Frustrated Giants silenced again by A’s

O.CO COLISEUM — Tony Bennett left his heart in San Francisco. The Giants decided to leave their bats.

Photos by Godofredo Vasquez/SFBay

This story will be updated with post-game quotes and additional material from the A’s clubhouse.

Ignited by a perceived taunt from outfielder Hunter Pence, the Oakland A’s pounded Madison Bumgarner (L, 9-7, 3.36 ERA) and the Giants to the tune of 6-1.

Jed Lowrie, Nick Punto, Coco Crisp, Derek Norris, Nate Freiman and Yoenis Cespedes each scored runs and starter Sonny Gray (W, 9-3, 2.97 ERA) held down the defense, allowing six hits, one run and one walk, over seven innings, while striking out nine.

The Giants have remained lifeless over the two-game set in Oakland, scoring only one run on a Tyler Colvin home run in the seventh.

San Francisco’s best chance for a comeback came in the eighth inning. Hunter Pence hit a bloop single to right field before advancing to second after Brandon Belt grounded into a fielders choice. Buster Posey worked a walk, but Pablo Sandoval popped out to center and Michael Morse struck out to end the inning.

The Giants have lost eight of their last 10, but remain only one game out of first place. The A’s, though, earned he club’s 57th win of the season, and lead the American League in runs scored.

In the third inning, Pence caught a fly ball and popped up and looked toward the right field bleachers. He waved his arms, urging the fans to get up. A “Pence you suck” chant followed, and so did three Oakland runs.

Lowrie came across on a Punto double, then Punto came home after a Crisp single, which he turned into a two-bagger on after Gregor Blanco threw home instead of the cutoff. Cespedes and Crisp also scored, four runs coming in for the A’s during the inning.

A”s manager Bob Melvin noticed the fans, too:

“It was terrific, just an electric atmosphere tonight. Every time we got a guy on base, it felt like we scored a run with the crowd. It was way different than a regular season game.”

While Oakland’s offense has been anything but lethargic, Cespedes entered the contest with nine straaight games without an RBI. The streak ended when he knocked in Crisp, his 57th run batted in this season.

Lowrie is also on a streak, with four straight multiple hit games. While most of the Giants’ bats were dead, three turned in two-hit performances: Pence, Michael Morse and Tyler Colvin.

Though the three played well, only Sandoval and Brandon Crawford had hits, four batters going hitless. Perhaps that falls on the merit of Gray, who has now gone seven innings or deeper in three of his last four starts.

Gray explained:

“I think my curveball was there tonight, I was able to throw for strikes. My changeup was going there. My fastball had a lot of life on it. Everything felt pretty good.”

The Giants weren’t just dominated by Gray, and Oakland’s offense.

In another saga of questionable umpiring, Bochy challenged a close call at first where Sandoval appeared to reach the bag at the same time the throw did, and was called out.

Like Monday’s game, the play stood and Bochy was without a challenge for the better part of the contest. Late in the eighth inning, Jean Machi replaced Bumgarner on the mound, and after a few hits, was called for a balk.

Bochy rushed out to argue with home plate umpire Angel Hernández, and just as the ballpark expected him to be tossed, Machi was ejected instead. But not before he finished the inning, which doesn’t happen often.

The A’s are no stranger to bewildering calls from crew chief Hernández, like when a clear-cut home run was ruled a double during a 2013 game in Cleveland.

The odd calls were so well recognized, Hernandez was trending on Twitter by the end of the night.

The Giants and A’s will pick up the next two games against each other in San Francisco on Wednesday and  Thursday.

Notes

The Oakland Athletics have won a season-high tying six straight games (last: May 7-13) and recorded the 11th undefeated homestand of six or more games in Oakland history. … Oakland has won 11 of their last 13 home contests against the Giants… The A’s 57 wins are the most ever for the A’s before the All-Star Break and are a season-high 24 games over .500. … Machi’s ejection is his first of the season. … Sandoval snapped an 0-for-12 streak after leaving Saturday’s game vs San Diego with a left elbow contusion.


Follow @SFBay and @JLeskiwNFL on Twitter and at SFBay.ca for full coverage of the Oakland Athletics.

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