The Bay Bridge Series is more than just an interleague rivalry between the Oakland Athletics and San Francisco Giants. There’s an interesting contrast between the Bay Area ballclubs.
The Oakland Athletics did not have a case of the Mondays. Giants right-hander Jeff Samardzija and A’s right-hander Daniel Mengden shined early in the ballgame. However, it was Mengden who stole the show, pitching 7.2 scoreless innings in his first career win with the A’s.
Both teams were hitting well as the game went into the top of the second. AT&T Park is not a great ballpark to hit home runs in, but the Oakland Athletics had a big game offensively. Khris Davis put the A’s on the board with an RBI double for a 1-0 lead. In his at-bat, Marcus Semien smacked the ball into the stands for a three-run shot that extended the A’s lead to 4-0. And if that wasn’t enough already, Coco Crisp scored on Jed Lowrie‘s RBI double to make it 5-0 A’s.
Fast forward to the first half of the fourth where Samardzija had a nine pitch inning. Denard Span launched a lengthy shot that almost went over Billy Burns‘ head, but Burns made an incredible save to prevent the Giants from scoring. Mengden ended the inning with eight pitches. I was wondering if the A’s were going to hold on to their lead, but I did not need to wrap my head around this particular thought tonight.
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The Giants had a chance to score their first run of the game, but Semien denied the home team with an amazing catch to end the fifth. At least the Giants collected one hit. Semien shot an RBI double to right, which led Yonder Alonso to score. The Oakland Athletics led 6-0 after six innings.
Things only got better for the Oakland Athletics, who took an 8-0 lead in the top of the seventh. Then Stephen Vogt singled to score Crisp. Giants manager Bruce Bochy was not pleased. Bochy gave his team some tough love because they needed it.
Lowrie was out at the plate when Buster Posey strapped him at home plate, which resulted in an out. That was an arguable call that left me wondering why. The Oakland Athletics then tacked on their eighth run, thanks to Davis’ RBI single. The Giants were held to just two hits after seven innings. The view was gorgeous, but the scoreboard was lopsided.
The Giants had to step their game up if they wanted extra innings, but they didn’t generate runs until the bottom of the eighth. Chris Stratton made his first career plate appearance with the Giants. Stratton grounded into a double play to score Ramiro Pena. Then a wild pitch by Fernando Rodriguez allowed Conor Gillaspie to score. Because of all this, the Giants avoided a shutout, but continued to trail 8-2 after eight innings.
The Oakland Athletics’ bullpen had to get things going because the team has a tendency to blow lead. The A’s could not prevent Pena’s single that scored Mac Williamson, but they put the game out of reach for the Giants, who could use it as a lesson to learn from. Semien tagged for the forceout to end the game. The Oakland Athletics took Game 1 with a 8-3 win over the Giants.
Mengden is not a household name, but he did a lot for the Oakland Athletics. Semien also played a significant role in the A’s win as he produced a few runs and was an elite defender in the outfield.