The San Francisco Giants have had no trouble winning series openers lately. Carrying that success into the rest of the games, though, hasn't come easy.
The visiting Giants try to build on an impressive comeback victory and take the first two from the Oakland Athletics on Saturday.
The Athletics (34-37) were on the verge of winning for a ninth time in 10 games Friday leading 3-1 in the ninth inning, but suddenly things fell apart. Rookie Ryan Cook walked Buster Posey and Pablo Sandoval on nine pitches to lead off the inning and Brandon Belt followed with a game-tying double. San Francisco (39-32) added two more runs on singles by Hector Sanchez and Gregor Blanco and went on to win 5-4, snapping a six-game losing streak in Oakland."Great game. Great comeback," Bruce Bochy said.
The Giants finished with four hits in the ninth after totaling four through the first eight innings, and hope the late rally can provide a spark for a team that has struggled to string together wins. Friday's victory marked San Francisco's fourth straight series-opening victory, but in its previous two series against Seattle and the Los Angeles Angels , it was unable to win another game.
The Athletics, meanwhile, are trying to regroup after just their second loss in nine games at home.
Yoenis Cespedes struck out three times - including right after Reddick's blast - and finished 0 for 4 after going 3 for 8 with a three-run homer, double and run-scoring single in his previous two games in his return to the lineup.
Cespedes, who has sat out nine games this month with a strained left hamstring, and most of his teammates will be getting their first look Saturday at Madison Bumgarner (8-4, 2.92 ERA), who will appear in his first Bay Bridge Series game.
In Seattle on Sunday, Bumgarner allowed a run, three hits and one walk in eight innings of a 2-1 loss, but didn't get the decision. The left-hander, who has allowed two runs or fewer in three of his last four starts, has a 1.21 ERA with 24 strikeouts over 22 1-3 innings in his last three interleague games.
Jonny Gomes , who struck out to end Friday's game, has had Bumgarner's number, though, going 5 for 5 with a homer.
The A's counter with Tyson Ross (2-6, 6.11), who is becoming quite familiar with the route between Sacramento and Oakland.
Ross will be recalled from the minors to start for Bartolo Colon , who is sidelined with a strained right oblique. Called up from the River Cats last Saturday, Ross took a no-hitter into the sixth inning against San Diego before giving up a two-run, two-out homer to Carlos Quentin . That was the only hit Ross allowed in six innings, though he did walk four and hit a batter. The A's rallied for a 6-4 victory, and Ross was sent back to Sacramento the next day.
Ross was up with the A's earlier this season, and in San Francisco on May 19, he allowed two runs, seven hits and four walks in six innings of a 4-0 loss.
Belt, who was 0 for 2 with a walk against Ross in that game, enters Saturday batting .419 with three homers, three doubles, seven walks and nine RBIs during a career-best 10-game hitting streak, raising his average 41 points to .265.
|San Francisco Giants|
|June 14, 2012||Aubrey Huff||Day-to-Day||Sprained right knee|
|June 11, 2012||Aubrey Huff||15-Day DL||Sprained right knee|
|June 07, 2012||Melky Cabrera||Day-to-Day||Left game - sore right hamstring|
|June 02, 2012||Santiago Casilla||Day-to-Day||Bruised knee|
|May 16, 2012||Melky Cabrera||Day-to-Day||Left toe|
|May 16, 2012||Joaquin Arias||Day-to-Day||Left forearm contusion|
|June 17, 2012||Bartolo Colon||Day-to-Day||Strained right oblique|
|June 13, 2012||Yoenis Cespedes||Day-to-Day||Left game - strained left hamstring|
|June 06, 2012||Andrew Carignan||60-Day DL||Right elbow surgery - out for season|
|June 02, 2012||Jemile Weeks||Day-to-Day||Mild hip strain|
|May 31, 2012||Jordan Norberto||15-Day DL||Strained left shoulder|
|May 31, 2012||Jordan Norberto||15-Day DL||Strained left shoulder|
OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) -- Twelve pitchers combined to throw 385 pitches in a game that lasted 4 hours, 15 minutes - among the longest nine-inning games the Athletics and Giants have played.
After a wild finish, Brandon Belt 's big swings were nearly forgotten in it all.
Belt hit a go-ahead two-run homer in the sixth inning, Buster Posey added a two-run drive in the seventh, and the San Francisco Giants backed Madison Bumgarner 's fourth straight win with just enough offense, holding on for a 9-8 victory over the Oakland Athletics on Saturday.
