Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Sanchez ends D-backs win streak

By Anthony Fenech / MLB.com | 05/31/11

PHOENIX -- D-backs manager Kirk Gibson likes to keep his team humble.

But on Tuesday night, it was Marlins starting pitcher Anibal Sanchez who humbled them in a 5-2 defeat at Chase Field, snapping the team's seven-game win streak.

On the mound, Sanchez threw eight innings, allowing two runs on six hits while striking out eight, as he picked up his fifth victory of the season in dominant fashion.

And at the plate, he drove in a pair of runs on groundouts.

"We ran into a very good pitcher tonight on the other side," Gibson said. "He pitched a heck of a game. You have to tip your cap to him."

One day removed from an offensive outburst, scoring 15 runs on 19 hits in a Memorial Day victory, the D-backs were limited to two opportunities with multiple runners on base.

"He dealt with those situations well," Gibson said, noting the 27-year-old right-hander's ability to change his pitch sequence throughout the game.

Added Kelly Johnson, who struck out and hit a solo home run in the eighth: "I haven't seen something like that in a while, just in terms of being so off-balance. I never felt comfortable."

Johnson's home run and a solo shot from Justin Upton in the first inning accounted for all of Arizona's offense on the night.

D-backs starter Ian Kennedy, winner of his past three decisions coming in, never found a groove, was touched up in the fourth inning and only lasted five innings.

"It's frustrating," Kennedy said. "You want to continue the streak, but it wasn't my night and it falls on me."

Kennedy allowed three runs, struck out four and walked three. He threw two wild pitches and hit a batter.

"I wasn't throwing strikes with anything," he said. "I beat myself, that's what I feel like."

Leading 1-0 in the fourth, Kennedy allowed a single to Greg Dobbs and a double to Mike Stanton, and then walked John Buck.

With the bases loaded, he allowed a full-count walk to Emilio Bonifacio to tie the game, followed by an RBI groundout to shortstop from Sanchez for a 2-1 Marlins lead.

"They did a good job of working him," Gibson said. "They got his pitch count up, extended him in the second, third and fourth innings and he maybe wasn't as sharp as he has been in the past."

Kennedy's five innings pitched were his fewest since throwing three innings on April 13 against the Cardinals, and the loss snapped his career-high five-game win streak.

In the fifth, Logan Morrison led off with an opposite-field home run. In the sixth, Sanchez drove in his second run of the game with a groundout to third base and Gaby Sanchez hit his ninth home run of the season to left field in the seventh.

"You have to give the Marlins credit," Gibson said. "They made the most of their opportunities and got five runs on the board."

Said Morrison: "You can never have enough runs in this ballpark. Those guys are young and strong and they just keep coming at you."

The Marlins victory snaps a two-game losing streak where they were outscored 23-4 and outhit 36-6.

Xavier Nady's pinch-hit flyout to left with two outs and two men on in the seventh ended the D-backs' final threat for a comeback.

Both Upton and Johnson have homered in consecutive games and Johnson is riding a season-high seven-game hitting streak.

"It's just hitting the ball hard and where it goes, it goes," Johnson said. "That's the way it goes sometimes."

Sanchez picked up his fourth consecutive victory, five days after shutting out the Giants in San Francisco.

"I've always thought he was good," Johnson said. "But tonight was special, I'll say that."

Marlins closer Leo Nunez took over for Sanchez and notched his NL-leading 19th save with a flawless ninth inning.

Arizona remains in sole possession of first place in the NL West, a half-game ahead of San Francisco.

"They'll come back tomorrow," Gibson said of his team. "We've been on an exceptional run."

D-backs put in work during live bunting practice

By Anthony Fenech / MLB.com | 05/31/11

PHOENIX -- D-backs manager Kirk Gibson promised the team would get back to basics.

That the team, despite a seven-game winning streak and 15 victories in its last 17 tries, would work on fundamentals upon returning to Chase Field.

On Tuesday, the pitchers did just that, as the team called on a pair of Minor League pitchers to throw four innings of live bunting practice.

"It's something we want to continue to get better at," Gibson said. "We work on it virtually every day off of a coach, but it's not [as] comfortable against those Minor Leaguers."

The pitchers worked on situational bunting, from sacrifices to squeezes, with men on base and without.

During the drill, rookie starting pitcher Josh Collmenter was hit on the hand from a left-handed Minor League reliever, but Gibson said it was nothing serious.

"It's a risk you take," Gibson said. "You have to get into it; you're in a game, you have to get your rear end into it, you have to get turned around and get your chin behind the bat and simulate it.

"Because we need to execute those situations. Obviously, calling a squeeze, I have to be confident they can do it and they have to feel confident in themselves."

Roberts back in lineup for D-backs

By Anthony Fenech / MLB.com | 05/31/11

PHOENIX -- After a day off on Monday, Ryan Roberts was back in the D-backs lineup on Tuesday, hitting leadoff and playing third base.

"Physically, it helps 100 percent," Roberts said of his day off. "Mentally, maybe 30 percent because you stay in tune with the game and watch how it develops."

Roberts has played in 44 games this season. The 30-year-old is hitting .280 in 143 at-bats, scoring 29 runs and has played four different positions for the D-backs.

"I feel good," he said. "You never hope for a day off. You always want to be in the lineup, but when they come it's good to take your rest and let your body rest."

Roberts said he doesn't care where he's playing and only worries that he is playing.

"Any position is good," he said. "I've played a lot of positions over the years, so just getting on the field is my goal."

In parts of six Major League seasons, Roberts has played five positions: shortstop, second base, third base, right field and left field.

Duke set to start on Thursday

By Anthony Fenech / MLB.com | 05/31/11

PHOENIX -- D-backs manager Kirk Gibson said on Tuesday that Zach Duke will make his second start of the year against the Nationals on Thursday.

Duke, a 28-year-old left-hander, made his team debut on Saturday against the Astros, after missing more than two months with a hand injury.

He threw seven innings of shutout baseball, striking out four and walking one. He allowed three hits on 99 pitches.

He did work at the plate as well, bashing his first career home run, a three-run shot off of Astros starter Bud Norris in the fourth inning.

Gibson said after Monday night's victory over the Marlins that he would decide Thursday's starter after the game.

Duke was acquired in an offseason trade with the Pirates.

In six career starts against Washington, he is 2-2 with a 5.19 ERA.

Monday, May 30, 2011

Homecoming kings: Upton, Johnson lead rout

By Anthony Fenech / MLB.com | 05/30/11

PHOENIX -- After a weeklong road trip, the D-backs were happy to be home.

