After giving up early lead, Brewers bested by Braves

first_imgYovani Gallardo (2-2) left the game Monday in the 6th inning after giving up a home run to David Ross.[/media-credit]ATLANTA (AP) – Chipper Jones said it might have taken a little more than a big hit from Alex Gonzalez, a strong start from Jair Jurrjens and a homer from backup catcher David Ross for the Braves to finally beat Yovani Gallardo.Jones kidded a little witchcraft might have been involved.Gonzalez hit a three-run double to give Atlanta the lead and the Braves finally solved Gallardo, beating the Milwaukee Brewers 6-2 on Monday night.Gallardo began the day 3-0 with a 0.96 ERA in five career starts against Atlanta, including a two-hit shutout in a 1-0 win on April 5 in Milwaukee.“We snapped the head off a chicken and, I don’t know, exorcised a demon,” said Jones joking around.Ross hit a homer in the third inning before the Braves knocked Gallardo (2-2) out of the game in the sixth. Gonzalez cleared the bases with his double before scoring on a single by Nate McLouth.The four runs Gallardo allowed in the sixth matched his total allowed over 37 1/3 innings in his first five starts against the Braves.“He’s been scuffling a little as of late,” said Jones, who had two hits.Jurrjens appears to be gaining momentum.Jurrjens (3-0) gave up two runs on seven hits and no walks in 7 2/3 innings. He had four strikeouts as he continues his comeback from a frustrating 2010 season shortened by injuries.“It’s not so much what I’m doing, I’m just pain-free,” Jurrjens said.Gallardo allowed nine hits and five runs in five-plus innings. He matched his season high with four walks while striking out seven.The right-hander has allowed four or more earned runs in five straight starts, leaving his ERA at 6.10.“I thought he looked better this time than he did his last outing,” said Brewers manager Ron Roenicke of Gallardo. “Still isn’t like we saw in the first couple games, but we thought it was better. Rhythm was better.“The walks hurt him but I didn’t think they hit the ball that hard. This guy is used to being in every ball game that he pitches. He’s used to keeping that run total down. I’m sure he’s getting a little frustrated with it but I think there is improvement there.”The Brewers took a 2-1 lead in the fourth on Yuniesky Betancourt’s two-run triple. Jurrjens retired the next 11 batters before giving up infield singles to Rickie Weeks and Carlos Gomez in the eighth.The double by Gonzalez in the sixth drove in Jones, Dan Uggla and Freddie Freeman. Jones and Freeman reached on walks from Gallardo.Jason Heyward walked off Zach Braddock in the seventh, moved to third on Jones’ double and scored on a head-first slide on Freeman’s broken-bat fly ball to center field.Ross hit his third homer in his 19th at-bat. Ross plays behind All-Star Brian McCann, who has two homers in 97 at-bats.“It’s nice to give Mac a night off and perform well,” said Ross, who added that his work behind the plate wasn’t difficult.“Jair Jurrjens, when he’s pitching like that, it makes my job easy,” Ross said.Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez said he may continue to pair Ross with Jurrjens as a way of giving McCann a rest every five games.Closer Craig Kimbrel pitched the ninth for Atlanta.last_img read more

Could Memphis’ Marc Gasol feel enticed to join the Lakers this offseason?

first_img Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Error Pau provided Marc a neutral perspective despite the affection he still holds for the Lakers after leaving this offseason to sign with the Chicago Bulls. “I have shared with him that he needs to play as hard as he can,” Pau told Los Angeles News Group. “He needs to play as good as he can and take his team as far as he can. Then he can think about his future afterwards. He can put everything aside and then he can evaluate everything on if he wants to stay in Memphis. That seems like a pretty reasonable option. “Or he can give it a shot to another place. We’ll see. But who knows. That’s later. Right now, it’s a distraction.”Marc Gasol was not available for comment amid Memphis’ recent travel schedule and an unspecified illness that kept him out of Wednesday’s practice. But Memphis coach Dave Joerger outlined plenty of qualities earlier this season that makes him attractive to any team. “He gets a lot of praise for being such an intellectual guy. That overshadows the fact that he’s extremely talented,” Joerger said. “His ball skills and hand-eye coordination is tremendous. His footwork is outstanding. His IQ and want to on the defensive end of the floor is amazing. He wants to win.”Seven years later, Marc Gasol has changed his identity since the Lakers traded him as an unknown commodity riddled with questions marks. He has anchored a Grizzlies defense than ranks second overall in total points allowed (97.2 per game). The Grizzlies list him at 265 pounds after he spent an offseason on an unspecified diet to lose weight. Joerger attributes Marc Gasol’s increased assertiveness, mixed with his versatility in scoring and passing, for his career numbers. All of which prompted Scott to say, “He’s the best center, I think, in basketball right now. To me, it’s not close.”But should Lakers fans even get their hopes up? The Grizzlies own the Western Conference’s third-best record. They have played in the postseason in the past four years, backed by a core that includes Zach Randolph and Mike Conley. The Grizzlies could offer Marc Gasol a five-year deal worth around $108 million, as opposed to a four-year deal worth $87 million with any other team. Meanwhile, the Lakers are on pace to finish with their worst record in L.A. franchise history. “I don’t see Marc leaving Memphis,” said Lakers forward Ed Davis, who played for the Grizzlies from 2012 to 2014. “He’s already got so much established there. So I don’t see why that would change.”But …“You never know,” Davis said. “Things can change in an instant like that, with something unexpected.” Marc Gasol’s ascension in the NBA seemed unexpected, prompting Bryant to analyze him in a way that starkly differed from his first impression.“He just got better,” said Bryant, who praised Marc Gasol’s passing and post presence. “He’s so athletic and light on his feet.” The question left Kobe Bryant equally bewildered and amused. Did the Lakers’ star ever envision Memphis center Marc Gasol morphing into the player he has become? The one who causes those inside and outside of the Grizzlies to rank him as the NBA’s best center? The one who enters the Lakers’ game against the Memphis Grizzlies (23-8) on Friday at Staples Center averaging a career-high 20.1 points along with 8.3. rebounds and 1.6 blocks? The one who has anchored a top-ranked Memphis defense that earned him the NBA’s 2012-13 defensive player of the year award?“Nope,” Bryant said, laughing.Bryant provided an understandable explanation for lacking clairvoyance. Marc Gasol represented one of many pieces the Lakers (10-22) traded about seven years ago to the Grizzlies to secure his brother, Pau. That move required the Lakers to trade Kwame Brown, Aaron McKie, Javaris Crittenton and two first-round picks without any hesitation. As for Marc Gasol, the Lakers fretted little about granting Memphis his rights after selecting him 48th overall in the 2007 NBA draft.center_img “He was a heavyset kid,” Bryant told the Los Angeles News Group about Marc Gasol, who entered the NBA listed at 280 pounds. “He was a mystery to everybody. Who knew?”The Lakers hardly have any regrets over the move they made, for obvious reasons.“We won a couple more championships,” said Lakers coach Byron Scott, referring to the team’s back-to-back title runs in 2009 and 2010 shortly after Pau Gasol’s arrival. “You can’t get too mad about it.”But it seems safe to say the Lakers would like Marc Gasol back once he becomes an unrestricted free agent in July. With Bryant, Nick Young, Julius Randle and Ryan Kelly as the lone players under contract for the 2015-16 season, the Lakers will have enough cap space to sign one player to a max-level contract. Bryant smiled when offering a “no comment” on whether he will recruit Marc Gasol to join the Lakers. Or if Bryant would ask Pau Gasol to intervene as a third party. last_img read more