Perhaps the highlight of the Oakland Athletics ' current surge would be a four-game season series sweep of their Bay Area rivals.
Oakland (31-23) had dropped 10 of 15 versus San Francisco heading into this week, but after holding the Giants to four runs in the first two at home, then winning 9-6 on Wednesday, it's in position to record the first regular-season sweep in the history of the Bay Bridge Series.
"This has been a lot of fun," said Oakland rookie Nate Freiman , who is 6 for 11 with a homer and seven RBIs in the last four games.
The A's secured their first winning season series over the Giants since 2008 and won for the 11th time in 12 games Wednesday, as Freiman drove in three runs and San Francisco committed three errors."That's probably the most fun I've had in a long time outside of the playoffs. People are competing," said third baseman Josh Donaldson , who had two hits and made a couple of key defensive gems. "Good, clean fun. It was awesome."
Teammate Yoenis Cespedes tripled to extend his hitting streak to 11 games. The second-year outfielder has eight RBIs during the stretch.
With Wednesday's victory, the A's have now won two straight at San Francisco after losing 11 in a row there.
The Giants (28-25), meanwhile, have lost 10 of 15."This is a tough stretch," manager Bruce Bochy said. "We've got to get our act together."
San Francisco, however, is 6-0 at home this season when Zito (3-3, 4.14 ERA) takes the ball.
The 2002 Cy Young award winner with Oakland, Zito has won his last two against the A's at home despite a 4.38 ERA.
Though Zito's teammates have fared well behind him at home, the left-hander has given up 17 runs and 30 hits over 17 1-3 innings to go 0-2 in his last three starts overall. He allowed four runs in six innings of a 6-5, 10-inning home victory over Colorado on Saturday.
Zito gave up two runs in 33 innings while going 3-0 in his first five at home.
The A's counter with A.J. Griffin (5-3, 3.84), who is 2-0 in his last three starts but allowed four runs, including three solo homers, and struck out seven in 5 2-3 innings of an 11-5 win at Houston on Saturday."Other than the home runs, I felt all right," Griffin said. "Those home runs happen, so obviously, you have a little bitter taste in your mouth at the end of the day."I made it 5 2-3, and I always would like to make it 6, 7, 8. I just tried to keep us in the game and keep making pitches."
As a rookie last season, the right-hander allowed a two-run homer to Buster Posey and two other hits over six innings of a 4-2 home win over the Giants.
Posey is 1 for 12 with two RBIs versus Oakland this week after batting .421 during a 10-game hitting streak.
San Francisco's Hunter Pence had three hits Wednesday, including his second home run in as many nights.
|May 07, 2013||Josh Reddick||15-Day DL||Sprained right wrist|
|May 07, 2013||Josh Reddick||Day-to-Day||Sore right wrist|
|May 06, 2013||Jarrod Parker||Day-to-Day||Left game - strained neck|
|May 01, 2013||Brett Anderson||15-Day DL||Sprained right ankle|
|May 01, 2013||Brett Anderson||15-Day DL||Right foot stress fracture|
|April 30, 2013||Chris Young||15-Day DL||Strained left quad|
|San Francisco Giants|
|May 26, 2013||Angel Pagan||Day-to-Day||Mild hamstring strain|
|May 21, 2013||Santiago Casilla||15-Day DL||Cyst on right knee|
|May 21, 2013||Ryan Vogelsong||15-Day DL||Fractured right hand - out 6-8 weeks|
|May 20, 2013||Ryan Vogelsong||Day-to-Day||Left game - Broken right hand|
|May 08, 2013||Santiago Casilla||Day-to-Day||Left game - right knee|
|May 04, 2013||Angel Pagan||Day-to-Day||Strained right hamstring|
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) -- Bruce Bochy envisioned a disappointing flight to St. Louis that might have been if San Francisco's mistake-filled funk had extended into another day against the Oakland Athletics .
Pablo Sandoval hit a go-ahead two-run single in the sixth, Barry Zito delivered another timely victory to end a six-start winless stretch, and the Giants beat the Oakland Athletics 5-2 on Thursday to avoid a season sweep in the Bay Bridge Series.
"If this game got away from us, it would have been a long flight to St. Louis, believe me," Bochy said. "I thought today was really critical. There's some pride involved. The last thing you want to do is get swept here in this Bay Series."