Just how happy, the Marlins found out the hard way.

Powered by a season-high five home runs and a career-high four extra-base hits from Kelly Johnson, the D-backs blasted the Marlins, 15-4, in front of 23,465 at Chase Field on Monday night.

"I expected they would be happy to be home," said Arizona manager Kirk Gibson.

And they were -- none more than Johnson, who homered twice and fell a single short of his second career cycle, and Justin Upton, who was a perfect 5-for-5 at the plate.

"We love coming home and we love hitting in this park," Upton said. "We came out and jumped on them early, and the bats came alive."

The D-backs have won seven straight games, 15 of their past 17 and lead the National League West by a half-game over the Giants.

"We feel good about ourselves and we've played good at home," Gibson said. "We have some momentum going for us and we're on a little run right now."

This particular run started with a Gerardo Parra solo home run to left -- the first of four opposite-field blasts by D-backs left-handers -- with Arizona trailing 2-0 in the third inning. Johnson repeated the feat two batters later before four straight two-out singles scored two runners and gave the D-backs a lead they would not relinquish.

Starting pitcher Joe Saunders picked up his second win of the season, going six innings and allowing four runs on seven hits while striking out seven.

"It was a battle out there for me right from the first inning," said Saunders, who worked out of a bases-loaded, no-out first-inning jam.

"I didn't have my best stuff, but like I've preached all year, you just gotta keep the team as close as possible and we came up with some huge hits tonight."

Saunders was lifted after 93 pitches. He walked none.

"He did a good job of getting out of [the jam]," Gibson said. "He kept us in the game."

Beginning in the third inning, the D-backs scored in five straight frames, bookended with four-run outbursts.

In the sixth, Johnson smacked his second home run of the game before Upton and Stephen Drew singled back-to-back and advanced on a double-steal, which scored Upton after Marlins reliever Joe Webb threw a pickoff attempt down the left-field line.

With Drew on third, Chris Young walked and a batter later, Miguel Montero hit a 2-2 pitch into the left-field seats for an 11-4 D-backs lead.

Arizona strung together four consecutive hits to start the seventh, highlighted by an RBI triple from Johnson and Upton's 10th home run of the season -- in massive fashion -- launching an 0-1 offering from Mike Dunn into the upper deck in left.

"I got some good pitches to hit tonight and didn't miss them," Upton said.

Johnson batted in the eighth a single shy of hitting for the cycle, but he struck out swinging on a fastball against Marlins closer Leo Nunez.

"He's one of the best in the game," Johnson said. "It's not ever an easy at-bat. I was looking for something in the zone but was also respecting his changeup. He just went fastball in and it was tough to face."

The second baseman has hit safely in six straight games, is hitting .333 (18-for-54) in his past 13 games and has five home runs in his past nine.

"I feel real good," he said. "I hit some balls hard and got some good pitches to hit. When that happens, it's nice."

Johnson tied a career-high with four hits and became only the second player in the Major Leagues with four extra-base hits this season. Upton's five hits also tied a career-high, and the right fielder recorded his team-leading 15th multi-hit game.

Demel feeling better while rehabbing shoulder

By Anthony Fenech / MLB.com | 05/30/11

PHOENIX -- D-backs reliever Sam Demel is progressing in his rehab from shoulder tendinitis that sent him to the 15-day disabled list six days ago.

"I'm feeling good," he said. "But it all depends on the arm."

Demel, a 25-year-old right-hander, has undergone five days of rehab since being shelved, mostly concentrating on soft tissue and rotator cuff work, while keeping his lower body in shape.

D-backs manager Kirk Gibson said during the last road trip that he expected Demel to be out longer than the minimum stay on the DL.

"He's good, in there working out," Gibson said. "He'll throw a bullpen session around Saturday and we'll go from that point. It will be his first time on the mound and he'll throw on flat ground until then."

Demel said Monday was his second time throwing since the injury, and that he was feeling better.

"It's all about the arm," he said. "Hopefully I'll be back sooner rather than later."

In 21 appearances this season, Demel has a 1.72 ERA in 15 2/3 innings pitched. He has not allowed an earned run since April 11 against the Cardinals.

Gibson very appreciative on Memorial Day

By Anthony Fenech / MLB.com | 05/30/11

PHOENIX -- Memorial Day hits home for D-backs manager Kirk Gibson.

"I grew up in a very traditional household and a very patriotic household," Gibson said. "I think I understand the importance of people who fight for our freedom in the past and to this day."

Gibson's father, Robert, was on the USS Missouri in September 1945 when the U.S. and Japan signed a peace treaty that officially ended World War II.

The D-backs commemorated the holiday by honoring the military and those who died while in military service prior to Monday's game against the Marlins.

Staff Sgt. Denisse Weltha was awarded as the recipient of the Grand Canyon University American Hero Award, Cpl. Jerry Johs was awarded the American Patriot Program's Operation Fields of Green Award and U.S. Army officer Steve Martin threw out the ceremonial first pitch.

"I'm very appreciative of it," Gibson said. "They need to be recognized. I know I stand there for the national anthem every day, and look at the flag and support those people that risk their lives for us everyday so we can do what we do.

"I'm humbled by the whole thing, and they're very courageous people."

Gibson, Trammell certainly on same page

By Anthony Fenech / MLB.com | 05/30/11

PHOENIX -- The pressure was off D-backs manager Kirk Gibson as he sat in his office in the top of the seventh inning Sunday, a few innings after being ejected by home-plate umpire D.J. Reyburn.

There was one out, Henry Blanco was on first base and pinch-hitter Sean Burroughs was at the plate with the D-backs trailing by a run.

"I was just sitting there playing manager, no pressure on me now," Gibson said. "And thought it was a good time to hit-and-run."

Bench coach Alan Trammell thought the same and put the play in effect.

"That's how scary it is," Gibson said about the communication between him and Trammell.

An inning later, with first baseman Xavier Nady due up with two outs and the tying run on second base, Trammell stuck with the veteran.

"It was a no-brainer," Gibson said. "I wouldn't have even considered taking him out, because part of the way I want to develop this team is that I want everybody to be involved."

Nady doubled, scoring Ryan Roberts and Chris Young, and the D-backs took the lead and claimed a 4-2 victory over the Astros.

"We communicate well," Gibson said. "Things are kind of clicking right now -- the trick is to keep them that way."

