Wednesday, July 09, 2014
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Athletics dump Giants to cap 6-0 homestand

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[July 09, 2014]  OAKLAND, Calif. -- When the Oakland A's opened a six-game homestand Thursday against the Toronto Blue Jays, they were staggering after being swept by the Detroit Tigers.

Right-hander Sonny Gray got the A's back on track that night, allowing one run over seven innings in a victory. On Tuesday night, he capped a perfect homestand for the A's with another gem, giving up one run on six hits over seven innings in a 6-1 victory over the San Francisco Giants at the O.co Coliseum.

Oakland (57-33) won its season-high-tying sixth consecutive game, moved a season-high 24 games over .500 and beat the Giants for the second straight time in the Bay Bridge Series, which moves to San Francisco for the final two games.

A's starters allowed one or fewer runs and pitched at least six innings in each of the past six games, the longest such streak in Oakland history. During the six-game stretch, the A's allowed a total of five runs.

"You're just going out there and trying to keep it going," Gray said. "I said after my last start when we first came home against Toronto, it was something we needed to get going again and we were able to do it that game and build each and every start. And now we're just trying to keep it going."
 


Gray (9-3) struck out eight and walked one Tuesday. The only run he allowed came on left fielder Tyler Colvin's leadoff home run in the seventh, Colvin's second blast of the season, cutting Oakland's lead to 4-1.

"They're all so competitive," A's second baseman Nick Punto said of Oakland's starting pitchers. "All five of our guys, and now (Jason) Hammel's in there tomorrow. I've played against him and know how competitive he is. That's really the key, the competitive nature that our five starters have. I'll put that against anybody's."

Giants left-hander Madison Bumgarner (9-7) lost his third consecutive start, allowing six runs on 10 hits over seven-plus innings. He struck out just three, matching his season low, and walked three.

The Giants (49-41) lost for the 20th time in their past 27 games overall and for the 11th time in their past 13 games at Oakland.

"We're frustrated," Bumgarner said. "We're not playing the kind of ball that we know we can play. Tempers flare a little bit, which is good. It means our guys have a lot of heart and they care. We're working. It's just a tough time. I don't really know how to explain it. It's just not going our way, that's for sure."

Center fielder Coco Crisp, shortstop Jed Lowrie and catcher Derek Norris each had two of the Athletics' 11 hits.

"They got some key hits and we couldn't," Giants manager Bruce Bochy said. "I think we were 0-for-9. That's not going to work with runners in scoring position. Too many strikeouts. We had trouble putting the ball in play with runners in scoring position. They did, and that was the difference. We created some pretty good chances. We had our chances. We just couldn't get somebody to come through and get a base hit."

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The A's scored four times in the third inning, batting around against Bumgarner and taking a 4-0 lead.

Lowrie blooped a leadoff single in which Giants right fielder Hunter Pence and second baseman Joe Panik nearly collided. Pence made a nice running catch of designated hitter Alberto Callaspo's line drive down the line, drawing a chorus of boos, primarily from A's fans packing the right field stands. As he ran back to his position, Pence cupped a hand behind his ear, drawing even more verbal abuse as the rivalry game heated up.

Punto grounded a double into the left field corner, driving in Lowrie. Crisp lined an RBI single to center and took second on the throw home. Crisp raced home on left fielder Yoenis Cespedes' bloop single, making it 3-0. After Bumgarner walked third baseman Josh Donaldson, Norris grounded an RBI single to left.

That was more than enough support for the A's pitching staff on this homestand.

"You're gonna win a lot of games when you give up less than a run a game," A's manager Bob Melvin said. "Once the starters get on a roll like that, they're really competing with each other and pushing each other."

NOTES: Giants 3B Pablo Sandoval (bruised and swollen left elbow) returned to the lineup Tuesday after missing two games. He went 1-for-4. ... Oakland RF Josh Reddick (strained right knee) said Tuesday that he experienced no pain while taking batting practice on the field and shagging balls in the outfield Monday for the first time since going on the disabled list June 29. Reddick said his goal is to go on a rehab assignment during the All-Star break, July 14-17, then rejoin the A's on July 18 when they open a home series against the Baltimore Orioles.

[ 2014 Thomson Reuters. All rights reserved.]

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