A day after San Francisco made three errors and two other defensive miscues, the Giants finally got to A.J. Griffin (5-4) to snap the A's six-game winning streak with their lone win in the four-game interleague rivalry between last year's West division champions.
Brandon Belt doubled in two runs in San Francisco's four-run sixth.
Zito (4-3) won against his former club for his first victory since beating San Diego at home April 21. The Giants improved to 7-0 in his home outings and have won 13 straight regular-season games started by Zito at AT&T Park.
"He was just being Zito out there," Belt said, "We needed it."
San Francisco hasn't lost a home start by Zito since last Aug. 2 against the New York Mets . The Giants have won 14 straight starts by the lefty at AT&T Park when including Game 1 of the World Series last fall against the Tigers.
Coco Crisp doubled among his three hits, but that was all the A's could do against Zito. Yoenis Cespedes added an RBI single in the seventh, extending his career-best hitting streak to 12 games.
Oakland (31-24) missed a chance to move a season-best nine games over .500 and lost for only the second time in 13 games. The A's have dropped 11 of their past 14 in the Giants' waterfront ballpark, which drew a sellout crowd of 41,250 for the afternoon finale.
"I think our team showed a lot of fire and we were competitive," A's third baseman Josh Donaldson said. "You go through a season and get tons of opportunities when you don't come through. But at the same time we're playing the game right way and I guarantee you we'll be ready for the White Sox."
The Giants lost the first three games of this Bay Area rivalry to drop the season series for the first time since going 2-4 in 2008 after a sloppy 9-6 loss Wednesday night.
Sandoval's hit in the sixth gave the Giants their first lead in 23 innings.
"We've been waiting on an inning like that," Bochy said.
San Francisco avoided its first season sweep by the A's since the clubs began playing interleague matchups in 1997.
Zito faced trouble in each of his first five innings before finishing his day with a 1-2-3 sixth. He delivered just the third quality start in the past 16 by the Giants' struggling rotation. The 2002 AL Cy Young Award winner for Oakland is 3-4 in seven career starts against his old team.
"I get some juice just because it's a tough team," Zito said. "We've got a lot of talent in the Bay right now. It's good to see. We definitely know what we need to do, we have to go out there and be better on the starting side."
Sergio Romo , San Francisco's fourth reliever, finished for his 14th save in 16 chances.
Zito allowed a leadoff double to Crisp in the first and Jed Lowrie 's walk before the two pulled off a double steal, but Zito then retired the next three Giants batters in order to escape unscathed.
He allowed a two-out walk to Griffin - making his first career plate appearance - in the second then Crisp's single, and pitching coach Dave Righetti paid the lefty a mound visit.
Cespedes walked leading off the third, but was caught stealing. Donaldson walked, then Nate Freiman grounded into an inning-ending double play.
"Amazing, really," Bochy said. "He was quite the Houdini today. I don't know how he did it."
Zito walked a season-high six batters, struck out five and allowed one run and three hits in six innings. Zito's 117 pitches were his most since also throwing 117 on Aug. 6, 2010, at Atlanta.
Griffin, a younger version of Zito with his similar style and big curveball, gave up four runs and five hits, struck out five and walked one in 5 2-3 innings.
A's manager Bob Melvin spent more than an hour in traffic Thursday morning trying to get across the bay during rush hour - after doing the same leaving late Wednesday.
"Literally the Bay Bridge Series," he said. "I was on the Bay Bridge an hour last night and an hour this morning. Quick turnaround."
Notes: San Francisco CF Angel Pagan will test his injured left hamstring Friday in St. Louis with batting practice and running. He received a cortisone shot Wednesday and has missed five straight games. He could play as soon as Saturday. "Hopefully very soon. I'm going crazy right now," he said. ... Giants 2B Marco Scutaro was out of the lineup with what Bochy calls "the crud" that has been going through the clubhouse. ... RHP Chad Gaudin will start Sunday at St. Louis for the Giants if not needed before, and Bochy believes he can go five or six innings considering he has 75 major league starts and has thrown 70-plus pitches. ... San Francisco RHP Ryan Vogelsong had his cast removed from surgery last week on his broken pitching hand. He is now wearing a splint and began working out again Wednesday.