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Hudson, D-Backs complete sweep of Twins

By Anthony Fenech / MLB.com | 05/22/11

PHOENIX -- A week ago in Los Angeles, D-Backs manager Kirk Gibson talked about his team losing six straight one-run games.

"My thought is that we lost six one-run games and everybody's feeling pitiful about it," he said. "My thinking is, well, we're going to win the next six."

A week later, and Gibson's words have proved true.

Propelled by eight strong innings from starting pitcher Daniel Hudson, the D-Backs beat the Twins 3-2 on Sunday in front of 31,017 at Chase Field, climbing back to the .500 mark and earning the franchise's first six-game winning streak since April 2008.

"We want to keep climbing," Gibson said. "We're fortunate to win six in a row but we have to be much better than that."

Ryan Roberts' sacrifice fly in the seventh inning scored Willie Bloomquist, Hudson held the Twins following a leadoff single in the eighth and J.J. Putz breezed through the ninth for his 12th save in as many chances.

The win was the team's third one-run victory of the seven-game home stand.

After Delmon Young's first home run of the year tied the game in the top half of the inning, Bloomquist led off the seventh with a double to left-center, advancing to third on an error by Ben Revere.

Roberts drove in the game-winning run a batter later, on a deep fly ball to center field that Revere juggled on the run before catching.

"It's been somebody new every night it seems like," Bloomquist said. "Somebody's making a big pitch or getting a big hit or making a big play. It was a good homestand and a great way to bounce back after a not-so-great road trip."

Hudson earned his second consecutive victory and fifth in his past six starts, allowing two runs on eight hits. He struck out six and walked none.

"It was my game," Hudson said he told Gibson. "I didn't want any of those guys to take it from me."

The right-hander threw 113 pitches and surpassed the 110-pitch mark for the third consecutive outing.

"He was in control," said Gibson. "I went over and talked to him and he said he wanted it, that it was his game. If you look at that last inning, his velocity picked up and he laid it all out there today and got rewarded."

After Juan Miranda homered to right-center field to break a scoreless tie in the fourth, Hudson helped his own cause by singling home Xavier Nady four batters later to give Arizona a 2-0 lead.

Hudson's counterpart Francisco Liriano contributed at the plate an inning later, on an RBI groundout to second base that scored Young to make the score 2-1.

Liriano pitched six innings and allowed two runs on six hits. He struck out four and walked four. The Twins are now 14 ½ games back in the A.L. Central.

"Unfortunately we didn't put too many good swings together," manager Ron Gardenhire said.

Miranda's fourth-inning home run marked his third consecutive game with an RBI, but he was plunked on the hand by reliever Alex Burnett in the eighth inning and was removed from the game.

"It's not broke," Gibson said, noting that he'll be re-evaluated when the team arrives in Colorado on Monday.

Speaking through teammate Miguel Montero, Miranda said the injury was nothing serious.

With the win, the D-Backs stand in third place, four games behind the first-place Giants and a half-game behind the Rockies in the N.L. West.

The team opens a seven-game road trip with a doubleheader against the Rockies on Tuesday.

"It doesn't get easy," Gibson said. "But you have to cherish the opportunity."

Fans poured out to Chase Field on Saturday

By Anthony Fenech / MLB.com | 05/22/11

PHOENIX -- D-Backs manager Kirk Gibson expects his team to play hard, regardless of the number of fans in attendance.

"If there's nobody in here or 40,000 in here, we need to come with the same intensity every day," Gibson said.

But, he admits: "It's a lot nicer when there's more people."

On Saturday, the D-Backs pulled in their second highest crowd of the season, when 39,776 people watched Kelly Johnson cap a thrilling come-from-behind victory at Chase Field.

"Having the fans get into it like that," Johnson said. "It's probably the coolest thing for any of us to experience."

Saturday's attendance was second only to Opening Day on April 8 against the Reds.

"It's something good," Gibson said. "I've talked about restoring positive affirmations and those are the types of things that add to the moment. It's fun."

Parra working hard to perfect his bunting

By Anthony Fenech / MLB.com | 05/22/11

PHOENIX -- On Saturday night, D-Backs left-fielder Gerardo Parra reached base twice on bunt singles.

The first bunt he'd done before, as he placed it perfectly down the third base line as Chris Young scored on a squeeze play from third in the sixth inning.

The second, though, he hadn't, as he popped a bunt over a pinched-in Danny Valencia in the eighth inning.

"First time I've seen it happen," Parra said. "I bunted it too hard and it looked like a fly ball, but it was a base hit so that was good for me."

D-Backs manager Kirk Gibson said utilizing the bunt is something on which the 24-year-old Parra has worked hard.

"We've been working on it since spring training," he said. "And Parra's probably been working on it as much as anybody."

Parra has three bunt hits on the season.

"Sometimes it's good to drop a bunt depending on the pitcher," he said. "You look to see how he moves."

Williams adjusting nicely as third-base coach

By Anthony Fenech / MLB.com | 05/22/11

PHOENIX -- For all the attention that Kelly Johnson's eighth-inning grand slam garnered on Saturday night, D-backs manager Kirk Gibson thought it was only the second biggest play of the game.

"I thought the play of the game was when Matty [Williams] stopped [Gerardo] Parra," Gibson said. "

Williams' decision came with one out in the eighth, after Ryan Roberts singled to left-center and as Parra approached third base.

"It was a real smart decision," Gibson said. "Because the way the game was going, with one out and the top of the order up, he had some pressure on him with the crowd getting into it.

"If you're not sure in that situation, keep the inning going."

Williams held Parra and one batter later, Johnson hit a grand slam to right field.

Gibson said that Williams' transition from coaching first to third base has been an easy one, but one on which the former All-Star third baseman has worked hard.

"It's been very smooth," he said. "He went down to instructional ball last year, did some games there and he's studied tons of tape. He spent the whole winter in here watching not only for the third base benefit, but studying the schematics of infield defense as well.

"He's been enthusiastic about it," Gibson added. "He wanted to do it and he's been on that side of the diamond as a player."

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Johnson's grand slam caps stunning rally

By Anthony Fenech / MLB.com | 05/21/11

PHOENIX -- During Spring Training, D-backs manager Kirk Gibson brought in a group of Navy Seals to meet with the team.

Their message was the same message they live by: Deal with it.

And on Saturday night, after three comebacks, five errors and seven men left on base, the team did as it was told.

"We made some mistakes," Gibson said, "But we dealt with it."

