Oakland Pitching Stifles Giants Struggling Offense

The Giants opened up the Bay Bridge series by once again being on the wrong side of a shut-out as they fell to the Oakland Athletics 5-0.

It took a few innings, but the Oakland offense finally broke through in the bottom of the fifth. Craig Gentry was awarded first base to lead off the inning after he was hit by a pitch. Ryan Vogelsong and Bruce Bochy didn’t agree and challenged, but the call was reviewed and upheld. Coco Crisp then dropped a perfect bunt single up the first base line before John Jaso grounded out to second base to put the A’s on the board 1-0.

Vogelsong (5-6) led off the bottom of the sixth by plunking Josh Donaldson, and Jed Lowrie hit a one-out single to knock the Giants right-hander out of the game. His replacement, Juan Gutierrez, served up a fastball down the middle on the first pitch to Alberto Callaspo, who launched it into right-center field for a two-RBI double.

Those two runs were charged to Vogelsong who, once again, was the victim of a lack of run support. In his last three starts, the Giants offense has scored one run. He was the tough-luck loser on Monday night, as he gritted out five-and-a-third innings, allowing five hits, two walks, and striking out four while giving up those three runs. He threw 100 pitches, 59 of which were strikes, and he lowered his season ERA to 3.92, not too shabby for a fifth starter.

The wheels officially fell off for San Francisco in the bottom of the seventh. Jaso singled to lead off, and Brandon Crawford’s throwing error put him on second. Yoenis Cespedes hit a ball to Crawford, who threw it away yet again, putting runners on second and third with no outs. Brandon Moss hit a sacrifice fly, and Donaldson singled to make it 5-0. Both of those runs against Gutierrez were unearned.

The San Francisco offense was simply baffled by Oakland pitching from start to finish. Jesse Chavez earned his seventh win of the season, throwing six shut-out innings and giving up four hits, two walks, and tying a career-high with nine strikeouts. Fernando Abad, Dan Otero, and Ryan Cook finished up the final three innings allowing one hit, no walks, and one strike out.

The Giants have been shut out four of their last eight games as their line-up continues to flounder without Pablo Sandoval and Angel Pagan. In the last 26 games, the two Bay Area teams have been playing dramatically different baseball as the Giants have gone 7-19, while the A’s have gone 17-9. Oakland now owns the best record in baseball at 56-33.

With the Dodgers having an off-day on Monday, San Francisco fell to a full game back in the National League West. The black-and-orange will look to split the series at O.Co Coliseum on Tuesday night as they send Madison Bumgarner (9-6, 3.09) to take on Sonny Gray (8-3, 3.08).

Notes: Sandoval told reporters post-game that he feels that he can start on Tuesday night. …Donaldson’s HBP hit the barrel of the bat before hitting his hand. Umpire Paul Nauert originally ruled it a foul ball before reversing his own call and awarding Donaldson first base.