Giants-Athletics Preview

The Associated Press

The San Francisco Giants have had no trouble winning series openers lately. Carrying that success into the rest of the games, though, hasn't come easy.

The visiting Giants try to build on an impressive comeback victory and take the first two from the Oakland Athletics on Saturday.

The Athletics (34-37) were on the verge of winning for a ninth time in 10 games Friday leading 3-1 in the ninth inning, but suddenly things fell apart. Rookie Ryan Cook walked Buster Posey and Pablo Sandoval on nine pitches to lead off the inning and Brandon Belt followed with a game-tying double. San Francisco (39-32) added two more runs on singles by Hector Sanchez and Gregor Blanco and went on to win 5-4, snapping a six-game losing streak in Oakland.

"Great game. Great comeback,'' Bruce Bochy said.

The Giants finished with four hits in the ninth after totaling four through the first eight innings, and hope the late rally can provide a spark for a team that has struggled to string together wins. Friday's victory marked San Francisco's fourth straight series-opening victory, but in its previous two series against Seattle and the Los Angeles Angels, it was unable to win another game.

The Athletics, meanwhile, are trying to regroup after just their second loss in nine games at home.

The A's scored three first-inning runs off the embattled Tim Lincecum, but didn't get on the board again until Josh Reddick's ninth-inning homer, but that was too little, too late.

Yoenis Cespedes struck out three times - including right after Reddick's blast - and finished 0 for 4 after going 3 for 8 with a three-run homer, double and run-scoring single in his previous two games in his return to the lineup.

Cespedes, who has sat out nine games this month with a strained left hamstring, and most of his teammates will be getting their first look Saturday at Madison Bumgarner (8-4, 2.92 ERA), who will appear in his first Bay Bridge Series game.

In Seattle on Sunday, Bumgarner allowed a run, three hits and one walk in eight innings of a 2-1 loss, but didn't get the decision. The left-hander, who has allowed two runs or fewer in three of his last four starts, has a 1.21 ERA with 24 strikeouts over 22 1-3 innings in his last three interleague games.

Jonny Gomes, who struck out to end Friday's game, has had Bumgarner's number, though, going 5 for 5 with a homer.

The A's counter with Tyson Ross (2-6, 6.11), who is becoming quite familiar with the route between Sacramento and Oakland.

Ross will be recalled from the minors to start for Bartolo Colon, who is sidelined with a strained right oblique. Called up from the River Cats last Saturday, Ross took a no-hitter into the sixth inning against San Diego before giving up a two-run, two-out homer to Carlos Quentin. That was the only hit Ross allowed in six innings, though he did walk four and hit a batter. The A's rallied for a 6-4 victory, and Ross was sent back to Sacramento the next day.

Ross was up with the A's earlier this season, and in San Francisco on May 19, he allowed two runs, seven hits and four walks in six innings of a 4-0 loss.

Belt, who was 0 for 2 with a walk against Ross in that game, enters Saturday batting .419 with three homers, three doubles, seven walks and nine RBIs during a career-best 10-game hitting streak, raising his average 41 points to .265.

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