And with the bases loaded and one out in the eighth inning, trailing by a run, second baseman Kelly Johnson dealt with a mid-90s fastball from Twins closer Matt Capps, sending the pitch into the right-field seats for a grand slam and a 9-6 D-backs victory.

"That is 100 percent what having a good game -- a good at-bat and playing baseball -- is all about," said Johnson, who received a curtain call from the 39,776 in attendance at Chase Field.

"That was cool," he said. "When you see stuff like that, it just gets you so excited to play and be a part of it."

The win was the D-backs' fifth in a row, and marks their longest winning streak since August 2009.

"The guys didn't quit," Gibson said. "It was just huge -- and Kelly's grand slam, everyone knows how he's been struggling, but he's been coming around even before that."

Johnson was 0-for-4, with a strikeout and three fly outs before the eighth-inning at-bat.

"I wasn't trying to do too much," he said. "With a guy on third, just trying to get something in the air deep enough to get a run in, and I squared it up."

Johnson's blast capped a six-run eighth inning that began with the D-backs trailing 6-3. Chris Young and Miguel Montero led off the inning with back-to-back singles, before Juan Miranda plated both on his second double of the game to pull within one.

After Gerardo Parra reached on his second infield single of the game -- popping a bunt over a leaping Danny Valencia at third base -- pinch-hitter Josh Wilson couldn't successfully convert a sacrifice, and Ryan Roberts followed with a single to load the bases.

And then, with the tying run 90 feet away, Capps fell behind Johnson.

"I put him in a good count," Capps said. "I made a pretty good pitch, and he put a pretty good swing on it."

The grand slam was the third of Johnson's career, and his fifth home run of the season. He has hit safely in 12 of his last 16 games.

In the ninth, D-backs closer J.J. Putz struck out two batters to earn his 11th save in as many chances, setting a team record for consecutive saves at the start of a season.

In his first Major League start since 2009, starting pitcher Micah Owings went 5 1/3 innings, allowing four runs (three earned) on seven hits.

"I felt good," Owings. "It was awesome just being back, hearing the crowd and the welcome. I really appreciated it."

He struck out three, walked one and allowed a pair of solo home runs to Valencia and Jason Kubel.

"He did a good job for us tonight," Gibson said.

Trailing by three runs in the sixth, back-to-back doubles by Stephen Drew and Young knocked Minnesota right-hander Scott Baker out of the game. He allowed two hits through the first five innings and struck out seven.

Young's double scored Drew, and three batters later, he scored on a safety squeeze down the third-base line by Parra to cut the lead to 4-3.

But the Twins took advantage of three Arizona errors in the eighth -- including two throwing errors on Valencia's third hit of the game, which scored two runs -- and padded their lead.

"When you make mistakes and things don't go your way, you just try to get out of the inning and create pressure on the other side," Gibson said.

Aaron Heilman picked up the win in relief, his third victory of the year.

"We played well," Gibson said. "We made five errors, but we dealt with it."

D-Backs release veteran infielder Branyan

By Anthony Fenech / MLB.com | 05/21/11

PHOENIX -- The D-backs released veteran first baseman Russell Branyan on Saturday, a day after manager Kirk Gibson told the media the move would be made.

"We're going to make a move," Gibson said after Friday night's 8-7 victory over the Twins. "We're going to release Russell Branyan and add Micah Owings to the roster."

The 35-year-old Branyan played in 31 games for the D-backs this season, hitting .210 with one home run in 62 at-bats.

"It was a tough situation," Gibson said. "We had three first basemen, we kind of did the rotation thing, and I wanted to resolve that somewhat.

"Russ has worked hard, he was in more of a pinch-hit role," he added. "We'll give Russ his release, he'll get picked up by somebody, and he'll have a chance to have a different role on a different team."

Branyan has hit 190 career home runs in 14 seasons with a lifetime .234 batting average and .487 slugging percentage.

"He's been a class guy and I've enjoyed my time with him," Gibson said. "He's got a lot of baseball left in him, and I wish him the best."

In addition to releasing Branyan, the D-backs selected the contract of pitcher Micah Owings from Triple-A Reno and outrighted right-hander Armando Galarraga to Reno.

Door opens for Miranda at first

By Anthony Fenech / MLB.com | 05/21/11

PHOENIX -- D-backs first baseman Juan Miranda is finally getting his time to shine.

With Saturday's release of Russell Branyan, the team's three-man rotation at first base has cleared up, giving the 28-year-old Miranda his first look at consistent playing time.

"It feels better to get more of a chance to play now," Miranda said.

In 75 at-bats this season, Miranda is hitting .253, with two home runs and six RBI. Xavier Nady will back him up.

"It's difficult sometimes to play one game and then sit two games," he said. "It's difficult to get in a rhythm."

D-backs manager Kirk Gibson said that the team looked at both the present and future when reaching its decision to release Branyan.

"Ultimately, we thought we were going to watch [Juan] play and let him get more reps," he said. "He's never really had an opportunity in the big leagues to play much."

Miranda was signed by the Yankees as an amateur free agent in 2006, before being traded to the D-backs last offseason. He has 158 Major League at-bats over four years.

He recorded a career-high three hits in Thursday night's win over the Braves.

"I think it's good to get an opportunity to get into the game every day," he said.

Roberts experiments with new glove

By Anthony Fenech / MLB.com | 05/21/11

PHOENIX -- With a back-handed diving stop and throw down the third-base line on Friday, D-backs third baseman Ryan Roberts earned himself a spot on ESPN SportsCenter's Top Plays.

"I didn't get to see it," he admitted. "My dad saw it and he told me, and my buddy texted me."

Roberts was getting the feel of a new glove on Saturday, one given to him by D-backs third-base coach Matt Williams a day earlier.

"It feels awesome," he said. "It's honestly one of the best gloves I've ever put on."

Williams broke in the glove throughout Spring Training, and passed it on to Roberts after the 30-year-old inquired about the model number for a new web.

"He ended up saying, 'Why don't you use it, check it out,'" Roberts said. "I used it today, and he said I could have it if I wanted. It worked out perfect."

But Roberts doesn't have any immediate plans to ditch his current glove just yet.

"I've used it going on three years now," he said. "The comfort level I have with that, I can't trade gloves just yet."

Galarraga outrighted to Triple-A Reno

By Anthony Fenech / MLB.com | 05/21/11

PHOENIX -- Starting pitcher Armando Galarraga cleared waivers and accepted an outright assignment to Triple-A Reno on Saturday.

