Barry Zito was, suffice it to say, all over the place today. The first inning started promisingly for Oakland, but they were unable to capitalize on a Coco Crisp double and Jed Lowrie walk, followed by a double steal to put runners at 2nd and 3rd. Zito got Yoenis Cespedes to fly out, Josh Donaldson to K, and Nate Freiman to pop out, stranding those runners in scoring position. This would essentially be a microcosm of the A's day: Zito wobbles around, some runners get on, but they fail to score. The exception was the 2nd, where Derek Norris walked with one out and A.J. Griffin walked with two outs. A Crisp single plated Norris after Andres Torres bobbled the ball in LF.
In the 3rd, two walks were erased by a pickoff of Cespedes by Zito and a Freiman double play. Rosales reached on an error in the 4th with two outs but nothing doing. A Crisp single in the 5th and Cespedes walk were wasted. The sole 1-2-3 inning for Zito was in the 6th, where he got Chris Young, Norris, and Rosales in order.
A.J. Griffin pitched significantly better than Zito but ended up with nothing to show for it. He allowed only a walk through 3, striking out 3 in the process. He pretty much breezed through the 4th and 5th as well, allowing only a Pablo Sandoval single. In the 6th is when it fell apart for him. Brett Pill had a pinch hit single, and Brandon Crawford doubled him to 3rd with one out. In stepped Sandoval and out stepped the A's lead. He sent a seeing-eye single just under Lowrie's glove into right center to give the Giants the lead at 2-1. After getting Posey to fly out and allowing a single to Hunter Pence, Griffin was lifted for Hideki Okajima. He promptly wild pitched both runners into scoring position and both did score on a Brandon Belt double to make it 4-1.
That lead would hold up for them. The A's did score one in the 7th on a John Jaso walk, Lowrie single, and Cespedes single to make it 4-2 off of Ramon Ramirez and George Kontos. With runners on 1st and 3rd and two outs, Brandon Moss pinch hit for Nate Freiman and was countered by Jeremy Affeldt. A fine battle ensued but Affeldt won, K'ing Moss and extinguishing the A's last rally. A Rosales error in the 7th gave it that one run back, anyway. It was a tough inning for Rosales defensively, as he lost a pop up in the sun that allowed a runner, then made an ill-advised throw that allowed their insurance run to score after a great dive to his right by Moss. The A's would get only an HBP of Rosales in the 8th and 9th, as Affeldt stayed in for the 8th and Sergio Romo finished off the 9th 1-2-3.
Today's frustrating gameaside -- I sure felt like smashing a bat over my thigh Bo Jackson style like Torres did in the 8th after a K by Pat Neshek -- the A's still took 3 of 4 in this home-and-home affair. Whatever Bay Area baseball bragging rights come with this series reside in the East Bay until 2014. Or who knows, maybe these teams will meet in the World Series. Personally, however, I'd much prefer the Giants leave the postseason baseball to the A's.
Tomorrow, it's back to good old American League baseball, DH and all. The White Sox come to town for the only time this year, starting at 7:05. I hear the promotions are good...