Giants Vs. Athletics, Bay Bridge Series 2012: Derek Norris' 3 Run HR Lifts A's To 4-2 Win

The Giants locked up the Bay Bridge Series this year, though Derek Norris kept them from a sweep.

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Giants Vs. Athletics, Bay Bridge Series 2012: Derek Norris' 3 Run HR Lifts A's To 4-2 Win

Oakland, CA (Sports Network) - Derek Norris' three-run homer in the bottom of the ninth lifted the Oakland Athletics over the San Francisco Giants, 4-2, on Sunday.

Yoenis Cespedes and Brandon Inge both singled before Norris crushed a 3-2 fastball into the seats in left-center field. Norris' first-career homer helped the A's avoid a three-game sweep in the Bay Bridge series.

Jimmy Miller (2-0) earned the win after throwing 1 1/3 shutout innings. A.J. Griffin, who made his major league debut, gave up two runs on three hits and struck out four over six-plus innings. Griffin retired 13 straight after giving up a two-out hit in the second.

Coco Crisp doubled and scored and Josh Reddick drove in a for the A's, who have won nine of their last 12.

Santiago Casilla (1-3) was pegged with the loss after giving up the Norris homer. Matt Cain started for the Giants and allowed one run on three hits and struck out seven.

Buster Posey hit a two-run homer and Ryan Theriot had two hits and scored a run for San Francisco, which has lost five of eight.

The Giants took a 2-0 lead in the first when Posey launched a two-run homer. Theriot singled before Posey hit his ninth four bagger of the year.

But the A's came back with a run of their own in the home half to make it 2-1. Crisp doubled then scored when Reddick singled to right.

With two runners on in the sixth Seth Smith fouled one down line in right. The ball clearly hit the foul line but was ruled foul. The ball rolled into the corner and likely would have cleared the bases and given Oakland the lead.

Oakland wasted an opportunity to score in the eighth. Pinch-hitter Brandon Hicks doubled then moved to third on Crisp's sacrifice bunt. Jemile Weeks worked a walk to put runners on the corners with one out, but Reddick grounded into an inning-ending double-play.

Game Notes

Oakland's starting pitchers have allowed four hits or fewer in each of its last eight games...The A's have won nine of their last 11 interleague games...Cain hasn't lost since May 1. He won eight straight starts from May 12-June 18...No San Francisco pitcher has ever won nine consecutive starts.

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Giants Vs. Athletics, Bay Bridge Series 2012: Matt Cain Takes The Bump As G-Men Eye Sweep

(Sports Network) - Matt Cain tries to pitch the San Francisco Giants to a three-game sweep of the Oakland Athletics this afternoon at the Coliseum.

Cain followed up his perfect game on June 13 with a less-than stellar performance by his standards against the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, allowing three earned runs in five innings of work, but it was enough to make him the first Giants hurler since 1989 to win his eight straight starts.

"It was definitely a grind-it-out day," Cain said. "I was having to work. You've still got some energy, probably from (the perfect game), but I was mostly worrying about making pitches."

The win brought Cain to 9-2 on the season. His dominant campaign also includes a 2.34 ERA, a 0.91 WHIP, and 100 strikeouts in 100 innings.

Cain hopes to make it nine straight wins this afternoon against the Athletics, who he's 3-5 against in his career with a 2.19 ERA.

A's starter Brandon McCarthy is also having a fine season with a 6-3 record and a 2.54 ERA.

Since losing back-to-back starts in mid-April, McCarthy has won six straight decisions, including a seven-inning, two hit, no earned run performance on June 19 against the Dodgers. He's now a perfect 3-0 in June with a microscopic 1.29 ERA.

The Giants claimed Saturday's tilt, 9-8, in what was yet another wild game.

San Francisco scored four runs in the sixth and three runs in the seventh to take a seemingly-comfortable 9-4 lead, but the A's came storming back in the bottom of the ninth, scoring four runs to cut the lead to 9-8. Oakland had the bases loaded with two outs, but the improbable rally ended with a Jemile Weeks pop up.