The team designated the right-hander for assignment after Tuesday's game. He has a 5.91 ERA in eight starts this season.

The move takes Galarraga off the team's 40-man roster, but the 29-year-old will continue to receive his $2.3 million salary for this season.

As a veteran, Galarraga had the right to decline the outright assignment and become a free agent. However, had he chosen to do so, the D-backs would no longer have owed him the balance of his salary.

In five big league seasons, Galarraga has a career record of 26-30 with a 4.69 ERA. He is best remembered for his near-perfect game in 2010 as a member of the Detroit Tigers.

Friday, May 20, 2011

D-Backs survive late drama to win

Lefty Paterson notches first career save

By Anthony Fenech / MLB.com | 05/20/11

PHOENIX -- It wasn't pretty and it wasn't easy, but the D-backs have their longest winning streak of the season.

Propelled by a five-run seventh inning and another strong pitching performance from Ian Kennedy, the D-backs narrowly escaped a crushing collapse in an 8-7 victory over the Twins Friday night at Chase Field.

"That was a fun game there," D-backs manager Kirk Gibson said. "Standing on the railing with Minnesota pressuring us, you say, 'This is fun here.'"

But after a four-run D-backs lead evaporated to one, after three consecutive Twins' hits followed by three consecutive walks threatened to steal the fun, left-handed reliever Joe Paterson was called on to get the job done.

Paterson struck out Jason Kubel and induced a ground ball from Justin Morneau, stranding the game-tying run at third base for his first career save, and the D-backs' fourth straight victory.

"The last time I took him out, he said he wanted to stay in," Gibson said. "We found out tonight, didn't we?"

Paterson's save came after the usually-reliable back end of the D-backs bullpen faltered in the ninth. After retiring the first batter of the inning, Juan Gutierrez gave up a home run to Danny Valencia and a single to Delmon Young before being removed for David Hernandez, who gave up a double and three straight walks before Gibson called on Paterson.

"It was a tight situation," said Paterson, who responded with tight breaking balls to secure the win.

"It's my go-to pitch, and I thought I'd stay with it in that situation," he said. "I needed something in the infield or a strikeout. I got fortunate enough to get it."

The D-backs 25-year-old rookie has now recorded 19 straight scoreless appearances to begin his career, a franchise record.

"He was very composed, took his time and threw strikes," Gibson said.

After both teams' starting pitchers kept offense at a premium through the first six innings, a five-run seventh inning appeared to break the game open in the D-backs favor.

Shortstop Stephen Drew led off the seventh with a home run to right, his third of the season, to tie the game at two. Chris Young then followed with a double, and Miguel Montero and Xavier Nady recorded back-to-back singles to chase Twins starter Brian Duensing.

After a failed sacrifice preceded a successful sacrifice, Twins manager Ron Gardenhire elected to intentionally walk Willie Bloomquist, loading the bases for Ryan Roberts.

Roberts promptly laced a double into left-center, scoring three runs.

"It was the only really good pitch I saw all night," Roberts said. "I got a good pitch and ended up driving it."

Kennedy picked up his second straight victory and fifth this season, pitching 7 2/3 innings and allowing four runs on six hits.

"My fastball command was good tonight," Kennedy said. "I had to really rely on my defense because [the Twins] were real aggressive and put the ball in play early on, which allowed me to go into the eighth."

Kennedy struck out three and walked one.

"Overall, Ian's been what Ian's been all year," Gibson said.

He was lifted for Aaron Heilman with two outs in the eighth after a 10-pitch at-bat with Trevor Plouffe resulted in a walk.

"He's a pretty good pitcher," Gardenhire said. "He's got a great sinker, a great slider, a heck of a changeup and he was pretty good tonight."

Four D-backs recorded multi-hit games in the team's first four-game win streak since May of last year.

Said Gibson, of the streak: "Let's make it five."

Gibson's fall punctuates bunting practice

By Anthony Fenech / MLB.com | 05/20/11

PHOENIX -- "A game winner," D-backs manager Kirk Gibson said, after concluding a round of bunting practice Friday with a drag bunt towards first base. "At least in my head."

He beat the throw -- in his head -- and then he bit the dust, taking a spill behind first base after motoring down the line and trying to signal the safe sign.

"A little too much activity for the old man today," he said.

Gibson's fall drew loads of laughter from D-backs players on the field, and was marked by a chalk outline of the skipper behind the bag during batting practice.

"He was busting it down the line pretty hard," said right fielder Justin Upton. "Sometimes when you're moving as fast as he was, you can't really control yourself, especially at his age (53).

"He probably should have gone about three-quarters speed," Upton continued. "But that's the way he played the game - hard."

Gibson said the bunting practice was something the team revisited after working on it in Spring Training.

"We want to have more tools in our tool chest," Gibson said. "You never know what the situation is. If we need a bunt, we should be able to do it.

"The guys had a good attitude about it," he said. "There was a lot of competition going on down there, and it ended with a laugh, so that's good."

Putz stabilizing force in the 'pen

By Anthony Fenech / MLB.com | 05/20/11

PHOENIX -- With Wednesday night's save against the Braves, D-backs closer J.J. Putz earned his 10th save of the season.

The save tied him with Byung-Hyun Kim for the longest consecutive streak to start a season in franchise history.

"He's been durable so far," said D-backs manager Kirk Gibson.

Putz signed with the D-backs in the offseason after back-to-back seasons with the Mets and White Sox, respectively. Before that, he pitched six seasons in Seattle, where he saved 35-plus games in two consecutive seasons.

In 2007, Putz saved 40 games with a 1.38 ERA for the Mariners, and earned his only All-Star selection.

The emergence of Putz at the back end of the bullpen has stabilized the D-backs late inning roles.

"It helps you play out the game a little differently," said Gibson. "And helps to shorten it up because you know who's going to be in there."

In front of Putz, fellow offseason acquisition David Hernandez has a 1.74 ERA with five holds and Esmerling Vazquez has held his opposition scoreless in seven of his last eight games.

"They start to shorten up the game for you, and that's what you really want to do," Gibson said.

Owings promoted for Saturday start

By Anthony Fenech / MLB.com | 05/20/11

PHOENIX -- After Thursday night's win, D-backs manager Kirk Gibson tabbed Micah Owings as the team's Saturday starter against the Twins.

"I know Micah's experience, and how much of a competitor he is," Gibson said Friday. "Ultimately, I think experience had a lot to do with it, and knowing what his personality was."

