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Duke of Downsizing: A's Shut Out Giants, 9-0

Oh Barry, you can start against us anytime.

It wasn't quite as bad as this, but once again the A's got the best of Barry Zito tonight, en route to a 9-0 stomping of the San Francisco Giants in Game One of the Bay Bridge Series.

Zito entered the game 0-3 lifetime against his former employers, sporting a not-so-attractive 9.22 ERA, but in a contest that counted only in the Bragging Rights department, Zito's woes continued.

Then again, it may not have mattered the way Justin Duchscherer was dealing tonight.  The Duke of Oakland looked like the Duke of Old in six innings of near-perfect moundwork.  Displaying a marvelous command of his pitches, Duchscherer allowed the Giants just three hits, while striking out six.  Talk about a productive day at the office.

A two-out walk to Ryan Sweeney spelled trouble for Zito in the top of the first; Sweeney would score from first on a double to right-center by Kevin Kouzmanoff, who was more like Kouzman-on tonight. Kouz took the scenic route home on a Kurt Suzuki smash to deep left, the catcher's third tater of the practice season.

Said lenscrafters on Zito's meek offering to Zooks: "Oh good lord, I could've hit that lollipop."

Holy Thursday, Batman.

Power aided the Athletics in the first; in the third, they turned to their speed to plate a pair of runs.  With a little help from their old friend.  Coco Crisp led off with a double, scampered over to third on an errant pick-off by Zito, and scored on a bloop single by Rajai Davis.  Davis swiped second base, moved up 90 feet on a groundout by Sweeney, and got a ride home from Kouzmanoff, who singled to left for his second RBI of the night.

The A's struck for three more runs in the fifth off Zito-replacement Kevin Pucetas.  Suzuki doubled (Oakland collected five two-baggers tonight) with one out and later touched home on a Mark Ellis single, with Daric Barton, who had walked, taking third.  Both runners scored courtesy of a Coco Crisp two-out base-knock. Crisp, who has sizzled this Spring (.444), was 3-for-4 with a pair of doubles.  Kouzmanoff and Suzuki matched Crisp's hit total, with the latter adding a Panda pick-off just for kicks.  The A's had 17 hits in all, though none by Daric Barton, whose night vision difficulties were cause for concern among the community.

Oakland threatened but did not score in the seventh, ending their bid to put a run on the board in every odd inning, but they made up for it in the next frame, thanks to an Eric Sogard sacrifice fly.

A trio of relievers-Jerry Blevins, Craig Breslow, and Tyson Ross- picked up where Duke left off, and the A's had a nifty shutout.

We do it again tomorrow, same time, same station.