Athletics 6, Giants 5
OAKLAND, Calif. (AP)—The second-biggest crowd in Coliseum history couldn’t decide which team to support, sometimes chanting “Let’s go, Oakland!” and “Let’s go, Giants!” at the same time.
Miguel Tejada isn’t nearly as confused. He thinks the surging Athletics are a step ahead of their opponents these days, particularly after winning the first half of the Bay Bridge Series.
Tejada hit a three-run homer, and four relievers combined on four innings of hitless relief as the A’s took two of three from San Francisco, winning 6-5 on Sunday.
Erubiel Durazo hit a solo homer for the go-ahead run, and Eric Chavez had a two-run double as Oakland rallied from a three-run deficit to finish a 12-game homestand with nine victories. With two weekend wins in front of huge home crowds, the notoriously streaky A’s got on another roll at their cross-Bay rivals’ expense.
“It was a great homestand, because we have our confidence back now,” said Tejada, the AL MVP. “We think we’re ready to play against every team. You could see by the way we rallied today. Right now, we can take two of three from anybody.”
Pedro Feliz hit a three-run homer—his third homer in two games—for the Giants, who begin a key three-game series against the Los Angeles Dodgers on Monday night. The teams are tied atop the NL West after the Dodgers’ loss to Anaheim on Sunday.
Designated hitter Barry Bonds had an RBI single and got the 499th stolen base of his career, but the Giants couldn’t capitalize on six innings of outstanding work from their own bullpen.
In front of 55,413 sun-baked fans who crowded every level of the cavernous Coliseum, the A’s won for the eighth time in nine games.
“You’ve got a lot of electricity in the stadium with all the people here,” Oakland manager Ken Macha said. “It was an exciting homestand, and we were playing some outstanding teams. Winning as many as we did, we’ve got to feel better about ourselves.”
But instead of the usual pitchers’ duels between the cross-Bay rivals, offense was the key. After fine performances in victories by Oakland’s Aaron Harang on Friday and San Francisco’s Jerome Williams on Saturday, both starting pitchers were terrible on Sunday.
Giants rookie Jesse Foppert gave up five runs, four hits and three walks in two-plus innings—the shortest start of his career. Ted Lilly (5-5) got the win for Oakland—but he was even worse, allowing nine hits, five runs and several line-drive outs in five shaky innings.
After Lilly left before the sixth, John Halama, Chad Bradford and Jim Mecir kept the A’s on top. Keith Foulke finished for his 19th save in 22 chances, with Chris Singleton making a running catch on Andres Galarraga’s long foul ball deep in the right-field corner to end it.
Bonds drove home Marquis Grissom in the first, but Chavez emerged from a weeklong slump to hit a two-run double for Oakland later in the inning. San Francisco tied it on Jose Cruz Jr.’s RBI single in the second.
Feliz, who got another start in left field because manager Felipe Alou wanted to keep the surging hitter in the lineup, drilled a third-inning pitch from Lilly for his seventh homer of the season.
“I missed location by two feet,” Lilly said. “Terrible pitch.”
But Eric Byrnes doubled later in the inning to start a rally, and Tejada hit a similarly poor pitch from Foppert deep down the left-field line for his 14th homer.
Durazo followed Tejada’s three-run homer with a solo shot off reliever Chad Zerbe (0-1), giving Oakland the lead. It was Zerbe’s first career loss in 97 major league appearances.
“It’s not something I want to remember, but it’s over and done with,” said Zerbe, who allowed just two hits in three sharp innings. “Streaks end. The first guy I face is a left-hander, and I left one up. That’s what happens.”
Bonds also stole second base on a pickoff attempt in the first inning. No player in major league history ever had 400 homers and 400 stolen bases before Bonds, and he’ll soon start his own 500-500 club.
The A’s intentionally walked Bonds with the bases empty in both the seventh and ninth innings, drawing loud boos.
“I go under the assumption he’s going to hit a homer every time,” Macha said.
The Bay Bridge Series concludes with three games at Pacific Bell Park nextweekend.
The A’s set a three-game franchise record by drawing 155,375 fans, topping the total from last season’s set with San Francisco. On Sunday, fans even covered two-thirds of Mount Davis—the glass-and-cement section of the stands built to lure the Oakland Raiders back to town. … Yorvit Torrealba returned to the Giants’ lineup after traveling back to Venezuela for a week to be with his wife, who had a large benign tumor removed from her abdomen. Torrealba went 0-for-3. … The A’s hit back-to-back homers for the third timethis season—but the first time since April 18.