Giants observations: SF drops Bay Bridge Series opener to Athletics

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What we learned as Giants drop Bay Bridge series opener originally appeared on NBC Sports Bayarea

OAKLAND -- The A's drew more than 40,000 fans to the Coliseum on Friday night, the biggest crowd to see a game in the Bay Area in two years. As always, it was a pretty even split between A's and Giants fans. 

The A's fans got what they came for. The Giants fans saw their team go down quietly and continue to lose ground to the second-place Dodgers

The Giants lost 4-1 in Oakland while picking up just five hits. With two straight losses, their lead over the Dodgers in the NL West is down to 1 1/2 games. The Dodgers finished off a 3-2 win over the Mets just a few seconds after the 27th out in Oakland. 

The A's scored two runs early on a single by Josh Harrison, who has killed the Giants for two teams this season. They held a one-run lead into the seventh, when Starling Marte lined a two-out RBI double inside the first base line. 

The Giants made a pitching change and brought in dominant lefty Jose Alvarez, and it seemed he would be out of the inning in the easiest way possible. Marte took off for third and Alvarez saw him, but his throw was away from third baseman Wilmer Flores, and Marte jogged home to make it 4-1. 

Sergio Romo pitched around a Buster Posey single -- that's still weird to say -- in the eighth and the Giants didn't threaten in the ninth. 

Not Bad For No. 9

About half of Gabe Kapler's pregame media availability focused on Mike Yastrzemski's recent struggles, and Kapler preferred to look at the positives. While acknowledging that Yastrzemski -- who entered the day with a .754 OPS -- was still searching for his best swing, Kapler pointed out that hitting him ninth was a sign of the lineup's depth, and that Yastrzemski has still done well against right-handed pitching.

Yastrzemski entered the game with 16 homers against righties and added one in the fifth, crushing a James Kaprelian fastball 401 feet to right. The blast was Yastrzemski's 19th of the year and 50th of his career. 

Looking For Depth

Alex Wood did a good job of working out of potential trouble and finished with a strong inning, but he still made it through just five, continuing a trend for a starting staff that was a surprising strength of the team in the first half. 

In August, the Giants have gotten just seven starts of at least six innings, and four are by Logan Webb. To be fair to Wood, he has two of the other three. The Giants had an off day on Thursday and another on Monday, but this is becoming an issue, and they'll certainly need some longer starts next week when they face the Mets and Braves.

RELATED: Why Kapler always loved visiting Oakland as player

Wood gave up five hits and walked two, but struck out nine in his five innings. He has a 4.11 ERA through 22 starts. 

Sneaky Good

Middle relievers often only get attention when they give up runs, and Zack Littell did allow a double that gave the A's a 3-1 lead in the seventh. But Littell should be recognized for what he had done before that. 

Littell recorded five outs before the run, extending his streak to 10 1/3 hitless innings since coming back from Triple-A. He has 12 strikeouts in that span.

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