Thursday, June 30, 2016

Homer-happy A's cruise past Giants

A surging A's offense kept pace behind left-hander Sean Manaea, who tossed 5 2/3 scoreless innings in his return from the disabled list in Oakland's third straight win against the Giants, a commanding 7-1 decision at the Coliseum on Wednesday evening.
Two-run homers from Jed Lowrie and Yonder Alonso highlighted the A's latest outburst. Giants starter Jake Peavy was responsible for both and lasted only 3 1/3 innings with seven runs allowed, though only three were earned in a game that saw the Giants unravel defensively.
"One inning he threw a lot of pitches and it caught up with him." Giants manager Bruce Bochy said of Peavy's third inning, in which he faced seven batters. "It's unfortunate."
Likely All-Star Buster Posey finished with three hits for San Francisco. His single in the eighth helped set the stage for Brandon Crawford's sacrifice fly against right-hander John Axford for the club's lone run of the night.
The A's, who have won six of their last seven games, have scored six or more runs in each of their last six contests, with 48 total recorded in that span.
"Guys lower in the lineup are knocking in runs," A's manager Bob Melvin said. "When you talk about the depth of it, that's going to be the key for us. Those are usually the better lineups. We're going well right now and it's not always going to go that way. But we felt like if healthy, these are the type of things we can do in our lineup."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Feel the Burn: A's outfielder Billy Burns, a late entry into the starting lineup after Khris Davis was scratched with a bruised left shoulder, made the most of his last-minute opportunity by way of a two-RBI night from the ninth spot of the batting order. It was Burns' squeeze bunt in the third that plated Marcus Semien for the club's first run of the night. Burns added an RBI double in a four-run fourth inning.
"He'd been struggling some," Melvin said. "To come through with a couple big RBIs, especially the first one to get us on the board, was big. I know confidence-wise for him, when you're going through a bit of a struggle, it's nice to be able to do that during the game. And then to knock in another run."
Defense betrays Giants: The Giants, who came into Wednesday having committed 10 errors in their last 11 games, lacked any type of discipline on defense in the third. Semien reached third base after Ramiro Pena and Mac Williamson collided on a routine popup to shallow right field. A few batters later, Williamson's attempt to rob a home run from Lowrie came up just short, as the ball popped out of his glove past the right field fence to give the A's an early 3-0 advantage. Peavy then continued to labor through the inning, after newly promoted Giant Ruben Tejada couldn't catch a foul popup from Josh Reddick with two outs.
"We didn't handle a popup, no question it changed the game," Bochy said. "It made Jake work a lot harder. He was in a good groove there. Then we drop another popup. We just got to clean it up. That's the one thing we were doing very well. The one thing we should be consistent at is catching the ball." More >
Bullpen gets breather: Thanks to Manaea's efficient outing while working on an 85-pitch count, an overworked A's bullpen was asked to record just 10 outs, and the workload was spread evenly between Liam Hendriks, Axford and Ryan Dull, making it easy on Melvin, who was without Ryan Madson and Sean Doolittle.
"That's been my No. 1 goal the whole season, to go deep in the games and take pressure off the bullpen," Manaea said. "Especially today, I was on a pitch count, so I knew I had to be efficient with my pitches and get as many outs as I could. That's been in my mind the whole day, and it was nice to go as far as I did."
WHAT'S NEXT
Giants: Ace Madison Bumgarner, who is winless in his last two starts, will take the mound -- and batter's box -- in Thursday's 7:05 p.m PT game vs. the A's. Despite taking consecutive losses, Bumgarner continues to excel through the month of June, posting a 1.75 ERA in five starts.
A's: Rookie Dillon Overton gets the call in the Bay Bridge Series finale against the Giants at the Coliseum. Overton made his big league debut Saturday in Anaheim, picking up his first victory with 5 2/3 innings of three-run ball.

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