It was far from a pretty outing from Madison Bumgarner (9-4), as he allowed 11 hits and four earned runs in six innings of work, but it was enough to earn the victory. The Giants used four different relievers in the bottom of the ninth inning but Clay Hensley got the final out to record his second save of the year.

Buster Posey and Brandon Belt both went 2-for-3 with a home run, while Pablo Sandoval added two hits and two runs scored.

Tyson Ross (2-7) suffered yet another loss for the A's, allowing five runs (three earned), four hits, and four walks in 5 1/3 innings.

Josh Reddick went 3-for-4 with three RBI, a stolen base, and a home run, his 17th of the season and his second in as many nights. Brandon Inge, Derek Norris, and Brandon Hicks all knocked in runs in the ninth inning rally.

Oakland first baseman Brandon Moss tied a major league record at his position with three errors in one inning, which helped spark the Giants to their four- run sixth.

First pitch is set for 1:05 p.m. PT with coverage on CSN Bay Area and CSN California as well as KNBR 680 AM and 95.7 FM.

For more on the A's, check out Athletics Nation. For the Giants side of things, check out McCovey Chronicles.

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Oakland Athletics Facing Thin Rotation Leading Up To The All-Star Break

The Oakland Athletics announced during the Bay Bridge Series against the San Francisco Giants that starter Brandon McCarthy would not be available to start in the series finale on Sunday. Taking McCarthy's spot for the day will be A.J. Griffin, freshly called up from Triple-A Sacramento and set to make his MLB debut.

With McCarthy day-to-day with shoulder issues and Bartolo Colon going on the disabled list effective Saturday, Joe Stiglich of the Contra Costa Times points out that the A's will be without their veteran starters and the top two in their rotation as the season midway point draws near.

McCarthy tried playing catch before the game and shut it down. His right shoulder, which has been so problematic throughout his career and has already sent him to the D.L. once this season, is acting up yet again. "It's been building to this over the past couple of days," McCarthy said. "We've done MRIs. It's nothing serious. For whatever reason, it just doesn't recover like it's supposed to. It's not easy being honest with yourself - when (the shoulder) is OK and when it isn't. I was hoping for a miracle, but playing catch, it just wasn't there."

Stiglich expects McCarthy to hit the DL again soon as well as Colon, with no telling when either might be back. Dallas Braden is still solidly on the shelf, so the A's will need to figure out who will be joining Griffin, Tyson Ross, Jarrod Parker and Tom Milone in the rotation. Oakland may be forced to be buyers at the trade deadline.

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Giants Vs. Athletics, Bay Bridge Series: Brandon Belt's Big Day Leads G-Men To 9-8 Victory

Oakland, CA (Sports Network) - The Giants made a mechanical adjustment to Brandon Belt's swing in May.

He's now playing the best baseball of his brief two-year career.

After providing the game-tying two-run double that sparked a four-run top of the ninth inning in the Giants' victory Friday, Belt was again the offensive catalyst in a 9-8 triumph over Oakland in the middle installment of the three- game Bay Bridge Series on Saturday.

Oakland made things extremely interesting in the ninth, pushing across four, but Clay Hensley induced a game-ending pop up off the bat of Jemile Weeks with the bases loaded, notching his second save of the year.

"It's good to get back and win a series," Giants manager Bruce Bochy said. "These were hard-fought games, both of them could've gone either way."

The 24-year-old Belt capped a four-run sixth frame with a go-ahead two-run homer for the Giants, who recorded their 16th come-from-behind win of the season and second in as many nights. He tallied two hits and three RBI in all, extending his career-long hitting streak to 11 games.

Belt has cracked all four round-trippers this season over his past 11 contests, hitting .441 with three doubles and 12 RBI during the torrid stretch.

Madison Bumgarner (9-4) settled down and hung around long enough to pick up the win. He surrendered four runs on nine hits through his first three frames, but allowed just a pair of hits over his final three innings. He fanned six and walked one.

Tyson Ross (2-7) was charged with five runs -- three earned -- on four hits and four walks in 5 1/3 innings for Oakland, which has dropped two in a row on the heels of an 8-1 stretch.

"When you're down you have to keep grinding and we did," A's manager Bob Melvin said. "It's too bad we didn't win"

The A's held a 4-2 lead after five innings of play, but the Giants used their four-run sixth and a three-run seventh to pull away.

