in the NL West, and they've done it. 

Monday night's 10-3 win got the Giants back to .500. They're an even 30-30 with their best player set to return Tuesday night, and they're just 1 1/2 games out of first place in what has turned out to be a weak division. 

The Giants have at times looked poised to slip out of a lackluster race, but they found a groove at the right time. Monday's win was the fifth straight and included contributions from all over. The Giants trailed 2-0 heading into the bottom of the fourth, but Andrew McCutchen and Brandon Crawford went back-to-back, igniting a seven-run rally. 

Here are the rest of the details… 

-- A few hours after the Giants drafted a catcher with their highest pick in 33 years, Buster Posey showed how much he's got left in the tank. Posey singled in the first and scorched a two-run double into the gap in the fourth. 

-- Among the groups that are better this year: The bench. Alen Hanson came off the pine to hit a big two-run double in the fourth and Pablo Sandoval, playing in place of Brandon Belt, hit a solo homer an inning later. Sandoval had three hits. Nick Hundley hit a solo shot in the ninth. 

-- Reyes Moronta struck out two in an inning of work. In his last 12 outings, he has allowed just one run and struck out 17. 

-- Derek Holland struck out the side in the first and was headed for a good outing before Ketel Marte lined a two-run double in the top of the fourth. In the bottom of the inning, Holland's spot came up with the bases loaded. Bochy opted to play the Hanson card. It worked perfectly, even if it cost Holland a shot at the win. 

Photo Credit: Alex Pavlovic]]>
<![CDATA[49ers Great Dwight Clark Dies After Battle With ALS]]>Mon, 04 Jun 2018 23:39:26 -0700https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/DwightClarkThumb.JPG

Dwight Clark, who provided the defining moment for the San Francisco 49ers franchise more than three decades ago, died Monday at his home in Montana. He was 61.

Clark’s wife, Kelly, posted the news of her husband’s death on social media:

“I'm heartbroken to tell you that today I lost my best friend and husband. He passed peacefully surrounded by many of the people he loved most. I am thankful for all of Dwight’s friends, teammates and 49ers fans who have sent their love during his battle with ALS.”

Former 49ers owner Eddie DeBartolo issued a statement:

"My heart is broken. Today, I lost my little brother and one of my best friends. I cannot put into words how special Dwight was to me and to everyone his life touched. He was an amazing husband, father, grandfather, brother and a great friend and teammate. He showed tremendous courage and dignity in his battle with ALS and we hope there will soon be a cure for this horrendous disease. I will always remember Dwight the way he was – larger than life, handsome, charismatic and the only one who could pull off wearing a fur coat at our Super Bowl parade. He was responsible for one of the most iconic plays in NFL history that began our run of Super Bowl championships, but to me, he will always be an extension of my family. I love him and will miss him terribly. Our hearts and prayers are with his wife Kelly, his children and the entire Clark family."

Clark battled amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), a progressive neurodegenerative disease also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease, since first experiencing symptoms in September 2015. Clark personally informed many friends and close associates of his diagnosis long before he made a public announcement of his condition on March 19, 2017.

“While I’m still trying to wrap my head around the challenge I will face with this disease over the coming years, the only thing I know is that I’m going to fight like hell and live every day to the fullest,” Clark wrote in a statement at the time.

Clark lived up to his promise. He enjoyed the company of numerous friends while he lost significant weight and his physical condition worsened. He reconnected with dozens of former teammates and coaches and managed to keep a positive attitude as he bravely fought the disease, for which there is no known cure.

In October, more than 35 members of the 49ers’ first Super Bowl championship team convened at Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara for Dwight Clark Day. Clark addressed the fans at halftime of a 49ers game against the Dallas Cowboys.

It was his play – simply known as “The Catch” -- against the Cowboys in January 1982 that became the springboard for the 49ers’ dominance of the decade. Clark made a leaping grab of a Joe Montana pass in the closing minute of the NFC Championship game to propel the 49ers to their first Super Bowl.

Clark was the guest of honor for regular Tuesday lunches in Capitola before he moved with Kelly to Whitefish, Montana, in March. Despite enduring increased difficulty with his speech and confined mostly to a wheelchair, Clark managed to keep the moods upbeat as he continued to entertain his many visitors with stories and anecdotes.

“It’s fun for him,” Joe Montana said in October on the 49ers Insider Podcast. “At one point, he was telling his wife, Kelly, ‘This is what it’s all about. This is what I want and what I miss, seeing the guys.’ He surely appreciates it.”

DeBartolo hosted a two-day gathering for Clark in April with nearly 30 friends and former teammates and colleagues traveling to Montana from all parts of the country.

“It’s always good to see those guys because we’ve been through so much,” Clark told NBC Sports Bay Area after the gathering. “We had a lot of laughs and told a bunch of lies about how good we were. I had a good time. It was a small enough group that I got to visit with everybody over the two days.”

Said DeBartolo, “It really was a tough weekend, but it was great for Dwight. It was great for the players who were there. It was like the old days. Everybody just had a great time. Dwight fit right in to everything. He was happy.”

On May 21, a smaller group, which included former teammates Ronnie Lott and Keena Turner, visited with Clark at his home. The group sat in a semi-circle around Clark’s bed and read letters from fans. Clark and those who visited him that day were moved to tears of laughter from some of the letters and tears of emotion from others.

Clark was born Jan. 8, 1957, in Kinston, North Carolina. He graduated from Garinger High School in Charlotte, North Carolina, before attending Clemson University. He is survived by his wife of seven years, Kelly (Radzikowski), and three children from a previous marriage: daughter Casey and sons Riley and Mac.

Clark’s rise from an unheralded college player to a legend of an NFL franchise required an almost-unbelievable series of good fortune and seized opportunities. He was not expected to be drafted or even get an invitation to any NFL training camps after a college career at Clemson that produced just 33 receptions for 571 yards and three touchdowns in 34 games.

His roommate was Clemson quarterback Steve Fuller. Then-49ers coach Bill Walsh was in South Carolina to scout Fuller. Clark was heading out the door to play golf when he picked up the ringing phone. Walsh was on the other end. Walsh asked if Clark was a wide receiver. Then, he asked if Clark would come to the workout to catch passes from Fuller.

Clark dropped his clubs to attend the workout. That was the only thing he dropped that day. Clark caught everything in sight, and Walsh felt as if he discovered a gem.

“Dwight looked good to me,” Walsh told NFL Films in the ‘80s. “And as the draft progressed, many of our scouts said, ‘Coach, you can get him on the free-agent market a month from now. And, I said, ‘No, that man is going to be here. You watch.’ ”

Walsh did not want to take any chances with Clark. The 49ers selected him with the first pick of the 10th round. Now, the NFL draft consists of just seven rounds. Clark said he never unpacked his bags during his first training camp, as he was certain he would be cut. But unbeknownst to Clark, Walsh considered his skills as a wide receiver to be a perfect fit for his offensive system.

“Right from the beginning, you knew that he was just somebody you wanted on your team,” DeBartolo said in a film that was shown at the gathering in Montana in April. “We wanted good athletes, but we wanted players who were good people.”

Clark spent his entire nine-year career with the 49ers (1979 to ’87). He was selected to the Pro Bowl twice in his career. Clark still ranks third in franchise history with 6,750 receiving yards; fourth with 506 receptions; and seventh with 48 touchdown catches. The 49ers retired his No. 87 in 1988.

Clark won two Super Bowl rings as a player. He later served as a team executive, earning three more Super Bowl rings, before leaving the 49ers to join Carmen Policy with the expansion Cleveland Browns in 1999.

When his disease became more difficult with which to cope, Clark appreciated more than ever the magnitude of the family-like culture DeBartolo built with the 49ers. DeBartolo and many of Clark’s former teammates and coaches rushed to his side for support while he battled ALS.

DeBartolo sent Clark to Japan last year to bring back a three-month supply of the drug Radicava before it became available in the United States. In clinical trials, some ALS patients showed significantly less decline in physical function after taking the drug.

“I got lucky to get drafted by the 49ers,” Clark said last month.

And the 49ers were lucky to end up with Clark, too.

He had it all – good looks, charm and the ability to rise to unimaginable heights to author the play that set the organization’s dynasty of the 1980s into motion. The late Freddie Solomon gave Clark the nickname of “Hercules” to fit his larger-than life persona.

In the early 1970s, the Cowboys ousted the 49ers from the playoffs in three consecutive seasons. Dallas’ dominance over the 49ers was at the forefront of everyone’s mind as the Cowboys held a 27-21 lead over the 49ers in the fourth quarter of the NFC Championship game at Candlestick Park in the playoffs following the 1981 regular season.

The 49ers took over at their own 10-yard line with 4 minutes, 54 seconds remaining. Led by Walsh’s play-calling and Montana’s pinpoint passes, the 49ers strung together six first downs to drive to the Dallas 6-yard line.

On a third-and-3 play, Montana looked for Solomon on the right side on a play called, “Spring Right Option.” After Solomon slipped, Montana was forced to look for other options. Montana glided to his right, pump-faked, back-pedaled and threw a pass high toward the back of the end zone – in a spot where only Clark could reach it.

Clark rose above Dallas cornerback Everson Walls, stretching his 6-foot-4 frame to the fullest and made a fingertip catch. After coming down in the end zone with both feet in bounds, Clark spiked the football as the ground shook in celebration never before seen on San Francisco soil.

“It’s a mad house at Candlestick,” said CBS-TV broadcaster Vin Scully, aptly describing the wild scene.

Said Montana, “We’d never thrown the ball to Dwight on that play, at all. But it was crazy because Bill Walsh made us practice that part of the play back in training camp. And we both thought he was crazy.”

The 49ers’ defense held on for the 28-27 victory, and Clark’s place in franchise history as a beloved figure was forever set.

Two weeks later, Clark’s recovery of an onside kick as part of the 49ers’ hands team, secured the organization’s first Super Bowl title with a 26-21 victory over the Cincinnati Bengals in Super Bowl XVI in Pontiac, Michigan.

Three years later, Clark had six catches for 77 yards in the 49ers’ 38-16 victory over the Miami Dolphins at Stanford Stadium in Super Bowl XIX in January 1985.

Upon his announcement of his ALS diagnosis, Clark said he believed the head injuries he sustained during his football career caused the disease. But he never expressed any regrets, nor did he have any misgivings about the sport that brought him fame and made him a Bay Area icon.

“The fans around the Bay Area are awesome, the way they pass these 49ers stories down,” Clark said in February. “It’s fun to have the little kids come up and ask me about ‘The Catch’ and they weren’t even close to being born.”

In the 36 years since Clark made “The Catch,” he ran into countless people who claimed they were among the 60,525 fans at Candlestick Park that day. Clark routinely lit up when fans recounted their memories upon meeting him.

It did not matter how many times Clark had heard the stories, he was always genuinely excited to listen a different version from a unique perspective. Hearing memories about “The Catch” never got old to him.

“Would that ever get old to you?” Clark said. “That was just a moment in time that keeps hanging on. Hopefully, long after I’m gone 49ers fans will still enjoy that play and that year and that team that started it all off.”

Photo Credit: AP
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<![CDATA[Warriors Trounce Cavaliers in Game 2 of NBA Finals]]>Sun, 03 Jun 2018 22:14:03 -0700https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/180*120/warriors-jube-0603.jpg

The Warriors are halfway to another parade.

Energized by the insertion of JaVale McGee into the starting lineup Sunday, they went on to a wire-to-wire 122-103 victory over the Cavaliers in Game 2 to take a 2-0 lead in the best-of-seven NBA Finals.

Stephen Curry scored 33 points to lead five Warriors in double figures. Kevin Durant had 26 points, Klay Thompson 20, Shaun Livingston 10 and McGee added 12.

The Warriors shot 57.3 percent from the field, including 41.7 percent from deep, while limiting Cleveland to 41.6 percent overall and 33.3 percent beyond the arc.

STANDOUT PERFORMER: After an inconsistent performance in Game 1, Durant bounced back with a exceptional performance in Game 2.

Durant’s line: 26 points (10-of-14 shooting from the field, including 2-of-3 beyond the arc, 4-of-4 from the line), nine rebounds, seven assists and two blocks. He played 38 minutes and finished a team-best plus-24.

OF NOTE: Curry was 9-of-17 beyond the arc, his nine 3-pointers surpassing Ray Allen (eight) for the all-time record for 3-pointers in a Finals game.

TURNING POINT: After the Cavaliers pulled within four, 40-36, on a 3-point play by Kevin Love with 7:49 remaining in the second quarter, the Warriors responded with an 11-2 run, taking a 51-38 lead on a McGee dunk with 3:31 left in the quarter.

The Warriors took a 59-46 lead into halftime.

The Cavs rallied in the third quarter, getting within five before the Warriors closed the quarter with an 8-3 burst to take a 90-80 lead into the fourth.

Cleveland got no closer than 11 over the final 10 minutes.

INJURY UPDATE: Warriors: G Pat McCaw (lumbar spine contusion) was listed as probable and upgraded to available prior to tipoff. G Klay Thompson (L lateral leg contusion) was listed as questionable and upgraded to available prior to tipoff. F Andre Iguodala (L lateral leg contusion) was listed as doubtful and downgraded to out prior to tipoff.

Cavaliers: No injuries listed.

WHAT’S NEXT: Game 3 is scheduled for Wednesday at Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland. Tipoff is set for 6:05 p.m. Pacific.

Photo Credit: Ezra Shaw/Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Giants Complete Sweep of Phillies, Run Win Streak to 4]]>Sun, 03 Jun 2018 22:23:32 -0700https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/giants-cutch-0603.jpg

SAN FRANCISCO — In the seventh inning Sunday, a fan behind the plate stood and yelled, “Hurry up! We’ve got a Warriors game to watch!” The Giants made sure a raucous crowd kicked off a Bay Area doubleheader with positive vibes.

Dereck Rodriguez won his big league debut, Mark Melancon had a huge return, and the lineup got to Jake Arrieta, one of the National League’s best. The Giants beat the Phillies 6-1, clinching a weekend sweep. When the teams met in Philadelphia last month, the Phillies were the ones to get a sweep.

Here are the details from Round 2…

—- The Giants couldn’t have asked for much more from their rookie starter. Rodriguez worked quickly and pounded the strike zone, allowing just one run in six innings. He gave up five hits, walked two and struck out six. The only one to get to him was Arrieta, who pulled a solo homer in the third.

—- Rodriguez topped out at 94.8 mph with his four-seamer and used it to get four of his six strikeouts. Only two other Giants starters have thrown that hard this season: Jeff Samardzija, who hit 97 even while dealing with an injury, and Tyler Beede, who threw one pitch at 94.9 mph earlier this season.

—- Gorkys Hernandez kicked off a string of four consecutive one-out singles in the sixth. Andrew McCutchen followed that by tucking a homer just inside the pole in right, giving the Giants a four-run lead. The three-run blast was McCutchen’s first homer in 131 at-bats.

—- Mark Melancon made his season debut in the seventh and struck out the side. His cutter was only 89-91, but his curveball was a wipeout pitch and ended all three at-bats.

--- The Giants were upset when Hector Neris drilled Buster Posey last year. Bruce Bochy called Neris an idiot and Posey said it was on purpose. They squared off in the eighth Sunday and Neris twice went way inside. On the fourth pitch of the at-bat, Posey hit a solo homer.

Photo Credit: NBC Sports Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[Warriors Hold On to Beat Cavs in OT in Game 1 of NBA Finals]]>Thu, 31 May 2018 23:52:35 -0700https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/180*120/warriors-durant-0531.jpg

OAKLAND -- The Warriors had to dig deep, and late, to overcome a wondrous effort by LeBron James and the Cavaliers in Game 1 of the NBA Finals Thursday night at Oracle Arena.

But with four players scoring in double figures, led by Stephen Curry’s 29 points, the Warriors outlasted Cleveland for a 124-114 overtime victory. Kevin Durant totaled 26 points, Klay Thompson had 24 and Draymond Green added 13.

Outscoring the Cavaliers 17-7 in OT, the Warriors shot 5-of-7 from the field while limiting Cleveland to 2-of-9.

James scored a game-high 51 points, along with eight rebounds and eight assists.

STANDOUT PERFORMER: None of the Warriors had a particularly phenomenal overall game, but Durant posted solid numbers across the board despite not shooting well. He also made

Durant’s line: 24 points (8-of-22 from the field, including 1-of-7 beyond the arc, 9-of-10 at the line), nine rebounds, six assists, three blocks and one steal. He played 46 minutes and finished a team-best plus-17.

TURNING POINT: With the teams tied at 107-107 at the end of regulation, the Warriors opened overtime with a 9-0 run, taking a 116-109 lead on a Shaun Livingston dunk with 2:14 left in OT.

The Cavaliers got no closer than seven over the remainder of the game.

INJURY REPORT: Warriors in-game: G Klay Thompson sustained a left leg contusion with 6:17 left in the first quarter, went into the locker room, but returned in the second quarter and remained in the game.

Warriors pregame: F Andre Iguodala (L lateral contusion/bone bruise) was listed as out.

Cavaliers: F Kevin Love (concussion protocol) was listed as questionable, upgraded to available Thursday morning and placed in the starting lineup.

WHAT’S NEXT: Game 2 is scheduled for Sunday at Oracle Arena. Tipoff is set for 5 p.m.

Photo Credit: Getty Images
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<![CDATA[NBA Finals: Will the Warriors Sweep LeBron and the Cavs? ]]>Thu, 31 May 2018 10:54:52 -0700https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/warriors-cavs-0530.jpg

OAKLAND -- After spending much of the past four seasons rewriting the record book, recording numerous impressive firsts and pulling the NBA in a new direction, the Warriors have a prime opportunity to further pad their dossier.

They can, by beating the Cleveland Cavaliers in the NBA Finals, go where no team has gone in the modern, defined as the post-merger era beginning in 1976.

That is, go to four straight Finals and win at least three of them.

The Showtime Lakers (1982-85), the Larry Bird Celtics (1984-87) and the LeBron James Heat (2011-14) all made four consecutive treks, and they all came out of it with 2-2 records.

Though the Warriors go in heavily favored, as they should be, the LeBron Factor can’t be summarily dismissed.

Here is a position-by-position look at Warriors-Cavaliers, Part IV.


Stephen Curry vs. George Hill: Curry is a two-time MVP on the doorstep on becoming one of NBA’s all-time greats. Hill is a solid but unexceptional player still searching for his offense in Cleveland; only eight times in 24 games with the Cavs did he score in double figures. Though his 6-foot-9 wingspan comes in handy on defense, he’ll have more than he can deal with in trying to keep up with, much less contain, Curry over the course of a series.

EDGE: Curry, by a substantial margin.


Klay Thompson vs. JR Smith: After averaging double-figure scoring for 11 consecutive seasons, Smith has tailed off over the last two. His defense, once capable, is fading. His offense, once occasionally spectacular, is now sub-ordinary; he is averaging 8.5 points in 18 postseason games, topping 15 points only once. Thompson brings reliable defense and can take over games with his shooting. No one, not even Curry, is hotter than Thompson when he’s in a zone. He’s averaging 20.5 points this postseason and is shooting 42.6 percent beyond the arc.

EDGE: Thompson, by a substantial margin.


Kevin Durant vs. LeBron James: This is a case of two gifted men headed for the Hall of Fame on the first ballot. Durant is a multi-skilled game-changer who puts up strong numbers against James. Durant won the personal battle last June and came away with the Finals MVP award. Anytime someone initiates the unsolvable conversation about the best player in NBA history, James must be in it. He scores, he passes, he rebounds, he controls. This is his eighth consecutive Finals appearance, with two different teams, which speaks to his historical greatness.

EDGE: James, by a hair, because he has been the best player in this playoffs.


Draymond Green vs. Kevin Love/Jeff Green: With Love still in concussion protocol at the start of the series, Green likely will get the start in Game 1. Green is a decade-long tease, dazzling one game and disappearing the next 12. Remember when the Warriors considered trading Thompson for Love? It’s one of their smartest non-moves. Love is a good player that needs to play great and rarely hurts the Warriors. That’s largely because of Green, whose defense tends to make great players mediocre and good players average. Green’s defense blows up offenses. His scoring comes and goes, but he finds so many ways to be effective.

EDGE: Green, by a reasonable margin.


Kevon Looney & Co. vs. Tristan Thompson: If, as expected, the Cavs start Thompson, then the Warriors likely will revive one of their traditional big men. Zaza Pachulia could be in the mix, and maybe JaVale McGee. Thompson is such ferocious rebounder, particularly on the offensive glass, that a big body is required. That said, the Warriors will make every effort to go small, which means Jordan Bell and Looney will get opportunities to play meaningful minutes. If the Cavs go small, that usually means Love starts at center, in which case the Warriors have multiple options, including Green.

EDGE: Even


Key Warriors: Shaun Livingston, Jordan Bell, Nick Young, David West. Key Cavaliers: Kyle Korver, Jordan Clarkson, Larry Nance Jr. and Rodney Hood.

EDGE: Warriors.


Warriors in 4.

Photo Credit: Getty Images photos
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<![CDATA[A's Get One-hit by Rays, Commit Four Errors in Third Straight Loss]]>Wed, 30 May 2018 22:19:04 -0700https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/manaeaap.jpg


OAKLAND -- Even though he knew it was the best move to make, Tampa Bay right-hander Nathan Eovaldi was not happy when Kevin Cash pulled him after six innings. He even had to be prodded to shake his manager's hand.

Coming off a second Tommy John surgery, Eovaldi understood why. He just didn't like it at the time.

Eovaldi pitched six innings of no-hit ball in his return to the majors, leading the Rays to a 6-0 victory over the Oakland Athletics on Wednesday night.

"I didn't want to shake his hand," Eovaldi said. "I haven't gone seven innings in a really long time. So we played it safe and it was good. I would have liked to stay out there until I gave up a hit but I understand the situation as well."

Eovaldi (1-0) routinely clocked in the high 90s with his fastball and faced one over the minimum through six innings in his Tampa Bay debut. He threw 70 pitches and had four strikeouts. The only runner to reach base against him was Matt Chapman, who drew a one-out walk in the first.

Cash said he debated sending Eovaldi out for the seventh.

"It was tough, there was no doubt, but we have to do what's right by him," Cash said. "He wanted to stay but realistically he's not getting to the ninth inning. I'll just blame (pitching coach Kyle Snyder). I wanted to keep pitching him but Kyle told me to pull him."

Wilmer Font, acquired by the Rays from the A's last Friday, gave up Jed Lowrie's one-out single in the seventh for Oakland's only hit of the game. Vidal Nuno got the last three outs to finish the one-hitter.

Rob Refsnyder hit a three-run home run off A's starter Sean Manaea (5-6), and Johnny Field also homered for the Rays.

The game drew an announced crowd of 6,295, the smallest at the Coliseum since April 3, 2003.

Eovaldi last pitched in the majors on Aug. 10, 2016, for the Yankees. Nine days later, he underwent a second elbow surgery. Eovaldi also had Tommy John surgery in 2007 when he was a junior in high school.

The 28-year-old missed the first month of this season after undergoing surgery March 30 to remove loose bodies in his elbow. Eovaldi made four rehab starts in the minors before being activated off the disabled list before Wednesday's game.

"It felt great being out there," Eovaldi said. "I was so focused on just getting that first out. After I got it, the emotions kind of got to me. I was a little nervous out there. Then I was able to regroup and slow back down."

Eovaldi, the 12th pitcher in major league history to start in the majors after having two Tommy John surgeries, induced seven groundouts and retired the final 17 batters he faced following the walk to Chapman.

"I think we pushed him about as much as we wanted to," Cash said.

Font then came in and retired Chapman on a liner to shortstop in the seventh before Lowrie pushed a single up the middle.

Nuno replaced Font in the ninth and gave up a leadoff walk to Chad Pinder, then retired the next three batters.

That was all the offense the A's could muster while being shut out by the Rays for the second time in three games.

"Honestly, those guys over there, they're pitching great," Oakland shortstop Chad Pinder said. "Those guys aren't a walk in the park, and they're locating and they're making all their pitches work. Hitting's hard enough as it is."

Oakland went into the game batting .216 in May, the second-lowest average in the majors.

Manaea allowed four runs in five innings. After going 4-1 with 1.00 ERA through his first six starts that included the majors' first no-hitter this season on Apri 21, the big left-hander has been in a tailspin.

Athletics: INF Marcus Semien was placed on the paternity leave list before the game. Pinder started at shortstop in Semien's absence. RHP Josh Lucas was called up from Triple-A Nashville. ... RHP Liam Hendriks began a rehab assignment with Triple-A Nashville.

Tampa Bay RHP Ryne Stanek (1-0, 3.24 ERA) will make his second career start, three days after getting a win coming out of the bullpen. RHP Daniel Mengden (5-4, 2.85) goes for Oakland.

Photo Credit: Associated Press]]>
<![CDATA[Giants' Bats Wake Up in Skid-Busting Win Over Rockies]]>Wed, 30 May 2018 21:05:00 -0700https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/maccoloradousatsi.jpg


DENVER - Bruce Bochy has spent most of his time at Coors Field this week discussing the pitching. With his coaches, with his bosses, with his trainer, with reporters. It has become a daily battle just to get through 27 outs. 

Outside of getting Madison Bumgarner back, there's not much the Giants can do. Jeff Samardzija was put on the DL on Wednesday and Johnny Cueto only just started playing catch. The battle will continue, but that doesn't mean there isn't a path to victory. 

The lineup is healthy, and will be full when Joe Panik returns Friday. Bochy needed a big night out of his hitters, and they overcame an early deficit to beat the Rockies 7-4. The win was the second on the road trip and prevented a sweep. It also kept them from falling six games out of first. Here are the details ... 

-- Derek Holland gave up a long three-run homer in the first to Nolan Arenado (it happens … like, all the time) but then settled in. He gave up four runs in five innings. That's not bad work at Coors Field. Holland was easily the staff's best pitcher in May. 

-- Gorkys Hernandez covered 53 feet to make a diving catch that ended the bottom of the fifth and saved the Giants at least a run. It was one of the better plays made by a Giants outfielder this season. Let's just say it's a play that Giants center fielders have not made a whole lot the last, oh, three or four years. 

-- Mac Williamson had two hits, including a double to right, his third in two days. Williamson had a round of BP on Tuesday that was so grounder-filled that the coaching staff grew concerned, but he was working on a swing adjustment. It clicked in, and he had two doubles Tuesday night. 

-- Pablo Sandoval's second start at second base was rather uneventful. He wasn't really tested, although he nearly pulled Brandon Crawford off the bag with a high throw to second. Kelby Tomlinson took over defensively before the bottom of the fifth. 

-- Reyes Moronta had a quick sixth. He has been outstanding. In 24 appearances, he has a 1.44 ERA.

Photo Credit: Alex Pavlovic]]>
<![CDATA[Giants Ace Madison Bumgarner to Make Rehab Start in SJ ]]>Wed, 30 May 2018 20:17:14 -0700https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/185*120/giants-bumgarner-0522.jpg

Madison Bumgarner is returning to the mound Thursday night. But that mound is in San Jose.

The San Francisco Giants ace will take the hill for a rehab start at Municipal Stadium as the Class A Giants take on the Visalia Rawhide at 6:30 p.m.

The big lefthander is working his way back from a broken pinkie on his pitching hand.

Bumgarner, a four-time All-Star and two-time Silver Slugger for the big Giants, last pitched in San Jose in 2017 while rehabbing a shoulder injury he suffered during a dirt biking accident. In two games, he pitched 10 innings, allowing 10 runs on 11 hits.

The homegrown Giant in his 10th big-league season made five starts with the San Jose Giants in 2009, finishing 3-1 with a 1.48 ERA. He would make his major league debut later that season on Sept. 8, 2009.

Bumgarner, the 2014 World Series MVP, is slated to make his return to the San Francisco Giants next Tuesday.

On Wednesday night, San Francisco second baseman Joe Panik and infielder Alen Hanson also were scheduled to make rehab assignments in San Jose. Panik is recovering from a sprained left thumb, and Hanson is nursing a hamstring injury.

For ticket information, go to the San Jose Giants website.

Photo Credit: Getty Images file]]>
<![CDATA[Shanahan Sees Special Qualities in 49ers' New Center]]>Wed, 30 May 2018 10:24:53 -0700https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/169*120/westnsnapz.jpg

The 49ers had a veteran center in Daniel Kilgore. To most outsiders, upgrading the position wasn’t a priority this offseason.

Yet when the Niners had the opportunity, that’s exactly what they did, signing the former New York Giants starter Weston Richburg to a five-year deal that could be worth a much as $28.5 million.

Richburg, 26, was a target of general manager John Lynch and head coach Kyle Shanahan because they believe he is perfectly suited to upgrade the 49ers offensive line – a weak spot in 2017 – because of his ability and mobility at his position. Richburg is known to be effective in making blocks at the line of scrimmage or pulling and getting into the second and third levels of the defense to make an impact in the running game.

The other thing Richburg brings, they believe, is leadership.

Through the recent organized team activities (OTAs), Shanahan has seen exactly what he wanted to see from Richburg and believes the 49ers offense will be much more effective in 2018 to a large degree because of his play. Shanahan said the center is key because he needs to communicate well with the other members of the offensive line as well as the quarterback.

“There’s a lot of stuff the center is involved in, getting all 11 guys on the same page, and that takes a lot of time,” Shanahan told Matt Barrows of the Sacramento Bee.  “He’s been real good. You can tell he’s a natural center, and he’s done it his whole life. He had a very successful college career. That’s why he was a second-round draft pick and did a heck of a job in New York. He got to play a lot of center, got to play guard, so he’s been through it. Just the way he’s handling himself in the meeting rooms, even before we got out there, we could tell quickly it wasn’t going to be an issue.”

The analytic website Pro Football Focus rated Richburg as the 14th best free agent ahead of this year’s free-agent signing period. While Richburg is a strong leader and run blocker, he’s excelled as a pass blocker, which of course is good for the 49ers, who’ve invested big money with new quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo.

Wrote Pro Football Focus: “Through his career, Richburg has allowed only four sacks on a whopping 2,112 pass-blocking snaps.”

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Rays Sting A's With Four Solo Home Runs, Hold on for 4-3 Win]]>Tue, 29 May 2018 22:34:36 -0700https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/gossettraysap.jpg


OAKLAND -- C.J. CronJoey Wendle and Wilson Ramos hit consecutive home runs in the third inning and the Tampa Bay Rays beat the Oakland Athletics 4-3 on Tuesday night.

Daniel Robertson also homered for the Rays, Matt Duffy added three hits hits and Blake Snell struck out seven over 5 2/3 innings for his third straight victory.

The Rays had been in a power slump with only two homers in their previous six games, both coming Sunday in a win over Baltimore. They quickly topped that with three big swings off Daniel Gossett (0-3) in the third.

After Gossett struck out the first two batters, Cron hit his 12th home run to left on a 1-1 pitch. Wendle, who spent the past two seasons in Oakland, connected on the sixth pitch for his second homer. Ramos hit his seventh home run three pitches later.

It's the fourth time in franchise history that the Rays have hit three consecutive home runs and the first since Sept. 21, 2016.

Robertson homered in the eighth.

Jed Lowrie had two hits and an RBI for Oakland. The A's have scored four runs or fewer in their last 13 home games.

One day after six pitchers combined for Tampa Bay's first shutout of the season, the Rays got another strong outing from their starter and bullpen.

