SAN FRANCISCO – Curt Casali stepped up for the second night in a row. Casali’s walk-off double in the 10th inning was the knockout punch that rocked the Oakland A’s loss in the San Francisco Giants 6-5 win tonight.
Casali’s game-winning double came immediately after Steven Duggar lined a single up the middle that drove in Brandon Crawford from second base. The timing was perfect, especially after the A’s scored top half of the inning off Matt Chapman’s sacrifice fly.
“Big hit tonight for Curt,” said Duggar. “Pumped for him.”
Casali’s big hit didn’t come easy, he went 0-for-4 with four strikeouts at the plate. But by 10th frame, Casali was nearly hit by a pitch before scoring in Duggar as the game-winning run.
“I don’t think he was at his best there at his last at bat, but he just got especially gritty and tough,” Giants manager Gabe Kapler said. “It was a great jump across the board and that was a great play. Excellent play.”
Casali’s game-winning hit was just his second of his career and his first since his walk-off RBI against the Tampa Bay Rays when he played for Toronto. San Francisco’s walk-off victory tonight was their first of the season.
Buster Posey was a scratch for tonight for his second straight game with tightness in his back. Casali took over again after another big night performance. Friday night, he hit a home run in the seventh to seal the Giants 2-0 win to open the Bay Bridge Series.
“I think Casali in particular takes a lot of pride in serving this team,” Kapler explained. “He’s a pretty selfless individual. It’s evident how important this atmosphere is to him and he takes the responsibility to make it good.”
“It wasn’t a great game offensively for me until the last at bat,” said Casali. “I knew Buster wasn’t coming in, so I’d get another chance. Honestly, as soon as Duggar got the hit up the middle, all the pressure was off so I kind of just enjoyed it.
It’s fun to come to the ballpark, everybody values their rest in different ways. I can’t wait to show up to the field everyday and it’s because of the great guys in this clubhouse. It’s fun to be in this building, especially with fans. It’s just really special to be a part of.”
Both teams traded blows like boxers in a championship fight. But once again, San Francisco found their hits at the perfect time, just as they have throughout the season.
Oakland struck first in the third inning, Elvis Andrus scored on a wild pitch. Andrus hit a single and reached second on an error by Duggar to open the inning. The Giants responded to the A’s opening run two innings later in the fifth. Lamonte Wade Jr.’s two-run home run put the San Francisco up 2-1.
Oakland tied the game 2-2 in the sixth, Mitch Moreland pinched hit for Chad Pinder and hit an RBI single that drove in Matt Olson. The A’s built on their lead in the seventh when Chapman went deep with a two-run homer to put Oakland ahead 4-2.
The Giants clawed back bottom of the seventh when Wilmer Flores RBI made it a 4-3 game. Then Donovan Solano launched a solo homer to left field to tie the game 4-4. San Francisco had a chance to win the game in regulation.
Wade led off the ninth with a single and Darin Ruf earned a two-out walk. Crawford lined a single to right, and Wade took off for home plate but was thrown out on a perfect relay throw by Chapman to home, sending the game to extra innings.
Alex Wood took the mound for the Giants and, despite a strong start to the game, he wasn’t completely as sharp as he would’ve liked. Wood struck out four of the first six batters he faced before Andrus knocked a single off of him to open the third.
Then in the sixth, after getting Chapman to pop out in foul territory, both Matt Olson and Jed Lowrie singled, putting runners on the corners, ending Wood’s night. He went 5 1/3 innings, allowing just two runs (one earned) on four hits while notching eight strikeouts on the night in the no-decision.
His counterpart, A’s starter Frankie Montas, also had a solid night on the mound. He allowed two runs on two hits and struck out five and walked three. Montas worked out of a bases-loaded jam in the second inning and retired eight Giants in a row before allowing a walk to Duggar to open the fifth inning.
Montas biggest blemish on the night came on Wade Jr.’s home run in the fifth inning which gave San Francisco the lead. However he force Mike Yastrzemski to fly out to left field to end the inning.
The Giants are the first team to reach 50 wins and own the best record in baseball. They are two games ahead of the Houston Astros for the best record in the Majors. San Francisco also leads the National West division over both the Los Angeles Dodgers and San Diego Padres.
Left-hander Sammy Long (1-0, 4.20 ERA, 16K) will take the mound for the Giants in Sunday’s series finale. They will look for the sweep in the series. The A’s will send out Cole Irvin (5-7, 3.98 ERA, 60K) looking to salvage at least one win from this series.
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