In the sixth, Buster Posey worked a one-out walk and Angel Pagan singled to put runners on first and second. A two-base error by Brandon Moss -- two of his MLB record three errors in the frame -- led to Oakland's demise.

Pablo Sandoval scorched a grounder to first, which bounced off the glove of Moss. He then bobbled the ball as he went to retrieve it near the bullpen, allowing Posey and Pagan to tie the score, while Sandoval reached second.

Belt came up next and smacked a two-run blast to right, giving the Giants a 6-4 edge.

Posey belted a two-run homer in the seventh, while Nate Schierholtz worked a bases-loaded walk to push the margin to 9-4.

Shane Loux began the ninth and gave up three runs on two hits and a walk in two-thirds of an inning. Brandon Inge whacked an RBI single off him before Santiago Casilla took the bump.

Derek Norris ripped a run-scoring base hit and Brandon Hicks' ground-rule two- run double chased Casilla from the game. Javier Lopez came on and walked Seth Smith -- the only batter Lopez faced -- to load the bases for Weeks, who lifted a 2-2 sinker to second for Ryan Theriot, who secured the catch.

Earlier, Josh Reddick smoked a two-run shot to right in the opening inning, but the Giants got both runs back in the second as Sandoval and Belt registered back-to-back RBI singles to knot the contest.

The A's then pushed across a run in the home half and another in the third.

Reddick slapped a run-scoring single to center in the second, while Jonny Gomes stroked a solo blast over the wall in left-center in the third.

Game Notes

Oakland was 4-for-14 with runners in scoring position and left 12 men on base while San Francisco was 2-for-7 with RISP and stranded nine...The A's racked up 15 hits, compared to the Giants' eight.

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A.J. Griffin Will Start Against Giants On Sunday In Major League Debut

The Oakland Athletics and San Francisco Giants are in the thick of their second Bay Bridge Series of 2012. The two Bay Area rivals have been giving it everything they've got, but a new element will be in the mix on Sunday.

Susan Slusser at the San Francisco Chronicle reported during the game on Saturday evening that A.J. Griffin had been pulled from his start with Oakland's Triple-A affiliate in Oakland and looks likely to make the start in Sunday's finale in lieu of Brandon McCarthy, who has been battling shoulder issues off and on.

Griffin has already been told that he will be making the start on Sunday. It will be his major league debut as he tries to get the win in the final game of the Bay Bridge Series at the Coliseum.

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Giants Vs. Athletics, Bay Bridge Series: Madison Bumgarner Eyes Series Win In Game 2

(Sports Network) - The San Francisco Giants will attempt to continue their momentum this afternoon against the Oakland Athletics after a dramatic finish to Friday night's series opener.

Down 3-1 going into the last inning, the Giants ripped together four hits and four runs in the top of the ninth to earn the 5-4 victory.

Ryan Cook (2-2) had been nearly unhittable before earning the loss, as he came into the game with a 0.57 ERA in 31 2/3 innings. Friday night proved he's not invincible after all after he allowed two hits, two walks, and four earned runs without recording a single out in the ninth inning. It was his first blown save since taking over the closer's role full time earlier this month.

Brandon Belt's two-run double off Cook tied the game, and Hector Sanchez and Gregor Blanco followed that up with a pair of RBI singles.

Blanco finished with two hits, two RBI, and three steals.

Tim Lincecum's quality start was a good sign for Giants fans. He allowed three earned runs and three hits in six innings of work while striking out eight, but he still showed control issues by walking four. His ERA on the season is a disastrous 6.07.

Clay Hensley (3-3) pitched just one-third of an inning in the bottom of the eighth but it was enough for him to earn the win. Santiago Casilla gave up a solo homer to Josh Reddick in the bottom of the ninth, but still earned his 20th save.

Reddick went 2-for-3 on the evening, and the homer was his team-leading 16th of the season.

The Giants will send one of the games top young left-handers to the hill tonight in Madison Bumgarner, who has been terrific this season with an 8-4 record, a 2.92 ERA, and 78 strikeouts to just 19 walks.