Snell (7-3) gave up two hits and an unearned run. The left-hander overcame two errors behind him and allowed only two runners past second base.

Jonny VentersJaime SchultzChaz Roe and Sergio Romo completed the five-hitter.

Schultz struck out the side in the seventh on 14 pitches in his major league debut. Romo allowed two runs in the ninth but got Marcus Semien to ground out for his first American League save.

Rays: Brad Miller was back in the leadoff spot of manager Kevin Cash's lineup after hitting a ball that ricocheted off a protective screen and hit the first baseman near his left eye, opening a small cut during batting practice Monday.

Athletics: Designated hitter Khris Davis (strained right groin) will come off the disabled list when he becomes eligible Thursday, manager Bob Melvin confirmed. Melvin also said that RHP Paul Blackburn's rehab stint will begin Thursday with Single-A Stockton.

RHP Nathan Eovaldi (0-0, 0.00 ERA) returns to the majors Wednesday after undergoing a second Tommy John surgery and will make his first start since Aug. 10, 2016. Sean Manaea (5-5, 3.34 ERA) pitches for Oaklands. The left-hander has yielded four or more runs in each of his previous five starts.

Photo Credit: Associated Press]]>
<![CDATA[Giants Lose Two Pitchers to Injuries, Get Clobbered by Rockies]]>Tue, 29 May 2018 21:30:31 -0700https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/rodriguezwipesheadap.jpg


DENVER — When a reliever enters for an injured pitcher, he gets all the time he needs to properly warm up. The Giants were sadly not very good for “pace of play” on Tuesday night.

An hour after Jeff Samardzija was pulled with right shoulder tightness, Dereck Rodriguez had to come out of his MLB debut because a 108 mph liner off Ian Desmond’s bat smoked his right calf. The rest of this night didn’t go any better for the Giants.

The undermanned pitching staff was once again battered as the Giants fell 11-4 at Coors Field. In seven games on this trip, they have given up 50 runs, but the pitching is far from the only issue. The lineup, mostly healthy, couldn’t sustain a rally. The defense continued to be awful.

It added up to a sixth loss in seven games on this trip. Here are the details:

—- Rodriguez did well the first time out, showing the kind of stuff and command that allowed him to shoot through the minors as a converted outfielder. He pitched 3 1/3 innings before the injury, giving up just one earned run on five hits, a walk and four strikeouts. There were three unearned runs thanks to a Kelby Tomlinson error. Rodriguez topped out at 95 mph and got 10 swings-and-misses on his fastball. He also had an RBI double to deep right, which surely pleased his father.

—- Swapping Buster Posey and Andrew McCutchen in the lineup was a mixed bag. Posey hit a long homer to left, snapping a streak of 126 at-bats without one. McCutchen had two early singles but hit into a killer of a double play with two on in the seventh.

—- Evan Longoria homered twice, getting to 10 on the season. All of last season’s third basemen combined for nine homers.

—- Kelby Tomlinson has four errors in two games here, including a costly one with two outs in the fourth. He also isn’t hitting. It’s hard to see how he survives the upcoming Joe Panik promotion.

Photo Credit: NBC Sports Bay Area staff]]>
<![CDATA[Receivers Need to Give Carr a Hand in 2018]]>Tue, 29 May 2018 07:55:21 -0700https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/180*120/Kahrddrooppzz.jpg

Recently, the analytic website Pro Football Focus quantified what most Raiders fans already knew:

In 2017, Oakland quarterback Derek Carr’s receivers weren’t as good as they should have been.

Pro Football Focus noted that Carr’s receivers dropped 35 catchable passes, the second highest total in the NFL behind only the 43 drops by receivers targeted by Eli Manning of the Giants. The 35 drops by Carr’s receivers was a total shared with the 35 drops from Chargers receivers. The other top-five drop totals were 34 (by targets of Matt Ryan of the Falcons) and 31 (by targets of Russell Wilson of the Seahawks).

Last season, Carr – who slumped after a big 2016 season – put the blame on himself.

“I got to throw the ball better,” he told reporters. “The drops, it’s got to be something to do with me. I got to throw it better. I got to put it on them, better timing, it’s on me. It’s on me to get that fixed and I’m going to work to do that.”

The Raiders have made some changes to their receiving corps for 2018, bringing in veterans ex-Packer Jordy Nelson and ex-Steeler Martavis Bryant, drafting Marcel Ateman and cutting ties with Michael Crabtree and Cordarelle Patterson.

But as Levi Damien of SB Nation pointed out Monday, of the four Raiders who had the most dropped passes in 2017, three remain on the roster: wide receiver Amari Cooper with 10, tight end Jared Cook with six and wideout Seth Roberts with four.

Nelson could be a strong addition. In 2017, he dropped just two catchable passes.

Head coach Jon Gruden said there are many reasons for a high total of dropped passes, but he believes the Raiders will improve in 2018 because it will be an area of concern to be worked on.

“You have to catch the football,” Gruden told Damien. “We have to catch the ball better. We have to improve. Our receivers have to rise up, play better than they’ve ever played. We’ve made changes there in this corps and they have to obviously take the torch and run with it.”

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Warriors' NBA Finals T-Shirts Hot Off the Press]]>Mon, 28 May 2018 23:30:20 -0700https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/214*120/Warriors__NBA_Finals_T-shirts_Hot_off_the_Press.jpg

Hot off the press, the Warriors' 2018 NBA Finals T-shirts are ready to be grabbed up as Graphic Sportswear in South San Francisco started churning them out seconds after the final buzzer in the Dubs' Game 7 win in Houston. The Warriors are heading to their fourth straight finals against the Cleveland Cavaliers.]]>
<![CDATA[Coors Field Continues to Haunt Giants in Walk-off Loss]]>Mon, 28 May 2018 21:18:21 -0700https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/giantstakeaways.jpg

DENVER - This had all the makings of so many past nights at Coors Field. The game was long. The weather didn't cooperate. Nolan Arenado scored a big run. The Giants lost. 

Arenado scored on Chris Iannetta's single up the middle in the bottom of the 10th, giving the Rockies a 6-5 win. The Giants dropped to 1-5 on this three-city road trip. 

After a 55-minute rain-and-hail delay, the teams combined for five runs in the first inning. This looked like it would be a classic Coors shootout, but the pitching settled down from there. 

With the score tied at five, the Giants loaded the bases in the top of the ninth on two walks and a hit-by-pitch, but Wade Davis got Brandon Belt to line out softly to second. They opened the 10th with back-to-back singles, but Austin Jackson couldn't get a bunt down and three straight groundouts ended the frame. 

Arenado drew a walk from Hunter Strickland in the bottom of the 10th and alertly took second on a deep fly to center. He went to third on Ian Desmond's liner to right that Andrew McCutchen couldn't quite glove and scored when Kelby Tomlinson couldn't knock down Iannetta's slow roller. 

Here's what else you need to know from the first night at Coors Field this season… 

-- It was an interesting evening for rookie Andy Suarez. He gave up a three-run bomb in the first and looked headed for disaster. But then he figured something out, repeatedly pounding the corner on his glove side. Suarez struck out six of the final eight batters he faced before being lifted for a pinch-hitter. He allowed four runs - three earned - in five innings. That's serviceable for a first start at Coors Field. 

-- Evan Longoria had a two-run double in the first and brought Brandon Belt home with a double in the sixth. He has 16 of them on the year, tied for the most in the National League. The Giants got 26 doubles from all their third basemen combined last season. 

-- Gorkys Hernandez hit a solo shot to lead off the third. It was his sixth, which puts him behind only Belt and Longoria on this roster. That's one surprise. Here's another: He's batting .321. 

-- Gregor Blanco came on in the eighth to play left for Mac Williamson. He did the same when the Giants had the lead in Chicago. As you consider upcoming roster moves with Hunter Pence and the pitching staff and all that, it's worth remembering that Bruce Bochy likes having Blanco as his late-innings defensive replacement. 

Photo Credit: Alex Pavlovic]]>
<![CDATA[Warriors Beat Rockets in Game 7, Advance to NBA Finals]]>Mon, 28 May 2018 23:44:15 -0700https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/180*120/warriors-steph-0528.jpg

HOUSTON -- A grotesque first half gave way to a gorgeous third quarter, and the transformation delivered the Warriors to their fourth consecutive NBA Finals.

Down by as much as 15, the Warriors roared back for a 101-92 victory over the Rockets in Game 7 of the Western Conference Finals on Monday night at Toyota Center

Kevin Durant scored 34 points, Stephen Curry 27, Klay Thompson 19 and Draymond Green 10 as the Warriors overcame an atrocious first quarter against a Houston team without its leader, Chris Paul.

The Rockets, who die or thrive with the 3-point shot, were 1-of-21 (4.8 percent) from deep in the second half and 7-of-44 (15.9 percent) overall.

STANDOUT PERFORMER: All four All-Stars came through in one form or another, but Durant recovered from a mediocre first half to play perhaps his best all-around game of the series.

Durant’s line: 34 points (11-of-21 shooting, including 5-of-11 from beyond the arc, 7-of-10 from the line), five rebounds, five assists and three blocks. He played 44 minutes and finished plus-10.

TURNING POINT: After the Rockets took a 56-43 lead on a layup by James Harden 56 seconds into the second half, the Warriors responded with a 29-7 run, going up 72-63 on a 3-pointer by Curry with 2:11 left in the third quarter.

The Warriors outscored Houston 33-15 in the quarter, taking a 76-69 lead into the fourth. Their second half was in stark contrast to their first, when they committed 10 turnovers and were outrebounded 26-17.

Houston got no closer than six in the fourth.

INJURY UPDATE: Warriors: C/F Kevon Looney (L toe soreness) was listed as probable and upgraded to available prior to tipoff. F Andre Iguodala (L lateral leg bone bruise) was listed as out.

Rockets: G Chris Paul (R hamstring strain) was listed as questionable and downgraded to out prior to tipoff.

WHAT’S NEXT: The NBA Finals against the Cleveland Cavaliers begin Thursday, with Game 1 set for 6 p.m. at Oracle Arena.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[A's Shut Out in Extra-innings Pitchers' Duel With Rays]]>Mon, 28 May 2018 19:00:20 -0700


OAKLAND -- Mallex Smith hit an RBI single with two outs in the 13th inning, Jonny Venters got his first save in seven years to cap a seven-hit shutout and the Tampa Bay Rays outlasted the Oakland Athletics 1-0 on Monday.

Chris Archer went six innings as the first of six pitchers for the Rays in their first shutout of the season. Ryne Stanek (1-0) retired five batters to win and Venters struck out Matt Olson with the tying run on base for his first save since 2011. Venters missed five seasons due to four major elbow surgeries, including three Tommy John operations, before returning to the big leagues this year.

The Rays have won four of five.

Chris Hatcher (3-2) retired the first two Tampa Bay hitters in the 13th before Johnny Field reached on an infield single to shortstop. Jesus Sucre followed with a single to move Fields to second before Smith blooped a 2-0 pitch to right-center.

The A's and Rays wasted multiple scoring opportunities before Smith knocked in the only run of the game.

Tampa Bay had runners at second and third with two outs in the third and again in the sixth but didn't score. The Rays also got Carlos Gomez to second with two out in the 10th, but Field struck out swinging.

Oakland came up empty after loading the bases with one out in the sixth, then failed to score after getting the first two batters on in the ninth.

The Rays got a big lift from their bullpen on a day when both starting pitchers were stellar.

Archer was sharp, striking out seven and walking two. Archer has allowed two runs or fewer in five of his last six starts.

Sergio Romo retired two batters, Jose Alvarado pitched 1 1/3 innings and Matt Andriese worked three scoreless frames for the Rays.

Oakland starter Trevor Cahill pitched four-hit ball, didn't walk a batter and had six strikeouts over eight innings, his outing since going eight against Texas on May 27, 2013 while still with Arizona.


Rays: RHP Yonny Chirinos (right forearms strain) will make a second rehab start with Triple-A Durham on Tuesday.

Athletics: Designated hitter Khris Davis continues to make steady progress in his recovery from a strained right groin. "His agility looks great," manager Bob Melvin said. "I'm encouraged." Davis is eligible to come off the disabled list Thursday. ... CF Boog Powell (sprained right knee) has been feeling better the past few days, Melvin said.


LHP Blake Snell (6-3, 2.78 ERA) pitches for Tampa Bay on Tuesday and is winless in two career starts against Oakland. Snell has allowed two runs or fewer in nine starts overall this season, tied for second in the majors. RHP Daniel Gossett (0-2, 6.28) takes the mound for the A's.

<![CDATA[Giants Unable to Hold Lead, Drop Series to Cubs]]>Sun, 27 May 2018 21:14:52 -0700https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/giantsrecap1.jpg

CHICAGO -- Javier Baez hit a three-run home run and the Chicago Cubs overcame another wild outing from Tyler Chatwood to beat the San Francisco Giants 8-3 on Sunday night.

Albert Almora Jr. had three hits and Chicago's bullpen was stellar as the Cubs took two of three in the weekend series.

Chatwood walked five and allowed three runs in 2 2/3 innings. The right-hander leads the NL with 45 walks, including six in his previous start against Cleveland, when he allowed four runs in 2 2/3 innings. Chatwood is 3-4 with a 4.10 ERA in the first season of a $38 million, three-year contract he signed in December.

Left-hander Randy Rosario (1-0) replaced Chatwood and escaped a bases-loaded jam. The rookie - promoted from the minors Saturday - allowed one hit in 2 1/3 innings for his first major league win.

San Francisco starter Ty Blach (3-5) also struggled, allowing five runs on seven hits in three-plus innings. He walked four and struck out three.

After San Francisco took a 1-0 lead on two walks and two infield hits, Mac Williamson hit a two-out, two-run single to right to make it 3-0 in the first.

The Cubs quickly tied it with three runs in the bottom half.

Kris Bryant delivered a one-out run-scoring double. Anthony Rizzo followed with a liner up the middle. The ball hit off Blach's glove and struck second base umpire Cory Blaser before rolling slowing towards first base as Bryant scored all the way from second.

After Kyle Schwarber singled to right to put runners on the corners, Addison Russell hit a grounder up the middle. Again, Blach got a glove on it but couldn't make the play, giving Russell a tying hit.

Baez gave the Cubs a 6-3 lead with his three-run blast to right in the fourth off reliever Pierce Johnson. Chicago added two more in the fifth on an RBI pinch-hit single by Tommy La Stella and an RBI double by Almora.

TRAINER'S ROOM: Giants: LHP Madison Bumgarner (broken left pinky) tossed 3 2/3 scoreless innings Saturday night in a rehab start for Triple-A Sacramento. He threw 47 pitches and had eight strikeouts. ... C Buster Posey (sore right hip) missed his second straight game. Manager Bruce Bochy said Posey may play Monday.

Cubs: OF Ian Happ was held out of the lineup because of a sore shoulder. Manager Joe Maddon said Happ should be able to start Monday. ... RHP Yu Darvish, placed on the 10-day DL on Saturday with triceps tendinitis, will have a precautionary MRI on Tuesday.

UP NEXT: Giants: LHP Andrew Suarez (1-4, 5.68 ERA) looks to snap a three-start losing streak in the opener of a three-game series Monday night at Colorado. RHP Chad Bettis(4-1, 3.30) pitches for the Rockies.

Cubs: LHP Mike Montgomery (0-1, 5.33 ERA) makes his first start of the season as Chicago has a quick turnaround for a matinee at Pittsburgh. RHP Chad Kuhl (4-2, 4.20) goes for the Pirates.

Photo Credit: Associated Press]]>
<![CDATA[A Leg Up? Gruden May Already Be Leaning Toward Pineiro]]>Fri, 25 May 2018 08:15:42 -0700https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/209*120/eddyguyy.jpg

Weeks before training camp begins, Raiders fans know there will be a duel between kickers Giorgio Tavecchio and Eddy Pineiro.

Tavecchio is the holdover and the man to beat. Pineiro is the undrafted rookie free agent from Florida.

Yet it already sounds as if head coach Jon Gruden has a favorite in the battle: Pineiro.

In a conference call with season ticket holders this week, Gruden and general manager Reggie McKenzie took questions and talked about the team and players.

Gruden, who’s been coaching the Raiders through organized team activities (OTAs) this week, sounded excited about Pineiro, who’ll join his former Florida teammate, punter Johnny Townsend, who was a Raiders’ fifth-round draft pick this spring (and will replace Marquette King).

Pineiro was the most accurate field-goal kicker in Florida history, making 88.4 percent of his attempts. This past season he was 17-of-18 (94.4 percent). He’s also got a strong leg, going 5-for-5 on kicks of 50 or more yards and in practice has reportedly made kicks from 80 yards.

Gruden loves what he’s seen and is already talking as if the newcomer is the favorite over Tavecchio.

“When you talk about Eddy Pineiro, he hasn’t missed a field goal,” Gruden told the ticket holders, according to Raiders.com. “We watched him kick today and he made every one. The holder is Johnny Townsend, by the way, who was also a Florida Gator punter who held for him in college.

“We felt Eddy was so good we were going to draft him in the seventh round, that’s how much we thought of this kid, and we paid him a lot of money to make sure we were going to get him as an undrafted free agent. He and Tavecchio are going to have a great battle in training camp, but when you go back to the holder, the cool thing is we do have Johnny Townsend who’s an experienced holder and has a lot of experience holding for Pineiro, which I think is going to help him tremendously.”

Tavecchio, in his first season with the Raiders in 2017, was 16-of-21, making 3-of-4 from 50 yards or more. He also was 33-of-34 on extra points.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Warriors Drop Game 5 to Rockets, Trail in Conference Finals]]>Fri, 25 May 2018 00:22:23 -0700https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/180*120/warriors-curry-0524.jpg

HOUSTON -- If the Warriors are going to make a fourth consecutive trip to the NBA Finals, they’ll have to do it by recovering from back-to-back losses to win consecutive games against the Rockets.

A 98-94 loss in Game 5 of the Western Conference Finals on Thursday gives Houston a 3-2 lead in the best-of-seven series.

Four Warriors scored in double figures, with Kevin Durant totaling a team-high 29 points. Klay Thompson put in 23, Stephen Curry 22 and Draymond Green added 12.

The Warriors played generally solid defense, but once again hurt their cause with turnovers. They committed 18, leading to 18 Houston points.

STANDOUT PERFORMER: He didn’t shoot great, didn’t rebound much and had zero assists. Yet Durant was forcing the action on offense and finding buckets at times no other Warrior could.

Durant’s line: 29 points (8-of-22 shooting from the field, including 3-of-6 from beyond the arc, 10-of-10 from the line), four rebounds and one block. He played 39 minutes and was plus-5.

Side note: Durant is 37-of-37 from the line in the series.

TURNING POINT: This one was tight, with no lead greater than six after the first quarter. Not until the Warriors committed their 18th turnover, Green losing his dribble in the final seconds leading to a pair of free throws by Eric Gordon with 2.4 seconds remaining was this one decided.

Tied 45-45 at the half, the teams remained within three points throughout the third quarter.

INJURY UPDATE: Warriors: G Klay Thompson (L knee strain) was listed as questionable and upgraded to available prior to tipoff. F Andre Iguodala (L lateral leg contusion) was listed as questionable and downgraded to out prior to tipoff. G Pat McCaw (lumbar spine contusion) was listed as out.

Rockets: No injuries listed.

WHAT’S NEXT: Game 6 is scheduled for Saturday at Oracle Arena in Oakland. Tipoff is set for 6 p.m. Pacific. Pregame coverage on NBC Sports Bay Area begins at 4:30, with postgame coverage immediately after the final horn.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Niners Already Love Jerick McKinnon as a Receiver]]>Thu, 24 May 2018 08:17:35 -0700https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/180*120/catchitMcK.jpg

The 49ers plan to get their money’s worth this season out of Jerick McKinnon.

The 26-year-old running back, who spent his first four pro seasons with the Minnesota Vikings, is expected to be the team’s leading ball carrier in 2018. He could also be the team’s leading receiver.

As Matt Barrows of the Sacramento Bee noted this week in covering the 49ers’ organized team activities (OTAs) in Santa Clara, McKinnon has been one of quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo’s favorite targets in scrimmages, exploiting his speed in mismatches with linebackers.

McKinnon’s ability as a receiver is one of the things head coach Kyle Shanahan loves about him. Last season in Minnesota, McKinnon had 51 catches for 421 yards and two touchdowns. The previous season he had 43 catches for 255 yards and two scores. All those numbers could rise in 2018. As Barrows noted, McKinnon looks much more comfortable as a receiver than last year’s No. 1 back, Carlos Hyde, and Garoppolo excels in accuracy on short routes, with his ability to hit targets in stride.

Niners general manager John Lynch said recently that the 5-foot-9 McKinnon’s speed and ability as a pass catcher – combined with the speed of Matt Breida and Joe Williams – could give the team a versatility and quickness the offense hasn’t had in a long time. It will start with McKinnon, Lynch said.

“Even though he’s smaller in stature, the one thing that we grew comfortable with is that he plays bigger than that,” Lynch said on the NFL Network recently. “He’s a real strong back. While his stature is not the biggest guy in the world, he plays big. And the one thing that’s undeniable, he can roll. He’s fast.

“It’s fun to look at our halfback room and I think the slowest guy out of the five we have right now runs a 4.49 (40-yard dash). These guys can all fly. Jerick is one of those guys. Not only can he fly, he’s a matchup nightmare. He can run these choice routes where, ‘OK, you want to guard me on the inside? We’ll go out. You want to guard me on the outside? We’ll go in.’

“I think Kyle will do a tremendous job of exploiting him on linebackers and such. We’re really excited to see Jerick as part of our offense.”

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Cooper Excited by Raiders' New-Look Offense]]>Thu, 24 May 2018 07:43:16 -0700https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/179*120/AmKkoope.jpg

It hasn’t taken long for Amari Cooper to embrace Jon Gruden’s offense.

The Raiders wide receiver, who’s with his teammates at this week’s organized team activities (OTAs), says Gruden’s passing offense will be much different than the schemes he’s been a part of in his first three NFL seasons in Oakland.

Cooper, who will be part of a revamped corps of wide receivers – that includes former Packers standout Jordy Nelson and ex-Steeler Martavis Bryant – knows that this year Gruden will move him all over the field, on the outside, in motion and in the slot, to try to free him up and create mismatches. Every receiver is being pushed hard to learn routes from every position, so the offense can be proactive and versatile in attacking secondaries.

Already, says Cooper, the wide receivers are being moved around in OTAs.

“I mean, so we have a whole lot of plays even right now this early,” Cooper told a group of reporters this week. “We have something for everything. Every defensive look, we can audible to something to get in the right play for any defense.”

The Raiders were criticized in 2017 for not making as much use of Cooper in the passing scheme as they did in 2016 and 2015. Cooper had his own problems, too, with drops and injuries. After 72 catches for 1,070 yards in 2015 and 83 for 1,153 in 2016, he slumped to 48 receptions for 680 yards in 2018.

Now, however, Gruden has said he wants to make Cooper the focus of the passing offense, which is fine with Cooper.

“It was cool,” Cooper said of Gruden’s faith in him. “Obviously as a receiver, you want to go out there and make plays for your team to win. So for him to say that, it really meant a lot to me. I’m just ready to come out and work and prove that I deserve to have those opportunities.”

Cooper has experienced a bit of hamstring tightness this week, but it hasn’t dampened his optimism about making a big comeback in 2018, or for the new wideouts he’ll be playing with. Cooper told the NFL Network that Nelson has already emerged as a “quarterback in the wide receivers room” and that Bryant’s speed and ability to get deep will give quarterback Derek Carr more opportunities to complete throws all over the field.

“It’ll open up the offense a lot more, being that he’s so fast and dangerous with the ball in his hands,” Cooper told Kyle Martin of Raiders.com.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Semien's Error Costs Gossett in A's 1-0 Loss to Mariners]]>Wed, 23 May 2018 22:14:23 -0700https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/marinersscoreap.jpg


OAKLAND -- Marco Gonzales allowed two hits in seven innings in the longest start of his career, and the Seattle Mariners scored their only run on an error in a 1-0 victory over the Oakland Athletics on Wednesday night.

Gonzales (4-3) struck out six and walked two, combining with two relievers on a three-hitter as Seattle recorded its fourth shutout of the season. The Mariners have won five straight and seven of their last nine.

Over his last two starts, the 26-year-old left-hander has allowed one unearned run in 12 2/3 innings.

Daniel Gossett (0-2) allowed one unearned run on four hits in seven innings in his third big league start of the season and first since he was optioned to Triple-A Nashville on April 7. The right-hander struck out five and walked one, and his ERA dropped from 11.05 to 5.65.

The Mariners scored in the top of the fourth when Guillermo Heredia doubled leading off the inning. He was at third with one out when A's shortstop Marcus Semien bobbled Kyle Seager's fielder's choice grounder before he could get off a throw.

The A's were shut out for the third time this season and have scored just two runs in 19 innings since a 7-3 East Coast trip in which they won their last four games.

Juan Nicasio worked the eighth, and Edwin Diaz struck out the side in the ninth for his 17th save in 19 opportunities.

A's right fielder Stephen Piscotty made two standout defensive plays. He crashed into the padding and reached over the right field wall, robbing Mike Zunino in the third. With a runner at second in the in the seventh, he made a diving catch to take away a likely run-scoring single from John Andreoli, who was making his major league debut.

Mariners manager Scott Servais liked what he saw of Andreoli in spring training.

"He plays with a football mentality," Servais said of the 27-year-old. "He's a very intense dude."

Andreoli got his first hit in the fifth and made a diving catch in the gap in right center in the eighth.

Mariners: OF Nelson Cruz went 0-for-4 after missing two games with a bruised elbow sustained when he was hit by a pitch Saturday against Detroit. ... OF Mitch Haniger, who was hit by a pitch on his right forearm on Tuesday, was given a day off. He also could sit out Thursday's series finale, Servais said. ... RHP Dan Altavillawas optioned to Triple-A Sacramento.

Athletics: OF/DH Khris Davis was placed on the DL with a strained right groin. The move was retroactive to Monday. ... The A's called up INF Franklin Barreto along with Gossett from Triple-A Nashville and designated RHP Wilmer Font for assignment.

Mariners: RHP Felix Hernandez (5-3, 5.53 ERA) is 26-10 with a 2.64 ERA in 49 career starts against Oakland.

Athletics: Reliever Josh Lucas (0-0, 1.35) will make a spot start.

Photo Credit: Associated Press]]>
<![CDATA[Giants Swept by Astros in Two-Game Series]]>Wed, 23 May 2018 15:26:25 -0700https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/giants-recap-us.jpg


HOUSTON - The Giants did exactly what you might have expected during their 48 hours at Minute Maid Park. 

A day after getting blown out by Gerrit Cole and the Astros, the lineup managed just one run off Justin Verlander, the MLB ERA leader, falling 4-1. A couple of mistakes proved costly. Andrew McCutchen made an error in right that cost Jeff Samardzija a run, and Samardzija grooved a slider to George Springer that shot out of the yard for a two-run homer. 

The Giants got outscored 15-3 by the reigning champs. They'll see them again in August. Here's what else you need to know from the mini-sweep… 

- Houston's first run was a strange one. Carlos Correa singled with one out, but Samardzija appeared to be out of the inning when Yuli Gurriel hit a high pop-up to shallow right. McCutchen ran 108 feet to get under the ball but then whiffed on the catch attempt, and Correa scored all the way from first. That's the second time McCutchen has done that this season, his first in right. 

- Samardzija led the Giants last season with 14 starts that lasted at least seven innings. He has yet to do it this season in seven appearances. In 4 2/3 innings, Samardzija was charged with four runs - three earned - on four hits and five walks. 

- Will Smith has been really good. He pitched 1 1/3 perfect frames in relief of Samardzija and he still has not allowed an earned run in 10 appearances since returning from Tommy John. 

- Pablo Sandoval faced Verlander twice. He did not homer. He grounded out to third and flied out to left. 

Photo Credit: Alex Pavlovic]]>
<![CDATA[Joe Williams Begins Quest to Earn Role With 49ers]]>Wed, 23 May 2018 08:56:56 -0700https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/175*120/JhoeWyms.jpg

This will be a make-or-break few months for running back Joe Williams.

The former Utah standout, a fourth-round pick of the 49ers in 2017, was injured  and didn’t play a single snap in the regular season. Now, with the Niners going through organized team activities (OTAs), head coach Kyle Shanahan and the front office are looking at Williams closely to see if he can provide another option in the backfield to go along with No. 1 running back Jerick McKinnon and second-year man Matt Breida, who came on well as an undrafted free agent last season.

Shanahan was a big fan of Williams and urged the 49ers to take him in last year’s draft. He saw Williams – 5-foot-11 and 210 pounds who ran a 4.41 40-yard dash at the NFL combine -- as similar to the backs he had in Atlanta as offensive coordinator of the Falcons, Devonta Freeman and Tevin Coleman. Both are versatile, quick, explosive ball carriers and receivers.

In his senior year at Utah, Williams averaged 6.7 yards per carry. He picked up 1,407 yards on the ground on 210 rushing attempts for 10 touchdowns.

“If you block it right and there’s a lane, he’s got that burst, the 40 time … the leg strength to run through arm tackles,” Shanahan said of what he saw from Williams at Utah. “He can hit it and be gone.”

Certainly, the door is open for Williams. The 49ers did not draft a running back this time around, believing Breida and Williams – if healthy – could give the team what it needs behind McKinnon.

In practice Tuesday in OTAs, Williams had his first chance to perform with the entire team in drills and looked solid. Recently, Shanahan had said Williams would need to show “urgency” in his approach to making this year’s roster, and it appears he’s taken that to heart.

“I noticed a couple runs today that flashed,” Shanahan said, according to Chris Biderman of USA Today’s NinersWire. “The thing with Joe is going to be how does he do when you get to preseason when those games start.”

<![CDATA[A's Unable to Hold Lead, Fall to Red-Hot Mariners in 10]]>Tue, 22 May 2018 23:09:36 -0700https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/180*120/as-mariners-0522.jpg

Mike Zunino hit a two-run homer in the seventh inning and Guillermo Heredia doubled home the go-ahead run in the 10th as the Seattle Mariners defeated the Oakland Athletics 3-2 on Tuesday night.

The Mariners have won four straight games and six of their last eight.

Jean Segura singled with one out in the 10th ahead of Heredia's one-out double to right-center off Yusmeiro Petit (1-1).

Nick Vincent (3-1) pitched 1 1/3 innings of scoreless relief, and Edwin Diaz earned his 16th save.

Seattle trailed 2-0 when Zunino hit his seventh homer, off starter Trevor Cahill.

Oakland built a two-run lead in the middle innings. Marcus Semien scored on Matt Chapman's double-play grounder in the fourth and added an RBI single in the fifth.

The Mariners have won 13 of their last 16 games against the A's and are 42-22 versus Oakland since 2015.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC Bay Area

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Giants Shelled by Astros to Start Road Trip in Houston]]>Tue, 22 May 2018 20:50:48 -0700https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/204*120/giantslose.jpg


HOUSTON - Well. The Houston Astros are as good as advertised.

Their deep lineup hammered Andrew Suarez and a series of Giants relievers, and Gerrit Cole had little trouble on the other side, as Houston took the opener 11-2 at Minute Maid Park. The Astros scored multiple runs in four of the first seven innings, improving to 31-18 on the season. The Giants fell back below .500 (24-25) and the road doesn't get any easier. They'll face Justin Verlander and his 1.05 ERA on Wednesday. 