Owings, whose contract was selected Saturday, had a 3-1 record and 4.85 ERA in seven starts at Triple-A Reno. He recorded 27 strikeouts and nine walks in 39 innings.

"It was something we put a lot of consideration into," Gibson said. "I really leaned on the organization and the people that watch the people inside the organization for the decision."

In two seasons with Arizona, Owings started 45 games and went 14-17 with a 4.97 ERA. He was traded to the Reds in September 2008 to complete a deal for first baseman Adam Dunn, and he re-signed with the D-backs last January.

The 28-year-old was drafted by the D-backs in the third round of the 2005 MLB First-Year Player Draft, and can also swing the bat. He has a .293 batting average and nine home runs in 184 career at-bats.

In addition to selecting Owings' contract, the D-backs released infielder Russell Branyan and outrighted right-hander Armando Galarraga to Reno.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Duke progressing, in line to return vs. Houston

D-backs starter may need only one more rehab appearance

By Anthony Fenech / MLB.com | 05/19/11

PHOENIX -- Starting pitcher Zach Duke is one step closer to returning to the D-backs' rotation.

"I feel good," said Duke, who threw five innings, allowing one run on five hits for Class A Visalia on Wednesday. "I'm progressing along, and last night I felt pretty good."

The 28-year-old struck out four and walked none.

D-backs manager Kirk Gibson said Duke is scheduled to start for Triple-A Reno on Monday at Round Rock, where he will throw 90 pitches.

"If everything goes fine," Gibson said, "He'll start next Saturday [at Houston]."

Duke, who went 45-70 with a 4.54 ERA in six seasons with the Pirates, broke his pitching hand in Spring Training after getting struck by a comebacker. He admitted the injury was a frustrating way to start his tenure with a new team.

"For sure," he said. "It's not like I blew out physically, I got hit by a line drive. That's the most frustrating part of watching these guys go out there every day, not being able to contribute or help out.

"If everything goes according to plan, I should be ready to come on back up and give this team six and seven strong."

Walk-off overshadows Saunders' good start

By Anthony Fenech / MLB.com | 05/19/11

PHOENIX -- Lost in the finish of Wednesday's 5-4 come-from-behind, walk-off win over the Braves was six strong innings from D-backs starting pitcher Joe Saunders.

"I thought I pitched OK," the left-hander said. "I got out of some jams and felt like I threw strikes, was aggressive in the strike zone, and I though the real key for me was throwing ground balls and letting my defense work for me."

Saunders allowed one run on seven hits and induced nine ground-ball outs.

But perhaps the biggest two outs of his night came in the sixth inning from the arm of left fielder Gerardo Parra, who threw a pair of runners out trying to advance to third base.

"They were huge," Saunders said. "He threw absolute strikes, and it wasn't only huge for the team, but it was huge for me, to get out of there with only one run of damage."

Said D-backs manager Kirk Gibson: "Joe was great."

Still, Saunders was unable to pick up his first victory of the season in the no-decision, something the seven-year veteran said he doesn't think about much.

"You can't," Saunders said. "You just have to go out there and do your thing. It's hard to control wins and losses, you just have to go out there with whatever you have that day to keep your team in the ballgame, and that's what I've tried to do."

Fetters, Hemond to represent D-Backs at Draft

By Anthony Fenech / MLB.com | 05/19/11

PHOENIX -- Mike Fetters and Roland Hemond will represent the D-backs at the 2011 First-Year Player Draft on June 6 in Secaucus, N.J.

Fetters is a D-backs radio analyst who has also served as a special instructor in Spring Training, and Hemond is a special assistant to team president and CEO Derrick Hall.

The pair is among a renowned group of baseball stars and front-office personnel that are scheduled to be in attendance at MLB Network's Studio 42. Arizona holds the third and seventh picks of the first round.

Live coverage of the 2011 First-Year Player Draft begins with a one-hour preview show on Monday, June 6, at 3 p.m. MST on MLB.com and MLB Network, followed by the first round and supplemental compensation round. MLB.com will provide exclusive coverage of Day 2 and 3, featuring a live pick-by-pick stream, expert commentary and Draft Tracker, a live interactive application that includes a searchable database of every Draft-eligible player. You can also keep up to date at Draft Central and by following @MLBDraft on Twitter. And get into the Draft conversation by tagging your tweets with #mlbdraft.

Fetters retired with the D-backs in 2004 after a 16-year career as a relief pitcher. In 620 games as part of nine teams, he compiled a 3.86 ERA with 100 saves.

Hemond is in his second stint with Arizona. He worked under former general manager Joe Garagiola Jr. from 1996-2000.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

D-Backs take Bloomquist off the shelf

By Anthony Fenech / MLB.com | 05/18/11

PHOENIX -- The D-backs activated infielder/outfielder Willie Bloomquist from the 15-day disabled list on Wednesday.

"DL's are no fun," Bloomquist said. "I'm happy to be off, happy to be back and looking forward to getting back in there soon."

D-backs manager Kirk Gibson didn't write Bloomquist into the lineup against the Braves Wednesday night, but said that he would be available to pinch-hit.

"They have three lefties in their bullpen," Gibson said. "My bench is set up with righties and lefties that I can match up if I have to as we go through the game and he'd certainly be one of those guys."

Bloomquist was placed on the DL with a strained right hamstring on April 25. The 10-year veteran opened the season with a 10-game hitting streak and is hitting .306 with 11 runs scored and seven RBI in 14 games.

Gibson said he would probably move him around the field when he returns.

"He's a veteran guy, he can play all around the field and it gives me a little bit more flexibility to move guys around," he said.

Bloomquist missed 21 games on the DL.

"I'm as close as I can get," Bloomquist said. "I don't think you're ever really 100 percent but I feel good enough to go and I feel like I can do what I'm capable of doing. It's been a long four weeks but I'm ready to go."

Burroughs returns to majors with D-Backs

By Anthony Fenech / MLB.com | 05/18/11

PHOENIX -- After a five-year absence, Sean Burroughs is back in the Major Leagues.

"It's still a surreal feeling," the infielder said after being called up from Triple-A Reno on Wednesday to take the roster spot of third baseman Melvin Mora, who was placed on the bereavement list. "I don't know if I was dreaming when I got the call last night."

Burroughs, a former first-round Draft pick of the San Diego Padres, hit .280 during parts of five seasons with the Padres and Tampa Bay Rays before falling off the baseball map.

"It's been a long journey and I've been through a lot," he said. "But God willing, this organization has given me the opportunity to come back and play Major League Baseball."

