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Newcomers carry A’s past Giants to grab Bay Bridge opener

Two runs in a pair of innings were all the A’s needed Friday night, beating the Giants 4-1 in front of 40,133 fans to tie the 2021 Battle of the Bay series at 2-2 with two games left.

San Francisco (78-44) could only score on a Mike Yastrzemski homer in the fifth, while lefty starter Alex Wood (L, 10-4, 4.11 ERA) allowed two runs in his five innings, walking two and striking out nine.

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The A’s (70-53) plated their first runs when Jed Lowrie walked to lead off the fourth and Yan Gomes followed with a double over left fielder Kris Bryant’s head. Josh Harrison singled to drive in both runners for a 2-0 A’s lead. Chad Pinder made his first appearance since July 8, drawing a 10-pitch walk but was left stranded along with Harrison.

Gomes and Harrison, the newest Oakland A’s, were dominant Friday night, driving in all the A’s runs. Bob Melvin said they have been very consistent this season and the A’s are happy to have them:

“What is impressive to me is the fact that [Gomes] has been able to get up to speed with the pitchers really quickly… I think this is the second time [Gomes] has caught [Kaprielian] now… Marte is like a hurricane and Harrison just brings so much energy. Obviously the three of them, the hit [Harrison] got to drive in the first two runs was huge… [Marte] is not going to get three hits every game but finds a way to show up in a win almost every time. Makes a great play in center field early in the game, 2-1, 3-1 feels like five runs at the time.” 

James Kaprielian (W, 7-4, 3.25 ERA) looked lights out in the first inning but afterward struggled with command, somehow managing to escape every inning scoreless except for his final fifth. He allowed three hits, one being the Yastrzemski homer for the Giants only run. Kaprelian walked three straight in the third to load the bases with two outs, but got out of the jam. 

Manager Gabe Kapler was asked about Yastrzemski prior to Friday night’s game and said it was no secret Yastrzemski had been struggling this season. But the struggling center fielder was the only Giant to put a run on the board and hit his first homer since Aug. 2. Kaprielian walked four total and struck out four batters, keeping his team in the game through five innings and walking off the mound with a 2-1 lead.

Melvin said Kaprielian had a great first inning but struggled after that, yet still got the win:

“Early in the game he looked great … Maybe not his best command after that. But he is a really tough competitor and those are the guys that find a way to get outs when they have to. Now I am going to be careful with him based on that fact that he was on the IL… but he comes out of the game after five innings, we are ahead 2-1, did his job.”

Brandon Crawford and Alex Dickerson singled back-to-back in the second inning. Crawford hit a pop-up to shallow center but Mark Canha called off Starling Marte — who could have made the catch — and the ball dropped. Kaprielian was halfway into the dugout when the ball landed on what should have been a routine pop-up. A Dickerson blooper up the middle followed, but the inning ended thanks to a beautiful leaping catch against the wall by Marte on what looked like a three-run homer on contact. 

Kaprielian was a little hard on himself but tipped his hat to his catcher Gomes:

“I think it wasn’t my best but kinda just grinded through. … We had good defense behind us all night and [Gomes] did a tremendous job behind the dish calling pitches and probably credit most of my success, if any, to him. Getting me through those moments and staying with me, forcing me to stay out and there compete.”

Zack Littell relieved Wood and after a leadoff walk to Pinder in the seventh, Canha hit into a fielder’s choice and Littell uncorked a wild pitch before Marte, who was 0-for-3 headed into the at-bat came in clutch yet again with a double inches off the first base line to drive in Canha and make it 3-1. 

Jake Diekman, Yusmeiro Petit and Sergio Romo kept the Giants scoreless before Lou Trivino picked up his 21st save of the season.

Harrison drove in the A’s first two runs and was able to experience his first Battle of the Bay series. He noted what it was like to play in front of a full crowd: 

“It is always exciting to play in front of a crowd like we had tonight but the first time playing in this bay series, definitely exciting looking up, had a little bit more black and orange than I probably would have like [he smiled] but at the same time, it is always better when you get the last laugh, getting the victory. So, so far, so good.”

Jose Alvarez came in to try and get the final out of the seventh inning but allowed a run before throwing a single pitch. Marte stole third before Alvarez’s first pitch of the game, but a bad throw to scored Marte to make it 4-1. It was the loudest “Lets Go Oakland” chant of the night after the play.

Up Next

LHP Sean Manaea (8-8, 3.77 ERA) and Kevin Gausman (12-5, 2.40 ERA) Manaea took an L his first outing against the Giants in San Francisco for the first battle of the bay game of the six total and looks to redeem himself and help lift the series 

Notes

Yan Gomes first hit of the game was interesting. He hit a blooper down the third base line and third baseman Wilmer Flores Jr. fielded the ball before it passed third base and it knocked off his glove. Flores tried to act like it was already foul, and third base umpire Tom Hallion called it foul before plate umpire Mark Ripperger called it fair. After review, it was ruled a single. … Gomes and Josh Harrison each had two hits; Starling Marte and Elvis Andrus both singled for six total A’s hits. … The Giants were held to just four hits, singles from Buster Posey, Brandon Crawford and Alex Dickerson and the Mike Yastrzemski homer. … The Giants left six men on base and had an error. 

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