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Game #98: Poor pitching, hitting, defense lead to A's 9-3 loss to Giants

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The A's really couldn't do much of anything right on Friday night, as an ugly start from Jesse Chavez set the tone for a poor game overall.

Just one of those kinds of nights for Jesse Chavez and the A's.
Just one of those kinds of nights for Jesse Chavez and the A's.
Ed Szczepanski-USA TODAY Sports

This pretty much sums up Friday night's game for the A's:

Yeah. So that happened. But don't forget, this happened as well:

Those two clips pretty much say it all.

Jesse Chavez got off to a pretty bad start. After singles by Angel Pagan and Matt Duffy put runners on the corners with one out, catcher Buster Posey served up a sacrifice fly to right field to score Pagan from third base. The next batter, Hunter Pence, smacked an RBI double to left-center field, scoring Duffy. Just like that, the Giants were on top 2-0, after only an inning.

The A's squandered a big opportunity in the top of the second, as with runners on the corners and one out, Eric Sogard bounced into an inning-ending double play. Chavez didn't settle down. A single, walk, and sacrifice bunt put runners on second and third with one out for Pagan. His single, followed by a sacrifice fly from Joe Panik, doubled the Giants' lead to 4-0 after two innings.

The A's did manage to scratch a run back in the third inning, as a double (resulting in the first clip above) and a sacrifice bunt put Sam Fuld on third base with one out. Billy Burns, after fouling a ball off of his Billies (as seen in the second clip above), hit a ground ball to first base, scoring Fuld for the A's first run. Chavez settled down a bit in the bottom half of the third, but struggled once more in the fourth.

After giving up a leadoff single and a little squeaker through the infield on a hit-and-run, Chavez walked Angel Pagan, loading the bases with nobody out. His night was done, as manager Bob Melvin called in right-hander Fernando Rodriguez from the bullpen. F-Rod miraculously escaped the jam unscathed, striking out Panik and inducing a double play from Duffy (niftily turned by Sogard and Ben Zobrist, might I add). The real damage was done, however - Jesse Chavez was out of the game, handing it over to the least trustworthy bullpen in the league.

For what it's worth, the bullpen really wasn't awful. The problem was, every Giants liner seemed to find a gap. Rodriguez gave up a single to Posey leading off the fourth, who would score on the following Pence double to right-center. Lefty Eric O'Flaherty replaced Rodriguez, and promptly gave up an RBI double to Brandon Belt. He did induce a strikeout and a groundout, and had almost escaped the inning with the damage minimized, but opposing pitcher Jake Peavy's ground ball was thrown away by third baseman Brett Lawrie, allowing a third run to score. O'Flaherty finally escaped the inning two batters later, but not until the A's had suffered a 7-1 deficit.

The A's showed a little life in the seventh inning. Zobrist led off the inning with a solo bomb to right field, his sixth of the season. Billy Butler's following single ended Peavy's night. A wild pitch and a Brett Lawrie "single" (hard-hit ball that Brandon Crawford couldn't come up with) had runners at the corners with one out for Eric Sogard once more. This time, he executed, hitting the first pitch he saw into right field for an RBI single. However, Sogard and Lawrie were stranded on the bases, and that was all the A's would get in the seventh.

Fernando Abad threw a strong, perfect seventh inning, striking out two in what was a very encouraging inning for the struggling lefty. However, Edward Mujica did not fare as well in the next inning, as the Giants singled him to death, tacking on two more runs. Giants' manager Bruce Bochy micro-managed the ninth inning perfectly, using three relievers just to make sure he would preserve the score at 9-3.

Quite a bit doomed the A's in this one. Lackluster offense, forgettable pitching, weak defense, a slew of Giants singles and gappers, and a questionable strike zone. In the end, it all added up to a six run loss. The A's haven't yet sent an encouraging sign to their fans that they will remain interesting in the second half of a losing season. Hopefully, for the sake of all of us watching day in and day out, that sign will come soon.

The A's take on the Giants once more at 1:05 P.M. PST tomorrow. Righty Chris Bassitt will face the gaudy task of besting lefty ace Madison Bumgarner. Let's all hope for the best. Go A's!