Bay Area battle begins tonight as Giants host A's

May 20, 2011, 2:17 pm
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May 20, 2011

A's (22-22) vs.
GIANTS (24-19)

Coverage begins at 6:30 P.M. on Comcast SportsNet California

(AP) -- Off to another solid start after a breakthrough 2010 season, Trevor Cahill is firmly established as the Oakland Athletics' ace.

Very few ever thought Ryan Vogelsong would be pitching like one after a five-year layoff.

The latest installment of the Bay Bridge Series gets going Friday night, when Cahill will try to halt the Athletics' long skid in San Francisco against Vogelsong and the Giants.

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Oakland (22-22) won seven straight in San Francisco between 2006 and 2008, but have come away empty in each of six visits after that. The A's starting staff has posted a 6.21 ERA during the losing streak compared to 3.68 from the bullpen.

An 18-game winner in 2010, Cahill (6-1, 1.82 ERA) will try again to become the first in the majors with seven victories this year.

The right-hander suffered his first loss since Sept. 26 on Sunday, when he allowed four runs and a season-high 10 hits in seven innings of a 4-3 defeat to the Chicago White Sox.

Cahill had allowed one run or less in seven of eight games coming in, and could rebound nicely when facing the Giants (24-19). He's won both career starts against them, allowing two runs and 10 hits in 13 2-3 innings.

He also told the Athletics' official website that he's looking forward to stepping in the batter's box.

"It should be fun, facing an NL team. It's a different kind of ballgame, getting to hit and everything," said Cahill, who's 1 for 5 lifetime as a hitter, and 5-2 with a 3.10 ERA in eight interleague starts.

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Oakland will need a long outing from Cahill after dropping back to .500 with an 11-1 loss to AL-worst Minnesota, which swept the two-game set Thursday. The A's were forced to use their bullpen when Tyson Ross exited after seven pitches with a strained oblique.

"You just try to get through 27 outs with your bullpen," Oakland manager Bob Geren said. "It was a rough day, but we'll bounce back."

Bouncing back is a theme for Vogelsong (3-0, 2.36) as he continues to author perhaps the best comeback story in any sport in recent memory.

The right-hander began his career with San Francisco in 2000, missed all of 2002 after Tommy John surgery and was out of the majors once the 2006 campaign ended.

With former A's star Barry Zito out since mid-April with a foot injury, Vogelsong has flourished as the fifth starter. The 33-year-old hasn't surrendered a run over his last 13 1-3 innings, and is coming off his first big league shutout.

He scattered seven hits over six innings Saturday in a rain-shortened 3-0 victory over the Chicago Cubs. With three wins, Vogelsong is tied with two-time NL Cy Young Award winner Tim Lincecum, Matt Cain and Jonathan Sanchez for second on the team behind closer Brian Wilson (four).

Vogelsong will be making his first start against the A's since yielding six runs, eight hits and four walks in Pittsburgh's 12-11 loss on June 12, 2004.

The Giants return home after completing a two-game sweep of the Dodgers with a 3-1 win in Los Angeles. Madison Bumgarner came within one out of a shutout to get his first win in seven decisions this year.

"It feels like a playoff win, it's been so long," Bumgarner said. "I'm just glad to finally get that first win out of the way."

San Francisco shortstop Miguel Tejada, who won the 2002 AL MVP with Oakland, has gone 7 for 16 over his last four games and is batting .221.

Tejada leads all current Giants with 33 homers and 129 RBIs while batting .273 in interleague play.

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