He's also been a model of consistency. Since lasting just four innings in his season debut on April 7, Bumgarner has strung together 13 consecutive starts pitching at least six innings.

The 23-year old's last start was of one of his best, lasting eight innings against Seattle while allowing just three hits and one earned run on Sunday, though he earned the no decision, as the Giants fell to the Mariners 2-1.

Bumgarner is 3-0 in four June starts with a 2.43 ERA.

The Athletics will answer with Tyson Ross, who is replacing the injured Bartolo Colon in the rotation.

Ross has been ineffective as a starter thus far, going 2-6 with a 6.11 ERA. He lost six of seven starts between April 28 and May 30 before being demoted to Triple-A Sacramento.

The right-hander returned to the big leagues on June 16, allowing just one hit and two earned runs in six innings of work in a no decision against San Diego, but he also issued four walks.

"His ball-to-strike ratio was not great but he did use his breaking ball effectively," A's manager Bob Melvin said of Ross's last outing. "He certainly kept the damage down. You could say he was effectively wild."

Ross was a hard-luck loser in a start against the Giants on May 19, going six innings while allowing two earned runs.

For more on the Giants, head over to McCovey Chronicles. For the A's side of the story, head to Athletics Nation.

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Giants Vs. Athletics, Bay Bridge Series: Lincecum Shaky As G-Men Rally Late For 5-4 Victory

Oakland, CA (Sports Network) - San Francisco's Tim Lincecum settled down after a strenuous opening frame, but it wasn't enough to snap his 10-start winless streak.

The Giants offense, however, came alive in the top of the ninth and helped the visitors put the brakes on a six-game road losing skid at the Coliseum.

Brandon Belt smacked the game-tying two-run double, while Hector Sanchez singled home the go-ahead run in a four-run ninth as the Giants edged the Oakland Athletics, 5-4, in the opener of the three-game Bay Bridge Series.

Susceptible to big innings this season, Lincecum needed 43 pitches and allowed two walks and all three of the hits he was charged with in a three-run first. It was the ninth time this year that he's given up three-or-more runs in an inning.

The 28-year-old composed himself, though, and conceded just two free passes over his final five frames, keeping the Giants in the game until they exploded in the ninth.

Trailing 3-1 in the final inning, Buster Posey and Pablo Sandoval worked back- to-back walks off of Ryan Cook (2-2) to begin the frame. They both scored when Belt sliced an opposite-field double past a diving Collin Cowgill in left, knotting the game at 3-3.

Pinch-hitter Justin Christian followed with a single to put runners on the corners with none away. Sean Doolittle replaced Cook on the mound and immediately served up the go-ahead run as Sanchez ripped a single to left, plating Belt for a 4-3 Giants edge.

After Joaquin Arias' sacrifice bunt put runners on the corners with one out, Gregor Blanco added some insurance when he whacked a single to left, bringing home Christian and giving the Giants a two-run cushion.

Josh Reddick cracked a one-out solo homer in the home half of the frame to cut the deficit to 5-4, but Santiago Casilla struck out Yoenis Cespedes and Jonny Gomes to seal the win and earn his 20th save of the season.

Clay Hensley (3-3) registered the final out of the eighth inning to pick up the win.

Jarrod Parker fanned four and surrendered a run on four hits and two walks over six-plus frames for the A's, who had won nine of their last 10 games coming in.

In Oakland's three-run first, Jemile Weeks slapped an RBI single up the middle, Seth Smith recorded an RBI groundout and Brandon Inge worked a bases-loaded walk to give the A's a 3-0 lead.

Blanco's RBI single in the third cut the margin to 3-1.

Game Notes

A's starting pitchers have allowed one run or fewer in each of their last five contests...Lincecum has walked three-or-more batters in nine of his 15 starts this year...San Francisco had lost four of its last five coming in.

For more on the Giants, head over to McCovey Chronicles.

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Bay Bridge Series 2012: Jarrod Parker Eyes Bounce-Back Performance Against G-Men

Oakland Athletics starter Jarrod Parker had one of the worst outings of his career against the San Francisco Giants in the last installment of the Bay Bridge Series at AT&T Park, but is looking to bounce-back in a big way Friday night at the O.Co as the Black and Orange cross the Bay for the finale set of the season series.

