The San Francisco Giants hosted the Oakland Athletics on Friday night in the first game of this year's edition of the Bay Bridge Series. The Giants benefited from another strong start by Barry Zito and a completely uncharacteristic evening of plate discipline and clutch hitting as they took a big lead and survived a minor bullpen implosion to pick up the 8-6 victory.
In the bottom of the second inning, Angel Pagan drew a leadoff walk and stole second. He was then singled in by Brandon Belt. Belt went to third on a Hector Sanchez single and came home on a sacrifice fly by Joaquin Arias to make it 2-0 Giants.
The A's would cut that lead in half in the top of the third, as Josh Donaldson led off with his first home run of the year, but 2-1 would be as close as Oakland would get.
The Giants put up four more runs in the bottom of the third. Gregor Blanco walked to lead off the inning and came home on a Brandon Crawford double. Brandon Belt drew a bases-loaded walk for his second RBI, Sanchez hit a sacrifice fly to bring home Melky Cabrera and Barry Zito drew a bases-loaded walk of his own (his first of two walks on the evening) to make it 6-1 Giants.
The Giants tacked on two more runs in the bottom of the fourth with a Belt sac fly and a Sanchez double to make it 8-1. The A's got a run back in the top of the fifth on an RBI double by Donaldson. Oakland really climbed back into the game in the sixth inning, as Zito gave up a leadoff triple to Jemile Weeks and an RBI single to Cliff Pennington before striking out Josh Reddick. Zito was lifted for Steve Edlefsen, who got a lineout for the second out, but gave up two singles and a bases-clearing double to Donaldson to cut the Giants lead down to 8-6. Donaldson had five RBI in the game at that point, making it the first five-RBI game by an A's batter since Eric Chavez did it in September of 2005. Clay Hensley was brought in and struck out Collin Cowgill, but the damage was definitely severe.
Pedro Figueroa walked Sanchez and Pagan to lead off the home half of the sixth, but Belt grounded out, Sanchez struck out and Arias grounded out to keep it an 8-6 ballgame. Jeremy Affeldt came in for the seventh and got two strikeouts and a ground out on 11 pitches in a spectacular appearance.
Sergio Romo and Santiago Casilla held Oakland scoreless in the eighth and ninth innings, respectively, to hang on for the win.
The Giants have drawn nine walks or more in three of their last four games, which is a sudden and amazingly welcome development.