The Battle of the Bay hasn’t been much of a battle so far this season.
The Oakland Athletics will try for their first three-game sweep in San Francisco when they face the Giants on Sunday.
The A’s (33-28) have won four of the five meetings between these teams this season, including two of three in Oakland in May, and have outscored the Giants 31-12. Oakland beat former ace Barry Zito, who signed a $126 million, seven-year contract to move across the Bay in the offseason, 6-0 Saturday for its AL-leading sixth shutout win.
Oakland, which swept a two-game series in San Francisco from June 24-25, 1998, has won three straight at AT&T Park and five of its last six against the Giants. The Athletics’ only three-game sweep against their Bay Area rivals came June 24-26, 2005, in Oakland.
Mark Ellis and Bobby Crosby homered Saturday for the A’s, who have won seven of eight and are a season-high five games over .500. The Giants (28-33) have been heading in the opposite direction, dropping 11 of their last 15 and managing only 11 runs in their last five games.
“We need to pitch better, we need to hit better, we need to do better in situational hitting and we need to play better defense,” right fielder Randy Winn told the Giants’ official Web site. “We need to get better across the board. Could we be a little looser? Yeah, but you want guys to be themselves, to do what is comfortable.”
Slugger Barry Bonds was one of the few bright spots for San Francisco on Saturday, starting in an afternoon game after a night game and going 2-for-4 with a pair of singles and his second steal in as many days. However, Bonds struck out twice and remains nine homers shy of Hank Aaron’s all-time record of 755.
Bonds, who has 18 homers in 51 games against the A’s, has not homered since May 27 against Colorado.
“He tried to get us going—a couple hits,” manager Bruce Bochy said. “He stole a base. We just couldn’t figure (Oakland starter Dan) Haren out.”
Giants center fielder and leadoff hitter Dave Roberts returned from the disabled list two days earlier than scheduled but went 0-for-4, nearly a month after surgery on his left elbow.
Matt Cain (2-5, 3.54 ERA) will look to help San Francisco avoid the sweep after allowing three runs in 5 1-3 innings of the Giants’ 10-inning, 4-3 loss in Arizona on Tuesday. He is 0-2 with a 4.26 ERA in four starts since his last win on May 13, and San Francisco is just 2-10 in games he has started.
However, Cain has received two or fewer runs of support in seven of his outings.
Cain is 1-2 with a 4.12 ERA in three starts against the A’s, including a 4-2 loss on May 19 in Oakland.
The A’s will counter with Lenny DiNardo (2-2, 1.45), who earned his first win as a starter since May 7 last season on Tuesday. He allowed just two hits in a career high-tying six innings of a 2-0 victory over his former team, the Boston Red Sox. The start was the second this season for DiNardo, who made 11 appearances out of the bullpen before the A’s moved him into their injury-depleted rotation.
“It wasn’t really a picturesque outing,” DiNardo, who walked a career-worst six batters, told Oakland’s Web site. “But we played some solid defense, and I made some pitches when I needed to.”
DiNardo has pitched 2 2-3 scoreless innings without receiving a decision in a pair of relief outings against the Giants, including 1 2-3 innings of work on May 20.