A’s mangle Giants­, secure Bay Bridge series win

With Wednesday night’s 7-1 drubbing of the cross-Bay rival San Francisco Giants, the Oakland Athletics pushed their current run of success to six wins in seven contests.

Led by a stellar start from Sean Manaea, in his return from a two-week stint on the disabled list, the A’s (35-43) mashed their way to a third straight victory over the Giants (49-31), who were again denied in the pursuit of win No. 50.

This story has been updated with quotes and post-game material from the A’s clubhouse at the Oakland Coliseum.

With his 5-2/3 innings of shutout work, shortened by a limited pitch count, the “Throwin’ Samoan” out-dueled veteran righty Jake Peavy, who was let down by poor defense in his 3-1/3 frames. The Alabama native was tagged with four unearned runs (three earned) on five hits, while his support committed three errors.

In regards to his offense, which has scored 7.6 runs per game over the past week, manager Bob Melvin said:

“We’re swinging well right now… We’ve always felt like, if healthy, this is the type of things we can do with our lineup.”

After taking an American League-style slugfest to San Francisco, the A’s opened the continued festivities by deploying a National League attack in Oakland.

With a safety squeeze Billy Burns sent Marcus Semien, who was standing at third following a three-base error by Ruben Tejada, home for the game’s opening salvo in the third inning.

Of the play, Melvin said:

“He had been struggling some. To come through with a couple big RBIs, especially (with the squeeze bunt) to get us on the board, was big.”

The run was produced with the assistance of a near miss by Tejada and the San Francisco defense — one of several it endured in the frame.

On a lazy fly ball into shallow right off the bat of Semien, Tejada ranged out unresponsive to the calls from right fielder Mac Williamson. The Giant second baseman was unable to reel in the out as he crashed into the much larger Williamson, taking an error and a twisted left ankle in the exchange, and giving the A’s their first base runner.

The red-hot Coco Crisp lined a 3-2 fastball into the left-center field gap where it narrowly eluded a cut-off attempt from Angel Pagan, becoming a triple in the place of a single. One batter later, Jed Lowrie sent a towering fly ball into right where Williamson climbed the wall to get leather on it, but had it clang off his glove and out of play for a home run.

The skipper said that seeing a home run come into contact with an outfielder’s glove before clearing the wall is a common occurrence.

The visitors added a second error of the inning, to go with the two defensive miscues, when third baseman Ramiro Peña dropped a routine pop up in foul territory. Peavy (L, 4-7, 5.33 ERA) worked around the blunder, but three runs of damage had already been done.

The second baseman said:

“They certainly didn’t play a very tight defensive game today, and we took advantage of it.”

Williamson compounded his defensive struggles, letting a big at-bat slip through his fingers in the next half-inning. With the bases loaded, the young slugger hooked a long line drive with home-run distance just foul one pitch prior to an inning-ending double play.

Manaea (W, 3-4, 5.40 ERA) exploded with a rare show of emotion, after inducing the grounder. He said:

“From what everybody has been saying, the Bay Bridge Series is always going to be a good series. Being in that moment, and getting those big outs, that was huge and all the emotions I had, they let out. It was awesome, getting out of that inning.”

The rally killer capped a rough night for the 25 year-old. One that began with a runner’s interference call which turned into a double play to end the second.

San Francisco, which was led by two-hit efforts from Buster Posey and Trevor Brown, did not find its way onto the scoreboard until an eighth-inning sacrifice fly from Brandon Crawford.

The Oakland offense once again ignited in the fourth.

Following a one-out walk by Billy Butler, the A’s scored four runs behind four consecutive hits. A two-run homer (2) by Yonder Alonso preceded RBI hits from Burns and Crisp, serving as insurance.

The A’s have set themselves up for a first ever regular season series sweep of their Bay Area rival Giants. If they are to seal it, though, they will have to climb the Cold Mountain that is ace Madison Bumgarner (8-4, 1.99 ERA). The big lefty will not just be throwing, but hitting as well, as his team will become the first team since 1976 to sacrifice the use of a designated hitter, electing to have their pitcher take the swings.

The Green and Gold counter with rookie Dillon Overton (1-0, 4.76 ERA), making his first home start and second overall.


Kalama Hines is SFBay’s Oakland Athletics beat writer. Follow @SFBay and @HineSight_2020 on Twitter and at SFBay.ca for full coverage of A’s baseball.