The Giants knew this could be the toughest 48-hour stretch of the season. Here's what you need to know from the first night… 

-- Suarez retired six straight to start the night and then walked into a buzzsaw. The Astros scored three in the third on three doubles and a single, and added two more in the fourth. Suarez was charged with five earned on seven hits in four innings. He has a 5.68 ERA. It's not clear if he'll make his next start, which is scheduled to come at Coors Field. 

-- Brandon Crawford definitely earned Thanksgiving bragging rights. He blooped a single off Cole, his brother-in-law, in the second and then lined a two-run shot into the Crawford Boxes in left field in the fifth. Crawford has said he doesn't like facing Cole because they're so close (they hung out on the off day with the rest of the family). He's 6-for-20 off Cole. 

-- Cole struck out eight in six innings. He has 101 strikeouts this season. The Giants' leaders in strikeouts are Chris Stratton and Derek Holland, with 42. 

-- The Giants brought in another pitcher, Josh Osich, instead of an outfielder, because Bruce Bochy felt he needed the depth. He was right. The bullpen ended up soaking up five innings. Osich pitched two, allowing two runs on three hits and two walks. 

Photo Credit: Alex Pavlovic]]>
<![CDATA[Warriors Fall to Rockets in Game 4 of Conference Finals]]>Wed, 23 May 2018 00:08:52 -0700https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/180*120/warriors-steph-05221.jpg

OAKLAND -- Too many defensive lapses, too many turnovers and too many missed shots were too much for the Warriors to overcome Tuesday night at Oracle Arena.

The result was a 95-92 loss to the Houston Rockets in Game 4 of the Western Conference Finals that leaves the best-of-seven series tied at two games apiece.

Stephen Curry totaled 28 points and Kevin Durant put in 27. But those two, along with Klay Thompson, combined for 23-of-63 shooting against a solid Houston defense.

Unable to find any rhythm or pace down the stretch, the Warriors were 3-of-18 from the field in the fourth quarter, during which they were outscored 25-12.

STANDOUT PERFORMER: With the Warriors trailing for most of the second and third quarters, Curry came alive, giving them a 10-point lead they could not hold.

Curry’s line: 28 points (10-of-26 shooting from the field, including 6-of-13 beyond the arc, 2-of-2 from the line), six rebounds, two assists and two steals. He played 38 minutes and finished plus-10.

TURNING POINT: After the Warriors took an 80-70 lead into the fourth quarter, Houston reeled off a 21-6 run, taking a 91-86 lead with 3:30 to play.

The Warriors pulled within two, 94-92, on a free throw by Draymond Green with 37.7 seconds remaining. A Chris Paul free throw made it 95-92 inside the final second.

The Warriors had one last shot, a Curry 3-pointer from the corner that bounced off the rim after the horn sounded.

INJURY UPDATE: Warriors in-game: Thompson sustained a strained left knee in the second quarter but was able to return to the game.

Warriors pregame: F Andre Iguodala (L lateral leg contusion) was listed as questionable and downgraded to out prior to tipoff. G Pat McCaw (lumbar spine contusion) is listed as out.

Rockets: No injuries listed.

WHAT’S NEXT: Game 5 is scheduled for Thursday. Pregame coverage on NBC Sports Bay Area begins at 4:30 p.m. Pacific, with tipoff at Toyota Center set for 6 p.m.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Giants' Bumgarner Faces Live Hitters for First Time in Rehab]]>Tue, 22 May 2018 16:08:33 -0700https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/163*120/bumgarner.jpg

HOUSTON -- Madison Bumgarner was back on a big league mound Tuesday. Pretty soon, the results will actually count.

Bumgarner threw 30 pitches to Gregor Blanco and Miguel Gomez in a simulated game and will now throw 45 in a rehab start for the Sacramento River Cats on Saturday. He was pleased with the way Tuesday went.

"It felt good," he said. "Everything was working good. The breaking ball was doing what it was supposed to with a lot more consistency. We're continuing to see forward strides."

Bumgarner has sailed through the rehab process but only just started to throw breaking balls. He snapped off several wicked curveballs to teammates. 

"The breaking ball has been not very good, not very consistent, in bullpens," he said. "I don't know if it was getting off a mound or having hitters in there, and knowing you have to make pitches (but it was better)."

Bumgarner is expected to make at least three rehab starts. He said he will stay close to home, so he could pitch for the San Jose Giants as well as the River Cats. It's likely his second rehab start will be in San Jose on May 31.

Photo Credit: Alex Pavlovic]]>
<![CDATA[Niners' Colbert May Be Poised for Stardom]]>Tue, 22 May 2018 08:41:02 -0700https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/180*120/AAAcolbert.jpg

A year ago at this time, Adrian Colbert was a seventh-round draft pick facing long odds to make the 49ers roster.

Now Colbert goes into 2018 as perhaps the strongest candidate to start at free safety having been impressive last season when pressed into the lineup because of injuries. The former University of Miami defensive back, who was drafted in part because he could play both cornerback and safety, appeared in 14 games in 2017 and started six games. He played both free and strong safety. He was in on 32 tackles, had five passes defensed and forced two fumbles. At 6-foot-2 and 205 pounds, Colbert showed he can be both physical and mobile.

Late last season, general manager John Lynch, a terrific safety during his NFL career, said Colbert showed a level of talent, “characteristic of a starter and a big-time starter.”

Now, as the 49ers have gathered for organized team activities (OTAs) this week, some see Colbert as a seventh-round steal and a key piece of a rebuilt and growing defense. Longtime national NFL analyst Pete Prisco, for one, is a huge fan of Colbert, and sees him as a 49ers starter this season.

“Colbert is going to be a special player now,” Prisco said on the Pick Six Podcast this week. “You talk about a find in the seventh round. He can run, he’s physical. He calls himself the Punisher and there’s a reason for it. Usually when a guy is the Punisher, usually with a guy like that, they punish and they’re good in the run game, but they’re not great in coverage. But that’s not the case at all. He can fly, and he flies to the ball. He might be the next great safety in this league.

“That’s how impressed I was with him down the stretch. It’s funny because I watched him, I kept talking to guys in the league and they kept saying, ‘the Colbert kid, the Colbert kid.’ ”

Colbert’s new teammate, veteran cornerback Richard Sherman, has noticed, too. Now with San Francisco after seven seasons with the Seahawks, Sherman said recently the 49ers have two young defensive backs drafted in 2017 that can be starters for a long time.

“The secondary is young, but they’re incredibly talented and they work incredibly hard,” Sherman told the NFL Network. “Adrian Colbert is a great safety. … (Cornerback) Ahkello Witherspoon has all the talent in the world, can move, can cover anybody.”

Sherman, a former All-Pro and Pro Bowler, says it’s his job to help both grow.

“It’s just understanding that it’s a day-to-day grind to be great,” he said, “and that’s what I’m trying to get through to them, but they work as hard as any group I’ve seen.”

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Bay Area Sports Hall of Fame Inducts Class of 2018]]>Mon, 21 May 2018 19:31:47 -0700https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/Bay_Area_Sports_Hall_of_Fame_Inducts_Class_of_2018.jpg

The Bay Area Sports Hall of Fame on Monday inducted members of its Class of 2018, including Giants pitcher Matt Cain, Warriors guard Tim Hardaway, 49ers lineman Harris Barton and Team USA soccer legend Brandi Chastain. Colin Resch reports.]]>
<![CDATA[Report: NFL Teams Viewed Kaepernick as a Starting QB]]>Mon, 21 May 2018 16:24:17 -0700https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/KapernickGettyImages-603553684.jpg

Quarterback Colin Kaepernick opted out of his deal with the San Francisco 49ers last March, and went unsigned for the entirety of the 2017 season. That, reportedly, may not have been because of his playing ability.

Testimony from witnesses under deposition in Kaepernick's collusion case against the NFL and "internal franchise documents generated as part of the free-agency evaluation process" indicated that multiple teams viewed Kaepernick as good enough to be a starting quarterback, Pro Football Talk reported Monday, citing a source with knowledge of the situation.

Kaepernick filed a grievance under the NFL's collective bargaining agreement in October, alleging that he was unsigned after first sitting, then kneeling, during the national anthem to protest police brutality and racial inequality throughout the 2016 season.

He started 11 games in 2016, throwing for 2,241 yards, 16 touchdowns, and four interceptions. His interception percentage (1.2 percent) was sixth-lowest among starting quarterbacks (minimum 10 starts) that year, and he finished 17th in passer rating (90.7).

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Wanda Durant: MVP Mom Turned Motivational Speaker]]>Mon, 21 May 2018 22:02:56 -0700https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/wanda_durant_0520_2832733.JPG

While Kevin Durant continues to excel on the court for the Golden State Warriors, there is another player in his life, the NBA champ’s ultimate teammate -- part-time mentor, part-time coach and full-time mom, Wanda Durant.

KD has called her the real MVP.

"We weren’t suppose to be here; you made us believe, you kept us off the streets," KD said in his 2014 MVP speech. "You went to sleep hungry, you sacrificed for us, you’re the real MVP clapping."

A single mom of two boys by age 21, scraping to make it by, Wanda Durant said she was a broken woman determined to set a different path for her sons, with specific goals and clear intentions.

"I was loving, but I was tough and commanding," she said. "As a mother raising a son to be a man, I had a responsibility I could not falter on."

Momma Durant has taken her parenting mantra on the road as a speaker. On Sunday night, she took center court in Palo Alto to motivate struggling single moms getting an educational and financial assist from the Women's Achievement Network and Development Alliance, incidentally known as WANDA.

Wanda Durant's full-court press to WANDA recipients: "Don’t lose yourself as you sacrifice for your children."

"We as women need to take care of ourselves," she said.

With her son approaching a potential second NBA title, the thing about him that makes the MVP mom so proud is his humility and focus.

"He doesn’t say, 'I'm successful, I have one championship.' He says, 'I have to give it my all,'" Wanda Durant said.

For more information on WANDA, the organization, visit the website.

Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[Curry, Warriors Rout Rockets in Game 3 of Conference Finals]]>Sun, 20 May 2018 21:13:11 -0700https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/180*120/warriors-curry-0520.jpg

OAKLAND -- With one searing quarter on Sunday, Stephen Curry squelched concerns about his health and lifted the Warriors within two wins of a fourth consecutive trip to the NBA Finals.

With Curry scoring 18 of his game-high 35 points in the third quarter, the Warriors took control en route to a 126-85 thumping of the Rockets in Game 3 of the Western Conference Finals.

Kevin Durant scored 25 points, Klay Thompson 13, with Draymond Green and Andre Iguodala adding 10 apiece as the Warriors took a 2-1 lead in the best-of-seven series. Quinn Cook came off the bench to add 11 points.

The Warriors limited Houston to 40-percent shooting from the field, and 30 percent in the pivotal second quarter.

STANDOUT PERFORMER: All five starters played well, but Curry was devastating and Green was a beast inside and on defense.

Curry’s line: 35 points (13-of-23 shooting from the field, including 5-of-12 from deep, 4-of-4 from the line), six rebounds, one assist and one block. He played 34 minutes and finished plus-24.

Green’s line: 10 points (3-of-9, 1-of-4 from deep, 3-of-3 from the line), 17 rebounds, six assists, one block and one steal. He played 37 minutes and was plus-26.

TURNING POINT: After Houston took a 22-20 lead with 3:31 remaining in the first quarter on two free throws by Eric Gordon, the Warriors responded with a 13-0 run, taking a 33-22 lead on a Shaun Livingston turnaround jumper with 11:48 left in the second quarter.

The Warriors took a 54-43 lead into intermission and never were threatened after that, pushing it to 64-43 with a 10-0 run out of the half and maintaining a double-digit lead for the remainder of the game.

INJURY UPDATE: Warriors: G Pat McCaw (lumbar spine contusion) was listed as out.

Rockets: No injuries reported.

WHAT’S NEXT: Game 4 is scheduled for Tuesday night. Tipoff at Oracle Arena is set for 6 p.m. PDT. Coverage begins on NBC Sports Bay Area with Warriors Outsiders at 4pm and continues on NBC Sports Bay Area Plus with Warriors Playoff Central at 4;30pm. After the final buzzer, tune back to NBC Sports Bay Area for complete reaction on NBC Sports Bay Area.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Giants Power Past Rockies to Salvage Split]]>Sun, 20 May 2018 18:01:29 -0700https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/giantsrecap.jpg


SAN FRANCISCO (AP) Brandon Belt snapped a seventh-inning tie with a three-run homer and the San Francisco Giants beat the Colorado Rockies 9-5 on Sunday.

Nick Hundley added a solo shot later in the seventh for the Giants, who salvaged a four-game split after dropping the first two games of the series. Gorkys Hernandez hit a two-run homer in the fifth.

Belt connected for his 12th home run this season and fifth in seven games to give San Francisco an 8-5 lead. He and Hundley both homered off left-hander Jake McGee.

Belt came to the plate with Hernandez aboard on a leadoff single and Evan Longoria on following a one-out walk by reliever Bryan Shaw (1-2).

Colorado lost for the third time in 11 road games this month.

The Rockies trailed 5-4 going into the seventh before Nolan Arenado singled home a run off winner Sam Dyson (2-0).

San Francisco rallied from a 4-1 deficit.

Hernandez homered in the fifth off starter Tyler Anderson to make it 4-3. An inning later, the Giants took a 5-4 lead on Kelby Tomlinson's two-out, two-run triple off Shaw.

The Rockies trailed 1-0 going into the fourth when Trevor Story's RBI double highlighted a two-run inning.

Colorado sent eight batters to the plate in a two-run fifth, chasing starter Ty Blach.

The Giants took an early lead when Buster Posey tripled and scored on Longoria's sacrifice fly in the first. Posey's triple was the ninth of his career and first since Sept. 10, 2016.

Arenado's RBI in the seventh was his 80th against the Giants. The only active players with more are Adrian Gonzalez (85) and Matt Kemp (91).

Arenado was 3 for 5 and finished 8 for 18 in the series. He has reached base safely in 28 of his last 29 games and 39 of 42 overall.


With two Giants second basemen on the disabled list, veteran third baseman Pablo Sandoval took grounders at second Sunday morning. He played two-thirds of an inning at second for Boston in April 2017. "He surprises me how quick his feet are and he's pretty good around the bag," manager Bruce Bochy said.


Giants: OF Andrew McCutchen was out of the lineup with a bruised knee and is day to day. ... 2B-OF Alen Hanson (left hamstring strain) won't travel with the team to Houston. Hanson is eligible to come off the disabled list Wednesday but is a few days behind his projected return, Bochy said.


Rockies: RHP German Marquez (2-2, 5.15 ERA) will pitch Monday's series opener in Los Angeles against the Dodgers. The 23-year-old is 2-2 with a 2.25 ERA in five road starts.

Giants: LHP Andrew Suarez (1-3, 4.88) starts Tuesday's series opener in Houston against the defending World Series champions. The 25-year-old rookie has struck out 28 and walked five in 27 2/3 innings.

Photo Credit: Associated Press]]>
<![CDATA[Niners Love What They're Seeing of Mike McGlinchey]]>Fri, 18 May 2018 08:54:45 -0700https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/180*120/McGblockkerr.jpg

The 49ers aren’t going to bring Mike McGlinchey along at a slow pace.

By the time Game 1 of 2018 kicks off, the team expects the former Notre Dame standout to be starting at right tackle.

Steve Wyche of the NFL Network reported this week that Niners general manager John Lynch has loved what he’s seen of McGlinchey so far in organized team activities (OTAs) and believes the ninth overall pick in this year’s NFL draft will make an immediate impact.

“It’s hard to judge offensive linemen in OTAs because they’re not in pads and the contact is very limited, but Lynch is through-the-moon excited about McGlinchey,” Wyche said, according to a transcript of the report on 247sports.com. “He said he is a plug-and-play draft pick. He’s going to come in and start at right tackle. He said McGlinchey is so excited to get in there and compete. Everybody can sense it. They know they’ve got a player there.”

McGlinchey is expected to win the starting job at right tackle, taking over for Trent Brown. Brown was injured late last season and was traded to the Patriots to make room for McGlinchey, a 6-foot-8, 309-pounder who was graded by many as the best offensive tackle in this year’s draft.

Niners head coach Kyle Shanahan said McGlinchey was the prospect he and Lynch most wanted, all along, with their top draft choice. The team, in fact, stayed very quiet about McGlinchey in the weeks and days leading up to his selection. The 49ers didn’t want to focus attention on McGlinchey and push up his stock value to alert other teams. Even McGlinchey was surprised the 49ers selected him.

On draft day, Lynch said McGlinchey stood out for a number of reasons.

“You go into the makeup of the kid, and he’s one of the smartest kids in the draft,” Lynch told a reporter. “In our combine interview, he was one of the top interviews in terms of presence. He was a two-time captain at Notre Dame and started 39 straight games. He’s got a special presence to him. He’s real, authentic and he’s a bad ass. We like him.”

Wyche said if McGlinchey is as good as Lynch and Shanahan believe he can be, the 49ers passing and running attacks can be much better in 2018.

“Protecting Jimmy Garoppolo is the No. 1 priority, but also it’s establishing the running game with Jerick McKinnon and Matt Breida, the two speedsters … they really want to have this mixed rushing attack,” Wyche said. “Think of the Atlanta Falcons, what they had with Devonta Freeman and Tevin Coleman. That’s what Kyle Shanahan really wants to expect. McGlinchey’s the guy with Joe Staley at bookend tackles they really feel can lead the way.”

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Giants Fall to Rockies in 12 Innings, Drop Second Straight]]>Thu, 17 May 2018 23:30:49 -0700https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/180*120/giants-rockies-0517.jpg

SAN FRANCISCO — With plenty of time until Game 3, Klay Thompson sat in the owner's box at AT&T Park on Thursday night. Unlike most celebrities who attend games, Thompson was a gamer. He sat through one failed rally after the next as the Giants and Rockies played into the 12th. In the top of that inning, Carlos Gonzalez sent the Warriors star and most of the remaining fans home.

Gonzalez dumped a two-run single into center to break a tie. Wade Davis locked it down in the bottom of the inning, wrapping up a 5-3 win for the Rockies in the first meeting this season between the teams.

The Giants trailed from the start, but Brandon Belt hit a two-run shot into the first row of the arcade in the sixth, tying it up. It was pretty quiet from there. The Giants got the winning run to second in the ninth, but couldn’t score. The Rockies got the go-ahead run there in the 10th, but did not score.

Belt doubled to the left field corner with two down in the 11th and the Rockies put two on with one down in the 12th, but both rallies died. Here's what else you need to know ...

—- Belt has a homer in four consecutive games. Incredibly, he’s done that twice already this season. He also homered every game from April 18-22. Overall, Belt is tied for fifth in the league with 10 homers, and when you throw in the on-base percentage and strong defense, he certainly has the look of an All-Star.

—- Early on, Jeff Samardzija looked headed for another rough one. The No. 8 hitter, Daniel Castro, pulled a two-run double with two outs in the second and starting pitcher Chad Bettis followed with an RBI single. But Samardzija settled in and got into the seventh, a rarity for this staff.

—- Evan Longoria’s soft throw to first in the eighth skidded away for an error and put the leadoff runner on. The error was Longoria’s eighth, continuing a concerning trend. His career-high is 14 and last year he made 12 all season.

—- Nolan Arenado, the world’s preeminent Giant-killer, was 2 for 5 with two singles and a walk. The Giants will take that, probably.

—- Ian Desmond, batting .167, failed to get a bunt down twice in the 11th and then hit into a double play. Remember that moment when you see national reporters writing “is there collusion in free agency?” pieces this offseason.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[A's Bash Blue Jays With Barrage of Home Runs, Win 10-5]]>Thu, 17 May 2018 19:58:58 -0700https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/olsonhomeruntorontousatsi.jpg


TORONTO -- Losing starting pitcher Andrew Triggs in the third inning put the Oakland Athletics in a tough spot.

Khris Davis provided enough offense to make up for it.

Matt Olson hit a three-run home run, Davis and Matt Chapman added two-run shots, and the Athletics beat the Toronto Blue Jays 10-5 on Thursday night.

Davis matched a career-high with four hits and scored three times as Oakland snapped a six-game losing streak in Toronto and won for the second time in 13 games north of the border.

Davis singled in the first, homered in the third, singled and scored in the fifth, came around to score after being hit by a pitch in the sixth, and singled in the eighth.

"Usually if he touches the ball three times in a game it's a couple of homers," manager Bob Melvin said. "That's impressive. Power hitters usually aren't doing that, mixing in some singles."

The Blue Jays lost for the ninth time in 12 home games. Toronto has gone 8-14 following a 14-8 start.

"A tough night," Blue Jays manager John Gibbons said. "No need to elaborate."

Triggs left in the third inning because of nerve discomfort in his forearm. He allowed one run and one hit in 2 1/3 innings before being replaced by Santiago Casilla.

"We had to use a lot of guys today," Melvin said. "Whenever your starter comes out of the game after two-plus it means you've got some work to do."

Casilla pitched two innings and Yusmeiro Petit (1-0) worked 2 2/3 innings for the win. Ryan Dull got two outs and Lou Trivino pitched the final 1 1/3 innings.

Triggs said he felt tingling in his thumb and first two fingers on his final pitch of the first inning, and again in the second. He threw six consecutive balls before leaving.

"The sensation I was feeling in those three fingers was enough for me to bring it to their attention," Triggs said. "You really don't want to come out before you've given your team everything you've got but that was enough for me to realize I wasn't feeling the ball the way I needed to."

Triggs will return to Oakland on Friday and visit the doctor Saturday.

Toronto's Kendrys Morales opened the scoring with an RBI fielder's choice in the second but the Athletics responded with three in the third. Jed Lowrie drove in a run with a double and Davis followed with a blast to right, his 13th.

Blue Jays right-hander Aaron Sanchez (2-4) left after walking Lowrie to begin the fifth, but Seung Hwan Oh struggled in relief, allowing three runs and four hits in 2/3 of an inning, including Olson's homer.

Toronto answered with three in the bottom half, cutting it to 7-4. Justin Smoak hit an RBI double off Casilla, Yangervis Solarte singled home a run off Petit and Kevin Pillar added a sacrifice fly.

Chapman connected off John Axford in the sixth, the first home run off Axford in 19 appearances this season.

"He's always one swing away from three runs," Melvin said of Chapman.

Curtis Granderson drew a bases-loaded walk off Lou Trivino in the eighth, bringing Josh Donaldson to the plate as the tying run, but Donaldson grounded out to end the threat.

Sanchez allowed four runs and five hits in four-plus innings to lose for the second time in three starts. Sanchez walked four and matched a season-high by striking out eight.

"Any time I left the ball up in the zone it was smacked," Sanchez said.

Toronto lost for the first time in 19 games when scoring at least five runs.

Oakland is 9-4 against AL East opponents.

Olson's home run, his seventh, was his first with runners on base.

Athletics: Oakland placed C Bruce Maxwell on the restricted list and recalled C Josh Phegley from Triple-A Nashville. Maxwell cannot enter Canada while awaiting sentencing in Arizona on a gun-related charge. Maxwell was arrested in Arizona in October after a food delivery person alleged he pointed a gun at her at his Scottsdale home. Maxwell pleaded guilty to disorderly conduct in April and is to be sentenced June 4.

Blue Jays: OF Teoscar Hernandez (sore back) was held out of the lineup.

Athletics: LHP Brett Anderson (0-2, 8.16) is 0-2 with a 12.38 ERA in his past two starts.

Blue Jays: RHP Marco Estrada (2-3, 5.32) is winless in four starts and has allowed four or more earned runs in five of his past six outings.

Photo Credit: Associated Press]]>
<![CDATA[UFC Champion Takes Over as Gilroy High Wrestling Coach]]>Thu, 17 May 2018 19:26:07 -0700https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/ghs_cormier_0517_2801301.JPG

One of the best mixed martial arts fighters of all-time has landed in the Bay Area to take over one of the best high school wrestling programs in the state. And even though it's not his most pressing task at the moment, he's finding it hard to contain his enthusiasm for the job.

Light heavyweight champion Daniel Cormier is in training for arguably the biggest fight of his career, a July 7 bout in Las Vegas against heavyweight champion Stipe Miocic. As if that wasn't enough to keep him busy, Cormier is preparing to be the next coach of the Gilroy High School wrestling team.

"Coaching wrestling excites me," Cormier said. "And when you’ve done a lot of stuff over the course of your career, it’s a little bit harder to get excited. This stuff excites me."

After long-time Gilroy High wrestling coach Greg Varela stepped down in March, Cormier took notice. Principal Marco Sanchez, who like Cormier is a former Olympic wrestler, was as surprised as anyone by the UFC star’s interest in the job.

"It was completely out of the blue," Sanchez said. "And when I got the news, cautious optimism. Because again, I had to ask the hard questions. This is what is required. This is the commitment. Are you willing to do it? He didn’t blink. He said, 'Yes, I’m in.' You know, he’s also not taking a salary, so he’s the most qualified and most underpaid school coach in the league."

Cormier inherits a program that is arguably the most established in the state.

"Central Coast Section, which is from San Francisco to King City, 130 schools. We’ve won that division 16 consecutive years," Sanchez said.

Cormier added: "I’m pretty sure there is going to be some expectations, but I anticipate we’ll meet them and exceed them."

Cormier plans to retire from UFC competition next March on his 40th birthday. He says wrestling has given him everything, and he wants to impart the wisdom he’s gathered on the next generation. And the fact that he can still do it carries some cachet.

"They see that the things I ask of them I’m willing to do myself," he said. "That’s a big deal."

Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[Warriors Fall to Rockets in Game 2 of Conference Finals]]>Thu, 17 May 2018 00:08:49 -0700https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/180*120/warriors-curry-0516.jpg

HOUSTON -- Sloppy and defensively disengaged from the start, the Warriors never gathered momentum Wednesday night in a 127-105 loss to the energized Rockets in Game 2 of the Western Conference Finals.

The best-of-seven series is now tied at 1-1.

Kevin Durant poured in a game-high 38 points, but got little scoring help. Stephen Curry, with 16 points, was the only other Warrior to reach double figures.

The Warriors committed 15 turnovers, off which Houston scored 15 points. Houston scored 13 points on 11 first-half turnovers.

An even bigger issue for the Warriors was 3-point defense. The Rockets were 16-of-42 from deep, and 10-of-23 while seizing control in the first half.

STANDOUT PERFORMER: On a night when the Warriors struggled mightily on offense, Durant was the lone exception. He was the reason why the Warriors weren’t completely blown out.

Durant’s line: 38 points (13-of-22 shooting from the field, 3-of-7 from beyond the arc, 9-of-9 from the line) and three rebounds. He played 35 minutes and finished an eye-popping minus-28.

TURNING POINT: After the Warriors closed within five, 40-35, on a Klay Thompson 3-pointer with 6:56 left in the second quarter, the Rockets came back with a 20-7 run, going up 60-42 on a layup by Eric Gordon with 2:28 left in half.

Houston took a 64-50 lead into the second half. The Warriors trailed by double digits over the entire second half.

INJURY UPDATE: Warriors: G Pat McCaw (lumbar spine contusion) was listed as out.

Rockets: No injuries reported.

WHAT’S NEXT: Game 3 is scheduled for Sunday at Oracle Arena. Tipoff is set for 5 p.m. Pacific.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[A's Unable to Complete Sweep of Red Sox at Fenway]]>Wed, 16 May 2018 19:51:25 -0700https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/214*120/cahill-as-lose-ap1.jpg

BOSTON -- Xander Bogaerts hit a three-run homer, J.D. Martinez added a two-run shot and the Boston Red Sox avoided their first series sweep this season with a 6-4 victory over the Oakland Athletics on Wednesday night.

The win also prevented Boston from matching its season-high losing streak of three games.

Chris Sale (4-1) gave up just two runs and two hits in five innings, striking out nine and walking four - his most base on balls since also allowing four on August 31, 2016.

Craig Kimbrel, the fourth reliever, got the final three outs for his 12th save.

Marcus Semien hit a two-run homer, and Matt Joyce and Matt Olson each hit a solo shot for the Athletics, who won the first two games and finished the season series by winning four of six.

Trevor Cahill (1-2) gave up three runs to the first four batters he faced, but held the Red Sox scoreless the rest his five innings.

Coming off a career-tying 15-strikeout performance over nine innings in his previous start, Sale struggled with his command on a chilly, misty evening and was lifted after 102 pitches.

Martinez's homer into the center-field seats highlighted a three-run first. Hanley Ramirez had a run-scoring grounder before Martinez's drive into the first section of the bleachers to the right of the Green Monster.

Bogaerts' homer completely left Fenway Park over the Monster and made it 6-2 in the sixth.

Semien's drive also left Fenway over the Monster.

TRAINER'S ROOM: Athletics: Cahill (right shoulder impingement) was reinstated from the 10-day DL before the game and outfielder Jake Smolinski was optioned to Triple-A Nashville. "When you don't play for an extended period-of-time, get some at-bats, you don't feel comfortable," manager Bob Melvin said.

Red Sox: Second baseman Dustin Pedroia (recovering from offseason left knee surgery) is expected to resume his rehab assignment with Triple-A Pawtucket on Friday. With the PawSox rained out Tuesday and a morning game Wednesday, Pedroia was in Boston. Manager Alex Cora said they'd find somewhere for him to play if expected rain comes this weekend. "He needs his repetitions," Cora said. "We'll find innings."

ROAD WOES: Cahill hasn't picked up a win on the road - start or relief - since a victory at Colorado on August 20, 2016, a span of 24 games.

WHAT A CATCH: A's right fielder Stephen Piscotty made a running catch before tumbling headfirst over a short wall down the line. The play was overturned after replay review.

QUICK START: Boston third baseman Rafael Devers played in his 100th major league game before his 22nd birthday, only one of three Red Sox players to do that in the last 50 years. The others are: Bogaerts and former right fielder Dwight Evans.

Photo Credit: Associated Press]]>
<![CDATA[Veteran Cornerback Adam 'Pacman' Jones Linked to Raiders]]>Wed, 16 May 2018 08:59:41 -0700https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/180*120/Jonezbengals.jpg

Since the Raiders hired Jon Gruden as head coach, the team hasn’t been shy about bringing in veteran (some would even say aging) talent.

Among the acquisitions: wide receiver Jordy Nelson, linebacker Derrick Johnson and running back Doug Martin.

So why not Adam “Pacman” Jones?

The veteran cornerback, 34, came into the NFL back in 2005 as a first-round pick of the Titans out of West Virginia. He’s been a Pro Bowler and first-team All-Pro (in 2014) and has 16 career interceptions. Plus, as a punt and kickoff returner, he was an especially dangerous player early in his career, returning four punts for touchdowns in his first two NFL seasons.

Now Jones, who’s played the last eight seasons in Cincinnati, is a free agent and NFL analyst Eddie Borsilli of SiriusXM NFL Radio this week said he believes the Raiders could bring in Jones to compete for a job, especially considering Jones played for Paul Guenther with the Bengals. Guenther is the Raiders’ new defensive coordinator.

Tweeted Borsilli: “(Jones) said he’s 100 percent after groin surgery. Wouldn’t shock me if Oak brought him in. Yes, a vet, but can still play and knows the system.”

Last season, Jones played just nine games because of a groin injury. He had one interception and four passes defensed, along with 23 tackles. The year before, Jones started all 16 games, had an interception, seven passes defensed and was in on 66 tackles.

