Oakland – The Bay Bridge series is always an exciting matchup but this time the stakes are high for both teams. The San Francisco Giants currently hold the best record in the Majors. And the Oakland A’s just need to win. On opening night of the series it was the duo of Josh Harriosn and Starling Marte that gave the A’s a 4-1 win over the Giants.
Marte’s double in the seventh frame scored in Mark Canha to put Oakland up 3-1. He then stole third base and a throwing error by pitcher Jose Alaverz drove in Marte for the go ahead run to seal the A’s victory. A crucial error by San Francisco proved costly.
“What he’s doing, I’ve seen for years,” said teammate Harrison. “It’s always exciting to see a new group of guys experience what I’ve experienced with him for a couple of years. He hasn’t lost a step. That’s Marte! He’s a guy that can change the game offensively, defensively and on the bases.
James Kaprielian gave up two back-to-back singles to both Brandon Crawford and Alex Dickerson in the second. With two on and two outs Kaprielian was looking for some help from his defense. Marte was that guy! He made a leaping one-handed catch at the wall on Wilmer Flores fly ball that left two stranded to end the inning.
“Marte is like a hurricane,” A’s manager Bob Melvin said. “And Harrison just brings so much energy. Obviously it’s the hit he got that drove in the two runs was huge.”
Harrison got the offense going in the fourth when he went up the middle with a two-run single. Then Mike Yastrzemski went yard to right field cutting the leading half. The Giants couldn’t muster up another run against a stout defense, they had only five hits on the night.
San Francisco struggled on both offense and defense. They recorded their second straight loss and still lead the second place Los Angeles Dodgers by 1 1/2 games for best record. Oakland’s only focus is the next game and finishing the homestand with more wins than loses.
“We just want to get there [playoffs] at some point,” said Melvin. We’re more focused on trying to win the division. There’s a lot of teams bunched up, and we realize that. Still a lot of baseball to be played. We’re just trying to grind through each game and especially try to get off to a good start and have a good homestand.”
An incredible night for fans at the Coliseum. The 40,000 plus turnout was the biggest crowd the A’s have seen in two years. The atmosphere definitely felt more like the playoffs than a regular season game. The players who went a fulls eason with no fans due to the pandemic will take a rambunctious crowd on any day.
“My first time playing in this Bay Bridge series, it was exciting to look up to see the full crowd,” Harrison said. “Had a little more orange and black than I probably would have liked, but it’s always better when you get the last laugh getting the victory.”
Photo by A’s photog Kavin Mistry