OAKLAND – The Giants didn’t think Craig Gentry was hit by a pitch, so they challenged and lost. Gentry ended up scoring a run.
The Giants didn’t think Josh Donaldson was hit by a pitch, either – and they couldn’t challenge twice. Donaldson ended up scoring a run, too.
Did it really matter? At some point Giants manager Bruce Bochy was going to have to say, “Get the right-hander up,” most likely with a pained expression.
Oh, and it’s tough to win when you don’t score, either.
The Giants got shut down by Jesse Chavez and Co., right-hander Juan Gutierrez’s first pitch of the game resulted in Alberto Callaspo’s two-run double and the Giants took a 5-0 thumping to open their four-game Bay Bridge series with the crosstown A’s Monday night at the Coliseum.
The Giants were shut out for the fourth time in eight games. They’re 3-1 over that span when they manage to score a run. Correlation does not equal causation, but in this case you can correlate all you want.
Starting pitching report
If Ryan Vogelsong plays golf the way he pitched, you’d probably be tempted to hit driver into him.
Vogelsong (5-6) was deliberate, but then again, he had to be. He didn’t have a pitcher’s spot to exploit in the lineup, and he knew the A’s had multiple power threats. The right-hander found a way to sidestep every jam until the fifth, when Gentry recoiled at a 1-2 pitch and was awarded first base. The Giants challenged, perhaps figuring they might as well take a shot since they had one more inning left before the umpiring crew could initiate its own reviews.
Replays were inconclusive but appeared to show that plate umpire Paul Nauert got the call right. You have to wonder if Gentry was emboldened by the Giants’ inability to challenge when he almost immediately stole second base.
Coco Crisp followed with a perfect bunt single that traveled just far enough to escape catcher Buster Posey but soft enough that first baseman Brandon Belt didn’t have enough time to collect it, turn and throw in time. With runners at the corners, John Jason hit an RBI ground out to give the A’s a 1-0 lead.
The sixth inning started the same way. Donaldson checked his swing when Vogelsong’s 2-2 fastball ran up and in, and he grabbed his hand in apparent pain. Nauert awarded him first base, and Bochy argued to no avail. The Giants couldn’t challenge, which was unfortunate for them because replays appeared to show that the ball struck the knob of Donaldson’s bat (meaning a foul ball) before it clipped his fingers.
Jed Lowrie hit a one-out single to put runners at the corner and end Vogelsong’s night, and one pitch later both his inherited runners came around to score.
Although Vogelsong walked off the mound trailing 1-0, he was charged with three earned runs on five hits and two walks. He struck out four in 5.1 innings.
Jean Machi’s split is fat, Sergio Romo’s slider is flat and so Bochy went to Gutierrez in a tight spot.
His first pitch of the night rattled around near the track in center field for a two-run double – the A’s biggest hit of the night.
The bullpen entered the game with a 4.79 ERA and five blown saves over the previous 25 games. It didn’t get any better Monday night.
At the plate
It would be easy to blast the Giants for failing to score against Jesse Chavez, a former 42nd-round pick who is pitching for his fifth major league organization. But that would be a disservice to Chavez, who entered with a 2.42 ERA in seven home starts and entered with a five-start streak (140 batters) without allowing a home run.
Chavez matched a career high with nine strikeouts and while the Giants put him in the stretch often, they only managed multiple baserunners in the fifth when Joaquin Arias singled, advanced on a wild pitch and Hunter Pence drew an intentional walk.
The Giants were 0-for-11 with runners on base in Chavez’s six innings.
Arias, playing in place of the injured Pablo Sandoval, had two of the four hits that Chavez allowed.
Brandon Crawford made his 12th and 13th errors of the season in consecutive plays in the seventh inning. First, he threw the ball away while trying to make a play on Jaso’s infield single, allowing the runner to take second base. Then Crawford gloved a hard grounder from Cespedes to his right and had Jaso pegged at third but skipped a wide throw.
Crawford’s 13 errors are one behind Washington’s Ian Desmond for the most among NL shortstops and he’s tied for third among all NL players. A sacrifice fly and a single allowed the A’s to tack on two runs in the inning.
Crawford managed a single but is in a 6-for-42 slump (.143).
The A’s announced 36,067 paid. It was their ninth sellout of the season.
The Giants and A’s continue their four-game home-and-home Bay Bridge series with the finale of the two-game set at the Coliseum on Tuesday. Madison Bumgarner (9-6, 3.09 ERA) takes the mound against A’s right-hander Sonny Gray (8-3, 3.08). First pitch is scheduled for 7:05 p.m. PDT.