AT&T PARK — While everything is going right for the A’s, the Giants are finding new ways to lose on a daily basis.
Despite outhitting the A’s, three errors from the Giants doomed them to a 9-6 loss Wednesday night.
6-foot-8 rookie Nate Freiman had two hits and three RBIs for the A’s who have won six straight and 11 of 12. Tommy Milone pitched five innings allowing eight hits and four runs to pick up the win.
Freiman knows that any win against the Giants is hard fought:
“We were not coasting, this is the defending world champion two out of the last three (years). These guys compete at the highest level so this was going to be a grind for 27 outs and we knew we’d have to keep scoring and keep putting pressure on them.”
Grant Balfour closed it out in the ninth for the save, his 12th of the season.
Meanwhile, the Giants fell to 5-10 in their last 15 games. Hunter Pence and Brett Pill hit solo home runs.
Tim Lincecum grinded out 4-1/3 innings giving up seven hits and six runs to take the loss. For the second straight start, he gave up two runs in the first inning.
Lincecum has lost his last three starts and says they’ll get out of this funk eventually:
Giants pitcher Tim Lincecum
Video: CSN Bay Area
“That team has been playing some really good ball and it’s kind of lining up with our, not so great…We’ve just got to keep grinding and praying for the best. And we will, we’ll get out of this and like I said, grinding is the biggest thing.”
Leading 7-6 in the ninth, the A’s got insurance thanks to more shoddy fielding by the Giants. Seth Smith walked and with one out, Josh Donaldson singled to left.
Andres Torres misplayed the ball allowing Smith to score and Donaldson to advance to second. Reliever Jean Machi wild pitched Donaldson to third. Freiman with another clutch single to right scored Donaldson.
The Giants know their mistakes in the field aren’t helping their pitchers and they’re also struggling offensively says catcher Buster Posey:
“We’re not playing good defense and it seems like when we are scoring runs, we’re scoring when we’re way behind. In the games that we’re getting some decent starts we’re not scoring runs so you’ve just got to keep on, keep grinding.”
In the top of the first, Crisp walked. With one out, Yoenis Cespedes hit a line drive over the head of center fielder Andres Torres and the speedy Cespedes made it all the way to third.
Donaldson then hit a shallow pop fly to right where Scutaro and Hunter Pence nearly collided, allowing the ball to fall in. Cespedes scored and the play was ruled a fielding error on Scutaro.
The A’s left the bases loaded in the fourth inning. They had second and third with one out but Brandon Moss struck out swinging. Lincecum intentionally walked Eric Sogard then got Milone to fly out to left to end the inning.
Oakland dealt Lincecum the knockout blow in the fifth. Crisp singled to left and scored on a booming double to center by Jed Lowrie. Smith walked and Donaldson reached on an infield single to first baseman Brett Pill.
Lincecum failed to cover first base on the play, just standing on the mound. John Jaso made him pay for his inability to cover first with an RBI single to left, sending Lincecum to an early shower.
In from the bullpen came Javier Lopez, and A’s manager Bob Melvin countered with Freiman pinch-hitting for Brandon Moss.
Melvin’s strategy paid off as Freiman singled up the middle, scoring Smith and Donaldson as the A’s broke it open leading 6-1.
But the Giants weren’t dead yet. In the bottom of the sixth, Pill homered to left. Brandon Crawford reached on an infield single to third. Gregor Blanco singled to right center advancing Crawford to third.
After a pitching change for Jerry Blevins, pinch-hitter Joaquin Arias scored Crawford with a sacrifice fly to deep left center.
Andres Torres doubled down the third base line, but there were two questionable calls on the hit. Donaldson thought it was foul and was incensed at the call by third base umpire Gerry Davis.
Blanco scored on the play, but fans interfered as the ball skipped up along the short wall against the left field stands. But the ruling stood and the A’s lead was down to two runs at 6-4.
The A’s reclaimed a three run cushion in the top of the eighth. Sogard doubled to right, was sacrificed to third and scored on a sacrifice fly by Coco Crisp.
The Giants answered back in the bottom of the frame. Blanco singled to center and with two outs, Scutaro doubled to left-center, scoring Blanco. Pablo Sandoval singled to right, bringing in Scutaro to trim the A’s lead to one run.
Donaldson and the A’s are proving to the Giants and their fans, they’re trying to emulate the defending world champs:
“They’re a great team, they’re not just a good team. That’s what we’re out there to prove. To go back and forth at each other like that in good clean fun, I thought it was awesome.”
Barry Zito (3-3, 4.13) will try to avoid the four game sweep Thursday afternoon when he takes the mound at AT&T Park opposed by Oakland’s A.J. Griffin (5-3, 3.84). First pitch at 12:45 p.m.
Balfour is 30-for-30 in save opportunities dating back to last season. … Cespedes has a career best 11-game hit streak. … The Giants are 0-3 in the Bay Bridge series. The last time the Giants lost the annual series against the A’s was 2008 when they went 2-4. … This was Lincecum’s shortest outing of the season.