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Game #18: A’s clubbed by Giants 8-2

Oakland can split the set with a win tomorrow

MLB: Oakland Athletics at San Francisco Giants John Hefti-USA TODAY Sports

The A’s fell to the San Francisco Giants 8-2 Tuesday evening in a game Oakland will probably want to forget ever happened.

Nothing was working today, with the lineup more or less getting shut down, the starting pitching getting bit by the big inning a couple times, and the bullpen couldn’t keep the score close enough for a comeback. It’s times like these a short memory comes in handy.

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The game got off to a good start, as starting pitcher Daulton Jefferies had a clean first frame with a couple strikeouts on a cold and windy night,

The good times didn’t last, though. Jefferies fell out of rhythm in the second and allowed a walk, then an RBI double followed by an RBI single to put the team down in an early 2 run hole.

It was only two runs and the third inning, though. Oakland manufactured a run and inch a little closer in the top of the third, thanks to a Nick Allen single, a heads up stolen base on a ball in the dirt, and a Sheldon Neuse RBI single. Watch:

Neuse continues to be a bright spot on the offensive side of the ball, as he was the only batter to collect two hits today. When Kevin Smith comes back from the IL, which is sounding like it might be soon, Neuse needs to stay in the lineup on a regular basis, whether at third or second base. But probably third, since that’s where he’s been getting the most run.

San Francisco didn’t like Oakland inching closer. With two on and two out, Jefferies’ was almost out of a jam, but his third pitch to Giants DH Wilmer Flores was sent over the left field wall for a three-run shot that you knew was gone off the bat. That blast put some serious distance between the two clubs. Not good considering Oakland’s strategy of aggressive hitting against Carlos Rodon wasn’t working.

Jefferies went only one more inning, inducing a double play after a Neuse error put a runner on in the fourth.

  • Daulton Jefferies: 4 IP, 4 H, 5 R, 2 BB, 3 K, 72 pitches

This was easily the right hander’s worst and shortest start of the season, but hiccups are to be expected for rookies. It might not feel like it, but tonight was only his 10th career game, and sixth start. What’s important moving forward is how he responds after tonight. After not pitching in the series earlier this year, he’s tentatively scheduled to face the Tampa Bay Rays next.

Left-hander A.J. Puk had an impressive outing, replacing Jefferies and tossing two perfect innings with a strikeout. The left-hander seems to be fitting in well down in the ‘pen so far. The A’s were hoping for Puk to be like their own Josh Hader, a multi-inning dominating lefty, and so far he’s looked the part.

For a brief moment, it seemed as though Oakland might rally again and make this a close one. In the seventh, with two down and Cristian Pache on first, Mark Kotsay turned to the bench and pinch hit Seth Brown for Allen. Turned out to be the perfect call:

That hard-hit double to triples alley brought renewed life to the dugout, but a Tony Kemp strike out ended the threat. That was his third K of the game, a rarity considering Kemp’s ability to avoid the strikeout and put the ball in play consistently.

Again, the A’s score, the Giants score more. San Francisco greeted reliever Jake Lemoine with a single, walk, and home run for their second three-run shot of the day and make it 8-2 late. Lemoine didn’t even finish the inning, with Mark Kotsay turning to Adam Kolarek for an inning and a third to finish the game off on the pitching side.

All the Oakland lineup could muster the rest of the way was a Pache walk in the ninth to at least prevent the Giants from striking out the side to end it. I’ll take any win I can find right now.

You always hope to beat your rival, and the Giants are annoying to lose to. Even more so when you get blown out. Oakland was out of this game early and was never able to mound a serious comeback attempt, one of the few times this team hasn’t at least been in the game late. On the bright side, Neuse had himself a two-hit day, Puk looked good out of the bullpen, the A’s still have a .500 record, and the team got out of the game healthy.

The A’s can still split the series tomorrow evening, as the A’s turn to Paul Blackburn to turn their fortunes around. Same time, same place. See you all then!