Behind Dan Straily’s Strong Start, Athletics Take First Game of Bay Bridge Series


It’s always an event when the Oakland Athletics and the San Francisco Giants meet for the annual Battle of the Bay, or Bay Bridge Series, whichever you prefer.  The Coliseum was sold out this afternoon on Memorial Day, a mix of green-and-gold and orange-and-black.  But it was the Athletics who would get the best of Giants starter Madison Bumgarner behind 6 strong innings from Dan Straily.

May 27, 2013; Oakland, CA, USA; Oakland Athletics starting pitcher Dan Straily (67) pitches the ball against the San Francisco Giants during the first inning at Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

Bumgarner was out of sorts from the beginning, but while he walked 5 in his 6.2 innings, the Athletics failed to really make him pay for his wildness.  The A’s got on the board when Josh Donaldson crushed a 2-run home run to the right of dead center field in the 4th, his 8th of the season.  They would load the bases on two singles and a walk, but Coco Crisp would be caught looking to end the threat.  At that point, it seemed like the A’s would be destined to regret not converting that scoring chance into more runs.

Meanwhile, coming off a great start in Arlington Dan Straily showed once again why he’s been so highly regarded after his breakout season in the minors in 2012.  He dominated the strike zone, and most importantly kept the Giants in the ballpark.  I was a bit nervous about him making this start in a day game at the Coliseum, but the cold and damp weather certainly aided him in suppressing the Giants offense.  He could have gone further than the 6 innings he pitched, he only threw 78 pitches, 52 for strikes.  But Bob Melvin saw fit to have him exit with the lead intact and hand the game over to the A’s bullpen, I can’t argue with him there.  Sean Doolittle pitched 2 dominant innings without allowing a baserunner following Straily, further justifying Melvin’s move.

Desperate for a little breathing room, Yoenis Cespedes supplied it in the bottom of the 7th inning with a ringing 2-run double.  Cespedes also performed an amazing, yet frightening, acrobatic feat as he somersaulted after lunging while attempting to catch a flare off the bat of Brandon Crawford.  He was just fine.  There was little else offensively for the Athletics, as they failed to truly punish Madison Bumgarner for his inconsistency today.  But a win is a win.

Grant Balfour issued a walk to Buster Posey in the 9th inning, but left him stranded at second base after a grounder moved him into scoring position.  He ended the game with a cutter on the outside corner the ring up Brandon Belt, who was not pleased with the call.  It looked like a ball, but after the last few weeks of questionable umpiring the A’s will take a call in their favor.

Game 2 of the series will be tomorrow night as Jarrod Parker (2-6, 5.76 ERA) looks to continue his progress against Michael Kickham who will be making his MLB debut in a hostile environment.  You may recall that A.J. Griffin made his debut last year in the game the A’s won on Derek Norris‘ walk off home run, he fared well in that game, let’s hope Kickham does not get the same welcome to the Show.