San Francisco (35-46) at Oakland (44-36)

Mostly Cloudy Currently: Oakland, CA
Temp: 60° F
  • Game info: 4:05 pm EDT Sun Jun 29, 2008
  • TV: CSBA, KICU
Preview | Box Score | Recap

Now that San Francisco has ended its lengthy losing streak against the Oakland Athletics, there won’t be pressure on Giants starter Jonathan Sanchez to halt a skid.

The Giants, though, hope Sanchez can lead them to the series win over the rival Athletics on Sunday when the teams wrap up their three-game interleague set at McAfee Coliseum.

San Francisco (35-46) had dropped seven straight games against Oakland (44-36) before Randy Winn drove in the only run to lift the Giants to a 1-0 victory on Saturday. This was the Giants’ second win in the last 12 meetings.

The winning streak was the longest in the Bay Area rivalry, and the Athletics had given up eight runs and shut out the Giants three times during that stretch.

It was another low-scoring affair in Saturday’s battle between likely All-Stars as Tim Lincecum fanned 11 A’s, and Justin Duchscherer limited the Giants to two hits.

“It’s a huge lift, especially the kind of ball we played today in a pitchers’ duel,” said Giants closer Brian Wilson, who pitched a perfect ninth inning for his NL-leading 22nd save.

The Giants now have a chance to secure a series victory over the A’s for the first time since they took two of three games from May 19-21, 2006 at the Coliseum.

San Francisco will try to accomplish that goal behind Sanchez (7-4, 3.98 ERA), who has helped the club to a 12-4 mark when he is on the mound. He is 5-1 with a 3.33 ERA in his last seven outings.

The left-hander is coming off another strong performance as he limited Cleveland to one run and five hits, while fanning eight in 7 2-3 innings of a 3-2 road victory on Tuesday.

“This kid has maintained his poise so well,” manager Bruce Bochy told the Giants’ official Web site. “He’s always had the stuff, but he’d cave in or lose his concentration out there. He’s figured that out. That’s why he’s a different pitcher.”

Sanchez, who has won four straight road starts, will be making his first career start versus the A’s. However, he has faced them out of the bullpen, compiling a 2.84 ERA in five appearances.

Oakland, which was shut out for the second time in four games, went 2-for-14 with runners in scoring position on Saturday.

“It was horrible offensively,” shortstop Bobby Crosby told the A’s official Web site.

The A’s will start Joe Blanton (4-10, 4.58), who ended a four-start losing streak on Tuesday. The right-hander held Philadelphia to one run over seven innings of a 5-2 home win.

“I really went out there and put a lot of focus into this game. I wanted to have a quality start,” Blanton said. “I was just trying to focus and put everything in every pitch. I was trying to stay as level as possible (during this stretch). I wasn’t doing a great job at it.”

Blanton is 1-1 with an 8.10 ERA in two interleague starts this season, and has gone 1-1 with a 3.97 ERA in four career starts versus the Giants. He is trying to avoid becoming the AL’s first 11-game loser.

A’s catcher Kurt Suzuki went 3-for-4 on Saturday, and has hit .463 (19-for-41) with two homers and 10 homers over his last 11 games—all versus the NL.

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Starting Pitchers

J. Sanchez ChC vs. J. Blanton KC
9-12 Record 9-12
5.01 ERA 4.69
157 K 111
75 BB 66
1.45 WHIP 1.40

Scoreboard

Sunday, Jun 29