Gray Dominates, A’s Sweep Giants in Part 1 of Battle of the Bay

The Oakland A’s continued their dominance over the San Francisco Giants at the O.co Coliseum with a 6-1 win Tuesday evening to sweep the two-game Oakland portion of the four-game series.

Behind a solid pitching performance from Sonny Gray, the A’s pushed their record at home against the Giants to 11-2 since 2010.

On paper, the game looked like a marquee pitchers’ duel. National League All Star Madison Bumgarner was throwing for the Giants, coming into play with a 9-6 record and a 3.09 ERA, against Gray, the second-year standout with an 8-3 record and a 3.08 ERA of his own.

Bumgarner cruised through the first two innings, retiring all six Athletics’ batters in order, but struggled in the third inning. Jed Lowrie singled to lead off the inning and following a line out by Alberto Callaspo, he came around to score on a double by Nick Punto to left field. Punto scored after Crisp worked the count full and finally dropped the seventh pitch of his at bat for a single to center field. Crisp advanced to second on the throw in by Gregor Blanco and later stole third for his 16th stolen base of the season. Craig Gentry lined out for the second out of the inning, but Yoenis Cespedes came through with a RBI single that blooped into the outfield just out of the reach of Brandon Crawford. Following a walk by Josh Donaldson, Cespedes came around to score on Derek Norris’ single to left field to wrap up the early inning scoring with the A’s in front 4-0.

San Francisco broke up the A’s streak of 15 scoreless innings in the seventh when Tyler Colvin connected for his second homer of the season to right field, cutting the lead to 4-1.

The A’s scored again in the bottom of the eighth inning, with Norris scoring on a RBI double by Nate Freiman to right field.

Aside from the crooked number in the third and two runs in the eighth (one allowed by reliever Jean Machi), Bumgarner was effective, scattering seven hits through 7+ innings in the loss. He struck out three A’s batters and walked three. The Giants’ All Star was victim to one bad inning prior to his exit in the eighth inning.

Jean  Machi came in to relieve Bumgarner, inheriting Freiman on second with no outs in the eighth. Machi got Lowrie to pop out for the first out but then balked Freiman over to third. Alberto Callaspo made Machi pay with a single to right field that scored Freiman, bringing an end to Bumgarner’s pitching line. Nick Punto grounded into a double play to end the inning.

Gray, on the other hand, had recorded six strikeouts in the first 10 batters he faced and wound up finishing the night with 8. The lone run he surrendered was on Colvin’s homer. He walked just one Giants’ batter in seven innings and scattered six hits. He lowered his ERA to 2.97 for the season and improved to 9-3.

Luke Gregerson pitched the eighth inning for the A’s, allowing a single to Pence and a walk to Buster Posey, but escaped the inning without allowing a run.

Ryan Cook pitched a scoreless ninth inning for Oakland in the non-save situation.

The Giants got hits from Pablo Sandoval and Brandon Crawford in addition to Colvin’s homer. Colvin, Hunter Pence and Michael Morse each had two hits for San Francisco.

Oakland got hits from Crisp, Gentry, Cespedes, Norris, Lowrie, Freiman, Callaspo and Punto. Only Donaldson went hitless for the night, though he did reach base on a walk.

The series will now cross the Bay Bridge and continue at AT&T Park on Wednesday and Thursday, with the advantage shifting to the Giants. The Giants have won 12 of the past 14 games played in San Francisco.

Newly acquired Jason Hammel (8-5, 2.98 ERA with the Cubs) will take the hill for the A’s on Wednesday against Matt Cain (1-7, 4.27 ERA) for the Giants. All Star Scott Kazmir (10-3, 2.53 ERA) will pitch for Oakland in the finale on Thursday against Tim Hudson (7-5, 2.53 ERA).