Johnny Cueto took the mound in his absolute element — a big, loud crowd back filling the ballpark seats again at last for a local rivalry game.
“When I looked around I felt really good,” Cueto said. “Seeing the fans supporting us makes me happy.”
And that energy fueled Cueto as he outdueled Sean Manaea, leading the San Francisco Giants over the Oakland Athletics 2-0 in the Bay Bridge Series opener Friday night.
“He’s a showman, he loves the spotlight, he loves the big stage,” manager Gabe Kapler said before the game. “The one thing we know about Johnny, every time he goes out there he’s entertaining.”
Curt Casali, a last-minute addition in place of ailing Buster Posey, does his job with little fanfare but it's plenty meaningful, too. He homered in the seventh to greet A's reliever Cam Bedrosian after speeding up his pregame prep with Cueto.
“It worked out,” Casali said.
Kapler appreciated Casali's poise, noting, "and that home run was huge, it was a big separator for us.”
With San Francisco leading the NL West, the Giants welcomed back a full-capacity crowd at Oracle Park for this rivalry series that is always a top attraction, and the game drew 36,928 fans. The famous Gilroy Garlic Fries stand had a steady line all night that reached back close to a quarter-mile.
And who better to pitch for the Giants on this special occasion than the dymanic right-hander Cueto (6-3) — always ready to have some fun on the mound. He gave up five hits over seven scoreless innings, struck out six and walked one.
Manaea (6-4) struck out seven and walked three, allowed one run on three hits over six innings, and also had a pair of hits.
“I love to hit,” he said. “It's a lot of fun.”
He doubled in the third for his first career extra-base hit and the first baserunner against Cueto with two out in the third. Adding to the moment, Manaea's helmet flew off as he rounded first with the dugout going crazy in delight.
It was Manaea's second career hit, his other coming in 2018. He then singled in the fifth.
The left-hander retired Austin Slater on a 10-pitch at-bat to end the third. He walked the first two batters in the sixth and escaped, striking out Donovan Solano to end the inning. Manaea struck out the side in order in the second for four Ks through two scoreless innings.
Brandon Crawford hit an RBI single in the fourth.
“Close game like that one hit ends up beating you,” A’s manager Bob Melvin said. “Unfortunately we just couldn’t do enough offensively to give him some support. He pitched great.”
Posey was a late scratch because of low back tightness, with Casali called into duty.
Jake McGee finished the 2-hour, 23-minute game for his 15th save as San Francisco won for the ninth time in 10 games. The Giants certainly appreciated Cueto's fast work after they played a nearly five-hour game winning in 13 innings against the Angels on Wednesday in Anaheim.
After going 1-5 against the A's during the shortened 2020 season, San Francisco improved to 15-6 in June and has either won or split its last nine series.
The mayors from each city, Oakland's Libby Schaaf and London Breed of San Francisco, threw out the ceremonial first pitches. Breed threw both arms into the air in triumph after throwing her ball.
Athletics: LF Mark Canha, who exited in the third inning Wednesday in Anaheim, went on the 10-day injured list with a strained left hip that has some tendinitis. ... Ramón Laureano was back in center field after two games as DH and one in right field versus the Angels to take pressure off a strained right hip that kept him out 17 games.
Giants: 1B Brandon Belt was placed on the 10-day injured list with inflammation in his right knee. Surgery is a possibility. “He understands that this is probably not a 10-day injury and he understands that there's going to be a rehab process here, and I imagine that's difficult,” Kapler said. “... I don't think he's in a particularly good space around this but I think that he also understands that it's important that he keeps a mindset that he's going to help us a lot this season and that the beginning parts of this rehab are going to be important for him to hit the ground running.” ... 3B Evan Longoria (sprained left shoulder) is beginning light baseball activity in Arizona. ... RHP Logan Webb (strained pitching shoulder) will pitch a simulated inning Sunday and could begin rehab games next week. ... INF Tommy La Stella jammed his throwing thumb in his recovery from a strained left hamstring. X-rays were negative but it's likely keeping him out a few days from playing rehab games with Triple-A Sacramento.
The Giants recalled OF LaMonte Wade Jr. from Sacramento to fill Belt's spot, while Oakland recalled INF Vimael Machín from Triple-A Las Vegas to take Canha's place.
RHP Frankie Montas (7-7, 4.79 ERA), 3-5 over his last eight starts, pitches for the A's on Saturday night opposite Giants LHP Alex Wood (6-3, 4.09).
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