A's beat cross-bay rival for third day in a row

Dave Del Grande, The Sports Xchange
The SportsXchange

SAN FRANCISCO -- On a fist-pumping kind of night for Nate Freiman, the A's rookie saved his happiest moment for well after Oakland's 9-6 victory over the San Francisco Giants at AT&T Park on Wednesday night.
"Just a minute," he said, interrupting a postgame interview to grab his buzzing cell phone.
"I guess my dad did make it to the end," he said with a big smile.
In a 3-hour, 43-minute marathon that ended at 1:59 a.m. in Boston, where dad was watching on television, Freiman drove in three runs, two with his first pinch hit of the season, as the A's made it three wins in a row over the Giants in breathtaking fashion.
The platooning first baseman/designated hitter had a two-run, pinch single in a four-run fifth inning and an RBI single in a game-clinching, two-run ninth as the A's recorded a rare win in San Francisco.
"That was a good team win tonight," Freiman said of a game in which the A's used 17 players. "Those are the defending world champions two of the last three years. We knew it was going to be a grind. Twenty-seven outs."
Left-hander Tommy Milone (5-5) navigated five-plus shaky innings by stranding seven baserunners and got a lot of help from the bullpen as the A's won a sixth consecutive game. The A's moved within two games of the rained-out Texas Rangers in the American League West standings.
Staked to a 2-0 lead before taking the mound and a five-run cushion at the game's midpoint, Milone never got an out in a wild, three-run Giants sixth inning. He surrendered solo home runs to Hunter Pence in the second inning and Brett Pill leading off the sixth.
The win was the 50th -- not counting a 4-0 sweep in the 1989 World Series -- for the A's over their San Francisco Bay Area rivals, who have won 45 times in the interleague competition.
Tim Lincecum (3-5) surrendered the Athletics' first six runs (five earned) as the Giants fell to 0-5 in interleague play this season. The two-time Cy Young Award winner allowed seven hits and four walks in 4 1/3 innings.
"We're not playing like the team that we are," Giants manager Bruce Bochy said. "We've been playing long games. This is not our game. It's been getting away from us for a while."
Lincecum nearly got off the hook in the wacky sixth, which featured a controversial call on a fan interference and the ejection of A's bench coach Chip Hale.
After the Giants scored twice to cut a five-run deficit to 6-3, Andres Torres smacked a hard grounder over the third base bag and into the home team's bullpen area. A fan in a Giants cap reached over the railing and deflected the live ball, resulting in a ground-rule double.
While A's manager Bob Melvin was arguing with crew chief Gerry Davis over what he thought was a foul ball, he realized the umpires had allowed Gregor Blanco to score all the way from first base on the play. When Melvin angrily returned to get an explanation on that head-scratching decision, plate ump Brian Knight ejected Hale for excessive complaining from the dugout.
"Exhausting," Melvin admitted as he finally got a chance to catch his breath. "I argued everything I could argue."
Jerry Blevins, Pat Neshek, Sean Doolittle and Grant Balfour held the Giants to two runs over the final four innings, with Balfour improving his save record to 12-for-12 with a one-hit ninth.
The A's added a critical insurance run for the relief crew in the eighth on a sacrifice fly by Coco Crisp that scored Eric Sogard, who had doubled.
The run temporarily turned into a difference-maker when the Giants' Marco Scutaro and Pablo Sandoval drove in runs in the bottom of the eighth with two-out hits, closing the gap to 7-6. Doolittle, who gave up the two runs, then got Buster Posey to fly to deep right field to end the inning.
An error by Torres in left field led to a pair of Oakland runs in the top of the ninth, the last of which scored on Freiman's second hit. That gave Balfour a three-run cushion.
"The last hit he got might have been the biggest," Melvin said of Freiman. "(The lead is) two, but one more feels like five."
Freiman threw a fist in the air when the ball fell in front of Giants center fielder Blanco.
"It's exciting when the lights are on and 10s of thousands of people are in the seats," he said. "I'm glad my dad saw it. I guess my mom fell asleep."
The Giants outhit the A's 13-11. Pence had three of the Giants' hits.
NOTES: The win clinched the four-game Bay Bridge series for the A's for the first time since 2008. The A's swept home games over the Giants on Monday and Tuesday. ... Hale's ejection was the first of his career. ... The A's lost 10 of their previous 12 games in San Francisco. ... A's OF Yoenis Cespedes ran his hitting streak to 11 games with a first-inning triple that plated Crisp with the first run of the game. ... The Giants sent LHP Mike Kickham, who started Tuesday's 6-3 loss in Oakland, to Triple-A Fresno and purchased the contract of RHP Ramon Ramirez, a veteran reliever who had been pitching for the Grizzlies. ... Bochy said RHP Chad Gaudin, a long reliever, was penciled into injured RHP Ryan Vogelsong's spot in the rotation for Sunday in St. Louis. Kickham started in that spot Tuesday. ... To make room for Ramirez on the 40-man roster, the Giants moved rehabbing INF Tony Abreu from the 15-day disabled list to the 60-day DL. Abreu suffered a sprained left knee during spring training.

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