In Reno, Burroughs hit .386 with one home run and 15 RBIs in 27 games.

"We thought he was the best guy to fill in," said Gibson. "He's kind of a contact guy, he'll put the bat on the ball and give us some professional at-bats."

Burroughs credits hard work and perseverance with his path back to the Majors and said his mindset has made a 180-degree turn from just a year ago.

"Physically, mentally and spiritually, I'm definitely blessed to be here," he said. "I can tell you where I don't want to be and where I want to be and right now, I think everything's kind of fallen into place."

Mora must stay on the bereavement list for a minimum of three days and must be activated after the maximum of seven. Gibson said there was no timetable for his return.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Trammell appreciates scout who signed him

By Anthony Fenech / MLB.com | 05/16/11

PHOENIX -- Dick Wiencek met Alan Trammell in 1976 at his family's Southern California home, shortly after the Tigers made the shortstop their second-round Draft pick.

"He's the guy that signed me," Trammell said. "He recommended me, so I'm very appreciative."

Wiencek passed away Sunday from complications of a heart attack in Southern California. He was 85.

The D-backs' bench coach was among six Major League players signed by Wiencek that year -- a Major League record, according to the Professional Baseball Scouts Foundation -- and one of 72 players signed in Wiencek's career, also a Major League record.

"He was a great man," Trammell said. "I owe a lot to him and I give him a lot of credit because of his knowledge and expertise of going a little bit deeper and finding things. He took a chance on some guys and it worked out for him and me."

Wiencek began his playing career as a player in the New York Giants' system in 1947 and became a professional scout three years later. Besides Trammell, Wiencek signed upcoming Hall of Fame inductee Bert Blyleven, Mark McGwire, Jim Kaat and Graig Nettles.

"He had quite a career," Trammell said. "In my opinion, he took a chance on me and I'm glad he did."

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Live blog: Red Wings fall short in Game 7


Free Press special writer Anthony Fenech is live-blogging Game 7 of the Detroit Red Wings vs. San Jose Sharks series tonight. (George Sipple originally was going to blog, but he had to work on some other stories instead.) Anthony couldn't make it to San Jose, so he'll be bringing you his thoughts off of Versus' telecast.

Feel free to discuss the game with Anthony in the chat below. For those of you on our mobile site, we will post periodic game updates below the chat. Enjoy this improbable Game 7, everyone!

Third period

19:00: Couture hits the post. Red light comes on briefly.

12:50: Kronwall can't handle puck from point-blank range.

11:13: Kronwall picks up slashing penalty while Red Wings were on power play.

7:47: Patrick Marleau slams home a rebound, Red Wings trail, 3-1.

6:01: Pavel Datsyuk scores on backhander. Red Wings down a goal again.

1:22: Red Wings call time-out.
Second period

20:00: Todd Bertuzzi will miss rest of game with upper-body injury.

13:43: Niklas Kronwall set up nicely in the slot but Antti Niemi makes save.

11:45: Danny Cleary from point-blank range... No. Niemi with the save.

7:39: Wings, shorthanded, with 2-on-1. Helm shoots, but it's deflected before Eaves falls into net, stopping play.

6:50: Zetterberg finishes 3-on-2 with goal. Wings trail, 2-1.

5:32: Cleary and Hudler collide. Cleary shaken up on the ice.
First period

15:00: Datsyuk with a backhand to the net, draws a rebound, Wings can't do anything with it.

12:15: Big chance by the Sharks from Howard's left. Wide.

10:58: Clowe was free to the right of Howard, wrist shot hit him high, he corralled the rebound and froze it.

8:52: Jonathan Ericsson called for game's first penalty (holding).

7:40: Devin Setoguchi scores on power play, Sharks lead, 1-0.

5:51: Jimmy Howard stones Dany Heatley on shorthanded 2-on-1.

059: Zetterberg giveaway leads to Logan Couture goal. 2-0 Sharks.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Live blog: Red Wings beat Sharks in Game 4 at JLA


The Red Wings were buzzing late in the third and, after winning a faceoff, Darren Helm scored with 1:27 to play, giving Detroit a 4-3 win tonight in Game 4.

Free Press special writer Anthony Fenech will live-blog Game 4 of the Detroit Red Wings vs. San Jose Sharks series tonight. Anthony couldn't get a seat at the Joe, so he'll be bringing you his thoughts off of Versus' telecast.

Feel free to discuss the game with Anthony in the chat below. For those of you on our mobile site, we will post periodic game updates below the chat. Enjoy the playoff hockey, everyone!

Third period

0:00: McClelland lobbying for penalties before the period. He'll get his.

1:14: Heatley from Clowe beats Howard blocker-side.

18:33: Darren Helm off a rebound to give Wings the lead.
Second period

0:00: 27-18 Wings in shots after two.

1:16: Wings leading in scoring chances, 18-12

4:15: Lidstrom with another blast from the blue line as the puck tries to trickle out of the zone. Niemi handles it. Power play almost over for Wings.

6:07: Windsor's Wellwood across the ice to Boyle, Howard falls, his glove isn't tall enough, Boyle's wrist shot finds the net. 3-2, Wings. Big lead down to one.

9:02: Penalty called. Looks like a Red Wing going off. Nope, it's Mitchell for holding. Another power play.

12:00: Pavelski escapes the zone, Sharks kill the penalty. 12 minutes left in the period.

14:00: San Jose penalty. Thornton going to the box. Holding the stick.

17:25: Zetterberg with a nice rush from Niemi's left but can't fight off a defender in front of the crease.

19:32: Play under way in the 2nd. Zetterberg big hit on Thornton.
First period

0:00: That's the period. Great start by the Wings. Unfortunate to give up that goal so quickly after taking a 3-0 lead.

1:41: Wow! Sharks score. Ryan Clowe from the right of Jimmy Howard. Found a hole between his blocker and the post. 3-1. That was quick

1:49: Lidstrom whacks in a bouncing puck from the slot and the Wings lead by three. 3-0.

6:22: Commercial break. Wings up in shots, 12-6, hits, 10-7, takeaways with two.

8:31: Cleary throws it to the net, Boyle makes contact Niemi, Lidstrom takes the slapper, Niemi doesn't have a prayer.

9:15: Commercial break. Bertuzzi tallies the Wings first goal. He's got his game face on.

13:38: GOAL!! Absolutely dirty backhander by Bertuzzi. Scores. Wings lead, 1-0.