Jones says he had groin surgery the week after this year’s Super Bowl and has been cleared by doctors to fully participate in all football activities.

“Running full speed,” he said. “Have been in contact with several teams. I expect it to pick up in the coming weeks.”

If Jones were to join the Raiders, he’d join a crowded field of cornerbacks, led by last year’s No. 1 pick, Gareon Conley, veteran free-agent signee Rashaan Melvin and the recently drafted Nick Nelson of Wisconsin.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Giants Battle Back to Beat Reds, Win Third Straight]]>Wed, 16 May 2018 00:04:43 -0700https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/178*120/giants-reds-0515.jpg

SAN FRANCISCO -- Brandon Crawford continued his strong May with four more hits, Brandon Belt homered and the San Francisco Giants beat the Cincinnati Reds 5-3 on Tuesday night.

Pinch-hitter Pablo Sandoval hit a tying two-run single in the fourth inning, Andrew McCutchen drove in the go-ahead run with a grounder and five relievers combined for five scoreless inning for San Francisco.

Crawford doubled, singled three times and scored twice. He is batting .454 (25 for 55) in May and has raised his overall average from .189 to .290.

The Giants opened the fourth with four consecutive hits off Reds starter Tyler Mahle (3-5), including Belt's leadoff home run into McCovey Cove.

After Kelby Tomlinson struck out with the bases loaded, Sandoval pinch-hit for San Francisco starter Ty Blach and singled in two runs to tie the score at 3-all. Gregor Blanco followed with a single and McCutchen hit into a force play at second, driving in Austin Jackson from third.

The Giants' bullpen did the rest.

Pierce Johnson (2-1) retired three batters for the win while Will Smith, Sam Dyson, Tony Watson and Hunter Strickland pitched one inning each with Strickland getting his ninth save.

Eugenio Suarez homered and doubled with two RBIs while Scooter Gennett added two hits for Cincinnati, which has lost two straight after a season-high six-game winning streak.

The Reds got the tying run to second with one out in both the seventh and eighth but couldn't score.

Suarez homered on a 2-0 pitch from Blach after Jesse Winker reached on a two-out error by Giants second baseman Tomlinson.

Blach allowed three runs (one earned) and five hits over four innings.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Piscotty Homers in Emotional Return, A's Top Red Sox]]>Tue, 15 May 2018 21:50:35 -0700https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/180*120/as-redsox-0515.jpg

Stephen Piscotty homered in his first at-bat after being reinstated from the bereavement list and saluted his late mother as he crossed home plate, helping lead the Oakland Athletics to a 5-3 win over the Boston Red Sox on Tuesday night in a game delayed almost two hours because of weather.

Piscotty, who returned to the A's Tuesday after missing four games to be with his family, drove an 0-2 pitch from Eduardo Rodriguez out to left in the second inning.

He slowly made his way around the bases, then after rounding third placed his right hand over his heart and patted it with a glance to the sky in tribute to Gretchen Piscotty, who died May 6 after battling amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, also known as Lou Gehrig's Disease.

Piscotty's third homer of the season was his only hit of the night and put the A's up 3-0. Matt Chapman and Mark Canha had two RBIs apiece for the A's, who took the first two games of the series against the struggling Red Sox.

Andrew Benintendi homered for Boston and Mitch Moreland finished with a pair of doubles for the Red Sox.

Daniel Mengden (3-4) pitched six solid innings for Oakland, scattering eight hits and holding Boston to two runs _ one earned _ and struck out three. Blake Treinen finished it off for his eighth save of the season.

Eduardo Rodriguez (3-1) took his first loss of the season after getting roughed up in the first few innings. Oakland had six hits through the first three innings, starting with back-to-back singles by Marcus Semien and Chad Pinder to start the game. Both scored on a double by Chapman, who drove a pitch from Rodriguez over the head of Mookie Betts in right field.

Benintendi's solo homer in the fifth pulled Boston back within 3-2, but the A's tacked on a pair of runs in the eighth.

The game was scheduled to begin at 7:10 p.m., but didn't get under way until 8:52 p.m. because of heavy rain and lightning.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Giants Open Homestand With Win Over Reds]]>Mon, 14 May 2018 23:14:43 -0700https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/178*120/giants-reds-0514.jpg

SAN FRANCISCO -- Andrew McCutchen doubled in his first two at-bats to reach 1,500 career hits and the San Francisco Giants snapped the Cincinnati Reds' six-game winning streak with a 10-7 victory Monday night.

McCutchen sparked a three-run first inning against Sal Romano (2-4) with his first hit and drove home a run in the second with another double. Kelby Tomlinson added a two-run single in the third and Brandon Belt homered and knocked in three runs to give the Giants consecutive wins following a six-game skid.

Tucker Barnhart homered and had three RBIs, Scott Schebler hit a solo shot and Adam Duvall added a three-run homer but the Reds failed to move out of last place in the National League because of a rough start by Romano.

The right-hander put Cincinnati in an early hole when Evan Longoria drove in McCutchen with a two-out single in the first and Brandon Crawford added a two-run double.

McCutchen drove in a run with a two-out hit in the second and Tomlinson ended Romano's night with his one-out hit in the third. Romano gave up six runs over 2 1/3 innings after allowing two or fewer earned runs in his previous five starts.

Chris Stratton (4-3) wasn't much better, allowing two homers in five-plus innings. He has served up six long balls in his past four starts after permitting none in the previous six dating to last season.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Khris Davis Dinger the Difference in A's Win vs. Red Sox]]>Mon, 14 May 2018 22:05:21 -0700https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/davis_recap.jpg


BOSTON -- Sean Manaea beat the Boston Red Sox again in his first outing against them since pitching a no-hitter, and Khris Davis hit one of three solo homers by the Oakland Athletics in a 6-5 victory Monday night.

Matt Joyce and Matt Olson also went deep for the A's, who had lost five of six to the Astros and Yankees. Davis connected for his team-leading 12th home run as Oakland handed Rick Porcello his first loss of the season.

J.D. Martinez and Rafael Devers each hit a solo shot for the Red Sox. Boston opened a seven-game homestand after a 6-4 trip.

Manaea (5-4) allowed four runs - three earned - and eight hits in six-plus innings, snapping his two-game skid. He threw the seventh no-hitter in Oakland history at home against the Red Sox on April 21.

Blake Treinen got three outs for his seventh save.

Porcello (5-1) gave up five runs and nine hits over six innings, striking out five without issuing a walk.

Trailing 2-1 in the fourth, the Athletics grabbed the lead with three runs. Jonathan Lucroy had a two-run double into the left-field corner before Dustin Fowler tripled off the Green Monster.

The Red Sox sliced it to 4-3 in the fifth on Hanley Ramirez's run-scoring grounder before Olson restored the two-run lead with a homer over Boston's bullpen in the sixth.

Martinez led off the eighth with his drive into Boston's bullpen.

Joyce homered deep into the right-field seats before Boston moved ahead on consecutive RBI singles by Andrew Benintendi and Ramirez.


Athletics: RHP Trevor Cahill (right elbow impingement) is eligible to come off the disabled list Wednesday. ... OF Stephen Piscotty is expected to return from the bereavement list Tuesday. He left the team after his mother, Gretchen, died of Lou Gehrig's disease.

Red Sox: 2B Dustin Pedroia (recovering from offseason left knee surgery) started a rehab assignment with Triple-A Pawtucket. He singled and scored a run in three at-bats while playing five innings at second base.


The game started a stretch with 19 of 26 at Fenway Park for the Red Sox. Boston entered the night having played just 15 home games. "Now we're going to be home for a while," manager Alex Cora said. "Seems like we've been on the road forever."


Knuckleballer Steven Wright completed his 15-game suspension for violating Major League Baseball's domestic violence policy and was added to the roster. To open a spot, RHP Hector Velazquez was placed on the 10-day DL with a strained back.


Athletics: RHP Daniel Mengden (2-4, 4.06 ERA) pitches Tuesday. He is 0-1 with an 8.00 ERA in two career starts against the Red Sox.

Red Sox: LHP Eduardo Rodriguez (3-0, 4.58) looks to follow up his rain-shortened solid start last Thursday against the Yankees when he allowed only one hit in five shutout innings but got a no-decision.

Photo Credit: Associated Press]]>
<![CDATA[Warriors Ground Rockets in Game 1 of Conference Finals]]>Tue, 15 May 2018 00:15:38 -0700https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/180*120/warriors-rockets-0514.jpg

HOUSTON -- The Houston Rockets took six months to earn homecourt advantage, and the Warriors needed only 48 minutes to take it away.

With Kevin Durant scoring a team-high 37 points, the defending champions strolled out of Toyota Center Monday night with a 119-106 victory to take a 1-0 lead in the best-of-seven Western Conference Finals.

Klay Thompson put in 28 points, Stephen Curry totaled 18 and Andre Iguodala added 11 as the Warriors overcame a 41-point effort from Houston star James Harden.

As good as Harden was, the rest of the Rockets were contained, limited to 41-percent shooting by a Warriors defense that got stingier as the game went on.

STANDOUT PERFORMER: Durant carried the offensive water, pulled the scoring wagon and probably would have dropped off buckets to needy children.

Durant’s line: 37 points (14-of-27 from the field, including 3-of-6 from deep, 6-of-6 from the line), three rebounds, one assist and one block. He played 40 minutes and finished plus-11 for the game.

TURNING POINT: After an Eric Gordon layup pulled the Rockets within three, 73-70, with 6:36 left in the third quarter, the Warriors responded with a 12-2, taking an 85-72 lead on a Durant jumper with 2:23 remaining in the quarter.

The Warriors took an 87-80 lead into the fourth quarter, pushing the lead as high as 14. Houston drew no closer than seven over the final nine minutes.

INJURY UPDATE: Warriors: G Pat McCaw (lumbar spine contusion) is listed as out.

Rockets: No injuries reported.

WHAT’S NEXT: Game 2 is scheduled for Wednesday night at Toyota Center. Tipoff is scheduled for 6 p.m.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Giants Put a Twist on Recent Form in Sixth Straight Loss]]>Sat, 12 May 2018 21:25:39 -0700https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/giantsrecap.jpg


PITTSBURGH - The Giants at least put a twist on things Saturday night. Their lineup did not strike out quite as often. Their starting pitcher lasted just a bit longer. 

But the end result was the same. 

Tony Watson, a former Pirate, hit Jordy Mercer with the bases loaded in the eighth inning of a tie game. The Giants lost 6-5, dropping their sixth straight game in the state of Pennsylvania. Watson had been just about perfect until returning to his longtime home, but he has given up late runs in both games of this series. 

Here are the other details... 

-- Jeff Samardzija's stuff took a noticeable tick up in the fifth and sixth, and he was a strike away from a quality start and an outing to build off. But with two outs and two strikes in the sixth, Francisco Cervelli smoked a two-run homer into the right field seats. After a single, Samardzija's day was done. He was charged with five earned. He has a 6.94 ERA. 

-- Andrew McCutchen got ovations before all of his at-bats again, and he doubled the second time up. It appeared he wanted to show the Pirates he's still got that speed. Per Statcast, he was going 29.7 feet/second on his way to second, his fastest recorded time this year and the fourth fastest by a Giant. McCutchen also doubled and scored in the seventh. 

-- Alen Hanson drilled a solo shot to right to tie it up in the top of the second. The homer was his fourth since getting into the Giants' starting lineup. He never hit a homer in 92 at-bats for the Pirates in 2016 and 2017. Unfortunately, he appeared to hurt himself running the bases in the eighth. 

-- Evan Longoria got the Giants on the board with a laser shot to left. The homer was his team-leading eighth. All the dudes who played third base for the Giants last season combined for just nine homers. 

Photo Credit: Associated Press]]>
<![CDATA[After Controversial Call in Ninth, A's Lose Marathon to Yankees in 11 Innings]]>Sat, 12 May 2018 17:47:33 -0700https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/as-recap.jpg

NEW YORK -- Left fielder Brett Gardner threw out Matt Olson at the plate with the help of a replay reversal to help Aroldis Chapman escape a bases-loaded, no-outs jam in the ninth inning, and the Yankees beat the Oakland Athletics 7-6 Saturday on Neil Walker's run-scoring single on the 11th to avoid New York's first three-game losing streak since last August.

Chapman walked three straight batters around a wild pitch starting the ninth, his velocity down 3-4 mph on the cool afternoon from the 100 mph-plus heat that overpowered Boston on warm spring nights earlier in the week. After visits to the mound by both pitching coach Larry Rothschild and a trainer to check on a cracked fingernail, Chapman struck out Mark Canha, and pinch-hitter Jonathan Lucroy followed with a 297-foot fly to left field.

Gardner's one-hop throw to the plate was slightly to the first-base side, and Gary Sanchez had to reach for it and try for a sweep tag at the sliding Olson. Plate umpire James Hoye made an emphatic safe call, but the Yankees asked for a video review and replays appeared to show Sanchez's mitt just glancing Olson's jersey.

A.J. Cole (1-0), pitching for the first time since his Yankees debut on April 28, walked Oakland's first two batters in the 10th, then struck out Jed Lowie and Chris Davis before retiring Olson on a foulout. Cole pitched a perfect 11th that included a pair of called strikeouts.

Chris Hatcher (3-1) walked former Marlins teammate Giancarlo Stanton with one out in the 11th, and Gary Sanchez hit into a forceout. Aaron Hicks walked, and Walker flared a single to center as Sanchez scored standing up ahead of Canha's weak throw.

New York (27-12) stopped a two-game losing streak that followed its 17-1 run. The Yankees began that day tied with AL East rival Boston for the best record in the major leagues.

Sanchez and Hicks hit the Yankees' first consecutive home runs of the year in the second, but Oakland ended Domingo German's 15-inning scoreless streak with a five-run third. Khris Davis hit his 10th homer, a three-run drive that bounced off the top of the left-field wall, and Canha had a two-run single with two outs. Lowrie's sacrifice fly boosted the lead to 6-2 in the fifth

Judge hit a two-run homer off Andrew Triggs in the bottom half, Walker hit a run-scoring single on a 3-2 pitch off Danny Coulombe for his first RBI off a left-hander this year and Miguel Andujar had a tying single against Ryan Dull. Third baseman Matt Chapman prevented a bigger inning when he made a diving backhand stop of Stanton's smash and from foul territory threw him out at first for the inning's first out.

Didi Gregorius ended an 0-for-30 slide - on the afternoon of the Didi Gregorius Bat Day promotion - when he followed Judge's homer with a single.

After pitching six hitless innings against Cleveland last weekend in his first big league start, German retired his first seven batters before Canha's single. German allowed six runs, six hits and three walks in five innings, but retired his final three batters - starting a streak in which the Yankees set down 12 hitters in order.

Jonathan Holder, Chad Green and Dellin Betances each pitched a perfect inning before Chapman's wild ride.


Chapman was the first Yankees pitcher to walk the first three batters of an inning and not allow a run since Greg Cadaret at Minnesota on Aug. 28, 1992.


Athletics: RHP Kendall Graveman was limping, a day after a line drive off the bat of Gregorius hit his right shin. "Feels a little bit better than I thought it would today," manager Bob Melvin said. ... LHP Ryan Buchter (strained pitching shoulder) may start throwing a sock soon. ... RHP Liam Hendriks (strained right groin) is to throw a bullpen session Wednesday.

Yankees: RHP Adam Warren, who hasn't pitched since April 20 because of a strained back, is to throw his first bullpen session on Monday at Tampa, Florida. RHP Tommy Kahnle (right shoulder tendinitis) threw Saturday and is to travel with Warren on Sunday. ... INF Brandon Drury (migraines) wore glasses with yellow lenses Friday at Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre in an effort to brighten his vision. He had a grand slam and was hitting .320 in 16 rehab games entering Saturday. ... LHP Justus Sheffield was removed from his second start at Scranton after 4 2/3 innings Friday night because of left shoulder stiffness and was put on the 7-day DL Saturday.


Luis Severino (5-1, 2.21) starts for New York in Sunday's series finale and LHP Brett Anderson (0-1, 8.68) for Oakland.

Photo Credit: Associated Press]]>
<![CDATA[Lynch, 49ers Believe Pick of Street Was Worthwhile]]>Fri, 11 May 2018 08:10:28 -0700https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/186*120/streetkentavius.jpg

Kentavius Street isn’t expected to play a single snap in 2018, but is an investment in the future.

The former North Carolina State defensive lineman, who was taken in the fourth round by the 49ers in the recent NFL draft, tore his ACL during a pre-draft workout for the New York Giants. He had surgery and is expected to be placed on injured reserve for all of the 2018 season.

Yet the 49ers think they’re getting a good player, and one who is more talented than his fourth-round status. His stock dropped because of the injury.

Though Street, 6-foot-2 and 280 pounds, played both defensive end and tackle in college, it’s expected he’ll be more of an inside player for the Niners, especially if he can add strength and weight.

In his final season for N.C. State, Street started all 13 games and had 38 tackles, including 6½ for loss, with 3½ sacks and two fumble recoveries. He also was a full-time starter in 2016, with 30 tackles, nine for loss, and 5½ sacks.

NFL.com analyst Lance Zierlein noted in his pre-draft scouting report that, “Street has the level of strength and toughness that defenses are looking for on the edge, but his lack of reactive quickness and lack of desired strength is a concern against NFL tackles. Street doesn’t appear to be a plus pass rusher, but his power is intriguing. A team might be interested in asking him to add more weight in an attempt to bump him inside.”

Niners general manager John Lynch told Cam Inman of the Bay Area News Group that taking Street in the draft – even though he can’t play this season – gives the franchise a player with potential in 2019.

“We aren’t looking for guys like that (injured),” he said, “but when you find a guy you really like, sometimes you’ve got to be patient and we’re willing to be patient if it’s worth it and we feel like it’s worth it.”

As Inman noted, the pick of Street prompted memories of other 49ers drafts in recent years under former GM Trent Baalke, who often selected injured players in the hope they would come back strong – but most didn’t.

Street, however, is convinced he can work hard this year, get healthy and strong and make a bid for playing time next season.

“I’ve conquered bigger things in my life, so I just kept my head on straight,” he said. He says his recovery is going well. When he’s healthy, he says fans will like what they see. He described his style of play to Inman like this:

“I’m a well-balanced guy. I feel I’m really stout against the run. Violent hands. Low pad level. I just use my quickness, instincts. A lot is just studying offensive linemen, and that plays a vital role.”

<![CDATA[Niners Have Multiple Candidates to Return Punts]]>Thu, 10 May 2018 08:24:27 -0700https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/187*120/DantePuntz.jpg

Back in 2011, the 49ers had some terrific special teams performers. Ted Ginn Jr. returned both a kickoff and punt for touchdowns that season, place-kicker David Akers was terrific and punter Andy Lee, like Akers, was voted first-team All-Pro.

Since that season, however, the 49ers have had their ups and downs on special teams. Since Ginn, in fact, San Francisco hasn’t returned a punt for a touchdown in the regular season.

That could change in 2018.

Going into training camp, the Niners will have a strong cast of candidates to return punts, including second-round draft pick Dante Pettis of Washington, who set a major-college record in his career with the Huskies by returning nine punts for touchdowns and led the nation in yards per return last season, at 20.4. Plus, cornerback D.J. Reed of Kansas State was taken in the fifth round, and he was No. 2 in the nation last season, averaging 14.9 yards per return. Also vying for punt-return duty is second-year wide receiver Trent Taylor, who did a solid job as a rookie, averaging 9.4 yards per return, which ranked ninth in the NFL, and Victor Bolden, a wide receiver who returned both a punt and kickoff for touchdowns in last summer’s exhibition games.

After selecting Reed, 49ers general manager John Lynch noted his return ability.

“Another great returner,” Lynch told the San Francisco Chronicle’s Eric Branch. “We’ve got a lot of those, and that’s a good thing.”

As good as Taylor was in 2017, it would seem Pettis is the front runner to win the punt-return job. His outstanding speed, instincts and ability to find the holes his blockers make allowed Pettis to be college football’s most exciting return man and should give him an opportunity to earn that role with the 49ers.

“My best attribute is my decision making and aggressiveness,” Pettis told Cam Inman of the Bay Area News Group. “I try to catch everything. It will be a little bit of a transition (to the NFL). I will not be able to just run around people and I have to trust my blocking even more.”

Pettis, the son of former Gold Glove outfielder Gary Pettis (who played much of his career with the Angels), doesn’t want to be type cast as a return man, however. He was a fine and prolific receiver at Washington, and is able to play both slot and outside receiver. Niners head coach Kyle Shanahan believes he can be an outstanding wideout in the NFL.

“He’s extremely talented, a very good route runner,” Shanahan told the Sacramento Bee’s Matt Barrows. “He can separate and has extremely good hands – very quick, fast enough to run all the routes. And when you meet him, you see how smart he is, how hard he works and you get why he’s the full package.”

Reed, meanwhile, is terrific in his own right as a returner. This past season, he was first-team all-Big 12 Conference as both a defensive back and returner. He had the 14.9-yard average on 17 punt returns (with one TD) and a 34.2-yard average (second best in the nation) on 17 kickoff returns (with one TD). It’s possible that Pettis could win the punt return role, with Reed earning the kickoff job.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Mengden Dazzles Then Falters as Astros Sweep A's]]>Wed, 09 May 2018 18:58:42 -0700https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/mengdenpulledastrosap.jpg


OAKLAND -- Any questions the Houston Astros had about Gerrit Cole's ability to bounce back from his first career shutout were answered when the right-hander pumped a 99.4 mph fastball past Matt Chapman for a strikeout.

And that was on Cole's final pitch of the afternoon.

Cole struck out nine to raise his major league-leading total to 86, and the Astros beat the Oakland Athletics 4-1 Wednesday to complete a three-game sweep.

"I kind of left it all out there," Cole said. "I was a little sluggish today for a bunch of different variables. Found enough command, which was what was really suffering the most, and I was able to navigate through it."

Cole (4-1) allowed one run, four hits and three walks in six innings. His 1.43 ERA is second in the major leagues behind the 1.17 of teammate Justin Verlander.

It wasn't as crisp as Cole's previous start, when he struck out a career-high 16 and threw 114 pitches in a one-hitter Arizona. Cole pitched through the lulls and came up big when he needed to, especially before he was removed.

"He knows when the end of his outing is coming, he knows he's got runners on base and he's going to empty his tank there," Houston manager A.J. Hinch said. "That's why he's really good. He's got the ability to stay competitive in the mid-90s and then reach back for the high 90s. There's a single digit on your hand (for) how many guys can do that."

Max Stassi and Derek Fisher hit consecutive home runs with two outs in the seventh off Daniel Mengden (2-4) for a 2-1 lead, and Yuli Gurriel added a two-run double against Yusmiero Petit that extended his hitting streak to 11 games.

Houston has won 10 of its last 12 road games. Oakland was outscored 25-5 in the series and outhit 42-18.

"It's always good to win before the off day, let alone sweep," Stassi said. "When you get a sweep, everyone seems to enjoy it a little more."

Jose Altuve doubled twice and had three hits. George Springer, who had eight hits over a stretch of nine at-bats in the first two games, went 1 for 4.

Joe Smith and Will Harris followed Cole, and Ken Giles pitched a perfect ninth for his fifth save and second in two days. Before Tuesday, Giles had not pitched since allowing four runs in the ninth inning of a May 1 loss to the New York Yankees.

Mengden gave up two runs and six hits in 6 2/3 innings. He is winless in six starts against the Astros.

"One or two swings can beat you, and that's what happened," A's manager Bob Melvin said. "He was cruising along nicely though, against a really good lineup."

Jed Lowrie's RBI double put the A's ahead in the sixth.

Houston had only three runners before Stassi's third home run of the season, his first since April 19. Fisher hit his second homer in three days, sending an 0-2 pitch into the second deck in center. The drive would have gone 447 feet unimpeded, according to MLB Statcast.

"You don't see many balls hit up in that part of the ballpark," Hinch said. "He's got a ton of power and athleticism and can do some damage."

Oakland's Stephen Piscotty singled and made a sparking defensive play with a sliding catch in foul territory during his second game back following the death of his mother from Lou Gehrig's Disease. He is expected to be placed on the bereavement list soon.

Athletics: RHP Trevor Cahill was placed on the 10-day DL with a right elbow impingement. Cahill had a career-high 12 strikeouts in his most recent start. ... OF Dustin Fowler was recalled from Triple-A Sacramento.

Astros: Verlander (4-1) will start Friday against Texas on regular rest and Charlie Morton is being pushed back.

Athletics: RHP Kendall Graveman (0-5) is expected to be recalled up from Triple-A Nashville to start Friday at the New York Yankees.

Photo Credit: Associated Press]]>
<![CDATA[Lynch's Second Draft Class May be as Good as his First]]>Wed, 09 May 2018 07:57:27 -0700https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/180*120/McGtakkle.jpg

The first draft class of 49ers general manager John Lynch received good grades. Solomon Thomas, Reuben Foster, Ahkello Witherspoon, C.J. Beathard, George Kittle, Trent Taylor and Adrian Colbert all played extensively in 2017, a terrific return by any measure.

Now some see Lynch’s second-year selections as potentially as good as the first.

Four of the nine players selected by the 49ers in the recent draft landed on the list of projected top 100 NFL rookies in the NFL compiled by Chase Goodbread of NFL.com.

First-round pick, offensive tackle Mike McGlinchey of Notre Dame, came in at No. 16 overall, followed by third-round pick, cornerback Tarvarius Moore, at No. 58; wide receiver/returner Dante Pettis, a second-rounder, at No. 88; and linebacker Fred Warner, a third-rounder, at No. 99.

Wrote Goodbread, of McGlinchey, the ninth overall selection: “If you’re going to invest a $137.5 million contract in QB Jimmy Garoppolo, you’d better invest something more in his health. McGlinchey will bring an immediate return on investment to that end.”

Moore, a safety in college, will be transitioned to outside corner, where he’ll compete for playing time with Richard Sherman, Ahkello Witherspoon and Jimmie Ward.

Pettis, who holds the major-college record for career punts returned for touchdown, adds some big-play capability at wideout and special teams. And Warner, a wide-ranging inside linebacker who excels in pass coverage, brings some athleticism to the linebacking corps that needed an upgrade.

Others in this year’s draft class were defensive lineman Kentavius Street, cornerback D.J. Reed, safety Marcell Harris, defensive lineman Jullian Taylor and wide receiver Richie James.

Wrote Bleacher Report, after the draft: “John Lynch took a safe approach for his second draft class. That’s not a bad thing, as offensive tackle Mike McGlinchey, wide receiver Dante Pettis and linebacker Fred Warner are good players with high floors. They should each help this team immediately.”

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Warriors Finish Off Pelicans, Advance to Conference Finals]]>Wed, 09 May 2018 00:09:20 -0700https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/185*120/warriors-durant-0508.jpg

OAKLAND -- For one team, the Western Conference semifinals were a big-time measuring stick. For another, it was nothing more than a pit stop on a path to something much larger.

The New Orleans Pelicans are trying to build something. Their first-round sweep of the Portland Trail Blazers is a starting point and the subsequent experience they picked up in round two is extremely valuable.

Their opponent has been to the top of the mountain, earning rings in two of the last three seasons. The Golden State Warriors aren’t playing for experience points, they are looking to cement their legacy as an NBA dynasty.

New Orleans came into Game 5 trailing 3-1 in the series. They had impressed with their grit and ability to make Golden State work on both ends of the court. They were hanging close to the high-powered Warriors through the intermission, but it’s tough to keep the World Champs under wraps for a full 48 minutes.

The Warriors stumbled to end the first half, giving away a 10-point lead in the final four minutes. Golden State bounced back to take a 59-56 halftime lead, which gave coach Steve Kerr the talking points he needed.

“The main message at halftime was, we’re doing great, we just had a couple of errors and you have to remind guys that, you know, the ball is everything,” Steve Kerr said. “A couple of turnovers can change the entire tone of a game.”

Golden State responded to the message and dropped the hammer on New Orleans coming out of the break. In the blink of an eye, the game and series were over.

“We had some bad possessions and then we missed some shots, and so all of the sudden, it’s 10-0 and you know how that goes,” Alvin Gentry said following the loss.

Fueled by the hot shooting of Stephen Curry, the Warriors outscored the Pelicans 36-19 in the third to take a commanding 20-point lead heading into the final frame.

Still working his way back into game shape after a missing more than five weeks of action, Curry dropped in 13 of his team-high 28 points in the quarter.

“Steph is starting to, I think, get his wind back and his legs back and they are just going to become better,” Gentry added.

Draymond Green shook off a slow start to post nine points in the quarter and Kevin Durant added eight of his 24 in a wild 12 minutes of up and down basketball.

“We generated good shots early and they didn’t go in, and we were very confident that if we continue to get those looks, they will go in at the right time and that’s what happened in the third,” Durant said.

Golden State let off the gas in the fourth quarter, allowing New Orleans to climb within striking distance. But in the end, the advantage coming out of quarter No. 3 was way too much to overcome.

With the win, the Warriors advanced to the Western Conference Finals for a fourth straight season. They’ll face a Houston Rockets team that finished off an injury-riddled Utah Jazz team earlier Wednesday evening.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Giants Hang Around, But Phillies Hang on for Win on Sloppy Night]]>Tue, 08 May 2018 20:15:21 -0700https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/giantsrecap.jpg

PHILADELPHIA - The Giants did a lot wrong on Tuesday night. A lot. And yet somehow there they were, sending Buster Posey to the plate as the tying run with two outs in the eighth. 

Posey rolled a Tommy Hunter pitch softly to third and the Giants went down quietly in the ninth. They lost 4-2 to the Phillies on a night when they were sloppy defensively and on the bases and did little but whiff at the plate. They've dropped the first two here after sweeping the Braves. 

Here are the details... 

--- The biggest surprise this season might be how sloppy the defense has been. When Cesar Hernandez hit a double to the wall in the third, Austin Jackson dropped the ball three times, allowing Hernandez to cruise into third. He scored two batters later when Odubel Herrera's grounder up the middle got under Alen Hanson's glove. Hanson isn't known for his defense, but Jackson was brought here to fix the issues in center field. The Giants have 11 errors through the first five games of this trip. 

--- A night after Zach Eflin set a new career-high in strikeouts, Aaron Nola did the same. He struck out 12 over seven dominant innings, allowing just a second-inning run on a Brandon Crawford groundout. Nola got 26 swinging strikes. This is becoming a bit of a trend for the Giants. They're up nearly 5 percent from a year ago in strikeout rate. 

--- Jackson struck out three times. He has 35 strikeouts in 85 at-bats. 

--- With two outs in the fifth, Gregor Blanco on first, and Andrew McCutchen at the plate, Nola made a pickoff throw that was so close that the Phillies challenged the call. They were unsuccessful, but two pitches later, Nola did pick Blanco off. The Giants have had six runners picked off this season, the most in the majors. They had 11 runners picked off all of last season. Here's another area they need to clean up. 

--- It could have been worse for Derek Holland. He gave up a couple of homers in the first three innings but managed to get through five. He was charged with three earned on six hits and two walks. 

Photo Credit: Associated Press]]>
<![CDATA[A's Blown Out as Astros' Springer Sets Coliseum Record]]>Mon, 07 May 2018 22:58:00 -0700https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/181*120/as-astros-0507.jpg

OAKLAND -- George Springer went 6 for 6 with a home run to match a Houston record as the Astros routed the Oakland Athletics 16-2 on Monday night.

