Athletics-Giants Preview

The Associated Press

Perhaps the highlight of the Oakland Athletics' current surge would be a four-game season series sweep of their Bay Area rivals.

The A's can do so with a seventh consecutive victory Thursday against the San Francisco Giants, who look to remain undefeated at home with Barry Zito on the mound.

Oakland (31-23) had dropped 10 of 15 versus San Francisco heading into this week, but after holding the Giants to four runs in the first two at home, then winning 9-6 on Wednesday, it's in position to record the first regular-season sweep in the history of the Bay Bridge Series.

"This has been a lot of fun," said Oakland rookie Nate Freiman, who is 6 for 11 with a homer and seven RBIs in the last four games.

The A's secured their first winning season series over the Giants since 2008 and won for the 11th time in 12 games Wednesday, as Freiman drove in three runs and San Francisco committed three errors.

"That's probably the most fun I've had in a long time outside of the playoffs. People are competing,'' said third baseman Josh Donaldson, who had two hits and made a couple of key defensive gems. "Good, clean fun. It was awesome.''

Teammate Yoenis Cespedes tripled to extend his hitting streak to 11 games. The second-year outfielder has eight RBIs during the stretch.

With Wednesday's victory, the A's have now won two straight at San Francisco after losing 11 in a row there.

The Giants (28-25), meanwhile, have lost 10 of 15.

"This is a tough stretch,'' manager Bruce Bochy said. "We've got to get our act together.''

San Francisco, however, is 6-0 at home this season when Zito (3-3, 4.14 ERA) takes the ball.

The 2002 Cy Young award winner with Oakland, Zito has won his last two against the A's at home despite a 4.38 ERA.

Though Zito's teammates have fared well behind him at home, the left-hander has given up 17 runs and 30 hits over 17 1-3 innings to go 0-2 in his last three starts overall. He allowed four runs in six innings of a 6-5, 10-inning home victory over Colorado on Saturday.

Zito gave up two runs in 33 innings while going 3-0 in his first five at home.

The A's counter with A.J. Griffin (5-3, 3.84), who is 2-0 in his last three starts but allowed four runs, including three solo homers, and struck out seven in 5 2-3 innings of an 11-5 win at Houston on Saturday.

"Other than the home runs, I felt all right,'' Griffin said. "Those home runs happen, so obviously, you have a little bitter taste in your mouth at the end of the day.

"I made it 5 2-3, and I always would like to make it 6, 7, 8. I just tried to keep us in the game and keep making pitches.''

As a rookie last season, the right-hander allowed a two-run homer to Buster Posey and two other hits over six innings of a 4-2 home win over the Giants.

Posey is 1 for 12 with two RBIs versus Oakland this week after batting .421 during a 10-game hitting streak.

San Francisco's Hunter Pence had three hits Wednesday, including his second home run in as many nights.

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