The fans were not in attendance, though the steady drum beat was pumped into the Coliseum on Saturday.
The contrived ambiance was far louder than the Giants’ bats have been through two games that have dropped them from comfortable playoff position and further question not just whether the club can reach October, but whether it has even a chance if it does.
The Giants can crush poor opponents and their pitching, as they demonstrated in a 15-run, 24-hit barrage over two games against the Mariners on Wednesday and Thursday. They have ridden an 8-2 mark against the Diamondbacks to relevant late-September baseball.
But they have ridden a 5-16 record against teams currently above .500 (A’s, Padres, Dodgers) out of current playoff position, peering up at the 26-26 Reds, who hadn’t played yet Saturday, after the Giants got shut out by the A’s for a second straight game, 6-0, at the Coliseum. Their offense was nonexistent, baserunning poor and defense exceedingly poor. Kevin Gausman’s excellence was wasted.
The Giants (25-26) will have one more chance against Oakland and try to avoid a sweep, then head home for eight to finish the season, first against the Rockies and then Padres. They are turning the Colorado series into a possible must-sweep.
Jesus Luzardo and a strong A’s bullpen were too much for a makeshift Giants lineup that lacked Mike Yastrzemski (calf), Brandon Belt and Brandon Crawford (breathers against a lefty). Austin Slater (0-for-4) has not looked like the same player since returning and only Donovan Solano had multiple hits. He also had a costly blunder.
His fourth-inning single was the Giants’ first, and Evan Longoria singled him over. With two outs, Mauricio Dubon beat out a rolled infield single, and Solano rounded third too hard. Matt Olson threw over and they had the final out, Daniel Robertson not able to bat with the bases loaded.
Compounding the mistake was the A’s ability to capitalize on any chance. In the bottom of the inning, Gausman lost his perfect-game bid by walking Mark Canha then bounced him to second on a wild pitch. He then lost the no-hitter and scoreless streak when Olson singled up the middle for an A’s lead they would only add to — with the Giants’ help.
Gausman was nearly perfect in his six innings, surrendering just one hit and the one run while walking three. The A’s tallied five more in the seventh, though it wasn’t all Sam Selman’s and Sam Coonrod’s faults.
Jake Lamb’s two-run shot off Selman provided the initial cushion. Coonrod entered, and the circus began.
With Robbie Grossman on first, Darin Ruf dropped a Ramon Laureano fly ball in deep left, then threw in wildly and wide of Solano — but Grossman was still scrambling back to first. They got the out at second, and no harm was done yet.
Dubon then couldn’t find a long drive to center that was ruled a Tommy La Stella triple that knocked in two. Marcus Semien looped one to left that Ruf should have had, but he slid and the ball evaded his glove, an RBI double that could have been an error.
It added up to perhaps the worst-played, zero-error Giants game that you will see.
They finally got the length they needed from their starting pitching, but all other areas of the team failed. They will need to begin hitting against good clubs if they want to hit against a good club, likely in Los Angeles, in a week and a half.