A’s shove Giants out of Wild Card race


The Giants couldn’t do much against the A’s this time.

After San Francisco swept Oakland during a late July series at AT&T Park, the Green and Gold decided that it wouldn’t happen next time.

This story has been updated with post-game quotes and additional material from O.co Coliseum.

San Francisco scratched and clawed, and nearly got to reliever Sean Doolittle in the worst kind of way. But Oakland prevailed 5-4, ensuring a sweep doesn’t happen again this year.

Sonny Gray (W, 14-7, 2.73 ERA) comes off with a win and Mike Leake (L, 10-10, 3.89 ERA) with the loss. Sean Doolittle recorded a save.

And the Giants will not play baseball past the regular season without winning the National League West, after the Chicago Cubs claimed the second Wild Card spot Friday night.

The Giants got on the board early, with infielder Matt Duffy smacking one over the center field wall, scoring second baseman Kelby Tomlinson.

A’s manager Bob Melvin touched on how Gray reacted:

“€œA little upset with himself for leaving a ball up in the first inning, and I’€™ve said it often before that sometimes the first inning is an inning where the starter is trying to find his rhythm, release point.”

A’s second baseman Eric Sogard helped put a run across in the second inning, grounding into a fielders choice which scored third baseman Danny Valencia.

Photos by Jeffery Bennett/SFBay

The A’s took the lead in the third inning on a Billy Burns homer that also drove in outfielder Sam Fuld, Burns’ fifth on the year, and fourth coming on the first pitch.

Said Melvin:

“He’s in a lot of conversations at this point. He’s in the conversation for rookie of the year. He’s been really consistent for us. And you’re talking about multi-hit games for a guy that didn’t even start the beginning of the season here for us.”

Melvin’s response came after being queried about Burns’ passing Jose Canseco in multi-hit games in a single season, of which the rookie has 45. Melvin continued:

“He’s been terrific, he’s been consistent, he’s been durable, all of the above. Whoever he’s in conversations with, he deserves to be.”

There was little action after the third beyond Giants rookie Mac Williamson getting his first big league hit, a single in the top of the fifth inning that made the youngster smile:

“It felt good, it felt really good. After being out all last year and then trying to catch back up from the at bats I missed, the games I missed, this year has been a roller coaster for sure. It was really cool to get out there and help the team win.”

Williamson was one of a few Giants players badly injured when a team van was blindsided by a vehicle driving recklessly during Spring Training in Arizona early on in the 2014 preseason.

He was the club’s top hitting prospect at the time, and many were expecting to see him with the big club early in the season. The accident cost him most of the season.

Another Giants rookie, outfielder Jarrett Parker, smashed a 474-foot home run into the second deck of center field, one of the longest homers ever to be hit at the Coliseum.

The blast came off rookie A’s reliever Ryan Dull, who hadn’t allowed a single run in 11 innings. Melvin called it a sort of psuedo-initiation to the big leagues, the young man has been masterful thus far.

Said Melvin:

“Now he’s official, you start going that long without giving up a run, it takes on a life of its own. I told him after the game, ‘hey look, you’ve given up your run, now you can just go about your business and not have to worry about that.'”

Doolittle came in an allowed a run on a Marlon Byrd single, but pitched a perfect ninth inning afterwards.

A’s fans got their win against the Giants, and the A’s got some rejuvenation after being swept by the Rangers one day earlier.

The series continues Saturday and Sunday afternoons.

Follow @SFBay and @LeskiwSFBay on Twitter and at SFBay.ca for full coverage of the Oakland Athletics.

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