It was that time of year again Monday night. The few days in the middle of summer that all Bay Area baseball fans circle on their calendar, the series that pits the two local ball clubs against each other to determine which is the dominant team and establish fan’s bragging rights for the rest of the season, simply known as the Battle of the Bay.
Round one at a sold-out Coliseum in front of a raucous split fan base went to the Athletics, as Jesse Chavez and the Oakland pitching staff stymied the slumping Giants hitters en route to a 5-0 shutout.
“It’s always fun. Two good teams going together in a city that’s great, it’s something that gives you that adreneline,” said Chavez, who tied a career high with nine strikeouts on the evening.
While just a few weeks ago the rivals owned the top two records in the majors, the Giants have fallen off while the A’s are soaring to new heights.
Oakland pitching has allowed just 4 runs over the past 5 games, and have won seventeen of their past twenty-six (.654 winning percentage), while the Giants have seen the flip side of that coin, dropping nineteen of their past twenty-six (.269).
The bottom of the lineup set the tone for the A’s during the game as Jed Lowrie, Alberto Callaspo, and Craig Gentry each got on base twice each, with the knockout blow coming in the form of a 2-run Callaspo double in the sixth.
San Francisco didn’t help themselves out, as two errors in seventh inning by shortstop Brandon Crawford led to two runs that were more than enough to put the game out of reach for Oakland.
Josh Donaldson’s All-star jersey was available for fans to purchase in the team stores for the first time, and the third baseman didn’t disappoint, tallying a run, RBI, and a controversial hit by pitch in addition to a few great defensive plays.
The pitch that hit Donaldson in the hand could have been called a foul ball as it appeared to glance off the knob of the bat. Earlier in the game a similar occurrence happened to Gentry. Both went in the A’s favor and both runners came around to score, much to the chagrin of Bruce Bochy who vehemently argued both plays, but was not ejected from the game.
That seems to tell the story of how things have been going for each team lately.
“When you get your crosstown rivals in here, it makes it fun to come to the yard,” said Donaldson.
While the A’s are having all the fun recently, the Giants will look to bounce back Tuesday night in a showdown of aces. Sonny Gray (8-3, 3.08) will take the hill opposed by Madison Bumgarner (9-6, 3.09) with first pitch scheduled for 7:05 PST.