Last year's World Series MVP doubled and scored in the first inning, hit a three-run homer in the second and then singled and scored in the fourth. Needing a triple for the cycle, he reached on infield singles in the fifth and seventh before adding a fourth single up the middle in the ninth.

Springer's batting average jumped from .264 to .292. He became the second player in team history to go 6 for 6 and the first to do it in a nine-inning game. Hall of Famer Joe Morgan accomplished the feat in a 12-inning game against the Milwaukee Braves on July 8, 1965.

Marwin Gonzalez also went deep and matched his career high of five RBIs. Derek Fisher hit his third home run and Max Stassi doubled twice and scored two runs for the Astros.

Houston set season highs for runs and hits (20) in its most lopsided win this season. The Astros beat the A's 11-0 on April 28.

Dallas Keuchel (2-5) yielded one run and five hits over eight innings. The Houston left-hander, who gave up three homers and six runs the last time he faced the A's on April 27, struck out four and walked two.

Jonathan Lucroy had two hits and an RBI for Oakland.

The A's played without outfielder Stephen Piscotty, whose mother died late Sunday night, less than a year after being diagnosed with Lou Gehrig's Disease.

Gretchen Piscotty was diagnosed with ALS in May 2017 when her son was with St. Louis. The Cardinals traded him to Oakland in December in part to allow Piscotty to be closer to his home in the East Bay suburb of Pleasanton during his mother's terminal illness.

Gonzalez hit a two-run homer in the fourth, when the Astros scored six runs.

Oakland lefty Brett Anderson (0-1) failed to make it out of the fourth in his first start at the Coliseum in an A's uniform since Sept. 22, 2013. Anderson allowed seven earned runs and 10 hits.


Athletics: LHP Ryan Buchter (strained left shoulder) continues to do strength and conditioning work but has not resumed throwing.


LHP Sean Manaea (4-3, 1.63 ERA) makes his first start in Oakland since pitching the majors' first no-hitter this season on April 21. Manaea has a 12-inning hitless streak at the Coliseum. RHP Lance McCullers Jr. (4-1, 3.73) gets the ball for Houston. The 2017 All-Star has gone at least six innings in each of his four starts this season.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Phillies Tee Off on Samardzija, End Giants' Win Streak]]>Mon, 07 May 2018 20:04:22 -0700https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/odubelhomergiantsap.jpg


The Giants rode high into Philly on Monday. But that didn't last long as Jeff Samardzija gave up three runs in the first inning. The Phillies would keep adding on and won 11-0.

The loss snaps the Giants' four-game winning streak.

In four innings pitched, Samardzija gave up four hits, five earned runs, three walks and two home runs. He struck out just three batters.

The Phillies hit four home runs in total: Two by Odubel Herrera, one by Cesar Hernandez and one by Carlos Santana.

Photo Credit: NBC Sports Bay Area staff]]>
<![CDATA[Gretchen Piscotty, Mother of A's OF Stephen Piscotty, Dies]]>Mon, 07 May 2018 15:35:00 -0700https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/piscottyfamilyathleticsvignette1.jpg

Following a yearlong battle with ALS, Gretchen Piscotty died on Sunday night. She was 55 years old.

The mother of A's outfielder Stephen Piscotty, Gretchen was diagnosed with what's commonly known as Lou Gehrig's disease in May of 2017.

The A's released a statement regarding Gretchen's passing:

"The Athletics organization extends its deepest condolences to the Piscotty family on the loss of Gretchen," said Executive Vice President of Baseball Operations Billy Beane. "She was a devoted wife and mother, whose legacy will live on through her husband, Mike, and their sons Stephen, Austin and Nick."

This past offseason, the Cardinals and A's engineered a trade that sent Stephen Piscotty to Oakland in order to be close to Gretchen. The Piscotty family is from Pleasanton.

"I wanted to be with my mom," Stephen said in a video published by ESPN this weekend. "I'm so grateful. i can't imagine being 2,000 miles away from all of what's going on."

Photo Credit: Oakland Athletics]]>
<![CDATA[Pineiro Will Challenge Tavecchio For Kicking Job]]>Mon, 07 May 2018 08:25:14 -0700https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/209*120/eddyKykyr.jpg

For now at least, Giorgio Tavecchio is the Raiders’ place-kicker.

With longtime Raiders standout Sebastian Janikowski cut loose earlier this offseason, Tavecchio, who took over for the injured Janikowski in 2017 and played his first NFL season with Oakland, is the man to beat.

But the Raiders have signed former Florida kicker Eddy Pineiro to compete for the job, and Pineiro certainly seems to have more upside than Tavecchio, who had an up-and-down rookie season, making 16-of-21 field-goal tries (76.2 percent).

At Florida, the 6-foot-, 185-pound Pineiro in 2017 was a third-team All-America pick, leading major-college football with a 94.4 percent accuracy rate by making 17-of-18 field-goal attempts. Five of those makes were from 50 or more yards. He also made 91 percent of all field-goal attempts from 40 or more yards during his career and holds the Florida career record for field-goal accuracy at 88.4 percent.

And, as a plus, he was a teammate of just-drafted punter Johnny Townsend, who was his holder with the Gators, so their chemistry as rookies would be seamless.

Pineiro also has a big leg on kickoffs, putting 75 percent of his kicks at Florida deep enough for touchbacks.

Raiders head coach Jon Gruden said they’d had their eyes on Pineiro.

“He’s got a good leg,” Gruden told the San Francisco Chronicle. “He’s interesting. We thought about drafting him, honestly. And we’re happy to have him as a free agent.”

Gruden cited a strong year from Tavecchio as a rookie, but said it will be a duel to win the job for 2018.

“Our incumbent kicker has had a heck of a start, too,” Gruden told the Chronicle. “We want competition just like every coach wants in training camp. I think we have at least accomplished that.”

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Sharks Blanked by Vegas in Game 6, Eliminated From Playoffs]]>Sun, 06 May 2018 20:46:38 -0700https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/173*120/sharks-hertl-0506.jpg

SAN JOSE -- The Sharks' playoff run ended in Game 6 of the second round on Sunday, in a 3-0 loss to the expansion Vegas Golden Knights.

The Golden Knights advanced to the Western Conference finals with the win. Jonathan Marchessault and Nate Schmidt scored in the second period, while Vegas goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury stopped all 28 San Jose shots.

Marchessault got the Golden Knights on the board 6:33 into the second period. Linemate William Karlsson forced Marc-Edouard Vlasic to turn the puck over, while Reilly Smith grabbed the loose puck to set up a wide-open Marchessault on top of Martin Jones’ crease.

Tomas Hertl nearly gave the Sharks a 1-0 lead when he rang a shot off of the crossbar on a mini-breakaway 9:08 into regulation, and came oh-so-close to tying it on another one at around the same point of the second period. Marc-Andre Fleury kicked aside Hertl’s backhand shot, then sprawled as Hertl’s follow-up hit the outside of the net.

Fleury’s saves preserved the lead, and Nate Schmidt capitalized on an offensive-zone faceoff with 4:22 remaining in the second. Schmidt’s wrist shot quickly rang out off of Jones’ right post, the camera along the back bar, and then the right post, and play continued briefly until a horn announced the play was under review. Review determined the puck crossed the goal line, and the Sharks trailed 2-0 entering the third.

Brent Burns hit the post with a shot from the point late in the third period, but San Jose didn't generate a lot of offense otherwise. The Golden Knights ensured their magical first season continued into the Conference Finals with Cody Eakin's empty-net goal with 1:51 remaining.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Davis Homers in 12th as Athletics Top Orioles 2-0]]>Sat, 05 May 2018 22:15:55 -0700https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/178*120/a%27s6.jpg

Khris Davis homered in the 12th inning, lifting the Oakland Athletics to a 2-0 victory over the Baltimore Orioles on Saturday night.

Jed Lowrie singled with one out before Davis drove a 3-1 fastball from Pedro Araujo (1-3) into the bleachers in left. It was Davis’ third career game-ending homer.

Chris Hatcher (3-0) got two outs for the win, finishing the A’s seven-hitter. Trevor Cahill got the start and struck out 12 while pitching six innings of four-hit ball.

Oakland won for the seventh time in eight home games and the 12th time in 18 games overall.

Baltimore has lost five in a row. The Orioles dropped to 3-15 on the road.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC Bay Area

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Lowrie’s Sixth-Inning Single Deciding Run, A’s Beat Orioles]]>Fri, 04 May 2018 22:55:10 -0700https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/180*120/a%27s5.jpg

Jed Lowrie hit a tiebreaking two-out single in the sixth, Khris Davis launched an earlier three-run homer and the Oakland Athletics beat the Baltimore Orioles 6-4 on Friday night.

After Davis connected in the first for his eighth homer, Matt Olson followed with a solo drive, but the A’s bullpen couldn’t hold a three-run lead for Daniel Mengden.

Lowrie singled against Brad Brach (0-2) into the shift in right, scoring Jonathan Lucroy from third. It was Lowrie’s 10th go-ahead RBI this season.

On the previous play, Orioles second baseman Jace Peterson fielded a grounder by Marcus Semien and threw out a sliding Stephen Piscotty at home with the infield in.

Baltimore had tied the game at 4 in the top half of the sixth, getting RBI singles from Chris Davis, Mark Trumbo and Danny Valencia.

Lou Trivino (2-0) induced Peterson’s inning-ending double play in the sixth for the win. Blake Treinen finished for his fourth save in six chances after Semien’s RBI single in the eighth provided insurance.

Lucroy played his 1,000th career game and had three hits for the A’s, who had lost four of five. Oakland didn’t take batting practice after a late arrival home from Seattle and three straight days of pregame hitting at Safeco Field.

Adam Jones homered for Baltimore in the first to give starter Andrew Cashner his first run of support all season in seven starts.

Mengden — just 1-10 in 16 career starts pitching at home in the Coliseum — struck out five over five innings, allowing three hits and one run before Yusmeiro Petit gave it up in his third appearance since his mother’s death.


Center fielder Jones played in his 1,500th game for the Orioles, becoming the eighth to do so — joining company that includes Cal Ripken Jr.


Orioles manager Buck Showalter in ponder mode on A’s great Vida Blue: “Was Vida Blue his real name? Great name. You don’t hear names like that anymore. If I was Vida Showalter, who knows what would have happened. I would have been a star.”


Orioles: 2B Jonathan Schoop, on the disabled list since April 14 with a strained right oblique muscle, will continue his rehab assignment this weekend perhaps going from Double-A Bowie to Triple-A Norfolk given potential weather issues and a better chance to play in top conditions. “I want him to be healthy,” Showalter said. “The worst thing would be to rush this and he comes back and his first at-bat he goes back to square one. We’re ahead of schedule for what normally happens with an oblique muscle.” ... LHP closer Zach Britton, recovering from surgery on his right Achilles tendon, threw Friday and was scheduled to do pitcher fielding practice Saturday.

Athletics: RHP Paul Blackburn, on the DL since March 26 with a strained pitching forearm, threw off flat ground and is expected to pitch off a mound sometime this homestand. Manager Bob Melvin said it’s too soon to know whether Blackburn will be ready to be activated when eligible May 25. ... LHP Ryan Buchter, dealing with a strained throwing shoulder, is not yet back to playing catch. He’s still in the strengthening phase. ... RHP Liam Hendriks (strained right groin) is playing catch but is yet to throw off the mound.


Orioles: RHP Kevin Gausman (2-2, 4.15 ERA) tries to win consecutive starts for the first time in 2018.

Athletics: RHP Trevor Cahill (1-1, 3.00) makes his fourth start since being called up April 17, having gone 0-1 with a 4.91 ERA over his past two starts — both on the road.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC Bay Area

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[New Raiders Punter Has Terrific Pedigree]]>Fri, 04 May 2018 11:36:15 -0700https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/180*120/JTpunterr.jpg

Johnny Townsend is no Marquette King. His leg may not be as strong as King’s, and he doesn’t have the flair that made King a favorite of some fans – and irritated some members of the Raiders organization, who eventually decided to move on from him.

But when King was let go earlier this offseason, the Raiders had to eventually hire a new punter, and they did that in the NFL draft this past weekend by selecting former Florida standout Johnny Townsend in the fifth round with the 173rd overall choice.

Certainly, Townsend may have some growing pains. It’s a big jump even from the talent-rich SEC to the NFL. In fact, the scouting report on Townsend by NFL.com analyst Lance Zierlein notes that while Townsend has a strong leg, he’ll need to learn to get his punts higher, for more hang time, because his punts often had a lower arc, allowing returners to get some long returns.

But, Townsend is the all-time leading punter for both Florida and the SEC, and this past season he averaged 47.5 yards per punt, the second-best mark in major college football. In 2016 he was No. 1 with a 47.9-yard average when he was first-team All-America.

Townsend, 6-foot-1 and 210 pounds, also played safety in high school and is the first punter drafted by the Raiders since Shane Lechler.

Raiders general manager Reggie McKenzie says he loves “the kid” and knows him through Townsend’s younger brother, who was at Tennesse with McKenzie’s son.

“I know the family very well,”  McKenzie told the San Francisco Chronicle. “I know what he (Johnny) is made of. He does a great job of directional punting. He’s a great holder. Great little athlete. I think he’s got a lot of intangibles to be one of the best punters in years to come.”

After being drafted, Townsend said it’s “an unbelievable opportunity” to be drafted by the Raiders and to follow such standouts as Lechler and King.

“I’m going to have to bring my ‘A game’ throughout this whole process,” he said. “Just having the opportunity presented to me is unbelievable and I’m just going to take it and run with it.”

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Character Counted When 49ers Picked McGlinchey]]>Fri, 04 May 2018 08:00:09 -0700https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/180*120/McGlinchpick.jpg

The 49ers like the way offensive tackle Mike McGlinchey plays football. When they selected McGlinchey with their first-round pick last week in the NFL draft, it was mainly because he graded out to them as the best player at his position in this crop of college prospects.

But there was more to it than that.

They were equally impressed with McGlinchey off the field, and believe he can be a team leader on this new edition of the rebuilding 49ers.

As Matt Barrows of the Sacramento Bee reported this week, 49ers general manager John Lynch said McGlinchey was terrific in his interview with the team at the NFL combine and called him “one of the smartest players in the draft, off the charts in terms of his presence.”

McGlinchey was selected a team captain twice at Notre Dame, so obviously his teammates respected him. Barrows noted, too, that one NFL scout told a reporter recently that McGlinchey “acts like a CEO of a Fortune 500 company. He’s not a devastating left tackle but he gets his man every time.”

The 6-foot-8, 309-pounder is penciled in to start at right tackle for the 49ers in 2018 now that Trent Brown has been traded. Eventually, McGlinchey could move to the left side when Joe Staley retires or isn’t re-signed after his current contract expires.

One of McGlinchey’s biggest fans is NFL Network analyst Mike Mayock, who rated him the top offensive tackle in this year’s draft. He got to know McGlinchey and watched many of his college games.

“I’ve been around him when he works out in the weight room,” Mayock told the Philadelphia Inquirer recently. “He’s going to be ready to play. I don’t care if you put him at right tackle or left tackle, he’s going to be ready to play. And, number two, his work ethic and passion for the game of football is unparalleled. So I know what I’m getting with that kid and that’s why I bang the table for him.”

And why the 49ers were so intent on drafting him.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Pitcher of the Month Manaea Hit Hard Early in A's Loss to Mariners]]>Thu, 03 May 2018 22:21:17 -0700https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/manaeasadusatsi.jpg


Coming off being named AL Pitcher of the Month for April, Sean Manaea began May with his worst outing of the season. In six innings, he gave up four earned run as the Mariners beat the A's 4-1.

Stephen Piscotty accounted for the A's only run. In the fifth inning, he crushed a 443-foot homer to center field.

Manaea saw his ERA jump from 1.03 to 1.63. He allowed six hits and struck out five.

After losing two of three in Seattle, the A's head home to host the Orioles on Friday night.


Photo Credit: NBC Sports Bay Area staff]]>
<![CDATA[A's Spoil Paxton's 16-Strikeout Effort, Top Mariners]]>Wed, 02 May 2018 22:27:28 -0700https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/lowriejoyceap.jpg


SEATTLE -- James Paxton struck out a major league-high 16 in seven dominant innings, but the Seattle bullpen blew a late lead and the Oakland Athletics rallied past the Mariners 3-2 Wednesday night.

Paxton was overpowering in arguably the finest performance of his career, posting the highest strikeout total by a Seattle pitcher since Randy Johnson fanned 19 on Aug. 8, 1997. He got 14 A's on swinging strikeouts.

Paxton left with a 2-0 lead. Jed Lowrie hit a two-run homer off Juan Nicasio in the eighth inning, then Mark Canha opened the ninth with a home run against Edwin Diaz (0-1). Diaz had allowed just one earned run in 15 appearances this season.

The left-handed Paxton was the fourth different pitcher in Mariners history to strike out at least 16 in a game, joining Johnson, Mike Moore and Mark Langston. Johnson struck out 19 twice, 18 once, and 16 twice in his Mariners career, while Moore and Langston reached the mark once.

But none of those other performances were as efficient as Paxton. He threw 80 strikes among his 105 pitches, gave up five hits and walked one.

Seattle went to Nicasio in the eighth and trouble arrived quickly. Pinch-hitter Matt Joyce lined a ground-rule double with one out and three pitches later Lowrie's shot to nearly the same part of the yard had a little more elevation, clipping the top of the fence and bounding over. Canha's homer was his fifth of the season and came on the second pitch of the ninth inning.

Seattle led 2-0 after Ryon Healy's solo homer and Jean Segura's RBI single in the third inning. But Seattle never padded the lead and missed chances with the bases loaded in both the eighth and ninth innings.

In both innings Seattle benefited by replay, but couldn't capitalize against Blake Treinen. Segura's double and an intentional walk to Robinson Cano loaded the bases in the eighth, but Treinen (2-1) struck out Nelson Cruz and Mitch Haniger. In the ninth, a replay review deemed Dee Gordon safe with two outs to load the bases but Segura grounded out to end it.

Photo Credit: NBC Sports Bay Area staff]]>
<![CDATA[Sharks Bite Back, Rout Vegas in Game 4 of Conference Semis]]>Wed, 02 May 2018 23:53:57 -0700https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/180*120/sharks-donskoi-0502.jpg

The Sharks took their first-ever two-goal lead against the Vegas Golden Knights in the first period.

They eventually took their first three-goal lead and four-goal lead en route to a 4-0 win in Game 4 of the second round on Wednesday. The series is tied 2-2, and will thus return to San Jose for a Game 6 on Sunday.

Marcus Sorensen and Joonas Donskoi each scored in the final four-and-a-half minutes of the first period, while leading goal-scorer Tomas Hertl and Joe Pavelski added insurance in the second and third, respectively. Martin Jones stopped all 34 shots he faced, and rookie defenseman Joakim Ryan played 11:55 in his playoff debut.

The Golden Knights had four power-play opportunities after Hertl scored five-and-a-half minutes into the second, but managed only five shots on goal. Jones stopped each one to preserve his third shutout of the playoffs.

Things got chippy late. Nate Schmidt high-sticked Timo Meier with about three minutes to go, but wasn't penalized. William Carrier and Evander Kane sat for the last 1:52 after a scrum. Carrier picked up an additional minor, and Brayden McNabb sat with him for delay of game 56 seconds later.

STANDOUT PERFORMER: San Jose relied on Jones early and often. The Sharks were held without a shot on goal for 4:17, and Jones stopped five from the Golden Knights in that span.

Sorensen scored on San Jose's very next shot, and thanks in part to Jones' penalty killing in the third, the Sharks wouldn't look back.

INJURY UPDATE: Donskoi (lower-body) returned to his spot on the top line, but all eyes were on another first-line forward during warmups. Joe Thornton (sprained right MCL), who told reporters Wednesday morning that he would not play in Game 4, did not participate in line rushes before the game after skating on the top line at the morning skate.

WHAT’S NEXT: The series shifts back to Sin City for Game 5 on Friday, as the Sharks aim to take their first lead of the series.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[New Security Measures at SAP Center for Sharks Playoffs]]>Wed, 02 May 2018 17:42:26 -0700https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/New_Security_Measures_at_SAP_Center_for_Sharks_Playoffs.jpg

As the San Jose Sharks prepared to host the Vegas Golden Knights in Game 4 of their playoff series Wednesday night, new security measures were conspicuously around the arena: Two large dump trucks in front of the pregame rally and new concrete planters at the entrance to keep the crowds safe. Marianne Favro reports.]]>
<![CDATA[Hundley Leads Giants to Series Win Over Padres]]>Wed, 02 May 2018 16:02:04 -0700https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/178*120/giants-padres-0502.jpg

SAN FRANCISCO — After his last start, Derek Holland shook his head, looked up at the ceiling, and said he wanted to join in the fun. On Wednesday he finally did.

Holland picked up his first win as a Giant as the lineup battered opposing left-hander Clayton Richard and won 9-4. The Giants have taken four consecutive series and went 7-3 on the homestand. Now the road gets tougher. They’ll head to Atlanta, Philadelphia and Pittsburgh, and all three of those rebuilding teams have played good ball this season.

For now, here’s a look back at what mattered Wednesday …

— Nick Hundley is making a bid for more playing time. He matched a career-high with four hits, including an opposite-field homer that clanked around the arcade section. Hundley was 8-for-15 on the homestand with seven RBI. Don’t be surprised if there’s a day or two on the upcoming road trip where Brandon Belt plays left and Buster Posey slides over to first.

— Will Smith made his first big league appearance since Game 4 of the NLDS, pitching a scoreless seventh. Smith, who missed all of last year with Tommy John surgery, walked one and then struck out two, including red-hot Padre Eric Hosmer. His fastball topped out at 94 mph. That was an excellent sign for Smith and the future of this bullpen.

— Holland had some wobbles, but avoided the big innings that have undone him for most of the season. He five-and-dived it, allowing three runs on four hits and a walk. He struck out four.

— Brandon Crawford needed a day like this. The shortstop had just three RBI when he stepped in with the bases loaded in the third and hit a two-run single to right. Crawford also had a single in his next at-bat and threw Hosmer out trying to stretch a double into a triple.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Former 49er Reid Files Collusion Grievance Against NFL]]>Wed, 02 May 2018 10:54:06 -0700https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/Colin-K-NFL.jpg

The NFL players' union says former San Francisco 49ers safety Eric Reid filed a grievance against the league, alleging that he remains unsigned as a result of collusion by owners.

Reid, a Pro Bowler in 2013, had joined former teammate Colin Kaepernick two seasons ago in kneeling during the national anthem to protest police brutality and racial inequality.

Kaepernick wasn't signed for the 2017 season following his release in San Francisco. Reid continued the quarterback's protests. The 26-year-old safety became a free agent this offseason when his rookie contract with the 49ers expired.

"Our union is aware that Eric Reid and his legal representatives filed a collusion claim, which will be heard through the arbitration process as spelled out in our collective bargaining agreement," the NFL Players Association said in a statement Wednesday. "Our union supports Eric and we are considering other legal options to pursue."

Kaepernick previously filed a collusion grievance that is in the discovery stage. He deposed several league owners and executives, including Commissioner Roger Goodell. Reid is using the same attorneys as Kaepernick.

A league spokesman said Wednesday: "We are abiding by the confidentiality provision of the CBA and have no comment."

In March, Goodell was asked about Reid, one of the better players at his position in the NFL, not having a job.

"I've said this repeatedly to you: The 32 teams make individual decisions on the players who are going to best help their franchises," Goodell said. "Those are decisions they have to make. They do that every day in the best interest of winning. Teams make those decisions. I'm not directly involved with that."

Last month, Kaepernick praised Reid for continuing to make a stand for social justice when the quarterback was presented an Amnesty International award in Amsterdam.

"Eric introducing me for this prestigious award brings me great joy," Kaepernick said. "But I am also pained by the fact that his taking a knee, and demonstrating courage to protect the rights of black and brown people in America, has also led to his ostracization from the NFL when he is widely recognized as one of the best competitors in the game and in the prime of his career."

Copyright Associated Press / NBC Bay Area

Photo Credit: Marcio Jose Sanchez/AP Photo]]>
<![CDATA[A's Fall Behind in Fifth Inning, Drop Third Straight]]>Tue, 01 May 2018 22:55:13 -0700https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/180*120/as-mariners-0501.jpg


SEATTLE -- Nelson Cruz hit a tiebreaking three-run homer in the fifth inning, Dee Gordon had five hits, and Felix Hernandez pitched six solid innings to propel the Seattle Mariners to a 6-3 win over the Oakland Athletics on Tuesday night.

A gritty start by A's right-hander Andrew Triggs that kept his team in a 1-1 deadlock through four taut innings at Safeco Field unraveled in the fifth. With two outs and two runners on, Cruz hammered Triggs' first pitch over the fence in left-center to give Seattle a lead it would not relinquish.

The Mariners held on for their third consecutive victory and sixth in their last seven.

Seattle closer Edwin Diaz struck out two in a shutout ninth to notch his majors-leading 12th save, protecting a quality start by Hernandez (4-2), who gave up three runs and three hits while striking out seven and walking four.

Jed Lowrie gave Oakland a 1-0 lead in the first inning with his seventh home run of the season, but the Mariners answered in the second. After Kyle Seager led off with a ground-rule double, Mike Zunino lined a game-tying double out of the reach of A's left fielder Matt Joyce to knot the game at 1.

Triggs and Hernandez traded scoreless innings until the pivotal bottom of the fifth. Gordon legged out a one-out infield single and advanced to second on a wild pitch, and Jean Segura worked a walk. After Robinson Cano flied out to the wall in right-center field, Cruz didn't waste any time changing the momentum of the game, connecting on a 410-foot shot, his sixth homer of the season.

Triggs (2-1) lost for the first time in 2018 after lasting 4 2/3 innings and giving up four runs on six hits while striking out three and walking four.

The Mariners scored again in the sixth off A's reliever Lou Trivino when Gordon's single, his fourth hit of the night, pushed Ryon Healy to third, setting up Segura for a sacrifice fly to right field. That run proved to be crucial when the A's clawed back in the seventh, scoring twice and chasing Hernandez in the process.

The right-hander walked Khris Davis to lead off the frame and Matt Olson doubled to right, ending Hernandez's outing. Reliever Nick Vincent gave up a run-scoring infield single to Mark Canha and a RBI fielder's choice to Chad Pinder before striking out Jonathan Lucroy to end the threat.

Juan Nicasio pitched a perfect eighth for the Mariners, striking out two to set it up for Diaz. Gordon, who stole two bases, singled to right in the eighth to notch his fifth hit of the night. The Mariners scored their final run of the game in that inning on Segura's RBI groundout.


Lowrie's homer came in his first at-bat of May. Lowrie set an A's record for hits in April with 35.


Mariners: RHPs Erasmo Ramirez (strained right Teres Major) and Dan Altavilla (right AC joint inflammation) were placed on the 10-day disabled list Tuesday. The Mariners recalled OF Guillermo Heredia and RHP Casey Lawrence from Triple-A Tacoma.


A's: Welcome former Oakland starter Brett Anderson back to the team for Wednesday's start after a recent minor league deal and four-start stint for Triple-A Nashville in which he went 1-1 with a 1.89 ERA. Anderson, a lefty, made his Major League debut at 21 for the A's in 2009 and played for the team until 2014. He pitched for the Cubs and Blue Jays last season.

Mariners: James Paxton (1-1, 5.12 ERA) starts Wednesday's game for Seattle and will try to build on his last start, a six-inning, 10-strikeout outing against the Indians on April 26 in which he gave up two runs on five hits in a no-decision.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Eric Hosmer Homer in Ninth Snaps Giants' Winning Streak]]>Tue, 01 May 2018 22:30:53 -0700https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/hosmer_homer.jpg

SAN FRANCISCO - This time, there would be no ninth-inning comeback. 

The Giants fell behind in the top of the ninth and lost 3-2 to the Padres and Brad Hand, the closer who came back from a meltdown to breeze through the ninth. Hunter Strickland came on in a non-save situation in the top of the inning and gave up four rockets. The thick night air kept three of them in the park, but Eric Hosmer's opposite-field blast put the Padres back on top.  

The Giants trailed by a pair at the midway point, but got a run back in the fifth and then tied it up in the seventh when Buster Posey poked a two-out single to right. Here's what else happened... 

-- Andrew Suarez is going to make a lot of starts for this team, regardless of what's going on with injured veterans. He was sharp and efficient in his second career start, giving up two runs over seven innings. Suarez needed just 84 pitches to get through seven, and he struck out five while walking just one. 

-- Andrew McCutchen led the team in exit velocity in April but had little to show for it. In his first two at-bats, Tuesday, he hit balls 102 and 100 mph and got robbed twice. He scorched another one in his third at-bat and got an RBI single off Christian Villanueva's glove. 

-- Two years ago, the Giants had the second-lowest strikeout rate in the majors. In April, it was the sixth-highest. The first night of May was no different. Tyson Ross struck out nine in his six innings. He got Gregor Blanco three times and Austin Slater twice. 

-- Tony Watson struck out one in a perfect eighth. Through 13 outings, Watson has allowed just one run. He has 15 strikeouts in 13 2/3 innings. It remains amazing that Watson was on the free agent market into February. 

Photo Credit: Alex Pavlovic]]>
<![CDATA[Concussion Treatment: Cannabis Ingredient May Be Key]]>Wed, 02 May 2018 19:16:51 -0700https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/170*120/GettyImages-78604932%281%29.jpg

Perhaps the biggest threat to contact sports, particularly football, is concussions. They’re ending careers early and leaving countless players with permanent brain damage.

But new research in California suggests there could be a cure on the horizon.

The NFL released a report in January showing that despite rule changes and better equipment, concussions rose more than 13 percent last year. A promising treatment that many scientists would like to pursue has hit a snag. The problem is it comes from cannabis, so the government and sports leagues won’t touch it.

There may now be a cure for that, too.

"I was able to smack heads every day for a job but not have any lasting concussion symptoms while using cannabis as part of my regimen," former NFL player Nate Jackson said. "I think that's a testament to the fact that it might work. I mean, that's something to listen to."

Since retiring from a six-year NFL career, Jackson has been a vocal advocate for the therapeutic properties of cannabis. He says the league hasn't taken kindly to his views.

"Well, THC is the boogeyman as far as the NFL goes," Jackson said. "It's the thing that gets you high. It's the thing they test for. It's the thing that scares everybody."

Still, Jackson believes roughly 50 percent of current NFL players use cannabis medicinally. They do it, he says, because the alternative is risky.

"You see people becoming addicted to opioids. I know some myself," he said. "And the powerful anti-inflammatories we used to get in needle form the night before the game, all of that to me is unnecessary. If we were able to find a holistic, natural alternative that happens to be a lot of cheaper, I think everybody wins."

That alternative, many researchers believe, could be a molecule inside cannabis called CBD. The U.S. National Institutes of Health acknowledges CBD contains neuroprotectant and anti-inflammatory properties.

In the case of a concussion, the brain swells or inflames. Theories suggest CBD could trigger repair mechanisms in the brain to counteract swelling. But sports leagues don’t want to touch CBD because of its source.

That’s where a San Diego-based biotech company, Renew Biopharma, may have found a solution.

Numerous companies are performing similar research in regards to the therapeutic properties of CBD. But they all involve the extraction from a cannabis plant. Renew is working on isolating and refining the CBD molecule outside of the plant itself. The idea is to increase the potency.

