Game one of the Bay Bridge Series went to San Francisco Friday night.
As the fog rolled in, the Giants (50-46) trounced the Athletics (53-42) giving Madison Bumgarner (W, 3-3, 3.09 ERA) his third win of the season, and emptying the stands of a sold-out AT&T Park nearly absent of A’s fans by the eighth inning due to the 7-1 blowout.
A’s starter Edwin Jackson (L, 1-1, 2.59 ERA) sat the first nine Giants he saw down in order, but Steven Duggar led off the game with an 11-pitch at-bat that, despite making an out, was a sign of things to come.
When the Giants initially broke through after three perfect innings from Jackson, it was with a double to right off Duggar’s bat. Duggar would eventually score from third when a discombobulated Jackson slipped off the mound delivering pitch number eight to Brandon Crawford during an extended at-bat, and was called for a balk. Not exactly an encouraging way to scratch the first one across, but it got San Francisco on the board.
Bumgarner was dominant Friday, allowing just one run on three hits over six innings. He made one mistake early, after striking out the first two A’s he saw in the fourth Chad Pinder took him deep (10) on a 91-mph fastball that left his bat at 106.6 miles per hour and went on a 412-foot ride, tying the game, 1-1.
The Giants took the lead back in the sixth, though. Jackson struggled against the rookie again, walking Duggar to lead off the inning. Singles from McCutchen and Buster Posey brought the fresh call-up home for the second time.
The Giants No. 1 starter was otherwise sharp through six innings, but in the seventh he allowed a single and two walks to load the bases with no outs. At 102 pitches, Bochy pulled the plug on his ace and tasked Reyes Moronta with finding a path out of the blazing house Bumgarner left behind with the hope that, at a minimum, he could keep the Giants in the game.
Moronta did more than that. He got San Francisco out of the inning without allowing a run, and his skipper was effusive with praise for him:
“You always look at a point in the game that could be the turning point and [that one] certainly was. ‘Bum’ threw a great ballgame, but base-hit, walk and then he walks the next guy—at that point he’s coming out. And we’ve done that a few times to Moronta, put him in a tough situation, but he handles it so well. That’s going beyond not to give up a run and he has that kind of stuff and that kind of poise.”
Moronta struck out Pinder then had some help from Pablo Sandoval, who snagged a line drive up the third baseline off the bat of Jonathan Lucroy that was ticketed for at least two runs. A grounder to Crawford shut the inning down, and earned Moronta a rare hug from Bumgarner upon arrival at the Giants dugout.
Of the young rookie’s performance under pressure, Bumgarner said:
“Unbelievable job right there. That was a tough spot to put somebody in right there and he did as good a job as you can do, especially in that situation right there [in a] one run game.”
Bumgarner acknowledged how valuable Moronta has been, saying Moronta has picked him up more than once. One of the things he feels is most valuable is the peace of mind he feels seeing the rookie with “electric stuff” warming up and knowing that he is fearless. That trust, he said, changes the way he pitches.
“I could’ve gave in and maybe it was a different result while I was out there, we don’t know, but it’s nice to be able to keep battling and making pitches and not give in and try to just throw a strike in that situation. I seen [Moronta] down there and I knew depending on what happened it was getting close, [but] I didn’t give in I kept trying to make pitches and I made some good ones.”
Giants bats continued a theme started in Bumgarner’s last outing, supplying the ace with a healthy cushion of runs, unlike in his first eight starts. His last outing against St. Louis was graced with 13 runs of wiggle-room, and Friday night San Francisco put up seven runs, most notably from a blow-out seventh inning in which they scored five runs as Oakland’s bullpen melted down.
Jackson was pinch-hit for the in the top of the seventh and Ryan Dull started the home-half in a way that was reminiscent of Bumgarner’s opening to the seventh, allowing a single and two walks to load the bases before being hooked without recording an out.
Jeremy Bleich, making his major league debut, fared no better.
Duggar, seemingly the center of the Giants offense Friday, was the first batter he faced, and the rookie launched a line drive to right field that bounced off the wall and earned him another double and two RBIs.
Of his other rookie’s success, Bochy said:
“He was in the middle of everything today—all the rallies—he got the big hit to break it open and the first at-bat was a good at bat. He’s just gonna get more and more comfortable up here—he looks like he’s comfortable already. From the get-go he’s thrown out some good at bats, played good defense just a really nice ballgame by him.”
Bleich’s next pitch hit Belt on the bicep, the second Giant to be plunked — Sandoval was hit in the fifth — and Oakland skipper Bob Melvin opted to replace him with former Giant, Santiago Casilla. A McCutchen sac fly and a Posey double scored two more, giving the Giants an insurmountable 7-1 lead.
Bumgarner praised Duggar, too:
“I think he’s gonna sleep good tonight. I’m glad he’s here. I’ve been waiting—I think a lot of people [were waiting]—we’re all excited to have him here and see what he can do.”
Sam Dyson induced four groundouts and notched two strikeouts to get through the final two innings without a peep from the A’s offense.
When Alen Hanson led off the third inning with a popup to shallow right, right fielder Stephen Piscotty collided with second baseman Jed Lowrie, who actually caught the ball. The lack of communication left Lowrie worse for the wear and by the bottom of the fifth he was pulled from the game for what was described as a left leg contusion.