Giants, Blach bash A’s, split Bay Bridge series
After four days of baseball, the Giants walked away with the last laugh in the rivalry-fueled Bay Bridge Series Thursday night with a merciless 11-2 beatdown of the neighboring A’s.
For the second time in four days, the Athletics entered a game against the Giants with a win in their back pockets. But also for the second time in four days, the A’s failed to stack wins together against a subpar San Francisco team.
Bad start for Kendall Graveman
Making his first appearance on the mound since May 19, A’s starting pitcher Kendall Graveman (L, 2-3, 4.96 ERA) did not put forth a strong outing after his 10-day disabled list stint.
In only two innings pitched, Graveman gave up eight hits and seven earned runs that included three doubles and one home run. A’s manager Bob Melvin was forced to pull the plug on Graveman’s night, making it his shortest start since July 2015. Coincidentally, that appearance also came against San Francisco, as Graveman pitched a mere 1-1/3 innings and gave up four runs.
After the game, Graveman spoke about his lack of success in his first appearance in over two months:
“I threw a lot of strikes. I guess I don’t think the movement was quite there… To get a team off to a start like that, as a starter, we gotta set the tone, set the pace and I didn’t do that tonight.”
A’s manager Bob Melvin also addressed Graveman’s effort and was not suprised by what transpired:
“Sometimes that first start back can be a little out of sorts. That second inning his velocity was a little better. His first inning looked like his velocity was down a little bit. They were just on him.”
Giants bats light up early
The Giants clearly did not care about their MLB ranking for runs scored per game, as they decided to find the barrel of their bats on Thursday. In total, the team racked up 11 hits and brought home 11 runs on the evening, making their third most successful offensive outing of the season thus far.
Barrels were on the ball early as the Giants scored four runs in the first inning. Newly called-up infielder Ryder Jones was the first to crack the seal as he found a hole into which to drop the Giants’ first single. Next to the plate was Brandon Belt, who also found the gap, this time for a double to advance Jones to third.
Buster Posey drove in Jones with an RBI single to start the avalanche better known as the first inning. Brandon Crawford and Jarrett Parker ended the damage with a single and double to make it 4-0 by the end of the first. But the Giants were nowhere near being finished.
The pummeling of Graveman continued through the second inning, as Denard Span led off with a double up the middle. After Ryder Jones got his second hit by way of an RBI double to left, Brandon Belt homered to center, bumping San Francisco’s lead to 7-0.
The evening’s biggest offensive play came from the unlikeliest of sources. In the fifth inning, leading 8-1, starting pitcher Ty Blach proved he was more than just an arm. A three-run blast to dead-center capped off the offensive showing and increased the Giants lead to 11-1.
When asked about his first major league home run, Blach said:
“I knew I had it in there somewhere. I just hadn’t found it in a while so it felt good to actually do it when it mattered.”
Though the Giants’ season is clearly over — as they are 35 games behind the division-leading Dodgers in the NL West — it’s still a welcome sign to see an offensive awakening. Especially ahead of an offseason that could potentially bring a fair amount of chance to the three-time World Series champs.
A’s can’t string wins together against San Francisco
Considering that San Francisco has the worst record in the majors, one might think beating them would be a walk in the park. Not for the A’s though, as they gave up 11 runs in eerily similar fashion to Tuesday’s defeat, when they gave up 10 runs.
On top of pitching woes, Oakland bats went entirely cold when it mattered. The A’s left a total of five runners on base and scored only two runs on seven hits in a severe lack of clutch at bats.
To begin the game, the A’s left starting short stop, Marcus Semien on the pond after hitting the game’s first double. After leaving Rajai Davis on first, the dynamic of the game completely changed, as what could have been a two-run deficit turned into a 7-0 hole.
With Oakland’s record at 48-60, major adjustments will have to be made if the team hopes to at least come out even at .500 by the end of the year.
Ty Blach could be cornerstone in Giants’ future
The Giants are on pace this season to lose more than 100 games, a feat (under)achieved only once in the franchise’s history. That, coupled with the fact that San Francisco has the 11th-oldest roster and the sixth-highest payroll in baseball, all point to a potential rebuild in the near future.
If indeed the tides turn that direction, the Giants can rest assured that they have at least one Blach to build on, Ty Blach that is.
In 8 innings pitched Thursday, the 26-year-old Blach (W, 7-7, 4.24 ERA) gave up two runs and six hits in his best start since October 2016. Keeping the ball in the yard and pitching to contact, Blach cruised to his seventh win of the season.
On top of the stellar performance on the bump, Blach whacked a moon shot to deep center field in the bottom of the fifth inning to drive in three runs for the Giants.
After the game, Bruce Bochy said:
“It was the Ty Blach show tonight. Eight innings, a three-run homer. I mean sure we did a lot of good things, scored runs, but what a game he had. I think we all were just stunned by what happened there.”
If Blach can ride the momentum of the strong outing and finish the season on a positive note, the Giants may have a nice young piece to help reestablish themselves.