"When we talk about purity, yes, we make a single cannabinoid, a single therapeutic, and we deliver it as a therapeutic," said Michael Mendez, CEO of Renew Biopharma. "There is no THC. There are no other plant derivatives coming through."

Mendez foresees the day when athletes will take preventative measures for their brains as they're already doing for other parts of the body.

"We think that we can develop the therapeutics from the molecules that we're looking at now; that's going to be a preventative," he said. "So that when you go into the game, like you tape your ankles, like you put on your helmet, of course you're going to take something to prevent you from having a concussion. Of course you are."

That’s the long-term goal. More immediate is a treatment for the serious symptoms associated with chronic concussions.

"Can we develop molecules that just stop the progression?" Mendez said. "And in between, I think there's an opportunity for us to make and manufacture natural molecules, completely pure, that would help to slow the progression."

Jackson says Renew's research is heady stuff.

"It would really legitimize a lot of the feelings that a lot of players and a lot of athletes have already had about what works for them and what doesn't," Jackson said. "And we're looking for an alternative. We don't want to have pills forced upon us. We don't want to be ravaged from the effects of concussions. We don't want that to be a death sentence."

The NFL announced in August 2017 that it will donate $40 million for neuroscience research. Jackson hopes the league also will back research into the CBD molecule.

"They could be seen as trailblazers," he said. "The first league to actually throw money behind it and actually study it."

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Warriors Take Down Pelicans in Game 2 of Second-Round Series]]>Tue, 01 May 2018 23:53:41 -0700https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/174*120/warriors-pels-0501.jpg

OAKLAND -- After a 38-day absence, Stephen Curry returned to the lineup Tuesday night. The Warriors are thankful he did.

With the offense struggling elsewhere, Curry scored 28 points to keep the Pelicans at bay before Kevin Durant came on to close out a 121-116 victory in Game 2 of the Western Conference semifinal at Oracle Arena.

Durant poured in a game-high 29 points -- 15 in the fourth quarter -- while Draymond Green tossed in 20 points, Andre Iguodala 15 and Klay Thompson 10 as the Warriors took a 2-0 lead in the best-of-seven series.

The Warriors overcame a 66-38 deficit in paint points by making 22-of-27 free throws, while New Orleans was 7-of-9 from the line.

STANDOUT PERFORMER: Nobody wearing a Warriors jersey did more good work, and with great efficiency, than Curry. And nobody dropped more physical and emotional sweat than Green.

Curry’s line: 28 points (8-of-15 shooting from the field, including 5-of-10 from deep, 7-of-7 from the line), seven rebounds, three steals and two assists. He played 27 minutes and was plus-26.

Green’s line: 20 points (7-of-11 from the field, 2-of-5 from deep, 4-of-5 from the line), 12 assists, nine rebounds, two blocks and one steal. He played 41 minutes and was plus-6.

TURNING POINT: Though the Warriors led by as much as eight and the Pelicans by as much as nine, the teams were never more than five points apart in the final 10 minutes.

After a Rajon Rondo 3-pointer pulled the Pelicans within one, 99-98, with 7:48 remaining, the Warriors responded with an 11-0 run, taking a 110-98 lead on a Durant fadeaway with 5:15 remaining.

The Pelicans rallied, getting as close as five, before the Warriors ran out the clock.

INJURY UPDATE: Warriors: G Stephen Curry (L MCL sprain) was listed as probable and upgraded to available after morning shootaround. G Pat McCaw (lumbar spine contusion) was listed as out.

Pelicans: C Alexis Ajinca (R knee injury), DeMarcus Cousins (L Achilles rupture) and G Frank Jackson (R foot fracture) were listed as out.

WHAT’S NEXT: Game 3 is scheduled for Friday in New Orleans. Pregame coverage on NBC Sports Bay Area begins at 3:30, with postgame coverage immediately after the final horn. The game telecast, on ESPN, is scheduled for 5 o’clock.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Niners Banking on Armstead's Potential]]>Tue, 01 May 2018 08:58:44 -0700https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/180*120/arikoptionn.jpg

The 49ers aren’t ready to give up on defensive lineman Arik Armstead.

The team’s top draft pick of 2015 was coming up on the final year of his rookie contract. But indications were that the team’s braintrust was contemplating not picking up his fifth-year option for 2019 because Armstead hasn’t quite reached the level of play that had been projected, in large part because of a series of injuries. Over the past two seasons, Armstead has played just six games (2017) and eight games (2016).

But on Monday, the 49ers announced they’ve picked up that option, which is reported to be for a little more than $9 million.

Armstead goes into 2018 scheduled to be the team’s starter at left defensive end. Over 30 games with the 49ers he has 56 tackles and six sacks. Last year, his season was over in October because of a hand injury.

Matt Barrows, who covers the 49ers for the Sacramento Bee, wrote that the 49ers are still high on Armstead’s potential and believed he was starting to play at a much higher level last season when he was injured. Barrows said head coach Kyle Shanahan recently said he believes Armstead and Cassius Marsh – a strong pass rusher who also will play on the left end – will give the 49ers a strong duo at the position and are the reason the team didn’t feel the need to use a high draft pick on a pass-rush specialist.

“You’ve got to be pretty good to beat out Marsh,” said Shanahan, according to Barrows. “You’ve got to be pretty good to beat out Armstead. You don’t just get guys. If you get them, someone else has to get cut and we’ve got a pretty good group.”

By taking action to keep Armstead on the roster through 2019, the 49ers are banking on the defensive lineman having a good season in 2018. If he is injury-free this season and performs well, he would have been able to sign with another team in free agency if the team hadn't picked up the fifth year option on his rookie contract. 

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Raiders Hope Martavis Bryant Can Flourish in New Surrounding]]>Tue, 01 May 2018 08:23:36 -0700https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/194*120/martavisoakkk.jpg

First, Jordy Nelson. Now Martavis Bryant. The Raiders are pulling in wide receivers – who come with baggage -- from around the league to help add some spark to Oakland’s passing attack in 2018.

First came Nelson, the former Packers standout who’s about to turn 33 and is coming off his least-productive NFL season in years. Now the former Steeler Bryant has been added to the roster in a draft-day trade this past Thursday for a third-round pick.

Bryant, 26, has exceptional speed and is a big target at 6-foot-4 and 211 pounds, a former fourth-round pick from Clemson (in 2014) who last season had 50 catches in 15 games for 603 yards and three touchdowns. Over three seasons and 36 games, Bryant has 126 catches for 1,917 yards (a 15.2-yard average per reception) and 17 TDs.

But Bryant had his troubles with the Steelers, twice being suspended for violating the NFL’s substance-abuse policy, the second of which was for the entire 2016 season (after a four-game suspension for his first offense). So, if he were to have another violation, the Raiders would lose him for a long while.

But general manager Reggie McKenzie and head coach Jon Gruden love the dynamic quality he brings to the passing game – the ability to stretch the field and give quarterback Derek Carr another wide receiver with big-play potential, alongside Amari Cooper and Nelson.

“You get a guy his size, and the way he ran, he was going to be a threat, and we’re excited to add him to our roster right now,” said McKenzie the day after Bryant was acquired. “I’m sure he’s going to elevate our offense and he’s going to elevate this team.”

Bryant told reporters he’s eager to get a “clean slate” with Oakland.

“It shows they kept the faith in me and also that I believe in myself,” Bryant said, according to Jerry McDonald of the Bay Area News Group. “Things aren’t always easy. You’ve got to keep fighting, keep working. I’m going to be all right. I’m going to come in and work every day and prepare and just go out and handle my business as a man.”

McKenzie said the opportunity to bring in a young, athletic receiver who’s shown he can be a game-breaker was a no-brainer.

“He’s ideal,” said McKenzie. “What you’re looking for in a receiver. He’s big, fast and makes plays. He can be a dynamic receiver for Derek.”

The analytic website Pro Football Focus counted Bryant’s trade as a win for both the Raiders and Bryant, saying he immediately becomes Carr’s best “deep-ball option” and noting that Cooper and Nelson are better suited to slot roles.

Wrote PFF: “If the Raiders are going to throw it deep, Bryant should be the guy.”

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Giants Rally in Ninth, Win on Hundley's 2-Run Walkoff Hit]]>Tue, 01 May 2018 00:05:16 -0700https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/178*120/giants-padres-0430.jpg

SAN FRANCISCO — Even the Padres can’t keep the Giants down at the moment.

This looked like it would be another lackluster loss to San Diego, but the Giants rallied for three in the ninth, winning 6-5 on Nick Hundley’s two-run single.

The Padres asked Brad Hand to get a five-out save, and he appeared to run out of gas at the end. He grazed Austin Slater to open the ninth before getting two strikeouts. A walk of Buster Posey put the tying run on first, and Evan Longoria followed with a bloop to left that dropped in front of a deep outfield alignment. Brandon Belt then drew a walk to load the bases for Hundley, who roped a single to left.

Here’s what else you need to know…

Samardzija survives: Jeff Samardzija is still rusty, but he survived five bend-but-don’t-break innings. The Padres loaded the bases in the first but Samardzija got out of it. He stranded another runner on third in his final frame. Samardzija gave up two runs on five hits and three walks. He struck out five.

Mr. Jackson, he is for real: Austin Jackson’s legs have looked a tad heavy this season, but he was spry in the first. Jackson snagged Eric Hosmer’s single at the very last second, preventing at least a double. Hosmer would have scored later had he reached second on the play, but he was stranded. In the bottom of the inning, Jackson singled Buster Posey home and then stole second.

Hanson's speed on display: Alen Hanson should see plenty of time over the next six weeks with Joe Panik sidelined by thumb surgery. While stealing second, he showed one of his physical gifts. Hanson had a sprint speed of 29.7 feet/second while swiping the bag, the fourth-fastest recorded burst by a Giant this season.

Longoria cold on the hot corner: Evan Longoria had a fielding error in the sixth and throwing error in the eighth. He has six errors this season after making just 12 all of last year, a season in which he won the Gold Glove Award. This was Longoria’s first two-error game since Sept. 27, 2013.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Sharks Fall to Golden Knights in Game 3 of Second-Round]]>Mon, 30 Apr 2018 22:54:50 -0700https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/177*120/sharks-couture-0430.jpg

For the second straight game, the Sharks and Vegas Golden Knights headed to overtime. For the second straight game, the winning team scored on the power play.

Unlike Game 2, Vegas was victorious in Game 3.

The Golden Knights took back home-ice advantage, and beat the Sharks 4-3 in overtime at SAP Center Monday night. William Karlsson scored the game-winner with 11:43 remaining in overtime, giving Vegas a 2-1 series lead.

Vegas appeared to have Game 3 nearly Colin Miller, Jonathan Marchessault, and Reilly Smith all scored in a 4:46 span in to give the Golden Knights a two-goal lead. The first two came on back-to-back power plays, and the Golden Knights scored on three of eight shots in the period.

But Evander Kane scored the Sharks’ first five-on-five tally this series to cut the lead in half with 12:11 remaining in regulation, and Hertl backhanded a loose puck past Marc-Andre Fleury to send the game to overtime with 1:57 left in the third.

After the first scoreless, regulation period of the series, Timo Meier opened the scoring on the power play 6:59 into the second period to give San Jose a 1-0 lead. Meier’s goal marked the first time the Sharks scored the game’s first goal this series.

The lead lasted 161 seconds, before a Vegas onslaught gave the road team a two-goal lead heading into the second intermission. San Jose outshot its newest rival 16-8 in the second, but failed to score a five-on-five goal for the 10th consecutive period.

Things flipped in the third period. The Golden Knights controlled play in the final frame, attempting 22 five-on-five shots with the Sharks attempting 11 and scoring twice.

Vegas improved to 2-1 in overtime in its first-ever playoff run.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Giants Back at .500 After Series Win Over Dodgers]]>Sun, 29 Apr 2018 22:57:16 -0700https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/180*120/giants-dodgers-0429.jpg

SAN FRANCISCO — This has become the familiar formula against the Dodgers.

Ty Blach once again dominated them and the bullpen took over from there, with Sam Dyson, Tony Watson and Hunter Strickland closing it out. The Giants took three of four this weekend to get back to .500 for the season. A 4-2 win left them at 14-14. Here’s what else you need to know…

Blach Party: Blach has faced the Dodgers three times this season and they still haven’t figured him out. He has pitched 23 innings in those starts and allowed three runs. In his other four starts, he has given up 14 earned in 26 1/3 innings.

Longoria stays hot: Evan Longoria came about an inch away from a two-run double in the first inning, but it was foul. No big deal. He straightened it out and hit a three-run shot. The homer was his sixth and put him on pace for 35 this season. That would be, oh, about twice what you’re used to from Giants hitters.

Blanco back in the fold: Gregor Blanco will see plenty of time atop the lineup with Joe Panik out with a thumb injury. He had a triple and infield single in four at-bats Sunday. Per the Research Department of Ahmed Fareed, Blanco made it to third in 11.12 seconds on the triple, the third-fastest home-to-third time in the big leagues this season.

Another NL West injury: Cody Bellinger was pulled from the game with an apparent injury. This on the weekend when Robbie Ray hurt his oblique, Wil Myers went down for the Padres, and the Giants potentially lost Panik for two months. It’s been brutal in the NL West. The team that can stay healthiest through the summer will probably be the one left standing.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Warriors Cruise to Victory Against the Pelicans 123-101]]>Sat, 28 Apr 2018 22:19:03 -0700https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/180*120/warrioirswin.jpg

Kevin Durant had 26 points and 13 rebounds, Draymond Green dazzled all over the floor with his fourth career postseason triple-double, and the Golden State Warriors thoroughly overmatched the New Orleans Pelicans for a 123-101 win in Game 1 of their Western Conference semifinals Saturday night.

Green finished with 16 points, 15 rebounds, 11 assists, three steals and two blocks and just with his hustle and energy helped the defending champions pull away with a superb, decisive second quarter.

Now, they likely get Stephen Curry back for Game 2 on Tuesday night and all that he brings — even if in a limited role initially.

Anthony Davis had 21points and 10 rebounds, scoring 10 in the first quarter before having a tougher time generating shots the rest of the way to finish 9 for 20. Jrue Holiday was held to 4-for-14 shooting and 11 points.

Golden State again played without two-time MVP Curry, who has been sidelined since March 23 with a sprained left knee. Coach Steve Kerr called it “very likely” Curry would play Game 2 in the best-of-seven series.

Klay Thompson, who led Golden State with 27 points, hit back-to-back 3-pointers late in the first half that made it 76-48. But New Orleans ended the second on a 7-0 run and Darius Miller’s 73-foot heave at the halftime buzzer counted after review, getting the Pelicans within 76-55 at the break. They hit another buzzer-beater to end the third but it was way too late.

Rajon Rondo had nine points and dished out 11 assists for New Orleans.

But once Golden State got going in transition, Oracle Arena started rocking and the Pelicans couldn’t keep pace — with tempo being something the Warriors know is key this series. They opened the second with a 13-5 burst and were on their way.

Davis, who averaged 33 points, 12 rebounds and 2.8 blocks in a first-round sweep of Portland, made 5 of 7 shots in the opening period.

Green has been brilliant on the boards as Golden State keeps taking its defense up a level. He had games of 19 and 18 rebounds in the final two matchups of a five-game series with San Antonio in the first round.

Nick Young started at forward for the Warriors while 2015 NBA Finals MVP Andre Iguodala remained in the starting lineup in place of Curry as Golden State won a franchise-record 13th straight postseason home game.

The Warriors swept the Pelicans in the only other playoff meeting between the franchises in the 2015 first round as Golden State went on to capture its first championship in 40 years.


Golden State had its highest scoring postseason first half as well as second quarter. The 76 points topped 73 against Phoenix on May 4, 1994, while 41 in the second bested 40 scored against Utah on May 11, 2007.

Golden State shot 13 for 20 in the second, making four 3s and 11 of 14 free throws.


Kerr and Pelicans coach Alvin Gentry shared a nice greeting and laugh before the series got going. As general manager in Phoenix, Kerr worked with Gentry and then made him the first call to be his top assistant when Kerr became head coach of the Warriors before the 2014-15 season.


As usual, Curry insisted he “feels great and he’s ready to go,” said Kerr, who is encouraged his superstar point guard feels so good.

“Just made the decision based on giving him the extra few days and the fact he only scrimmaged yesterday,” Kerr said. “You’ve been out five weeks and we’re playing in the playoffs, I don’t think one scrimmage is enough, even though he feels great, he wants to play and pleaded his case. But we’re going to sit him tonight and very likely he’ll play Game 2.”

Curry returned to full practice with contact Thursday and only scrimmaged 5 on 5 for the first time Friday, and Kerr prefers that Curry get additional on-court time at full speed Sunday.


Pelicans: The Pelicans’ 126-120 win April 7 in Oakland snapped a 10-game losing streak to the Warriors. “We approach the game as if everybody’s washed their hands of everything that has happened,” Gentry said. ... Gentry received a technical at the 8:43 mark of the first quarter. ... The Pelicans shot 7 for 23 in the second. ... New Orleans surrendered 110 or more points in the last 11 regular-season games against Golden State.

Warriors: Green topped Tom Gola’s three playoff triple-doubles for most in franchise history. ... Young, who played 21 minutes, made a 3 on his first shot and another late in the game on his second attempt. ... Golden State has won 25 of the last 27 meetings overall vs. the Pelicans. ... Jay-Z and Beyonce sat courtside.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC Bay Area

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Couture’s Goal in 2OT Lifts Sharks Past Vegas in Game 2]]>Sat, 28 Apr 2018 21:46:02 -0700https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/160*125/sharrksss.jpeg

Logan Couture’s second goal of the game, on the power play at 5:13 of the second overtime, lifted the San Jose Sharks to a 4-3 victory over the Vegas Golden Knights on Saturday night, tying their Western Conference semifinal series at one game apiece.

Moments after Vegas’ Jon Merrill was called for hooking, Couture found the back of the net, as the Sharks stole home-ice advantage from Vegas.

The Golden Knights, who lost for the first time in six playoff games, thought they won in the first overtime when Jonathan Marchessault’s backhand sailed past Jones with 3:02 left, but officials ruled there was goaltender interference when Marchessault ran into Jones’ blocker and spun him around before his shot.

Brent Burns also scored two goals and Martin Jones stopped 26 shots for San Jose, which was playing without suspended forward Evander Kane.

William Karlsson scored twice, while Nate Schmidt got his first of the postseason to tie the score at 3-3 with 6 1/2 minutes left in the third period. Marc-Andre Fleury finished with 43 saves.

Game 3 is Monday night at San Jose.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[McCullers, Altuve Lead Astros Over Athletics 11-0]]>Sat, 28 Apr 2018 19:54:45 -0700https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/175*120/a%27s+small.jpg

Lance McCullers threw seven sharp innings, Jose Altuve had four hits and the Houston Astros beat the Oakland Athletics 11-0 Saturday night.

Altuve hit a towering home run that left the ballpark and doubled. George Springer, Derek Fisher and Marwin Gonzalez also homered in the highest-scoring this season for the World Series champions.

McCullers (4-1) allowed two hits, striking out seven without a walk for his third straight win. The right-hander was perfect before Mark Canha singled to lead off the sixth inning. McCullers has not given up more than one run in each of his last three starts.

Altuve singled and scored in the first, hit an RBI double in the second and had a solo home run in the sixth.

Fisher hit a two-run homer in the fourth and Springer had a leadoff drvie in the sixth. Gonzalez, who had a sacrifice fly in the third, hit a solo home run into the second deck in right in the seventh.

Houston got to Daniel Mengden (2-3) early, with three runs in the first on sacrifice flies by Yuli Gurriel and Josh Reddick followed by an RBI double by Alex Bregman.

Mengden was tagged for five runs and six hits in a season-low 2 1/3 innings.


Athletics: RHP Paul Blackburn, who is currently on the 60-day disabled list with a strained right forearm, is throwing out to 90 feet but not off the mound, manager Bob Melvin said. . OF Boog Powell (sprained right knee) is doing strengthening and conditioning but no baseball activity, Melvin said.


Home plate umpire Tom Hallion took a foul ball off his chest during Marcus Semien’s first inning at bat. Hallion, who is also the crew chief, immediately fell back, laying flat on his back. Houston catcher Brian McCann leaned over Hallion, holding his hand while the other umpires and a Houston trainer ran to tend to the home plate umpire. After a few minutes, Hallion was helped to a sitting position before standing up and resuming play, staying in for the rest of the game.


Athletics: RHP Trevor Cahill (1-0) will make his third start of the season Sunday after earning a no decision Monday at Texas, allowing three runs in five innings.

Astros: RHP Gerrit Cole (2-1) will look to bounce back after being handed his first loss of the season Monday against the Angels, allowing two runs in seven innings.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC Bay Area

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Niners Draft Versatile Receiver-Returner Dante Pettis]]>Fri, 27 Apr 2018 21:04:43 -0700https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/180*120/dantereturnn.jpg

The 49ers haven’t returned a punt for a touchdown over their past 111 games.

They hope Dante Pettis can break that streak in 2018.

Pettis, a return specialist and wide receiver from the University of Washington, was the first San Francisco pick Friday on Day 2 of the NFL Draft, with the 12th Round 2 selection.

The son of former major league Gold Glove outfielder Gary Pettis, Dante Pettis was an electric performer for the Huskies, returning an FBS-record nine punts for touchdowns during his career.

The 6-foot-1, 186-pounder also had 163 catches for 2,256 yards and 24 touchdowns, playing both outside and slot receiver positions. His 1,274 career punt return yards are a Pac-12 Conference record.

Though the 49ers went into the draft with most analysts believing they’d focus on defense first, they used their top two choices on offense, with their No. 1, on Thursday in the first round, on Notre Dame tackle Mike McGlinchey.

The Niners did turn to defense with their other two picks on Day 2, taking BYU linebacker Fred Warner with the sixth choice of the third round and then following with Tarvarius Moore, a safety from Southern Mississippi.

Warner, a 6-foot-3, 236-pounder, can play both inside and outside linebacker. This past season he led BYU with 87 tackles, including nine for loss, and had an interception. The NFL.com scouting report says one big plus for Warner is his pass-coverage ability, and that he “moves around like a big safety.”

Moore is 6-foot-2 and 190 pounds and led his team in tackles from the safety spot, with 87, in his final year, while also logging three interceptions.

It’s possible that both Warner and Moore could see significant playing time as rookies, while Pettis could be an explosive and versatile addition to the offense and special teams.

<![CDATA[Sharks Take a 7-0 Punch to the Gut From Vegas in Game 1]]>Thu, 26 Apr 2018 22:37:56 -0700https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/180*120/sharks-knights-0426.jpg

The Anaheim Ducks scored their fourth goal in the first round against the Sharks 227:53 into the series. The Vegas Golden Knights needed less than 12 minutes.

San Jose ultimately gave up five in a 23:28 span, and dropped Game 1 of the second round in Sin City 7-0. Cody Eakin, Erik Haula, and Jonathan Marchessault scored in a 91-second span early in the first period to all but seal the game, while Alex Tuch, Shea Theodore, Colin Miller, and James Neal each added another to put it well out of reach.

The Sharks reeled from the very beginning. Sixty-three seconds in, Tomas Hertl took a high-sticking penalty, and a minute after he left the box, an unmarked Cody Eakin tipped Brayden McNabb’s point shot past Martin Jones to open the scoring.

Erik Haula scored 26 seconds later, and the Golden Knights held a 2-0 lead before the clock struck five minutes. Vegas winger James Neal tied up and threw down San Jose defenseman Brenden Dillon in the neutral zone, leaving center Logan Couture as one of the last men back. Alex Tuch stickhandled around him, and left a pass for Haula to snap by Jones.

The Golden Knights scored their third goal off of another zone entry on the very next shot. Reilly Smith found fellow former Florida Panther Marchessault for his first of the postseason, while Sharks blueliner Brent Burns hesitated to step out on him as Smith fired a short side shot from the face-off dot.

After Marchessault scored at the 6:02, Vegas had more five-on-five goals (three) than San Jose had five-on-five shot attempts (one).

Kevin Labanc and Burns later took penalties 48 seconds apart midway through the first period. The Sharks killed off Labanc’s penalty, but Tuch split the shorthanded San Jose defense and gave Vegas a 4-0 lead just 11:43 in to the first period.

Jones’ night ended just under three-and-a-half minutes into the second period. Shea Theodore scored the fifth Golden Knights goal, the team’s fourth off of a zone entry. Theodore drove the net on a two-on-one, and a desperate Jones sprawled to stop his tip-in to no avail.

Vegas scored twice in the third period, capitalizing on two penalties from San Jose’s first line. Joe Pavelski took a slashing penalty moments after the Sharks killed an interference penalty, while Evander Kane cross-checked Pierre-Edouard Bellemare’s face and received a major penalty plus a ten-minute misconduct.

With both players in the box, Colin Miller’s slapped a shot past Sharks backup Aaron Dell to make it 6-0. James Neal converted the extra point on a wraparound as Kane’s major wound down.

Kane is likely to hear from the NHL’s Department of Player Safety, but is not a “repeat offender” according to league policy. Four players have been suspended this postseason, double the total from last year. If the NHL opts for a phone hearing, Kane will be suspended for five games or less or fined more than $5,000, according to league policy. An in-person hearing means he faces a suspension of six-or-more games.

Thursday marked San Jose’s most lopsided loss in the playoffs in six years. The Sharks lost to the Detroit Red Wings 7-1 on May 6, 2010, but beat them the following game to advance to the Western Conference Finals.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Raiders Pick OT Kolton Miller in the First Round of the NFL Draft]]>Thu, 26 Apr 2018 22:05:17 -0700https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/180*120/raiders+pick.jpg

The Oakland Raiders selected UCLA offensive tackle Kolton Miller with the No. 15 pick in the first round of the 2018 NFL Draft on Thursday.


Position: Offensive tackle

College: UCLA

Height: 6-foot-9

Weight: 309 pounds

Selection: First round (No. 15 overall)

Scouting report: The former Bruin’s built like an NFL offensive tackle, with the agility and length to be a top-tier player. Analysts say he’s a hard worker who puts maximum effort into every snap. He has solid footwork already, with the agility to handle savvy pass rushers. He didn’t have a great year in 2017, but fared well during the pre-draft process. The Raiders like this prospect, especially offensive line coach Tom Cable. He needs to improve work with his hands, and is sometimes susceptible to power rushers.

Projected role: The Raiders need help in the present and future. He should compete to start at right tackle as a rookie, with a long-term move to the left. Current blindside protector Donald Penn is 35 years old, coming off of Lisfranc foot surgery this offseason. He’s under contract through 2019, though he doesn’t have guaranteed money in that final year. Miller will compete with veteran Breno Giacomini to start on the right side in 2018, which would help the offensive line’s weakest point. The move makes strong fiscal sense, assuming Miller can man a left tackle spot that pays veterans a premium.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[49ers Pick OT Mike McGlinchey in First Round of NFL Draft]]>Thu, 26 Apr 2018 22:05:31 -0700https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/180*120/49ERS+PICK.jpg

The San Francisco 49ers selected Notre Dame tackle Mike McGlinchey with the No. 9 pick in the first round of the 2018 NFL Draft on Thursday.


Position: Offensive tackle

College: Notre Dame

Height: 6-8

Weight: 309

Selection: First round (No. 9 overall)

Scouting report: McGlinchey was widely considered the top tackle in this draft and only behind Notre Dame teammate Quenton Nelson as the top offensive lineman entering the league. He has a background as a tight end. He has good athleticism. After playing right tackle for his first two college seasons, he moved to the left side as a junior before turning pro.

Projected role: The 49ers selected McGlinchey over such options as defensive backs Minkah Fitzpatrick and Derwin James, and linebacker Tremaine Edmunds. The club has the option of trying McGlinchey initially at guard to see if he fits into the competition on the interior offensive line. Regardless, his future is at tackle, where Joe Staley and Trent Brown are now stationed. Brown will miss the offseason program due to shoulder surgery but should be back for training camp. Brown enters the final year of his contract, and the 49ers have shown no interest in signing him to a long-term contract extension. If Brown is out of shape when he returns to the playing field, McGlinchey can easily fit in that job. In his second season, that should be no question who will start at right tackle. After Staley's career is over, McGlinchey can step in at left tackle.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Raiders Must 'hit Some Home Runs' in NFL Draft, Get More From Previous Classes]]>Thu, 26 Apr 2018 05:47:10 -0700https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/gruden-reggie-ap.jpg

Reggie McKenzie has made some excellent draft picks. The Raiders general manager built a young foundation through amateur selection, including prominent players at vital positions.

Franchise quarterback Derek Carr, elite edge rusher Khalil Mack, stout guard Gabe Jackson and dynamic receiver Amari Cooper have all heard their name called on draft day.

One problem: Those guys have been given contract extensions or will get one soon.

In other words, it's been a while since McKenzie struck gold.

The 2014 draft class is his signature, an elite collection among the NFL's best over the last decade. Then he nabbed Cooper in 2015. And not much since then.

2016 first-round Karl Joseph is a consistent starter, and that's the nicest thing you can say about anyone drafted recently.

Only three members of the 2015 class remain on the roster. The 2016 group includes defensive lineman Jihad Ward, edge rusher Shilique Calhoun and quarterback Connor Cook, taken in round 2-4, respectively, who haven't made significant contributions.

Last year's crop was decimated by injury, with the top three draft picks all undergoing major surgery their rookie year.

It didn't take new head coach Jon Gruden long to acknowledge that. He said at the NFL Scouting Combine that the Raiders need more from their last three draft classes, singling Cooper out as that group's only impact player.

Building depth and top quality through the draft is vital on a Raiders squad with so much money going to Carr right now and Mack in the near future. They can't afford to swing and miss so often.

The Raiders need to hit a home run in this week's 2018 NFL Draft, which starts Thursday evening. They must also mine more from guys already here. The jury's still out on these young players, but they must show better posthaste.

"I'm not closing the book on last year's draft of two years ago draft," Gruden said Tuesday. "Our job is to develop players. That's what coaches are here to do. We're not here to draft people and sign the contracts and do all that stuff necessarily. We're here to develop the players that are in the building. We need to do a better job getting more out of those three classes.

"At the same time, we have to hit some home runs in this draft. We have to get some players that can come in and help us."

The Raiders have 11 selections, starting with the No. 10 overall pick. They have plenty of roster needs and must start filling them now.

Insufficient recent returns, however, won't add urgency to this year's proceedings. Each year is independent, with an opportunity to find impact players.

"What we want to do is just bring in some good players, really good football players," McKenzie said last week. "We're not going to beat up on some of these guys who physically were not able to get out there and play. Hopefully some of these guys from the past drafts, we can get them out there, keep them healthy and see what they can do. Hopefully this is the year. Even the guys we draft this year, we have no idea if they can make it through OTAs or training camp and preseason healthy. You just hope and pray they can be there for us and see what they can do during the season. We're hopeful that we can stay healthy and let the guys play."

Photo Credit: Scott Bair]]>
<![CDATA[Full Schedule for Sharks-Golden Knights Series Released]]>Wed, 25 Apr 2018 21:37:07 -0700https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/hertlsharksgoldenknights.jpg

We already knew the details for Game 1 of the season round series between the Sharks and Golden Knights. That will take place Thursday night at 7pm in Las Vegas.

On Wednesday night, with the Bruins beating the Maple Leafs in the final first-round series, the NHL released the full schedules for all the second-round series.