Parker lasted just two innings after giving up six runs in his AT&T debut in May, but was brilliant against the Rockies in his last time out, keeping them scoreless through seven innings pitched with only three hits allowed. He'll be facing a well rested Giants squad after their Thursday off day, but the A's are in full swing right now, and Giants starter Tim Lincecum continues to struggle.

Here is some more good news for the A's:

  • The A's have swept the Giants out of the Coliseum in their last two series in Oakland.
  • Seth Smith is hitting .300 with three home runs and a pair of doubles In 30 career at-bats against Lincecum.
  • Coco Crisp is on a hot streak, currently hitting 11-for-26 (.423) with five stolen bases over the last eight games. The A's have won seven of those.

First pitch is set for 7:05 p.m. PT with coverage on CSN California, 95.7 FM, NBC Bay Area and KNBR 680 AM.

For more on the Athletics, check out Athletics Nation. For the Giants side of the story, head over to McCovey Chronicles.

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Bay Bridge Series 2012: Tim Lincecum Looks To Start Anew Against Oakland

Everyone under the sun is trying to figure out why Tim Lincecum hasn't been pitching like the Tim Lincecum we all know so well. Ideas from skipping him in the rotation to even demoting him to the minors have been tossed about, trying anything to get him back to his old self. But the San Francisco Giants are sticking with their ace, for now.

Timmy's 2-8 record and 6.19 ERA is among the worst among qualifying starters in all of baseball. The Giants are 10 games below .500 (2-12) when he takes the mound, he's given up 4 or more runs in 10 starts this year, and batters are hitting a career-high .265 off of him. Frsutration has turned to dejection for Lincecum, who may find himself in no man's land if he has another terrible start on Friday against the A's.

Giants pitcher coach Dave Righetti noted that the team may indeed skip his next start if Friday night does not go well at the O.Co, but also knows that Timmy is doing everything he can to get things right:

"He's struggling, no doubt about it," Giants pitching coach Dave Righetti says, "and it's been going on for a while now. We've talked about things we can do, but we just don't know yet. I don't want to put negative thoughts out there now before his next start. If we decide he needs a break, he'll get one. We have no choice.

"I know he's not going to run away from it. We're not going to hide from it, either."

One person who is sick and tired of listening to all the vitriol about Lincecum his his father and life-long pitching mentor Chris Lincecum, who had this to say to USA Today about Timmy and the Giants:

"Here's a two-time Cy Young winner, a four-time All-Star, a World Series champion, and send him to the minors?" Chris Lincecum said, his voice rising. "You do that, and what you're basically telling the player is, 'We don't need you or respect you.' And this is the kid who helped bring a championship to the city of San Francisco for the first time in over 50 years?

"It's like people forget what he's done. It's like, 'What the (expletive) do I have to do. What more do you want? I gave you two Cy Youngs. I was a major contributor to the World Series. And you crucify me now...You keep saying (expletive) like this, and he'll want to go away."

Issues with his weight (to which he's gained 10 pounds pack of the 30 he lost in the offseason) and mechanics can only go so far, but Lincecum really seems to be struggling in the space between his ears while out on the mound:

"It used to be, two runners on and no outs," Lincecum says, "and it was like, 'I'll get a double play and strike out the next guy.' That was the arrogance I had, knowing I could dig deep and get out of it.

"Now I give up a couple of walks, and it's like, 'How am I going to get out of this? Is this the inning they get me?' That doubt creeps into your mind. It's almost like you're waiting for something bad to happen."

Well folks, tonight is the night. Friday's start against the A's could very well force the Giants to come up with a solution, or tell the critics to shove it if he performs well. Either way, the pressure is certainly on No. 55 tonight.

First pitch is set for 7:15 p.m. PT with coverage on NBC Bay Area, CSN California, KNBR 680 AM and 95.7 FM.

For more on the Giants, head over to McCovey Chronicles. For the A's side of the story, check out Athletics Nation.

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Bay Bridge Series 2012: G-Men Invade Oakland Looking To Change Their Interleague Fate

The Bay Bridge Series returns to Oakland as the Athletics look to stay hot against the visiting Giants.

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