The Oakland A’s came close to a historic sweep this weekend, but the San Francisco Giants avoided it at the last moment.
The Giants apparently saved all their runs for the final game of this series, as they were shut out on Friday and Saturday only to hang double-digits on the board Sunday. The A’s lost the finale 14-2, in a game that was exactly as close as it sounds.
The game itself was not particularly interesting for A’s fans. Starting pitcher Mike Minor got blown up for six runs, despite making it through five innings and piling up eight strikeouts. The lefty allowed a pair of two-run homers, and then later had two more tallies credited to him in the 6th when J.B. Wendelken served up a grand slam that included a couple inherited runners. Oakland came through to plate a pair in the 6th and avoid a shutout, thanks to Jake Lamb obviously (bases-loaded single, 2 RBI), but the mop-up bullpen crew was tagged with another half-dozen runs in the final frames of the afternoon.
But hey, you can only win each game once no matter how many runs you explode for, and the A’s still captured the overall series with a more consistent output from day to day. The total run differential came out even for the weekend, but not the W-L column.
In fact, Oakland won the first five meetings of the Bay Bridge Series this year, including three on the road in the City in August. Neither side has ever swept any year’s full regular season series dating back to the inception of interleague play in 1997, so this would have been a historic first if completed. But still, despite missing out on that achievement, five outta six ain’t bad.
That lopsided record is playing a role in both teams’ fortunes, too. For the A’s, it has helped build their comfortable AL West lead, where their magic number is down to one with seven left to play. For the Giants, it has made their position in the tightly crowded NL Wild Card race even more precarious, as they’re in a three-way tie for final spot and rank last among the trio in terms of the tiebreaker (intra-divisional record). Two more wins (i.e. an overall split with the A’s this year) would have had them in the driver’s seat of the No. 7 seed right now.
This game meant little to the A’s in baseball terms, and the stakes were mostly to do with personal pride and a little bit of crosstown trolling. A win would have been cooler, but don’t fret about this loss, nor the enormity of the score — in fact, every loss further cements a preferable first-round matchup against the Houston Astros, rather than moving up the seeding and having to face a possibly more intimidating opponent like Shane Bieber’s Indians or Gerrit Cole’s Yankees.
Meanwhile, the Astros won their own game on Sunday, so we’ll wait one more day for Oakland’s inevitable clinching of the AL West division crown. Perhaps it will happen Tuesday, when the A’s open a three-game series on the road against the MLB-best Los Angeles Dodgers.