15:00: Bad play by Kronwall, slips and almost loses posession. Good play by Kronwall, he recovers and keeps the puck in the zone. Wings lead in shots, 4-3.

17:00: Bertuzzi and Setoguchi still getting into it, yelling back-and-forth on the bench.

20:00: Puck about to drop. Dan O'Halloran and Brad Watson are the officials. "Let's go Red Wings" chants from the Joe faithful right out of the gate.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Live blog: Tigers take three of four from Yankees


Tigers win, 6-3

Free Press special writer Anthony Fenech live-blogged this afternoon's game between the Detroit Tigers and New York Yankees.

Ninth inning

4:04: Valverde with the save on Cinco de Mayo by striking out Swisher swinging. Tigers win 6-3, up their win streak to three after losing seven. Brennan Boesch was the offensive star for the Tigers, hitting his second home run of the year and driving in three runs. He had two hits and a sac fly.

4:02: Gardner bounces a fastball over the head of the creeping-in Brandon Inge at third. A-Rod scores, Tigers still lead by a few.
Eighth inning

3:48: Ordonez grounds to short, Tigers out in eighth. Tigers take a four-run lead into the 9th.

3:41: Boesch with a sky-touching home run to right. Three RBIs today. 6-2 Tigers.

3:36: Curve catches the inside corner. Posada rung up. Yankees out in the eighth. Three outs to go for Tigers victory.
Seventh inning

3:26: Burnett gets Sizemore looking. End of the seventh.

3:23: Kelly breaks his bat on a ground ball to short, Nunez doesn't set his feet before throwing and airmails Teixeira at first. Two score. 5-2 Tigers. Nunez second error of the game. E-6 Yankees.

3:17: 2-0 to Inge. Fastball, Inge sacrifices to left, all three runners tag, Tigers take the lead.

3:02: Porcello facing Swisher who, yes, absolutely will be his last batter. He lines to right. Porcello seven strong innings against the Yankees. Career-high 120 pitches.
Sixth inning

2:55: Cabrera grounds to third but the Tigers get a run they need. 2-2 tie heading into the 7th.

2:54: Boesch up, through the middle, another professional hit as Santiago scores from second and the Tigers tie. 20

2:46: Porcello gets a double play to end inning. Back comes A.J. Burnett for the bottom of the inning.
Fifth inning

2:40: Burnett 68 pitches through five. Oh, and he has a no-hitter.

2:35: Third strikeout for Porcello, Yankees out in 5th.
Fourth inning

2:29: Boesch on the move, Burnett fans Martinez with a high 94 MPH fastball. Tigers out in the 4th. Still 2-1.

2:16: Yankees hit soft liner to Inge with bases loaded. Porcello escapes further trouble. On to the bottom of the inning ...

2:10: Nunez punches a base hit the other way, scoring A-Rod. Yankees lead, 2-1.

2:04: Chavez drops a hanging changeup into right center, Kelly dives for it, can't make the play, it gets by, Granderson scores from third, Chavez advances to third with a triple. He's leaving the game injured, though. 1-1.
Third inning

1:54: Tigers with two quick outs. Not sure what Inge did, but Santiago grounds out to Burnett. And Kelly grounds to Teixeira, who flips to Burnett. Tigers out in the third.

1:49: Porcello induces a groundout from Cano to Cabrera. Yankees out in the 3rd.
Second inning

1:36: Mags flies out to right, Raburn strikes out swinging at a breaking ball in the dirt, and the second inning is over.

1:30: Chavez flies out to Raburn in left-center. Three out.
First inning

1:24: Tigers out in the 1st after Cabrera grounds out, but a Brennan Boesch sacrifice fly scores Don Kelly. 1-0 Detroit.

1:23: Yankees conceding run up the middle, Boesch concedes the run by driving a sacrifice fly to center.

1:11: Ground ball right at Inge, four up, three down for the Yankees in the 1st.

1:06: Porcello on the mound, about to start. Gardner to leadoff.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Live blog: Sharks go up 3-0 with OT win


Free Press special writer Anthony Fenech will live-blog Game 3 between the Detroit Red Wings and San Jose Sharks tonight.

Feel free to discuss the game with Anthony in the chat below. For those of you on our mobile site, we will post periodic game updates below the chat. Enjoy the game, everyone!

First period

0:00: On the goal: Datsyuk tries the wraparound, scrum in front of the net, puck comes loose, Zetterberg -- instead of shooting it -- backhands it to Lidstrom in the slot, he finds the back -- or bar -- of the net.

0:19: GOAL!! Zetterberg feeds it to Lidstrom in the slot, he clanks one off the center bar inside the net. 1-1 tie.

5:30: Niemi playing strong so far.

7:03: Sharks score. Setoguchi on a power play. 1-0 San Jose.

8:20: Near the penalty box, Kronwall levels Heatley to the ice, he's slow to get up. Fans going wild.

10:45: Penalty to Clowe expires, Wings 0-1 with the man advantage.

13:00: Clowe to the penalty box for interfering with Datsyuk, who has hit him a couple of times early. Wings on the power play.

14:35: Teams feeling each other out. Like that's not a cliche or anything.

20:00: Puck dropped, Wings win the opening faceoff.
Second period

0:00: End of second period.

1:47: Pavel Datsyuk scores in close on Niemi. Red Wings 3, Sharks 2.

5:11: Devin Setoguchi miscues on the shot, but it gets past Howard for a power-play goal. Red Wings 2, Sharks 2.

6:01: Patrick Eaves scored on a backhander. Red Wings 2, Sharks 1.

8:17: Shot goes into the crowd. Stoppage of play. Pace has slowed considerably. Several whistles as the teams jockey for position.

11:33: Shot on goal covered by Niemi. Face-off to follow.

12:20: Howard makes a glove save. Stoppage in play.

18:22: Shot on goal by Jiri Hudler saved by Antti Niemi.
Third period

0:00: End of the third period. Overtime to come.

4:08: Dan Boyle scores from in close. Red Wings 3, Sharks 3.

5:59: San Jose shot from the point hits Howard, bounces around, he freezes it.

7:29: Howard covers up. Stoppage of play.

9:30: Niemi covers up on a save.

11:30: Red Wings at full strength.

12:51: Sharks on the power play.

15:00: Five minutes gone in the third, Wings hold a one-goal lead.

Devin Setoguchi scores for San Jose. Final: Sharks 4, Red Wings 3.

17:06: Holmstrom in from Niemi's left. Pounds away but can't knock it home, icing the other way, face-off in Sharks zone.