Freiman: 'This was a fun game tonight'
SAN FRANCISCO -- Having already claimed the first two games of the home-and-home four-game Bay Bridge series in Oakland, the A's felt a different vibe Wednesday night.
The result, though, was the same…a 9-6 A's victory over the Giants.
Tensions ran high, not only between the teams and players, but specifically between the As and the umpires. On a strange series of events n the sixth inning, a fan was ejected for interference on a grounder down the third-base line that the A's swore was foul to begin with. And after the umpires allowed Gregor Blanco to score from first on the play, A's bench coach Chip Hale was tossed for his troubles…and for what he was chirping about in the dugout.
The A's, though, survived and after winning three straight against the Giants heading into Thursday's matinee finale, Oakland has won 11 of 12 and the A's are a season high-tying eight games over .500 at 31-23. They were also 12-4 to start the season.
In a game that lasted 3 hours, 43 minutes, 15 runs were scored, 10 pitchers were used, 23 hits were banged out, four errors were committed and 18 runners were left on base.
Starting pitching report
Tommy Milone was sailing along until the sixth inning, when he was replaced with a 6-2 lead with none out after giving up three straight hits. The left-hander was charged with four runs on eight hits and he gave up a pair of solo home runs -- to Hunter Pence and Brett Pill -- while striking out three and walking just as many, one intentionally. Milone still got the win to even his record at 5-5.
Jerry Blevins, Pat Neshek and Sean Doolittle walked the tightrope before Grant Balfour came in for the third day in a row. And after surrendering a lead-off infield dribble single to Hunter Pence, got out of it for his 30th consecutive save, dating to last season. His last blown save came on April 29, 2012, against Baltimore. He is 12 for 12 this season.
At the plate
Yoenis Cespedes was just 1 for 5, but his first-inning triple that hit the wall in dead center off Giants starter Tim Lincecum was a thing of beauty. It also extended his career-high hitting streak to 11 games and scored Coco Crisp. Josh Donaldson was 2-5 and Eric Sogard was 2-3 but pinch-hitter Nate Freiman, who entered the game in the fifth inning, was 2-3 with three RBI. Included in that was his first hit of the year against a right-handed pitcher.
In the field
Already upset by what he deemed being robbed of two calls -- a double down the line by Andres Torres and being called out on a bang-bang play at first -- Josh Donaldson dived to his left on a laser hit by Buster Posey to lead off the seventh inning. Donaldson was completely horizontal as he snagged the liner before rolling over to make sure third-base umpire Gerry Davis made the correct call.
The Giants announced a crowd of 41,512, their 194th consecutive regular season home sellout, and a much more partisan crowd than seen in Oakland the previous two days. Still, the A's fan sitting behind home plate, waving a huge OAKLAND ATHLETICS flag while wearing the green and gold jersey with the No. 89 and the last name of "SWEEP" on his back made AT&T Park his home away from home.
Perhaps no A's pitcher was more excited to bat in a National League park in interleague play than A.J. Griffin, who has been walking around the Oakland clubhouse toting a bat this week and making bat-meeting-ball sounds. The right-handed Griffin (5-3, 3.84 ERA) made his big league debut against the Giants last June 24 and did not receive a decision after going six innings and allowing two runs and three hits with four strikeouts and a walk. Barry Zito, who is in seventh season with the Giants after seven seasons with the A's, is 2-4 with a 7.16 ERA in six career starts against his former team.