Vegas Golden Knights (P1) vs. San Jose Sharks (P3)

Thursday, April 26, 10pm: Sharks @ Golden Knights | NBCSN

Saturday, April 28, 8pm: Sharks @ Golden Knights | NBC

Monday, April 30, 10pm: Golden Knights @ Sharks | NBCSN

Wednesday, May 2, 10pm: Golden Knights @ Sharks | NBCSN

*Friday, May 4, 10pm: Sharks @ Golden Knights | NBCSN

*Sunday, May 6, TBD: Golden Knights @ Sharks | TBD

*Tuesday, May 8, TBD: Sharks @ Golden Knights | TBD

The winner of the Sharks-Golden Knights series will face the winner of the Predators-Jets series in the Western Conference Finals.

Photo Credit: NBC Sports Bay Area staff]]>
<![CDATA[A's Streak Snapped in Texas Despite Graveman's Solid Start]]>Wed, 25 Apr 2018 20:35:22 -0700https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/semienthrownoutap.jpg


ARLINGTON -- Isiah Kiner-Falefa hit a go-ahead single in the fifth inning and the Texas bullpen protected the lead Wednesday night, giving the Rangers a 4-2 victory over the Oakland Athletics.

Four Texas relievers worked 4 1/3 hitless innings to stop Oakland's four-game winning streak.

Jesse Chavez (1-0) retired all four batters he faced in relief of starter Doug Fister. Keone Kila pitched a perfect ninth for his fourth save of the season.

Kendall Graveman (0-5) got the first two outs in the fifth before four straight batters reached, beginning with Jurickson Profar's double. Texas scored twice in the inning for a 3-2 lead.

Graveman, who entered the game with a 10.07 ERA, recorded season highs with six innings and seven strikeouts.

Khris Davis' two-out, opposite-field home run in the third was his seventh of the season and 19th in 44 career games against Texas, his most against any opponent.

The Rangers' first run scored in the fourth on a grounder when Juan Centeno beat the relay throw to first on what would have been an inning-ending double play. Oakland challenged, and the call stood.

Texas added an insurance run in the eighth on an RBI triple by Ronald Guzman.

Fister was activated from the disabled list earlier in the day and allowed two runs and four hits in 4 2/3 innings while throwing 105 pitches. He was out since April 10 with a right hip strain.

As Fister was activated, Texas placed Adrian Beltre on the 10-day disabled list with a strained right hamstring.

Graveman's 112 pitches equaled his career high. . Oakland acquired RHP Wilmer Font from the Dodgers for LHP Logan Salow. . Texas recalled OF Ryan Rua from Triple-A Round Rock to replace Beltre on the roster and optioned RHP Matt Bush to Round Rock to make room for Fister.

Athletics: LHP Ryan Buchter left with after facing one batter in the seventh inning with shoulder stiffness.

Athletics: LHP Sean Manaea (3-2 1.23), who no-hit the Red Sox on Saturday, will pitch Friday against Houston LHP Dallas Keuchel (1-3, 3.10).

Rangers: LHP Mike Minor (1-1, 3.86), who has lasted six innings in only one of his four starts this season, will face Toronto RHP Marcus Stroman (0-2, 8.55) on Friday.

Photo Credit: Associated Press]]>
<![CDATA[Samardzija, Giants Roughed Up by Nationals 15-2]]>Wed, 25 Apr 2018 16:36:04 -0700https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/162*120/giants-nats-0425.jpg

SAN FRANCISCO — The best thing the Giants did in this series was clinch it before they got to Max Scherzer.

The right-hander was his usual self over six innings and Jeff Samardzija imploded on the other side. This one was a boat race from the beginning, with the Nationals getting a 15-2 win on their way out of town. Here's what else you need to know from a game the Giants will try to wash off before the Dodgers come to town...

Rough day at the office: Samardzija was checked early by a trainer as his velocity was sitting 89-91, but his fastball touched 94 regularly as the afternoon went on. That didn’t make much of a difference. He was lifted in the third after giving up a two-out three-run homer to Matt Adams. Samardzija was charged with six earned on eight hits, three walks and three strikeouts.

Not what Osich needed: Josh Osich needed a few good ones with Will Smith a week away from returning from Tommy John surgery. Instead, Osich gave up four runs on four hits and a walk in 1 2/3 innings. He has a 8.10 ERA this season after a huge spring.

More playing time for Pablo? Pablo Sandoval had a single off Scherzer in the fourth and an RBI double two innings later. He really has been a great fit off the bench, and Bruce Bochy has complimented him for the way he has handled the role and kept the dugout lively. Expect Sandoval to get some more regular time once the schedule has fewer off days.

In-game recruiting pitch? Bryce Harper looked off at the plate throughout the series, but still managed to reach base six times in three games. During a pitching change in the seventh inning, Harper had a long conversation with former Fall League teammate Brandon Crawford. Perhaps they were talking about where Harper can play golf around here next season.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Suddenly Hot Giants Beat Nationals, Seal 2nd Straight Series]]>Wed, 25 Apr 2018 00:18:43 -0700https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/178*120/giants-nats-0424.jpg

SAN FRANCISCO — All of a sudden, a lot is going right for the Giants.

Mac Williamson and Brandon Belt homered, Sam Dyson continued his comeback from a spring full of problems and Hunter Strickland closed it out as the Giants beat the Nationals 4-3. They’ve won four of five and have taken two series in a row after a slow start to the season.

The Williamson thing is becoming a nightly deal. Ditto for Belt. But Dyson was a new wrinkle. He looked like a DFA candidate a week ago but has thrown well since, and he got through the heart of the Nationals’ order in the eighth to preserve a one-run lead.

Here’s what else you need to know from the day Bruce Bochy joined Twitter…

Immediate impact: Tanner Roark tried to flip a first-pitch curveball up there when Williamson came up with two outs in the sixth. The ball came in at 74 mph and screamed out to center field at 109.2 mph. The Giants have four homers this season of at least 109 mph and Williamson — who has been here for five games — has three of them.

No worse for wear: Williamson (and the lineup) survived a scare in the fifth. He traveled a long way to try and catch Bryce Harper’s pop-up to foul territory and he went down hard as he crossed the bullpen mound, hitting his head on the padded wall separating the field from the seats. Trainer Dave Groeschner came out to check on the left fielder but he stayed in the game.

Belt beats Roark...again: Belt also took Roark deep, again. Belt famously hit a homer off Roark in the 18th inning of a playoff game in 2014, and on this night he crushed one to right for his fifth homer in six games.

Trouble in the fourth: Ty Blach was shoving early. He opened with three scoreless innings that included three strikeouts and three weak grounders back to the mound. But in the fourth, Blach walked Ryan Zimmerman and gave up a single to Moises Sierra before watching Michael A. Taylor became the rare righty to find the arcade section. Taylor’s three-run blast the opposite way tied the game.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Warriors Top Spurs in Game 5, Win First-Round Playoff Series]]>Wed, 25 Apr 2018 00:12:01 -0700https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/175*120/warriors-spurs-0424.jpg

OAKLAND -- The Warriors took the difficult path Tuesday night but still had enough, just barely, to come away with the prize.

With a 99-91 victory over San Antonio in Game 5 of their first-round series, the Warriors now advance to the Western Conference semifinals, where they face the New Orleans Pelicans.

Three Warriors scored in double figures, led by 25 points from Kevin Durant. Klay Thompson had 24 and Draymond Green 17 as the defending champs survived 5-of-27 shooting beyond the arc by holding the Spurs to 37.2-percent shooting overall.

The Warriors never trailed, but had to hang on after being outscored 26-20 in the fourth quarter.

STANDOUT PERFORMER: Thompson wanted a bounce-back game on offense and he got one. Green was ferocious on defense all evening.

Thompson’s line: 24 points (11-of-20 shooting from the field, including 1-of-5 from beyond the arc, 1-of-1 from the line), five rebounds and four assists. He played 41 minutes and finished plus-1.

Green’s line: 17 points (5-of-11 shooting, including 2-of-7 from deep, 5-of-7 from the line), 19 rebounds and seven assists. He played 40 minutes and finished plus-3.

TURNING POINT: After San Antonio took a 23-22 lead on a 3-pointer by Rudy Gay with 11:13 left in the second quarter, the Warriors responded with a 17-5 run, going up 39-28 on a Kevon Looney midrange jumper with 4:11 remaining in the half.

The Warriors took a 49-38 lead into halftime and went into the fourth quarter up 79-65. They led by as much as 16 in the second half before the Spurs rallied late, to pull within two (93-91, 57.4 seconds remaining) inside the final minute.

INJURY UPDATE: Warriors: G Stephen Curry (L MCL sprain) and G Pat McCaw (lumbar spine contusion) were listed as out.

Spurs: F Kawhi Leonard (return from injury management) was listed as out.

WHAT’S NEXT: The Warriors meet the New Orleans Pelicans in the Western Conference semifinals, with Game 1 scheduled for Saturday at Oracle Arena at a time to be determined.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[A's Keep Rolling, Beat Rangers to Run Winning Streak to Four]]>Tue, 24 Apr 2018 20:39:32 -0700https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/chapmanrunrangers-ap.jpg


ARLINGTON -- Jed Lowrie hit a tiebreaking double in the seventh inning and the Oakland Athletics beat the Texas Rangers 3-2 on Tuesday night, tagging Cole Hamels with his fourth loss before the end of April for the first time in the left-hander's career.

Texas slugger Adrian Beltre exited with a left hamstring strain in the eighth after pulling up at first base on what would have been a double but was instead a single for his 3,075th career hit.

Lowrie's liner over the glove of diving center fielder Delino DeShields came against reliever Matt Bush after two doubles off Hamels in an inning that included a pair of Oakland baserunners getting thrown out at third base.

Andrew Triggs (2-0) allowed one run in six innings with six strikeouts, and former closer Santiago Casilla pitched a scoreless ninth for his first save.

Oakland rookie Lou Trivino struck out two batters to finish the eighth after coming in cold when Blake Treinen took a line drive from Shin-Soo Choo off his right leg and had to leave the game.

Trivino was called up from Triple-A Nashville earlier in the day when Yusmeiro Petit went on the bereavement list following the death of his mother in Venezuela. Petit was away from the team for four days earlier this month to spend time with his mom.

Hamels (1-4) gave up two runs in 6 1/3 innings and plunked three batters, matching the 2008 World Series MVP's career high set on April 20, 2016, in a 2-1 win against Houston. Rangers reliever Jake Diekman also hit a batter with a pitch.

The Rangers clinched their fifth straight series loss at home, the most to start a season since the franchise moved to Texas in 1972.

Mark Canha broke a scoreless tie in the sixth with his third homer, a solo shot that went in and out of leaping right fielder Nomar Mazara's glove just above the fence. Matt Olson hit an RBI double in the eighth.

Beltre's liner to the gap when he was injured was a single that scored Choo from first. The 39-year-old in his 21st season limped to first and went immediately to the dugout. Beltre had two hits and both Texas RBIs, driving in the first run on a sacrifice fly.

Athletics: RHP Liam Hendriks was to have a procedure to remove a cyst in his right hip, with a plasma injection for a muscle tear. Hendriks was already on the disabled list because of a right groin strain. He should be throwing off a mound in a few weeks.

Rangers: RHPs Tony Barnette (right shoulder inflammation) and Tim Lincecum (blister) threw live bullpen sessions. Manager Jeff Banister said Barnette probably won't return before Friday. Lincecum is on the 60-day DL.

RHP Kendall Graveman (0-4, 10.07 ERA), Oakland's opening day starter, has allowed at least four runs without throwing more than five innings in all five starts, the longest such streak to start a season for an A's pitcher since at least 1908. RHP Doug Fister (1-2, 3.59) is scheduled for Texas in the series finale as he returns from a right hip strain. His most recent start was April 9.

Photo Credit: Associated Press]]>
<![CDATA[Sharks to Open Second Round Thursday]]>Tue, 24 Apr 2018 17:00:27 -0700https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/game2.jpg

The Sharks know when they'll open the second round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs. T

San Jose will face off against the Vegas Golden Knights in Game 1 of the second round at 7 p.m. PT on Thursday, April 26 in Sin City, the NHL announced Tuesday. The league also announced start dates for the three other second-round series, but did not announce any games beyond that.

Game 2 will "likely" occur Saturday at 5 p.m, according to Golden Knights owner Bill Foley. 

Game 1 will be televised on NBCSN. Sharks Playoff Central will air on NBC Sports California at 6:30 p.m. leading up to puck drop, with a postgame edition to follow after the final horn on the same channel. 

Photo Credit: Marcus White]]>
<![CDATA[Stratton, Williamson Lead Giants Over the Nationals]]>Mon, 23 Apr 2018 23:09:19 -0700https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/170*120/giants-mac-0423.jpg

SAN FRANCISCO — A couple of weeks back, when Johnny Cueto and Jeff Samardzija were still on the disabled list, Bruce Bochy called Chris Stratton the ace of his staff.

Cueto and Samardzija have returned and pitched well. Stratton is still acting like an ace, though.

Stratton went 6 2/3 strong innings against the visiting Washington Nationals and Mac Williamson took care of the offense with a mammoth two run homer. The Giants kept the weekend vibes going, beating the Nationals 4-2. Here's what else you need to know...

The Mac Attack is back: Williamson’s homer was hit to Bonds Territory beyond Triples Alley, except he did it as a right-hander. The 464-foot blast was the longest by a Giant at home since Statcast began tracking in 2015. It had an exit velocity of 112 mph. It was also the longest opposite-field homer in MLB this season.

Stratton straps in: Stratton allowed four hits, struck out five and came up just short of a third consecutive seven-inning start. Through five starts this season, he has a 2.32 ERA and 0.94 WHIP. He has allowed just three runs in his past three starts.

Out of a jam: The new guys put Stratton in a jam in the sixth. Evan Longoria went a long way for Bryce Harper’s pop-up into foul territory but dropped it, and Harper walked. Andrew McCutchen dropped a liner to right, putting runners on second and third. But Stratton threw three good changeups to strike out Matt Adams and got Matt Wieters to fly out to center.

Dyson and out: Sam Dyson is back in big spots, in part because of how he’s been throwing lately and in part because of others. He came in with a runner on in the seventh and got Howie Kendrick to line out for the final out of the inning.

Strick-ly business: Hunter Strickland pitched the ninth, but there was no Harper drama. The Nationals star flied out to deep left in the eighth and was the sixth batter due up in the ninth. Strickland had some command issues, but he struck out Trea Turner with a runner on second and two outs. Harper was left on the top step of the dugout.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[A's Use Six-Run Ninth to Beat Rangers, Move Back Over .500]]>Mon, 23 Apr 2018 20:53:18 -0700https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/semienhighfiverangersusatsi.jpg


ARLINGTON -- Marcus Semien hit a tiebreaking homer on the first pitch of the ninth inning and the surging Oakland Athletics went on to their third straight victory, 9-4 over the Texas Rangers on Monday night.

The Athletics (12-11) have won seven of eight, and have a winning record for the first time since they won their season opener before a three-game losing streak.

Semien's third homer of the season, off Kevin Jepsen (0-3), snapped a 3-all tie and ignited a six-run outburst. Matt Chapman had an RBI triple with two outs, then after a pitching change scored on a single by Mark Canha before Jake Smolinski hit a two-run triple.

Ryan Buchter (1-0), the fourth of five Oakland pitchers, retired the only two batters he faced - the last out of the eighth and the first out in the ninth.

The Rangers, who are 3-11 at home this season, tied the game in the fourth when Jurickson Profar drew a two-out walk from Trevor Cahill and Robinson Chirinos followed with his third homer of the season.

Khris Davis had a two-run double in the third to put Oakland up 2-0, giving him 21 RBIs this season. Chad Pinder's RBI single an inning later made it 3-1.

Rookie second baseman Isiah Kiner-Falefa, the Rangers' No. 9 hitter, doubled in the third for their first hit and scored on a wild pitch.

Both starting pitchers allowed three runs over five innings. Rangers lefty Matt Moore, who was pulled after giving up a leadoff single in the sixth, struck out two and walked two. Cahill, who threw seven scoreless innings in his only other start this season for the A's, had six strikeouts, two walks and the wild pitch that allowed a run.

Rangers: RHP Doug Fister (right hip strain) felt good a day after throwing a bullpen and is set to come off the disabled list to start the series finale Wednesday.

Rangers lefty Cole Hamels (1-3), trying to avoid four losses by the end of April for the first time in his career, has lost four consecutive home starts - including both this season. Right-hander Andrew Triggs, with a 1.02 ERA in four career appearances against Texas, starts for the A's in the middle game of the three-game series.

Photo Credit: Associated Press]]>
<![CDATA[Sharks' Tierney Nominated For NHL Humanitarian Award]]>Mon, 23 Apr 2018 18:58:38 -0700https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/sharks-tierney-0423.jpg

For Sharks forward Chris Tierney, the 2017-18 season was his best yet on the ice. And he wasn't too shabby off the ice.

Tierney has been nominated for the NHL's King Clancy Memorial Trophy, given annually to the player who best exemplifies leadership qualities on and off the ice and who has made a significant humanitarian contribution to his community, the team announced Monday.

The 23-year-old Tierney, in his fourth NHL season, stepped up to take on the responsibilities of the Sharks ambassador for the Hockey is For Everyone (HIFE) campaign. HIFE is conducted in partnership with the You Can Play Project, a nonprofit committed to supporting the LGBTQ community and fighting homophobia in sports, according to the Sharks.

Tierney participated in the Sharks Special Olympics Floor Hockey Game in November, playing a unified game with 60 special needs athletes while their families cheered them on. He also coached a Special Needs Hockey Practice in February and is a regular at annual hospital visits, including a Capes4Heroes trip in January, the team said.

Tierney posted career-highs in points (40), goals (17), assists (23) and shots (118) this season. He was one of three Sharks to play in all 82 games.

The winner of the King Clancy is chosen by select members of the Professional Hockey Writers' Association and the NHL Broadcasters' Association, the Sharks said.

This is the first time Tierney has been nominated for the award.

Photo Credit: San Jose Sharks]]>
<![CDATA[Giants Win First Series of Season Thanks to Cueto, Belt]]>Sun, 22 Apr 2018 22:57:58 -0700https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/beltlongoriahrusatsi.jpg


ANAHEIM -- Brandon Belt hung in for an epic 21-pitch at-bat before flying out, but later homered to lead Johnny Cueto and the San Francisco Giants over the Los Angeles Angels 4-2 on Sunday.

Belt fouled off 11 straight pitches from rookie right-hander Jaime Barria in the first inning in the majors' longest at-bat since records began in 1988. The previous high of 20 pitches in a plate appearance since 1988 was when Houston's Ricky Gutierrez struck out against Cleveland's Bartolo Colon on June 26, 1998, according to Retrosheet.

In all, the left-handed Belt peppered the crowd with 16 foul balls his first time up. He hit two long fouls down the right-field line before lining out to right fielder Kole Calhoun, ending an at-bat the Giants said lasted 12 minutes, 45 seconds.

It took nine pitches for Belt to work the count full, as he fouled off five pitches in the process. He swung and missed just once, and was greeted with high-fives when he returned to the dugout.

Angels pitching coach Charles Nagy made a mound visit to check on Barria (1-1) after Belt batted. Barria had thrown nine pitches to Joe Panik, who hit a leadoff single, before throwing 21 to Belt.

Belt singled and scored in the third and launched a leadoff homer to right against Blake Parker in the fifth. Belt saw a total of 38 pitches in his first three at-bats, then hit the first pitch his last two times up.

Cueto (2-0) allowed only two hits in six shutout innings against cleanup batter Shohei Ohtani and the Angels. Cueto took a no-hitter into the sixth and struck out seven.

Cueto twice fanned the lefty-hitting Ohtani by getting the Japanese two-way sensation to flail at change-ups. Cueto also struck out Mike Trout twice.

The Giants right-hander walked two, hit two batters and lowered his ERA in four starts to 0.35.

The Angels were scoreless until Trout hit a two-run homer in the eighth, his big league-leading ninth and his third in as many games. The opposite-field shot to right-center came off Cory Gearrin.

Los Angeles had runners on the corners with two outs in the ninth before Hunter Strickland got Ian Kinsler to fly out to center for his third save in five chances.

Kinsler led off the sixth with a single for the Angels' first hit. Ohtani singled with one out to load the bases, but Cueto got Luis Valbuena to ground into a 3-6-1 double play. Cueto excitedly pumped his right fist after taking the throw from shortstop Brandon Crawford.

Ohtani batted cleanup for the first time because Albert Pujols got his first day off this season. He finished 1 for 4.

Panik also had three hits apiece for the Giants, who took two of three for their first series win of the season.

Barria threw 49 pitches in the first inning. He loaded the bases on three singles with one out before retiring Evan Longoria and Pablo Sandoval.

Barria loaded the bases with no outs in the third before making way for Noe Ramirez. Joe Panik scored on Buster Posey's double-play ball and Evan Longoria followed with a two-run homer, his fourth.

Barria allowed two runs and six hits, struck out one and walked one. He got only six outs on 77 pitches.

The 23-year-old threw a bullpen session some 90 minutes before first pitch and is scheduled to make his next start Tuesday at Houston. A blister on his right middle finger forced him out of his start after just two innings Tuesday night against Boston.

Angels: SS Andrelton Simmons suffered a bruised right forearm when he was hit by a pitch by Cueto in the second. He was replaced in the top of the third by Jefrey Marte.

Giants: RHP Chris Stratton (1-1, 2.22) is scheduled to start Monday night in the opener of a home three-game series with Washington, which counters with LHP Gio Gonzalez (2-1, 2.49).

Angels: LHP Tyler Skaggs (2-1, 3.98) looks to go 3-0 on the road this season when he opens series at Houston versus UCLA product Gerrit Cole (2-0, 0.96).

Photo Credit: Associated Press]]>
<![CDATA[A's Slammed in Loss to Red-Hot Red Sox]]>Fri, 20 Apr 2018 22:48:34 -0700https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/redsoxwin1.jpg

Mitch Moreland hit a grand slam, Jackie Bradley Jr. added a three-run homer and the streaking Boston Red Sox won their eighth in a row, beating the Oakland Athletics 7-3 on Friday night.

Boston kept up the best start in the franchise's 118-year history, improving to a major league-leading 17-2. They've won 17 of 18 since losing to Tampa Bay on opening day.

Hundreds of Boston fans decked in red showed up at the Oakland Coliseum. They saw Moreland hit the fifth grand slam by the Red Sox this season - they didn't hit any last year.

Eduardo Nunez had three hits and scored while Hanley Ramirez singled twice for the Red Sox.

Jed Lowrie matched his career high with four hits for Oakland. Lowrie, who doubled in a run in the first, leads the majors in hits (32) and RBIs (22). The A's had won four in a row.

Moreland homered on the first pitch from reliever Emilio Pagan in the sixth. Mookie Betts, Andrew Benintendi and Ramirez opened the inning with three consecutive singles off starter Kendall Graveman (0-4) before Moreland's towering shot to right.

This is the first time the Red Sox have hit five slams before May 1.

Bradley homered off Graveman in the second inning, his second in four games.

The power surge came by the Red Sox was timely on a night when starter Drew Pomeranz failed to make it out of the fourth inning in his season debut. Activated off the disabled list earlier in the day after recovering from a strained forearm, the left-hander struck out seven but allowed three runs and seven hits in 3 2/3 innings.

Hector Velazquez (3-0) pitched three scoreless innings for the win. Boston also got a lift from Matt Barnes, who retired four batters and struck out pinch-hitter Matt Joyce with the bases loaded to end the seventh.


Red Sox: J.D. Martinez was given a planned day off. Martinez has been Boston's hottest hitter over the past two weeks while going 13 for 22 (.591) with four home runs...LHP Bobby Poyner will make at least one more rehab start before the team decides whether or not to activate him off the DL. Poyner has been out since April 12 with a strained left hamstring. . RHP Marcus Walden was optioned to Triple-A Pawtucket to make room for Pomeranz.

Athletics: RHPs Chris Bassitt and Josh Lucas were recalled from Triple-A Nashville. LHP Daniel Coulombe was optioned down.


Boston's Chris Sale (1-0, 1.23 ERA) faces Sean Manaea (2-2, 1.63 ERA) in matchup of lefties at the Coliseum on Saturday. Sale has yielded three runs and struck out 31 over 22 innings this season. Manaea has been Oakland's most consistent pitcher, allowing two or fewer runs in each of his four starts.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC Bay Area

Photo Credit: NBC Sports Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[All Eyes Will Be on Gruden, Raiders in Season Opener]]>Fri, 20 Apr 2018 09:14:48 -0700https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/183*120/grujonnn.jpg

Recently, new Raiders head coach Jon Gruden was talking about the excitement he feels about being back in football.

“Being back on the grass with a group of guys that have a lot in common, that’s what I missed the most, being on a team,” he told Albert Breer of Sports Illustrated’s Monday Morning Quarterback. “Being back in Oakland is special, and I have a strong responsibility. And I know I have an uphill battle, a lot of people probably doubting me, but I’m gonna do the best I can to do it.”

Not only is he eager to see what he can do with this Raiders team that fell flat at 6-10 in 2017, but the TV networks are, too.

When the Raiders’ 2018 schedule was announced Thursday night, there, in a prime-time slot in Week 1 for “Monday Night Football,” are Gruden and the Raiders. Oakland will take on the Los Angeles Rams in a 7:20 p.m. game at O.co Coliseum.

Raiders fans and football fans across the country will tune in to see how Gruden – away from coaching for so long – will do, and how the Raiders will look in a tough matchup against a Rams team that won the NFC West last season and has added some big-time players this offseason.

It also will be a matchup of Gruden against his former protégé, Rams head coach Sean McVay, who has run an offensive scheme similar to Gruden’s.

The prime-time season opener is one of four night games Oakland will play in 2018.

As Raiders running back Marshawn Lynch said Thursday night, there’s obviously plenty of interest nationally in the Gruden-Raiders story, and TV networks want to jump on it.

“Gruden must’ve cut some side deals,” Lynch said in a video tweeted out by the Raiders. Lynch was discussing the 2018 schedule with quarterback Josh Johnson. “We got a lot of prime-time games, man.”

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Garappolo Puts 49ers Into Prime-Time Spotlight in 2018]]>Fri, 20 Apr 2018 08:37:39 -0700https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/180*120/primetimejim.jpg

When the 49ers’ 2017 regular-season schedule was announced a year ago, San Francisco was slotted to play just one prime-time television game, a Week 3 matchup against the Los Angeles Rams.

That’s what happens when you’re coming off a 2-14 season and have a starting quarterback named Brian Hoyer.

Now, everything is different.

When the 2018 schedule was announced Thursday night, the 49ers were set to play five prime-time games. After winning their final five games of 2017 with new quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo, the Niners suddenly look like a team on the rise, with a quarterback everybody wants to see.

As Matt Barrows of the Sacramento Bee wrote, the 49ers suddenly are “a prime-time darling.”

The 49ers’ first night game will be in Week 6 on the road in Green Bay for an Oct. 15 Monday night matchup with the Packers, followed by prime-time games the next three weeks, against the Rams at home on Sunday night, Oct. 21; in Arizona on Sunday night Oct. 28; and against the cross-bay Oakland Raiders on Thursday night, Nov. 1.

The 49ers are then prime-time players again on Sunday, Dec. 2, against the Seahawks in Seattle.

As Joe Fann of the 49ers website points out, the five prime-time appearances are the most allowed at the time of the schedule release.

So far in his NFL career, Garoppolo has a 7-0 record as a starting quarterback. The NFL schedule makers are banking he’ll continue to dazzle under the lights in 2018.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Blach Outdueled by Greinke as Giants Drop Series to D'backs]]>Thu, 19 Apr 2018 21:53:01 -0700https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/180*120/giants-blach-0419.jpg

PHOENIX — Diamondbacks stars have made a habit of getting healthy against the Giants.

Paul Goldschmidt was 3 for 30 when he arrived in San Francisco last week, but two homers got him untracked and he has been on a tear ever since. Zack Greinke took a 5.29 ERA into Thursday’s series finale but allowed just three hits and one run to an offense that continues to scuffle.

The Giants lost 3-1. They're 2-5 on the road trip and 7-11 on the season. That's no good. Anyway, here's what else you need to know from the final night at Chase Field ...

Pollock burns Blach: Ty Blach struck A.J. Pollock out in their first two matchups but caught too much of the plate with a fastball in the sixth and watched as it sailed deep into the seats in left. Pollock’s fourth homer of the season gave the Diamondbacks a 2-1 lead. It was the first homer allowed by Blach this year.

Belt homers again: Brandon Belt crushed a 429-foot homer off Zack Greinke in the second inning, giving him blasts in back-to-back at-bats. Belt, Joe Panik and Evan Longoria are tied for the team lead with three homers apiece.

Posey struggling: Buster Posey grounded out, struck out and flied out before flaring a single to right in the ninth. He’s just 3 for 23 on the road trip, dropping his average to .288 after a couple of weeks flirting with .400. Posey missed Sunday’s game with a sore right thumb, so perhaps that’s still bothering him.

Jarrod beats Sam: Sam Dyson faced Jarrod Dyson in the bottom of the eighth inning. Jarrod grounded a 2-2 pitch to first for an out. It was kind of anticlimactic, if we're being honest. Sam was sitting 95-96 in a 1-2-3 inning, which is a good sign for a pitcher off to a rough start.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Warriors Keep Rolling, Take 3-0 Series Lead Over Spurs]]>Fri, 20 Apr 2018 00:11:01 -0700https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/klay-warriors-0419.jpg

SAN ANTONIO -- Another strong defensive effort leaves the Warriors one win away from advancing to the second round of the NBA playoffs.

Holding San Antonio to 42.5-percent shooting from the field and getting double-digit scoring from five players, the Warriors beat the Spurs 110-97 in Game 3 Thursday night at AT&T Center.

Kevin Durant put in 26 points to lead all scorers, while Klay Thompson tossed in 19, Shaun Livingston had 16, Quinn Cook 12, and Draymond Green and Andre Iguodala 10 apiece as the Warriors took a 3-0 lead in the best-of-seven series.

The Spurs, playing under assistant coach Ettore Messina in the absence of Gregg Popovich, showed plenty of emotion and scrap but faded down the stretch.

STANDOUT PERFORMER: Durant submitted his third consecutive complete offensive performance, but also had some strong defensive sequences.

Durant’s line: 26 points (9-of-17 shooting from the field, including 1-of-6 from beyond the arc, 7-of-7 from the line), nine rebounds and six assists. He played 34 minutes and finished plus-18.

TURNING POINT: After Dejounte Murray drilled a 3-pointer to pull the Spurs within four, 65-61, with 5:55 left in the third quarter, the Warriors went on a 16-5 run, going up 81-66 on a pair of free throws by Livingston.

The Warriors took an 84-72 lead into the fourth quarter and led by as much 19 before closing it out.

OF NOTE: Popovich was not available due to the death of his wife, Erin, on Wednesday.

INJURY UPDATE: Warriors in-game: Durant left with 4:36 remaining after rolling his left ankle. Livingston left with 4:03 remaining, also after rolling his left ankle.

Warriors pre-game: C JaVale McGee (L quad contusion) was listed as questionable and upgraded to available prior to tipoff. G Stephen Curry (L MCL sprain) and G Pat McCaw (lumbar spine contusion) were listed as out.

Spurs: F Joffrey Lauvergne (personal reasons) and F Kawhi Leonard (return from injury management) were listed as out.

