Oakland – The Giants enjoyed Friday off after sweeping the D-backs three-straight last week. Now well rested and looking to keep their winning streak alive especially for the Bay Bridge series in Oakland this weekend.
After a much needed day off, San Francisco’s lineup fell flat in the first game of the series. The Giants only manage three total hits for the day in their 2-1 loss to the A’s.
Jordan Diaz’s bomb to left-center in the bottom of the fifth inning sparked the Oakland fans chant “Sell the Team”. Then Seth Brown’s go-ahead RBI single with two out in the 8th was all the A’s needed to clinch the win, just their 31st victory of the season.
San Francisco’s lineup was shut down by Oakland’s starter Paul Blackburn, who allowed just two hits with seven strikeouts in his six innings on the mound.
“I feel like, as a group, we’re capable of a lot more,” Giants manager Gabe Kapler said. “We’re not going to be impatient with this group because it’s a group with a long track record of success, so there’s zero need to worry too much.”
San Francisco’s second baseman Thairo Estrada returned to the lineup for the first time since July 2. He grabbed one of the Giants two hits they picked up off Blackburn, knocking a one-out single in the third inning. Overall Estrada went 1-for-3 with a walk and a run scored on a sacrifice fly in the top of the eighth.
“I thought he swung the bat well,” said Kapler on Estrada’s return.
San Francisco almost got a huge boost to start the game. Leadoff hitter, LaMonte Wade Jr. smashed a fastball to right on a 1-2 count but it was a foul ball. Wade would end up flying out to right for the first out instead.
“It’s a game of inches,” Kapler explained. “LaMonte leads off the game with what seems like a home run and it’s not a home run. Good things weren’t happening and that’s part of the game and we’re just not going to get caught up in it.”
After Joc Pederson’s sacrifice fly tied the game 1-1 in the top of the eighth, the A’s rallied in the bottom half. Aledmys Diaz pinched hit for Tyler Soderstrom to open the inning and hit a single up the middle off Giants reliever Ryan Walker. Tony Kemp followed in a pinch-hit situation, and drew a walk to give Oakland a pair of runners on with no outs.
Esterury Diaz eventually popped out to third on a bunt attempt, but managed to advance the runners into scoring position. Jonah Bride lined out to Estrada at second for the second out, and Brown’s go-ahead RBI to right scored Diaz and almost scored Kemp to give the A’s a two-run cushion, but Kemp was thrown out trying to leap into home by Michael Conforto.
The lack of run support hurt what seemed to be a solid outing by Ross Stripling, who made his way back into the Giants rotation.
“It feels good to be back in the rotation,” said Stripling.
Aside from the home run, Stripling had one of his better outings overall. He went 5 ⅓ innings on the mound, allowing just the one run on the homer on three hits with seven strikeouts. Stripling retired 12 batters in a row before allowing the home run to Jordan Diaz.
“I would say in general through my career, but definitely this year, when I’ve given up runs, it’s been on home runs,” Stripling explained. “Just got to find a way to limit damage and keep the ball in the ballpark.”
The three hits he allowed on the day was the least he’s allowed since allowing two hits in back to back starts in mid-April against the Dodgers and at the Marlins.
Stripling earned a little bit of help in the fourth inning with a leaping catch at the wall by Luis Matos on a deep ball to left center by Brown to end the inning.
“That was amazing,” he said. “I didn’t think it had a chance to go out, but it just kind of kept going. That’s one of the better catches I’ve seen while I was pitching for sure.”
The loss in Oakland snapped San Francisco’s three-game win streak. Despite the loss, Kapler remained confident about his team going into tomorrow’s second and last game of the series.
“This is part of a 162 game season and we’ll get ready for tomorrow and be better then,” Kapler added.
Alex Cobb (6-3, 3.05 ERA) takes the mound for the Giants with Luis Medina (3-8, 5.35 ERA) going for the A’s.
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