Athletics 5, Giants 3
SAN FRANCISCO (AP)—The San Francisco Giants have had their share of demoralizing defeats lately—and this one might have topped all the others.
They lost two players to what could be serious injuries and were forced to move several guys out of their normal positions just to get through the game.
Pinch-hitter Shannon Stewart hit a tiebreaking two-run single in the 10th against a makeshift San Francisco defense that featured a pitcher in right field and a third baseman at catcher, lifting the Athletics to a 5-3 victory on Friday night.
San Francisco skipper Bruce Bochy, out of position players on the bench, was forced to use left-handed starter Noah Lowry in right field after a collision at the plate forced backup catcher Eliezer Alfonzo out of the game with a sprained left knee.
Feliz moved from third to catcher to make his major league debut behind the plate. That’s after several other players also offered to do the job, including Ryan Klesko and Ray Durham. Klesko was polling some of his teammates as to whether they’d ever caught and how long it had been.
“This game had a little bit of everything,” A’s manager Bob Geren said. “It was cold and Stewart comes off the bench to get a big hit. Their catcher, unfortunately gets hurt and they had to use a position player. I thought Feliz did a great job. It almost looks like he’s done it before.”
Lowry, who struck out to end the game, went to right field after Alfonzo saved a run tagging pinch-runner Donnie Murphy out at the plate in the top of the 10th. Alfonzo, who took a throw from first baseman Klesko on a ground ball by Mark Kotsay, had to be helped to the locker room.
Alfonzo was undergoing X-rays and is likely to go on the disabled list. San Francisco has no other catchers on the 40-man roster but are likely to purchase the contract of either Guillermo Rodriguez or Justin Knoedler from Triple-A Fresno.
“That’s a tough one to swallow,” Klesko said. “To lose two guys in the same game, that’s worse than any loss.”
Right fielder Fred Lewis left the game after the first inning with a strained muscle in his right side that Bochy said could sideline him for a while. Center fielder Dave Roberts is set to return from the DL on Monday.
Lewis, set to be examined Saturday, hoped it would only be a couple of days.
The Giants played their third extra-inning game in the last four.
“It’s time to change something. We had this and let it get away,” Bochy said. “The guys played hard, we just needed a big hit with guys on base. Obviously we are going to have to make some moves.”
Stewart singled to left on a slider from loser Brad Hennessey (1-2). Hennessey told Feliz the first few pitches he would throw, but it was still a tough situation with signs.
“It was pretty out of the ordinary,” Hennessey said. “You deal with it the best you can and move on I guess.”
It was the first career appearance for Lowry at any fielding position other than pitcher. The last pitcher to play in the field was Jason Simontacchi of St. Louis when he played in left field in the ninth inning against Arizona on April 10, 2004, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.
Molina left the game in the fifth in a double-switch, though Bochy and athletic trainer Dave Groeschner checked on Molina after Mark Ellis singled following Travis Buck’s leadoff double in the inning. Molina was taken out two batters later and replaced by Alfonzo.
Lowry took some warmup catches in right and the game was only delayed six minutes. The Giants were also down to one pitcher in the bullpen, Vinnie Chulk, after using seven.
Randy Winn made his debut at third.
Barry Bonds lined a tying two-out single to right in the seventh after Klesko’s RBI triple and also stole his third base of the year, but the Giants lost the opener of the second installment of the Bay Bridge Series.
Bonds went 1-for-3 with two walks, playing the second straight night after sitting out Tuesday and Wednesday against the Diamondbacks with shin splints. He beat out an infield single Thursday, showing his legs are healthy again.
Bonds stole his 512th career base and moved within two of matching his late father, Bobby, for most in San Francisco history (263).
The 42-year-old slugger has one homer in 69 at-bats since connecting May 8 off the Mets’ Tom Glavine.
Rookie Travis Buck had a career-high four hits, doubled twice and drove in two runs as Oakland’s offense bounced back a day after being one-hit by Boston’s Curt Schilling.
Winn had three of San Francisco’s six hits off Chad Gaudin, who struck out three and walked four in 6 2-3 innings.
Giants rookie starter Tim Lincecum matched his shortest start at 4 1-3 innings.
RHP Randy Messenger, acquired from the Marlins in the May 31 trade for embattled closer Armando Benitez, made his home debut in the seventh. … It was 57 degrees at first pitch, quite a change for the Giants after they had played in Phoenix the previous three nights. … USC football coach Pete Carroll was in the stands for the second time this season and caught the ceremonial first pitch.
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