© Neville E. Guard | USA Today
SAN FRANCISCO – The first half of the Bay Bridge Series goes to the Oakland A’s. A combination of great pitching and an explosive fourth inning allowed the A’s to create separation between themselves and the Giants en route to a 6-2 win.
The loss marks the first home series loss for the Giants since early April against the Arizona Diamondbacks.
The Giants opened the scoring when Brandon Crawford doubled in the second inning and scored a batter later as Gorkys Hernandez singled to right field. But their offense stagnated, with Chase d’Arnaud providing the only other offense in the game with a solo home run in the sixth inning.
Giants starter Andrew Suarez began the game with an efficient first three innings in which he struck out four and only allowed one baserunner from a walk. But in the top of the fourth inning, Suarez walked A’s second baseman Jed Lowrie, giving the A’s – the best-hitting team in baseball after getting a baserunner from a walk – a one-out opening that they exploited.
Starting with center fielder Mark Canha, the A’s had four straight singles. After Canha reached base, right fielder Stephen Piscotty, first baseman Matt Olson, and third Baseman Matt Chapman all drove the previous batter from first to third and scored a runner from third base. Catcher Jonathon Lucroy finished the fourth-inning rally with a sacrifice fly to left field to drive in Olson and give the A’s a 4-1 lead.
From there, the Giants bullpen calmed things down for the most part, aside from a solo home run from Piscotty in the sixth inning and an RBI single from Lucroy in the ninth.
But outside of d’Arnaud’s solo shot in the sixth, the Giants’ offense failed to produce. Before the game, Giants manager Bruce Bochy highlighted the team’s increased run production and pitching as the main causes for the Giants improvement from their last-place finish last season.
“I think you look at the pitching, it’s been a lot more consistent, both on the starting side and in the bullpen,” Bochy said. “The bullpen had a great first half. I know we had a hiccup last night, but those guys have really done a nice job. And I think overall, I think we’ve done a better job of scoring runs. I still don’t think we’re where we can be or should be. But I think that’s improved some.”
The Bay Bridge Series will conclude after the All-Star break, as the series will move back across the Bay Bridge to Oakland. Bochy said the series is an exciting time for both teams and their fans, especially considering the playoff implications.
“I look forward to it,” Bochy said. “I think the players do. We can hear the fans, they’re into it too. And there’s a lot at stake because of where both teams are.”
The A’s entered the game 3.5 games back in the AL Wild Card race, and the win marks their 15th win in 19 games. The Giants entered the game three games back of the Los Angeles Dodgers in the NL West.
“It creates a lot of interest in the Bay Area with these two teams, especially since the teams are playing pretty good baseball,” Bochy said before the game. “Both teams are trying to get to the postseason, so that’s made it even more exciting, I think, for everybody to come out and watch these two teams go at it.”