The Oakland A’s had plenty of chances to even up the 2021 Bay Bridge Series on Saturday, but they couldn’t quite put away the San Francisco Giants.
The A’s took the lead three times, including in the top of the 10th inning, but the Giants always had an answer en route to a 6-5 walk-off at Oracle Park.
Through the first six innings, the two teams played to a draw, each scoring a pair of runs off each other’s starting pitchers. Oakland opened the scoring in the 3rd by capitalizing on some Giants mistakes, as Elvis Andrus singled, advanced to second on an error by the outfielder, moved to third on a productive groundout, and scored on a wild pitch.
A's take the lead on a wild pitch pic.twitter.com/85RTX2zYoT— A's on NBCS (@NBCSAthletics) June 27, 2021
San Francisco stormed back in the 5th, with help from a leadoff walk. Frankie Montas got the next two batters but then served up a two-run homer. That was all the Giants managed against Montas in five frames, but it was enough for a lead.
- Montas: 5 ip, 2 runs, 5 Ks 3 BB, 1 HR, 2 hits, 96 pitches, 94.8 mph EV
The A’s got Montas off the hook in the top of the 6th, and knocked out opposing starter Alex Wood in the process. A pair of singles set the scene, and then Mitch Moreland pinch-hit against a righty reliever and drilled an RBI single into right field to tie it up.
San Francisco threatened in the bottom of the 6th against Yusmeiro Petit, but Jed Lowrie made a superb play to help him escape.
Entering the 7th, the scoreboard was knotted and both bullpens were in the game.
A lot happened over the next three innings, but still nothing was decided.
In the top of the 7th, the A’s took control. With two out, Ramon Laureano drew a walk and Matt Chapman followed with an opposite-field homer. Oakland led 4-2.
But the Giants responded immediately, once again with help from free passes. Sergio Romo got the first two outs in the bottom of the 7th but then walked a batter. Jake Diekman relieved him, and with his first pitch he pegged the batter. With two gift runners on base, Diekman’s next pitch was lined for a single. The lead was cut to 4-3.
In the 8th, Diekman gave up a solo homer. The score was tied anew. Diekman was squeezed by the umpire throughout the inning and it cost him a pair of strikeouts that should have been called, leading manager Bob Melvin to get ejected.
BoMel has been ejected from the game pic.twitter.com/RMe9M1npxG— A's on NBCS (@NBCSAthletics) June 27, 2021
But Diekman and Lou Trivino made it through the 8th without any more damage, and then Trivino escaped more trouble in the bottom of the 9th.
A leadoff single and a two-out put a pair of runners on base, including the potential walk-off run in scoring position. The Giants got the hit they needed to bring the winning run around, but Oakland’s defense came through in the clutch — LF Tony Kemp delivered a throw to 3B Chapman, who relayed it home to nab the runner at the plate by plenty.
On to extra innings!
The 10th inning means a bonus runner on second base, and the A’s took full advantage of theirs. Laureano productively grounded out to move him up to third, and then Chapman lofted a sac fly deep enough to score him without a play. Oakland leads 5-4!
Then the Giants got their chance in the bottom of the 10th, against Burch Smith. The right-hander was acquired by the A’s from San Francisco two winters ago, making him the third former Giants reliever to pitch for Oakland tonight after Petit in the 6th and Romo in the 7th. Like Romo before him, Smith couldn’t quite put his former team away.
The first batter was retired, but then a single up the middle brought home the free runner, and a double down the LF line plated the walk-off run. The winning hit came off the bat of backup catcher Curt Casali, who also homered the previous night.
What can you do? The A’s took the lead three times in this game. Chapman accounted for two of those instances, and he also made a game-saving defensive play. They had the lead in extra innings. But a collection of random Giants just continued to pound out hits no matter what Oakland threw at them.
San Francisco’s three homers in this series have come from Casali last night (his second of the year), and tonight platoon leadoff first baseman LaMonte Wade Jr (sixth of his career) and slappy infielder Donovan Solano (third of year, one off his career-high). I mean. C’mon.
We’re two games into the 2021 Bay Bridge Series, and the A’s are still looking for their first win.