Scott Kazmir dominated a weak Giants offense as the A’s beat San Francisco 6-1 to take the season series 3-1 and keep the best record in the Majors (58-34).
The Oakland offense continued to plague Giants starting pitching. Brandon Moss led off the top of the second with a single, and Josh Donaldson followed it up with a walk. Jed Lowrie’s groundout moved Moss to third, and he came in to score on a sacrifice fly off the bat of Alberto Callaspo to give Oakland a 1-0 lead. They tacked on another run in the fifth when John Jaso hit a two-out triple to right-center field, and Stephen Vogt singled him home.
But the game unraveled quickly for the Giants in the top of the sixth. Moss doubled to lead off before Donaldson hit a ball to right field that kept carrying and ended up on the top of the wall for a two-run home run that seemed to surprise everyone. Lowrie and Callaspo hit back-to-back doubles, and Craig Gentry took his second intentional walk to load the bases with no outs. Tim Hudson struck out Kazmir, and in came Javier Lopez to pitch for the Giants. Lopez got pinch-hitter Derek Norris to fly out to shallow right, but gave up a two-run single to Vogt to give the A’s a 6-0 lead and to extend Vogt’s hitting streak to a career-high ten games. Lopez has now allowed eight-of-22 inherited runners to score this year, and his 2.95 ERA is his highest since joining the Giants in 2010.
“I felt alright today. Obviously that sixth inning it got away from me a little bit…It was a little bit of a weird inning,” Hudson said. “It kind of unraveled on us a little bit. Some innings you make horrible pitches, and you get away with some stuff. Some innings you make good pitches and they’re able to get in a position to score some runs. It was a little bit of a combination of a little bit of both right there in the sixth.”
After a strong start to the year, Hudson (7-6, 2.87) continues to struggle. On Thursday afternoon he lasted five-and-a-third innings, allowing nine hits, six runs, three walks – two intentional – and four strike outs. In his last five starts, the right hander is 0-4 and has given up 20 earned runs (22 unearned).
Despite being no-hit for the first four innings, the Giants offense made Kazmir work a little to earn his 11th win of the year. San Francisco tagged him for just three hits through seven innings but hit the ball hard several times. The luck wasn’t there for them (again) as none of those hard-hit balls dropped in, and they couldn’t manage that elusive hit with runners in scoring position. Kazmir’s nine strikeouts and just one walk propelled his team to victory. The left hander is now 5-0 with a 0.93 ERA during day games.
After being blanked just 11 times in all of 2013, the Giants were on the brink of their tenth shut out of the year before Pablo Sandoval delivered an RBI single off of Dan Otero in the eighth to score Ehire Adrianza, who was just activated from the Disabled List after being sidelined with a hamstring injury.
San Francisco continues to be mired in an impressive slump. They’ve lost 19 of their last 23 at home and have dropped 21 of 29 overall. Despite the month-long struggles, they sit just a half-game out of first place in the National League West. Bruce Bochy knows they’re lucky and hopes that, despite the last month, they can remember that they’re still in it.
“This has been a pretty good [slump], there’s no getting around it. But I’ve seen similar slumps. You know you’re gonna have them. Every club has them, if you look throughout baseball…This has been a little long, no getting around that, but the fact that where we’re at – we know we’re lucky. That’s what we have to keep reminding ourselves, of where we’re at. There’s a lot of baseball left, and the only thing you can do it keep pushing and put these tough games behind you.”
This Giants team has shown signs of life during this rough stretch – Tim Lincecum’s no-hitter, the comeback win in San Diego, scoring five runs against Oakland pitching on Wednesday night – but they’ve yet to put together a string of good performances. Buster Posey says it’s time to get back to basics.
“We’re just getting outplayed, so we have to figure out how to score more runs than the other team. I think that’s the simplified way of doing it.”
They’ll have a good opportunity to do just that against the Diamondbacks right-hander Mike Bolsinger (1-5, 5.13) on Friday night. Lincecum (8-5, 3.91) will be on the mound for the orange and black.