OAKLAND — The A’s continued throwing a monkey wrench in the anticipated storyline of the Bay Bridge Series.
They’ve stopped the major leagues’ hottest team in their tracks, roughing up the Giants 7-1 on Wednesday for their third win in as many days against their neighboring rival.
San Francisco came in having gone 31-9 over their previous 40 games and looking like one of the majors’ super powers. It’s the A’s who have been the model of inconsistency, languishing in the bottom half of the AL West standings.
All has been turned upside down in Bay Area baseball since Monday. It’s the A’s that have displayed an aggressive swagger, while the Giants played defense Wednesday like they were trying to fill a bloopers’ reel.
Sean Manaea marked his return from the disabled list with 5 2/3 scoreless innings and Jed Lowrie and Yonder Alonso each homered to lead the A’s (35-43) to their seventh win in their past nine games.
They got lots of help, as the Giants committed two errors but committed other defensive blunders that didn’t show up in the scorebook.
The upshot: The A’s have already clinched the four-game series heading into Thursday’s finale against Giants ace Madison Bumgarner. This marks the seventh season series the A’s have claimed from the Giants in 20 years of interleague play. They’ve lost four and split the remaining nine.
Starting pitching report: Sidelined since June 13 due to a forearm strain, Manaea (3-4) was dialed in, scattering six hits, walking one and striking out four. His shining moment came in the fourth. The Giants loaded the bases on three softly hit singles with one out, but Manaea coaxed a 6-4-3 double play from Mac Williamson to escape the jam. He pumped his arms and yelled demonstratively walking off the mound. That preserved a 3-0 A’s lead at the time, and the visitors would not challenge again.
Bullpen report: Liam Hendriks, John Axford and Ryan Dull held the Giants down over the final 3 1/3 innings, though Axford gave up a run and has now allowed 10 in his past eight games.
At the plate: The A’s got a hearty assist from the Giants’ bumbling defense, but credit them for keeping their offensive momentum rolling. They’ve scored at least six runs in each of the six games and are showing the ability to capitalize on their opponents’ mistakes.
The A’s took the lead with three in the third. Marcus Semien reached on a three-base error as Giants right fielder Mac Williamson collided with second baseman Raul Pena and let his pop up drop. Billy Burns would lay down a perfect squeeze bunt to get the A’s on the board. Coco Crisp’s triple would get by Angel Pagan in left field, and Jed Lowrie hit a two-run homer that just cleared the right field wall, hitting Williamson’s glove but deflecting off.
The A’s added four more in the fourth with help from the Giants again. Alonso blasted a two-run homer. Then Semien reached on a triple that Pagan should have caught and scored on Billy Burns double that again scooted past Pagan. Crisp scored Burns with a single. In the field
The A’s played solid defense to back Manaea, committing no errors in comparison to the Giants’ slapstick display in the field.
Attendance: The announced turnout of 32,810 was the A’s first non-sellout in a regular season game against the Giants since May 21, 2010.
Up next: Dillon Overton (1-0, 4.76) draws a tough assignment in his second career start, going against Giants ace Madison Bumgarner (8-4, 1.99) in Thursday’s 7:05 p.m. Bay Bridge Series finale.