A night after the Giants rallied in the ninth inning to win 5-4 in the opener of the second Bay Bridge Series between the Bay Area rivals, Oakland nearly paid them back after trailing 9-4 to start the ninth.
"To come away with a win when you're on the ropes like that, it's big," Giants manager Bruce Bochy said. "This would have been hard to take."
After Shane Loux gave up Brandon Inge 's two-out single in the ninth, Santiago Casilla entered and allowed Derek Norris ' run-scoring single for his first career RBI before walking Brandon Moss to load the bases. Casilla then allowed Brandon Hicks ' two-run ground-rule double.
Javier Lopez replaced Casilla and walked Seth Smith to put runners on the corners, then Clay Hensley - the 12th pitcher of the game and San Francisco's fourth of the inning - came in and got Jemile Weeks on a fly to shallow center caught by second baseman Ryan Theriot to end the long game for his second save in three chances.
Bumgarner was shaky early and allowed a season-high 11 hits. The left-hander and likely All-Star (9-4), facing Oakland for the first time in the regular season, hung tough until his hitters delivered. He is unbeaten in five starts since a defeat at Miami on May 26.
Josh Reddick hit a two-run homer in the first and an RBI single in the second, then Jonny Gomes added a solo shot to start the third. Oakland's rally fell just short in the ninth despite a 15-hit night.
A's first baseman Moss tied a major league record by a first baseman with three errors in an inning. He became the seventh player to do it with his sixth-inning fumbles and the first since Jack Clark with St. Louis on May 25, 1987.
The Giants tied the game in the sixth on the first two errors by Moss, who first booted Pablo Sandoval 's grounder and the ball skipped over his glove and into the dirt in the visiting bullpen. Then, trying to retrieve it, Moss slipped and the ball skipped even further away as two runs easily scored.
After Belt's homer, Moss made yet another blunder - his third error of the inning - with an assist from reliever Jerry Blevins and couldn't secure the low throw.
"Moss had a tough day over there. Typically we don't make four errors," manager Bob Melvin said. "I think you have to give him a little bit of a pass. He's new over there and still learning. He's been good to this point."
Belt also hit an RBI single in the second and has a career-best, 11-game hitting streak, with four home runs and 12 RBIs during that span. He's hitting .360 in June.
"It's more a feel for me," Belt said. "It's been a lot of hard work in the cage."
Bumgarner, who has been the most reliable starter in the Giants' rotation, had already given up a season high in hits in the third inning and reached 62 pitches after throwing 20 in the third. He struck out six and walked one in six innings.
Tyson Ross (2-7), called up before the game for his third stint of the season with Oakland, allowed five runs - three earned - on four hits in 5 1-3 innings, struck out three and walked four. The right-hander fielded four groundouts in the first four innings.
Angel Pagan returned to the Giants lineup as designated hitter and went 1 for 3 after sitting out Friday with an abdominal strain. He is slated to return to center field in Sunday's finale. Nate Schierholtz drew a bases-loaded walk by Jordan Norberto in the seventh - sixth this season by an A's pitcher.
Home plate umpire Tony Randazzo had a scare in the fifth when a 1-2 pitch from Ross hit off Gregor Blanco 's foot and bounced into Randazzo's left throat area. He was examined by A's trainer Nick Paparesta and stayed in the game.
Randazzo ejected Oakland's Coco Crisp after the sixth, when the A's leadoff hitter was called out on strikes and could be seen yelling from the dugout.
Norris, promoted Thursday from Triple-A Sacramento, singled with two outs in the fifth for his first major league hit.
Oakland scratched scheduled Sunday starter Brandon McCarthy because of recurring shoulder soreness. He beat the Dodgers on Tuesday pitching on 11 days' rest.
"It seems like the last two weeks have been as mentally harrowing as I've had to deal with in my career," he said. "I feel miserable. I'm obsessing over the pain. I feel like I've done everything I could do but there are so few answers right now. The frustration level has gone off the charts."
Notes: A's LHP Brett Anderson , rehabbing from Tommy John elbow-ligament replacement surgery, threw a 20-pitch bullpen session of just fastballs in his first time off the mound since briefly being shut down last month because of forearm tightness. ... Giants hitting coach Hensley "Bam Bam" Meulens celebrated his 45th birthday. ... A's broadcaster and former catcher Ray Fosse , made a point to stop into the Giants clubhouse and meet Posey for the first time. They have something in common considering Posey's season-ending collision at the plate with the Marlins' Scott Cousins on May 25, 2011. "I was very vocal that I thought it was an unnecessary hit," Fosse said. ... The game drew a sellout crowd of 36,067, which included 1,000 standing room tickets.