WHAT’S NEXT: Game 4 is scheduled for Sunday at 12:30 PDT. Though the game is an ABC telecast, pregame coverage on NBC Sports Bay Area begins at 11:30, with postgame coverage immediately after the final horn.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Raiders 2018 Schedule Released: Analysis and Predictions]]>Thu, 19 Apr 2018 18:09:08 -0700https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/carrderekap.jpg

Monday, Sept. 10 vs. Los Angeles Rams, 7:20 p.m.

Jon Gruden goes head-to-head against protégé Sean McVay in primetime, in the season opener and on a Monday Night Football telecast Gruden was on for nine seasons. That's must-see TV. 

Prediction: L.

Sunday, Sept. 16, at Denver, 1:25 p.m.

The Broncos might be the AFC West's worst team. The Raiders have to make hay a mile up, a chore made easier with an early-season game. They avoid snow this year. 

Prediction: W.

Sunday, Sept. 23, at Miami, 10:00 a.m.

The Raiders beat the Dolphins in Florida last year. It's hard to say Miami's much better than they were a year ago. This road win's attainable, even in the first of four morning kickoffs.

Prediction: W.

Sunday, Sept. 30, vs. Cleveland, 1:05 p.m.

The Browns should be better, but that remains a game you've got to win. Hue Jackson's return to Oakland adds intrigue to these proceedings.

Prediction: W.

Sunday, Oct. 7, at L.A. Chargers, 1:05 p.m.

The Raiders will have a huge home-field advantage in Carson, as they do each time they play the Chargers in Southern California. That should help against a formidable opponent that has had trouble staying healthy in recent years.

Prediction: L.

Sunday, Oct. 14, vs. Seattle (at London's Tottenham Stadium), 10:00 a.m.
The Raiders won't make their combine their London trip with an East Coast game to make things easier from a travel perspective. Gruden doesn't want to be away from home that long. How the Raiders handle a long flight to the United Kingdom will go a long way in determining a victor.

Prediction: W.


Sunday, Oct. 28, vs. Indianapolis, 1:05 p.m.

The Colts still stink, even if Andrew Luck is back healthy and throwing for this one. These are games (especially at home) the Raiders have to win.

Prediction: W.

Thursday, Nov. 1, at 49ers, 5:20 p.m.
A Thursday night game offers plenty of time to get primed in the parking lot. It also guarantees a traffic mess heading into Levi's Stadium. What could possibly go wrong? This should be a good matchup on the field, with two young quarterbacks leading the charge.

Prediction: L.

Sunday, Nov. 11, vs. Los Angeles Chargers, 1:05 p.m.

The Raiders have lost two of their last three home games to the Chargers. They have to handle business at home, even against a talented squad led by Philip Rivers and Joey Bosa.

Prediction: W.

Sunday, Nov. 18, at Arizona, 1:05 p.m.

The Cardinals are mired in a rebuilding mode, well behind the Raiders at this stage.

Prediction: W.

Sunday, Nov. 25, at Baltimore, 10:00 a.m.

Michael Crabtree will be supremely motivated for this one, after the Raiders essentially exchanged him for Jordy Nelson. He's pretty dangerous in those situations.

Prediction: L.

Sunday, Dec. 2, vs. Kansas City, 1:05 p.m.

The Chiefs will be a great litmus test, to see if the Raiders can handle big-play threats better than they have in recent seasons.

Prediction: L.

Sunday, Dec. 9, vs. Pittsburgh, 5:20 p.m.

The Raiders defense better be ready to go against Le'Veon Bell, Antonio Brown and the Steelers scoring machine in the Oakland Coliseum slate's best matchup. To make matters better, this one's in primetime, on Sunday night. 

Prediction: L.

Sunday, Dec. 16, at Cincinnati, 10:00 a.m.

Defensive coordinator Paul Guenther will go up against the team he helped run recently. Guenther should be an expert on stopping Andy Dalton and the Bengals offense. That will help the Raiders here. 

Prediction: W.

Monday, Dec. 24, vs. Denver, 5:15 p.m.

Marquette King's coming back to Oakland. He's looking forward to this one. So is Bruce Irvin. All this plays out on Monday Night Football, the Raiders' fourth primetime game and third at Oakland Coliseum. 

Prediction: W.

Sunday, Dec. 30,at Kansas City, 10:00 a.m.

Arrowhead Stadium has been a house of horrors for the Raiders in recent seasons. Jack Del Rio could never figure how to play well there. Can Jon Gruden buck that trend?

Prediction: L.

Photo Credit: Scott Bair]]>
<![CDATA[49ers 2018 Schedule Released: Analysis and Predictions]]>Thu, 19 Apr 2018 18:07:46 -0700https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/jimmykirkap.jpg

The 49ers released their full 2018 schedule on Thursday evening. Here's the slate:


Sunday, Sept. 9, at Minnesota, 10 a.m. (FOX)

There was a time when we thought the Vikings’ quarterback would be suiting up for the road team in this matchup. But, thanks to Bill Belichick’s generosity, Jimmy Garoppolo will be wearing the road whites while Kirk Cousins and his talented supporting cast will be decked out in purple. Garoppolo’s undefeated run as a starting quarterback is put to the test in the opening week. And San Francisco newcomer Jerick McKinnon gets an early chance to prove to his former team that he should have been an every-down running back. Prediction: L.


Sunday, Sept. 16, vs. Detroit, 1:05 p.m. (FOX)

First-year Lions head coach Matt Patricia – and the pencil behind his ear – travel to the Bay Area for the organization’s first visit to Levi’s Stadium. Prediction: W.


Sunday, Sept. 23, at Kansas City, 10 a.m. (FOX)

Alex Smith’s five-year run as Kansas City’s starting quarterback came to an end. Arrowhead Stadium is now Patrick Mahomes’ home, and it remains a difficult environment for road teams. Prediction: L.


Sunday, Sept. 30, at L.A. Chargers, 1:25 p.m. (FOX)

Fans of the 49ers travel well. The challenge is on to snap up as many of the 27,000 tickets in the Charges’ temporary home venue as possible. The 49ers will need a lot of help against a talented team that finished last season with a lot of momentum. Prediction: L.


Sunday, Oct. 7, vs. Arizona, 1:25 p.m. (FOX)

The Cardinals have undergone a facelift with the retirements of head coach Bruce Arians and quarterback Carson Palmer. The new crew of coach Steve Wilks and Sam Bradford – or whoever ends up at QB – inherits a six-game head-to-head win streak against the 49ers. Prediction: W.


Monday, Oct. 15, at Green Bay, 5:15 p.m. (ESPN)

Aaron Rodgers did not get any say in Packers personnel matters this offseason, and we’re hearing the NFL schedule-maker did not consult him, either. But he certainly will not complain about this prime-time matchup against the team for which he rooted as a child growing up in Chico. Prediction: L.


Sunday, Oct. 21, vs. L.A. Rams, 5:20 p.m. (NBC)

This could be a pivotal mid-season matchup featuring two franchises that took different approaches during the offseason. The 49ers were measured in free agency, while the Rams played fantasy football. L.A. general manager Les Snead went all-in during the offseason with the additions of cornerback Marcus Peters and Aqib Talib, along with defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh and receiver Brandin Cooks. Prediction: L.


Sunday, Oct. 28, at Arizona, 1:25 p.m. (FOX)

After back-to-back three-point losses in the desert the past couple of seasons, the 49ers will need to take care of business against the Cardinals to be serious contenders for a playoff spot. Prediction: W.


Thursday, Nov. 1, vs. Oakland, 5:20 p.m. (FOX/NFLN)

Levi’s Stadium was built as a two-team facility, just in case the Raiders were interested in moving to the South Bay. In the building’s fifth year, the Vegas-bound Silver and Black finally get a look inside. Facing the 49ers during a short week is ideal for the Raiders, as Jon Gruden and Co. do not have to step on a plane. Kyle Shanahan will match wits against the man who gave him his first NFL job. Shanahan was Gruden’s offensive quality control coach in 2004-’05 with Tampa Bay. Prediction: W.


Monday, Nov. 12, vs. N.Y. Giants, 5:15 p.m. (ESPN)

The 49ers have a short week, followed by a long week. A year ago, the Giants’ trip to Levi’s Stadium resulted in the end of the losing streak of 49ers’ franchise-worst start. C.J. Beathard was under center that day, and Marquise Goodwin provided one of the highlights of the season with an 83-yard touchdown catch just hours after he and his wife lost their baby boy due to complications from pregnancy. Prediction: W.


Bye week


Sunday, Nov. 25, at Tampa Bay, 10 a.m. (FOX)

The 49ers will have to go light on the tryptophan from their Thanksgiving feasts to be ready for the cross-country travel and their matchup against Jameis Winston and the Buccaneers. The 49ers will be making just their second trip to Tampa of the past 14 seasons. Prediction: W.


Sunday, Dec. 2, at Seattle, 5:20 p.m. (NBC)

Is there any doubt Richard Sherman will be a little bit hyped to go back to Seattle with something to prove to Pete Carroll and John Schneider? The “12s” will find out what it’s like when Sherman is not on their team. It’s a different Seattle team, but Russell Wilson is as elusive as ever. Prediction: L.


Sunday, Dec. 9, vs. Denver, 1:05 p.m. (CBS)

These teams are skipping their annual exhibition game in lieu of the regular-season matchup. The Broncos’ last meaningful visit to Levi’s Stadium turned out pretty well – a victory over the Carolina Panthers in Super Bowl 50. Prediction: W.


Sunday, Dec. 16, vs. Seattle, 1:05 p.m. (FOX)

It’s not a rivalry until the 49ers prove they can actually beat the Seahawks, who hold a nine-game head-to-head win streak. (It could be 10 at this point.) The Seahawks’ dominance began in the NFC Championship game in January 2014, when Sherman broke up Colin Kaepernick’s pass and Malcolm Smith got the interception. Now, both Sherman and Smith are wearing the other uniform. Prediction: W.


Sunday, Dec. 23, vs. Chicago, 1:05 p.m. (FOX)

These teams should know each other pretty well. It will be the fifth consecutive season in which the 49ers have played against the NFC North team. The teams have split the previous four meetings, as the 49ers evened the score last season with a 15-14 victory in Garoppolo’s first start with the 49ers. There is no threat of a snow storm or freezing rain in this locale. Prediction: W.


Sunday, Dec. 30, at L.A. Rams, 1:25 p.m. (FOX)

The 49ers have not lost to the Rams in Southern California since 1986. The stakes could be higher this season than we’ve seen in a long, long time as the 49ers could offer the defending NFC West champs their stiffest competition. This could be a huge game – or it could be like a year ago when the Rams rested every significant starter to get ready for the playoffs. Prediction: L.

Photo Credit: Associated Press]]>
<![CDATA[Raiders' Linebacking Corps Needs Upgrade]]>Thu, 19 Apr 2018 09:11:27 -0700https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/180*120/Leemarqquell.jpg

With the 10th selection in next week’s NFL draft, the Raiders should select a linebacker. Well, maybe.

Certainly, the Raiders have plenty of needs and they could go a number of ways when it’s their turn to pluck some first-round talent. But this week, ESPN.com acknowledged what most Raiders fans know, and that’s that the Oakland linebacking corps leaves a lot to be desired. ESPN ranked the Raiders’ core group of linebackers as tied for second worst in the NFL going into the draft that begins April 26.

With the team’s best linebacker of 2017, veteran NaVorro Bowman, still a free agent, the Raiders would go into the 2018 season with Cory James, Marquel Lee and Tahir Whitehead as its top trio, with Bruce Irvin ticketed for more play on the line of scrimmage.

ESPN notes that Whitehead, a starter for the Detroit Lions the past four seasons and has been just so-so. And Will Reeve Jr. of Raiders Wire this week added that Lee was disappointing as a rookie and James has struggled in pass coverage.

ESPN’s bottom line: “Finding a player who can play in coverage and stop the run would significantly elevate the group.”

Of course, there’s still plenty of time this offseason to go into Game 1 in September with a revamped cast. Bowman could re-sign with Oakland and the Raiders could heed the warning signs and take one of the top linebackers available, such as Roquan Smith of Georgia, Tremaine Edmunds of Virginia Tech or Leighton Vander Esch of Boise State. Any of those three would give new head coach Jon Gruden an athletic, playmaking linebacker that could change the way Oakland performs under new coordinator Paul Guenther.

It seems, too, that Raiders general manager Reggie McKenzie could bring Bowman back, too. His leadership and experience alongside a talented rookie would be a nice pairing.

Recently, McKenzie said of Bowman: “We haven’t been able to work out a deal, but that doesn’t mean we don’t want him. We really do.”

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Niners, Patriots Could be First-Round Trading Partners]]>Thu, 19 Apr 2018 08:09:00 -0700https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/180*120/joshrostopats.jpg

Reports this week out of New England indicate the Patriots may be interested in drafting a quarterback to start grooming as the heir to Tom Brady. And, the one they have in mind is UCLA’s Josh Rosen.

The Patriots, however, don’t have a pick in the first round until No. 23, by which point Rosen will be long gone, as will the other top-graded quarterbacks, Sam Darnold of USC, Josh Allen of Wyoming and Baker Mayfield of Oklahoma.

That’s where the 49ers would come in.

Mike Florio of NBC’s Pro Football Talk is writing that the 49ers and Patriots could make a deal involving a quarterback for the second time in less than a year. Last year, the Patriots traded Jimmy Garoppolo to the Niners. Next week, the 49ers could deal their ninth-overall pick to the Pats for their 23rd overall choice and, perhaps, their other Round 1 pick at No. 31.

That would give the Patriots the quarterback they need to eventually step in for Brady to keep their dynasty rolling, while San Francisco GM John Lynch gets two first-round choices. Writes Florio: “It makes too much sense for the 49ers and Patriots to do another quarterback-driven deal.”

Doug Kyed of the New England Sports Network also believes it’s a likely scenario, especially since Brady has not yet committed publicly to playing in 2018 or 2019.

“If Rosen is available at No. 9 overall, could they (the Pats) swing a deal with the San Francisco 49ers to move up for Rosen?" wrote Kyed. "The draft trade value chart says it would take either the Patriots’ No. 23 overall pick and the 31st overall pick, or Nos. 23, 43 and 95 to move up. The 49ers may owe the Patriots a favor anyway after acquiring … Garoppolo for just a second-round pick. Either scenario seems worthwhile for a quarterback deemed by some as the most talented passer in the draft.”

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Belt Homers in 10th to Lift Giants Over Diamondbacks]]>Wed, 18 Apr 2018 23:28:44 -0700https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/180*120/giants-dbacks-0418.jpg

PHOENIX — A fan behind the visiting dugout at Chase Field decided to make Brandon Belt his target in the 10th. He heckled Belt mercilessly as the first baseman battled with Brad Boxberger, and with only a few hundred fans left in the stands, it was clear what he was saying. When the at-bat was over, the fan was silent.

Belt hit a towering two-run shot to right in the top of the 10th and the Giants held on for a 4-3 win. The homer was the 100th of Belt's career.

Hunter Strickland had blown a one-run lead in the ninth and Cory Gearrin loaded the bases and allowed a run in the 10th, but he held on. The win snapped a four-game losing streak and made sure Chris Stratton’s effort did not go to waste. Here’s what else you need to know…

Stratton's finest outing: — Stratton had never pitched more than 6 2/3 innings in a big league start until going seven shutout on Thursday in San Diego. He matched that Wednesday, lowering his ERA to 2.22 this season. Stratton struck out eight and scattered six hits.

Stratton bests Goldy: — Stratton had two impressive moments against Paul Goldschmidt. On a 3-2 count in the first, he froze the slugger with one of his trademark curveballs. Goldschmidt appeared to be looking for the curve on the same count in the fourth, and this time Stratton threw a 92 mph fastball on the inside corner. Goldschmidt again froze for strike three.

Longo ends Giants' drought: Evan Longoria snapped a 21-inning scoreless streak with a towering two-run homer to left-center in the sixth. He has multiple hits in four of his last five games and, after a very slow start to the season, is tied with Joe Panik for the team lead in homers (3).

Problems for Pence: Hunter Pence misjudged a liner to left in the sixth, dropping it for a two-base error. Stratton got out of the jam, but still, it was another rough night for Pence. He was hitless in five at-bats, striking out twice. Pence’s average dropped to .172. It seems past time for the Giants to treat this with some urgency.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Sharks Sweep Ducks in First-Round Playoff Series]]>Tue, 24 Apr 2018 06:51:33 -0700https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/178*120/sharks-ducks-0418.jpg

The Sharks swept the Anaheim Ducks out of the first round, and advanced to the second thanks to a 2-1 win Wednesday night.

Martin Jones made 30 saves, and Tomas Hertl scored the series-clincher with 10:51 left in the third period to seal the second sweep in franchise history, and San Jose’s first-ever series victory against Anaheim.

San Jose scored the game’s first goal for the third time in the series. Sorensen opened the scoring 5:43 in to the game, lifting his own rebound over a sprawling John Gibson for his third goal of the playoffs. Anaheim captain Ryan Getzlaf waved helplessly at the puck on its path to the back of the net, but could only redirect it across the goal line.

Gibson only faced eight shots over the next 35 minutes, after the Sharks peppered him with six prior to Sorensen’s goal. The game shifted decidedly in the Ducks’ favor following that goal, but Martin Jones stood in their way for the fourth straight game.

Rickard Rakell appeared to tie the game for Anaheim early in the third period on a power play, but the goal was overturned after Peter DeBoer correctly challenged the play as offside. The officials overturned it, and San Jose killed the penalty without incident.

The Sharks killed another penalty in the third period, but Andrew Cogliano tied the game for the Ducks at even strength. with 12:07 remaining in regulation. The tie lasted 76 seconds.

Tomas Hertl tipped Marc-Edouard Vlasic’s point shot past Gibson, and sent SAP Center into a frenzy. San Jose took a lead it would not relinquish.

Anaheim challenged Jones with just three shots in the final 10 minutes and change. The Ducks pulled Gibson with less than two minutes remaining, but couldn't enter the Sharks’ zone.

San Jose tried for an empty-netter, but effectively ran out the clock and, ultimately, the series.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[A's Rally, Win 14-Inning Marathon With Olson Walkoff Hit]]>Wed, 18 Apr 2018 18:43:01 -0700https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/187*120/as-whitesox-0418.jpg

The A's were down 6-1 and 9-4 during Wednesday's game, but rallied to force extra innings and pulled out the thrilling win in the 14th inning.

Matt Olson delivered the walk-off hit with the bases loaded in the bottom of the 14th to give the A's a 12-11 win. The game lasted 5 hours and 48 minutes.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[A's Dominate White Sox on 50th Anniversary in Oakland]]>Tue, 17 Apr 2018 23:57:54 -0700https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/176*120/as-whitesox-0417.jpg

Jed Lowrie marked his 34th birthday with a go-ahead home run in a five-run first inning, Trevor Cahill pitched seven scoreless innings in his season debut and the Oakland Athletics beat the Chicago White Sox 10-2 Tuesday night on the 50th anniversary of the A's first game at the Coliseum.

Stephen Piscotty and Jonathan Lucroy drove in three runs apiece, and Mark Canha added three hits and two RBIs. Oakland extended its winning streak to three with its first series win this season.

The game was played exactly 50 years after the A's debut at the Coliseum following their move from Kansas City, and it attracted a crowd of 46,028. Admission and parking were free, and players from both teams wore 1968 replica uniforms. The atmosphere was markedly different from a night earlier, when the announced attendance was 7,479 and the actual crowd appeared to be half that.

Cahill (1-0) signed in mid-March, made a pair of starts in the minor leagues and was brought up Tuesday for his first big league start since Aug. 9. He gave up five hits, struck out eight and walked two.

Now 30, the right-hander was a second-round draft pick of the A's in 2006 and spent his first three big league seasons in Oakland. He split time with Kansas City and San Diego last year and ended the season as a Royals reliever.

Yoan Moncada homered for Chicago, which has lost seven of eight.

Lowrie hit a two-out solo homer off Miguel Gonzalez (0-3), Lowrie's first home run in Oakland this season. He is batting .351 and leads the AL with 26 hits and 18 RBIs.

Canha hit a bases-loaded, two-run bloop single and Piscotty had a two-run double.

Lucroy added a two-run single in the fourth and an RBI single in the seventh.

Gonzalez gave up eight runs and eight hits in three innings, raising his ERA to 12.41.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Cueto Throws Gem, But Giants One-Hit by D'backs' Corbin]]>Tue, 17 Apr 2018 21:02:13 -0700https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/180*120/giants-dbacks-0417.jpg

The Giants did not get no-hit on Tuesday. So there was that.

But the scuffling lineup did hit a new low on the first night back in Arizona, managing just one hit in a 1-0 shutout loss to Patrick Corbin and the Diamondbacks. Corbin, a left-hander on a heater, needed just 100 pitches and took a no-hitter into the eighth.

Corbin had thrown just 73 pitches through seven, and the eighth opened with a lazy flyout from Pablo Sandoval. Hunter Pence was late on a fastball for the second out, but Brandon Belt ended any shot of history with a check-swing infield single that beat the shift.

In the bottom of the inning, a walk, sacrifice bunt and single gave the Diamondbacks the night’s first lead.

Here’s what else you need to know from a night that could have been more embarrassing…

Corbin's command: Corbin mixed a 92 mph fastball with a dominant slider and curveball that he occasionally floated up there at 65 mph. The Giants had no chance, and they didn’t even really make Corbin sweat. A walk of Joe Panik in the fourth was his only blip as he got through five no-hit innings on just 49 pitches. The Giants saw just 11 pitches in the sixth and 13 in the seventh.

Belt beats the shift: Belt was faced with an interesting dilemma. With two down in the eighth, the Diamondbacks had their shift on in a scoreless game. He would have been within his rights to bunt for a hit, although he surely would have caught hell from the “unwritten rules” crowd. Instead, he hit a roller and beat the throw to first. The ball had an exit velocity of just 48 mph and a hit probability of 12 percent.

Cueto's ankle tested: Johnny Cueto missed his last start because of a sprained left ankle, and he was tested twice early on. Daniel Descalso hit a pop-up down the third base line in the second and Cueto was the closest Giant because a shift was on. He sprinted 72 feet to make the catch. An inning later, speedy Jarrod Dyson hit a slow roller down the other line and Cueto scooped it up and tagged Dyson as he approached first. He appeared to be walking just fine after both plays.

How's that for a change? Cueto’s changeup is one of the best in the game when he’s on, and he certainly had it working. He threw 28 of them and got 11 swinging strikes. In all, he had 11 strikeouts, tying his high as a Giant.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Raiders Take a Good Look at Speedy Cornerback]]>Tue, 17 Apr 2018 08:38:35 -0700https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/180*120/cbParry.jpg

Parry Nickerson won’t be a first-round pick when the NFL draft begins on April 26.

The Tulane cornerback is projected by most as a mid-round selection, so the Raiders are likely to make two or three picks before Nickerson’s name is announced on Day 2 or 3 of the selection process. Lance Zierlein of NFL.com projects Nickerson to go in the third or fourth round.

But Nickerson visited the Raiders Monday, to meet with general manager Reggie McKenzie and others, reported Ian Rapoport of NFL.com, and some see Nickerson as a potentially good fit in the Oakland secondary.

Nickerson isn’t big at 5-foot-10 and 180 pounds, but he tied for the fastest time of any player at this year’s NFL combine, running the 40-yard dash in 4.32 seconds. He could be a candidate for the Raiders in the middle rounds and compete for a job as the team’s slot corner as a rookie.

Nickerson not only is fast, but productive. At Tulane, Nickerson had 10 interceptions over his final two seasons and 12 passes defensed while allowing NFL passer ratings of just 32.5 (2016) and 41.0 (2017) on throws to his receivers.

The Raiders go into 2018 with Gareon Conley and Rashaan Melvin expected to be the top two cornerbacks, but the Raiders need more depth and competition during training camp, and Nickerson could provide a player with big upside. Zierlein’s scouting report on Nickerson lauds his ball skills, speed and gritty playing style, as well as his toughness, and indicates Nickerson could be a “nickel cornerback early in his career.”

Recently, at Tulane’s pro day for NFL scouts, Nickerson said he’s confident he can play in the NFL and make an impact after watching other top-notch cornerbacks at the combine.

“I know I can do similar than not better than those guys,” he told the New Orleans Advocate. “I want to go in the first three rounds, but it doesn’t matter as long as I get my foot in the door. I’m going to do the rest.”

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Niners Give Joe Staley a Raise ]]>Tue, 17 Apr 2018 07:56:54 -0700https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/180*120/joenudiehl.jpg

In 2017, 49ers’ left tackle Joe Staley had a fine season. The 33-year-old was ranked by the analytic website Pro Football Focus as the No. 2 offensive tackle in the NFL, and Staley was the unquestioned leader of a line that helped protect quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo during San Francisco’s five-game winning streak to close the season.

Now the 49ers have rewarded Staley with a reworked contract that shows their faith in him and is an indication how important he is to the team’s growth over the next two seasons.

Matt Barrows of the Sacramento Bee reported Tuesday that the Niners have altered the final two years of Staley’s contract to give him a big pay boost. Staley was due to make $4.8 million in each of the final two years of his deal (2018 and 2019), reports Barrows, but will get $6.5 million more over those years. Staley can now earn as much as $17.4 million over the next two seasons, including bonuses, according to Barrows.

It’s a big turnaround for both the 49ers and Staley.

Last October, there was speculation the 49ers were listening to trade offers for their left tackle. As the trade deadline approached, the 49ers were 0-7 with little hope that a turnaround was near. The team already had released another longtime prime performer in linebacker NaVorro Bowman, and Staley was seen as a great-value trading chip.

Head coach Kyle Shanahan, however, didn’t have his heart in it. Even in the short time he’d been with the 49ers, Shanahan said he’d come to value Staley’s contributions.

“Joe is a guy that I definitely want here and definitely a guy I wouldn’t want to lose by any means,” Shanahan told reporters. “(But) if anybody called for any one of our players, it’s not like you just hang up the phone. If people want to offer the world, you’ve always got to listen.”

Soon after, however, the 49ers had a new quarterback in Garoppolo. When Garoppolo was given the starting job, the 49ers took off – and Staley became enthusiastic about staying with the only team he’s played for. After some down years, Staley was re-energized.

Said Staley: “The energy is back in the building.”

Now Staley will stay in that building – and on the left side of the offensive line – for at least two more years.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Mengden Shuts Down White Sox, Olson Homers as A's Win 8-1]]>Mon, 16 Apr 2018 22:46:57 -0700https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/mengden-whitesox-ap.jpg


OAKLAND -- Daniel Mengden carried a shutout into the ninth inning in his best start of the season and the Oakland Athletics beat the Chicago White Sox 8-1 before another sparse crowd at the Coliseum on Monday night.

Matt Olson homered, Jed Lowrie drove in three runs and Stephen Piscotty had two hits and an RBI for the A's.

Oakland has won consecutive games for the first time this season.

It was Chicago's first game since it won in Minnesota on Thursday. The final three games of that series were postponed by snow.

Mengden (2-2) had allowed three earned runs or more in each of his first three starts but was dominant against Chicago. The right-hander struck out six, walked one and retired 18 of 20 before leaving after giving up Jose Abreu's leadoff home run in the ninth. That was just Chicago's sixth hit.

Olson homered on starter Reynaldo Lopez's first pitch off the fourth. That ended a career-high tying 0-for-12 slump for the A's first baseman.

Lowrie had an RBI groundout in the seventh and a two-run single in the eighth.

The A's also made a pair of defensive gems.

Center fielder Mark Canha made a diving catch on Abreu's sinking liner to end the third. An inning earlier, the A's turned a 5-3-6 double play.

The game was played before an announced crowd of 7,479, the second smallest of the season at the Coliseum. It was the fourth time this year the A's have attracted fewer than 10,000, although it didn't help that the defending NBA champion Golden State Warriors were playing Game 2 of their Western Conference playoff series against the San Antonio Spurs at the same time next door at Oracle Arena.

Tuesday's game should attract a much larger crowd because tickets are free. Vouchers were previously given out online, and no walkups are available.

Lopez (0-2) yielded four hits and two runs over six innings.

The White Sox committed four errors and have lost seven of eight.

White Sox: C Welington Castillo was back behind the plate after sitting out two games with right knee soreness. ... Kevan Smith began a rehab assignment with Triple-A Charlotte.

Athletics: OF Chad Pinder was reinstated from the disabled list. ... 2B Franklin Barreto was optioned to Triple-A Nashville.

White Sox: RHP Miguel Gonzalez (0-2, 8.68 ERA) starts Tuesday night seeking his first win in seven career starts against Oakland.

Athletics: RHP Trevor Cahill (0-0, 0.00 ERA) is expected to be called up from Triple-A Nashville to make his season debut. Cahill spent his first three major league seasons in Oakland from 2009-11.

Photo Credit: Associated Press]]>
<![CDATA[Warriors Shift Gears in 2nd Half to Rout Spurs in Game 2]]>Mon, 16 Apr 2018 22:40:01 -0700https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/172*120/warriors-spurs-0416.jpg

OAKLAND -- Digging themselves into a hole with a sloppy first half, the Warriors climbed out after halftime and rolled to a 116-101 win over the Spurs in Game 2 of their first-round series Monday night at Oracle Arena.

The victory gives the Warriors a 2-0 lead in the best-of-seven series.

Kevin Durant scored 32 points and Klay Thompson had 31 to lead the offense. Andre Iguodala totaled 14 points, while David West and JaVale McGee each had 10.

For the second consecutive game, the Warriors relied on tight defense, holding San Antonio to 41.2-percent shooting and offsetting their 15 turnovers, 11 of which came in the first half.

STANDOUT PERFORMER: Thompson closed it out and Durant made big buckets, particularly during the pivotal third quarter.

Durant’s line: 32 points (10-of-19 shooting from the field, including 3-of-9 beyond the arc, 9-of-10 from the line), six rebounds and six assists. He played 39 minutes and finished plus-12. He scored 11 points in the third quarter, including 3-of-3 shooting from deep.

Thompson’s line: 31 points (12-of-20 shooting, 5-of-8 from deep, 2-of-2 from the line) and five assists. He played 39 minutes and finished plus-16. He scored 16 points in the fourth as the Warriors pulled away.

TURNING POINT: Trailing 53-47 at the half, the Warriors came out in the third quarter and immediately went on a 19-5 run, taking a 66-58 lead on a pair of Durant free throws with 6:36 left in the quarter.

The outscored San Antonio 33-22 in the quarter -- holding the Spurs to 37.7-percent shooting from the field -- and took an 80-75 lead into the fourth.

The Warriors pulled away in the final quarter, leading by as much as 19.

INJURY UPDATE: Warriors in-game: C David West left with 9:59 remaining in the game after rolling his ankle. He was diagnosed with a sprain and did not return, though the team announced he was available if needed.

Warriors pregame: F Andre Iguodala (L thigh contusion) was listed as probable and upgraded to available after morning shootaround. G Stephen Curry (L MCL sprain) and G Pat McCaw (lumbar spine contusion) were listed as out.

Spurs: F Kawhi Leonard (return from injury management) was listed as out.

WHAT’S NEXT: Game 3 is scheduled for Thursday in San Antonio. Coverage on NBC Sports Bay Area begins at 5 o’clock. Tipoff from AT&T Center is scheduled for 6:35.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>