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Kazmir, A's complete series win over Giants

The SportsXchange

SAN FRANCISCO -- Scott Kazmir's first 10 wins this season led the left-hander into the All-Star Game.

The 11th might have earned him a start in the game.

Kazmir capped a brilliant personal first half with one of his best efforts of the season, striking out nine and shutting out the San Francisco Giants on three hits in seven innings in the Oakland Athletics' 6-1 victory over their cross-bay rivals Thursday afternoon.

The win allowed the A's, leaders of the American League West, to split two games in San Francisco after they swept two in Oakland to begin the four-game sequence Monday and Tuesday.

"It's everything I've heard about," Kazmir said of the A's-Giants rivalry, in which he was participating for the first time this week. "Every game had kinda a playoff atmosphere."

Kazmir (11-3) improved to 5-0 with a 0.93 ERA in seven daytime starts this season. The third-time All-Star allowed one or fewer earned runs for the fourth time in his last six starts and the 11th time in 19 starts this season.

Will one of the league's highest win totals and lowest ERA's (2.38) be good enough to earn him the starting nod Tuesday from Boston Red Sox manager John Farrell? A's manager Bob Melvin said he's happy not to have to decide between the likes of Kazmir, Seattle's Felix Hernandez, whom the A's will face Friday night, and Detroit's Max Scherzer.

"He's been as consistent as anybody in the league," Melvin said. "It seems like (Kazmir's starts) are all the same. He gives up zero, one or two runs and always keeps us in the game."

Pitching for the first time in his career against the Giants, Kazmir took a no-hitter into the fifth inning before left fielder Michael Morse led off with a single. He walked one and extended his streak of scoreless innings to 13.

As usual, the A's backed Kazmir with a powerful offensive assault, bombing Giants right-hander Tim Hudson (7-6) for six runs and nine hits in 5 1/3 innings. Kazmir began the day having received the second-most run support (6.1 per game) in the American League.

First baseman Stephen Vogt drove in three runs with two singles, and third baseman Josh Donaldson belted a two-run homer for the A's, whose 58-34 record matches the best 92-game mark in Oakland history.

For Donaldson, the homer can hours after he was told he was being added to Monday's Home Run Derby ahead of the All-Star Game, joining teammate Yoenis Cespedes.

"It's definitely pretty cool," Donaldson said of the Derby invitation. "It's going to be one of those things for me like icing on the cake. I'm going to go out there and put on a show."

The A's led just 1-0 with two outs and nobody on in the top of fifth inning before unleashing a seven-batter bombardment against Hudson that bridged the fifth and sixth innings.

First, catcher John Jaso belted a two-out triple and then scored on an RBI single by Vogt.

After Cespedes struck out to end the fifth, the first four A's batters in the sixth rocked Hudson for extra-base hits to break the game open and send the veteran to the showers saddled with his fourth consecutive loss.

Right fielder Brandon Moss got the flurry in motion with a double, after which Donaldson reached the first row of the right field pavilion with his 20th homer of the season.

Up 4-0, the A's weren't done. Successive doubles by shortstop Jed Lowrie and second baseman Alberto Callaspo put runners on second and third, from where they both scored on Vogt's two-out, two-run single that spelled the end for Hudson.

"They're good," Hudson said of the A's. "At the same time, I feel like we're just as good as they are. They've caught us as bad as we can be. Hopefully sometime this year we'll face them again and we'll do a lot better."

The former A's All-Star, who has never beaten his old mates in two career starts, struck out four and walked three (two intentionally) in the fifth outing of six innings or fewer in his last seven starts. Hudson began the season going at least six innings in 10 consecutive starts, not counting a suspended game in Colorado on May 22.

Jaso, Moss and Donaldson joined Vogt with two hits apiece for the A's, who outhit the Giants 10-6.

Center fielder Gregor Blanco's fifth-inning double was the only extra-base hit for the Giants. San Francisco right fielder Hunter Pence had two singles in his 34th multi-hit game of the season, which is tops in the National League.

San Francisco avoided a shutout by collecting three hits in the eighth inning against A's right-handed reliever Dan Otero. Third baseman Pablo Sandoval hit an RBI single.

"It was a tough series," Giants manager Bruce Bochy said. "We played a good club, a great staff. The guy we faced today, he's had a heck of a half. A lot of clubs haven't done a lot with him."

NOTES: The game was delayed about 10 minutes between the third and fourth innings so that umpire crew chief Angel Hernandez could replace Adrian Johnson behind the plate. Johnson had to leave the game after getting hit in the mask with a foul tip. ... The game ended on a rare walk-off call reversal at first base, with the A's successfully challenging a safe call on Giants CF Gregor Blanco. ... Giants RHP Tim Lincecum's game-worn cap from his second career no-hitter on June 25 against the San Diego Padres, as well as an official scorecard from the game, were donated to the Baseball Hall of Fame in a pregame ceremony. ... A's manager Bob Melvin had a brief chat with San Francisco 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh before the game. "I told him to talk to anybody he wants, but stay away from (pitcher Jeff) Samardzija," Melvin said, referring to his recently acquired right-hander, a former star wide receiver at Notre Dame. ... The Giants activated 2B Ehire Adrianza from the disabled list to complete a transaction they initiated Wednesday night by optioning OF Juan Perez to Triple-A Fresno.

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