The A’s (40-33) have dominated the series of late, winning six of the last eight meetings with the Giants to take a 28-26 lead, and are one of the hottest teams in baseball. They won for the 11th time in 13 games Friday, rallying in the ninth inning for a 4-3 victory in the series opener.
San Francisco led 3-2 going into the ninth, but Mark Kotsay’s sacrifice fly off Giants closer Armando Benitez scored Jason Kendall to tie the game. Nick Swisher, the next batter, drove home Bobby Kielty with a triple.
“It’s just a great game to win, especially in front of 43,000 people,” Swisher said. “It was funny, because you have half of them yelling at you, and half of them cheering. But that’s how these crosstown rivalry games are supposed to be.”
Swisher’s hit was only his second in 15 at-bats (.133) against the Giants this season.
The A’s, 17-4 in June, send Dan Haren (6-6, 3.39 ERA) to the mound as he looks to bounce back from a loss despite a strong outing.
The right-hander threw seven innings and gave up three runs—two earned— with six strikeouts and no walks Monday in Oakland’s 7-0 defeat.
“I can’t be critical of the lack of run support,” Haren said. “I’ve won games when I didn’t pitch well and I got run support. It’s up to me to pitch well enough to win.”
Haren, who has a 1.40 ERA in his last four starts, will try to win his third straight start against the Giants. He has posted a 1.59 ERA in the two wins over San Francisco, which includes eight innings of two-hit ball in a 1-0 win May 19 at McAfee Coliseum. Haren has not allowed a hit to Barry Bonds in six career at-bats.
The Giants (36-37) will counter with Jamey Wright (5-7, 4.55), who is trying to avoid losing a career-high tying fifth consecutive decision.
The right-hander has lost five in a row on three other occasions, most recently from Aug. 7-28, 2005, as a member of the Colorado Rockies. He has a 6.07 ERA during his current four-game losing streak, spanning five starts.
The 11-year veteran allowed four runs over 6 2-3 innings in his last outing Sunday, throwing away a pickoff attempt to first base to move the eventual go-ahead run into scoring position during a 5-1 loss to Seattle.
“I’ve got to keep plugging away and get ready for the next one,” Wright said. “It’s not going to get any easier.”
Bonds is not expected to play Saturday. He was removed from Friday’s game after scoring from second in the eighth inning, and usually sits out day games after playing a night game. He went 0-for-1 with three walks, an RBI, a stolen base and a run Friday.
“He was struggling when he came off after scoring the run,” Giants manager Felipe Alou said of Bonds, who has gone six games without a home run. “I don’t think it’s good for him to play tomorrow. I don’t see how he could be all right.”
Bonds is 2-for-16 (.125) with two RBIs in the last six games.