A's glean positives, rue missed opportunities

A's glean positives, rue missed opportunities
May 30, 2013, 5:30 pm
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SAN FRANCISCO -- So those plucky, happy-to-be-here A's should just be happy they took a series from the team that won two of the past three World Series, right? Damn the result of the Giants' 5-2 series finale victory Thursday, yes?

Um, well…

"Winning three of four is good, it's better than winning two," A's left fielder Yoenis Cespedes said in Spanish. "But we could have won all four."

Meaning, the job was not finished. And the A's are not satisfied. Which is a good thing for a team that, even as a defending division champ, is still trying to define itself.

"You can never count (the Giants) out. Ever," said first baseman Brandon Moss. "To come in and take three of four speaks to who we are."

So yeah, there are some positives to glean, but with the manner in which the A's fell in the finale -- stranding 10 runners and letting Giants starter Barry Zito off the hook despite an erratic outing by the left-hander in which he walked a season-high six batters while throwing a season-high 117 pitches -- they are far from satisfied.

"We did have some opportunities today," said A's manager Bob Melvin, who pushed the action early when he called for a double-steal in the first inning to put runners at second and third with none out. Alas, no runs scored in the inning.

"We keep putting guys on base…we just didn't (drive them in) today."

The A's were just 2-for-10 with runners in scoring position. And their record in day games fell to a feeble 8-12, as opposed to 23-12 under the lights.

"If at the beginning of the series you'd say (we'd take) three of four, we'd take that," Melvin added. "But we won three in a row…you don't want to give a game away."

So go ahead, scream it from the top of Mt. Davis -- A.J. Griffin deserved better.

The right-hander, who dealt with Bay Bridge traffic that took him one hour and 20 minutes to get to the stadium from downtown Oakland and delayed his arrival until 10:55 a.m. for the 12:45 p.m. scheduled first pitch, was on cruise control early.

Through five innings, Griffin had limited the Giants to just one hit -- Coco Crisp, meanwhile, had three hits himself by that point -- and had walked a single batter. But the A's could not capitalize on a wild Zito.

"It was unfortunate we weren't there to support (Griffin) with runs the way we had been," said catcher Derek Norris.

Griffin entered the game with an average run support of 6.25.

So what came next was all too predictable. The Giants scored four times in the sixth, and Griffin's day was done after he gave up four hits.

"It's disappointing, frustrating to be doing so well and then let them put together consecutive hits like that," Griffin said.

It was the Giants' third time through the order and they had locked in on Griffin, or did you miss Brandon Crawford sitting on a curveball for a double to put runners are second and third, and Pablo Sandoval jumping on Griffin's first-pitch offering to go back up the box and drive in both runs for the sudden 2-1 lead?

"He looked good early on," Melvin said of Griffin. "They started putting good swings on him."

Griffin himself may have put on a good, ahem, swing. In just his second-ever professional plate appearance, and his first in the major leagues, Griffin drew a two-out walk in the second inning. One batter later, Crisp singled in Norris for the A's fleeting 1-0 lead.

Two innings later, Griffin struck out swinging, though he did not embarrass himself.

"It was exciting stuff," he said. "I just wish the result was better.

"It's a bummer we couldn't do it today."

The A's had already done it the previous three days, though.

 

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