Oakland Athletics’ Chad Pinder (10) is congratulated by teammates after hitting a home run against the San Francisco Giants in the top of the first inning at SAP Park in San Francisco on Wed Apr 27, 2022 (AP News photo)
Oakland. 1. 7. 2
San Francisco. 0. 3. 1
Wednesday, April 27, 2022
By Lewis Rubman
SAN FRANCISCO–The good news for A’s fans is that before tonight’s game, Chad Pinder returned to the active roster. Pinder, who had been batting .237 in ten games before being placed on the Covid list, was as versatile as former A Mark Canha, although he was not the human bull’s eye at the plate that old teammate and current Met, had been. .237 is not much, but neither are ten games, and it’s certainly better than the .206 team batting average that Athletics brought with them to Oracle Park this evening.
With Pinder’s return, Christian Lopes, who had been with the big team as a substitute player, was returned to Sacramento. Lopes had gone 0 for 9 in four gamesas an Athletic and suffered the further indignity of my having named him as the player for whom Seth Brown pinch hit in the top of the seventh last night.
For the record, the correct, ungarbled account of Oakland’s last scoring frame was 1) Andrus grounded out to short; 2) Pache singled to center; 3) Lopes struck out swinging; 4) García relieved Leone; 5) Brown, pinch hitting for Nick Allen, doubled to right center, driving in Pache; 6) Kemp was called out on a disputed third strike. You read it here last.
Last night the A’s performed as poorly as my malfunctioning ipad and I did. Tonight, they weren’t perfect in the field, but their pitching was outstanding with six moundsmen holding the Giants to three hits in a 1-0 shutout, that brought the green and golds’ record back over .500 to 10-9. San Francisco slipped to 13-6.
Sam Long, a southpaw who’d allowed three hits and a walk while striking out five over the 5-2/3 innings he’d thrown in his five appearances before today, was the Giants’ opener. The returning Pinder sent Long’s sixth pitch, an 83 mph changeup, 372 feet, into the left field bleachers It was Pinder third homer of the year, his career first leading off a game.
Sheldon Nuese reached first on Brandon Crawford’s throwing error and was erased when Sean Murphy hit into an around the horn double play, the prelude to Stephen Piscotty’s going down swinging. And Long had completed his assignment, replaced by Jacob Junis, who. set the A’s down in order.
Paul Blackburn, who started for Oakland at (2-0,1.80), escaped unscathed in the first two innings of his performance, with a little help from a pitcher’s best friend in each of those frames. but it looked as though the third would be different.
The A’s righthander retired Thairo Estrada on a ground out to second. but then issued a full count walk to Jason Vosler.
Number nine batter reached on Neuse’s second error of the evening, bringing the top of the order to bat with two on and one down. Murphy kicked Joc Pederson’s little nubber in front of the plate for a bases loaded infield single. But, marvelous to tell!, Brandon Belt hit into a beautifully executed twin killing, Brown at first, to Andrus at short, back to Blackburn, covering first.
Three double plays in three innings, ‘dtaint bad. Austin Slater replaced Pederson in the top of the fourth, playing in center field, while Luis Gonález moved from center to right. The reason given was right groin tightness.
Junis and Blackburn matched goose eggs until the latter was lifted in favor of Domingo Acevedo to start the bottom of the sixth. In his five innings of work, Blackburn allowed three hits and a walk. He threw 84 pitches, only 30 of which were balls. He struck out four, reducing his ERA down to 1.35.
Junis left the game after retiring Bethancourt to end the visitor´s sixth. Like Blackburn, he hurled five shutout innings. He struck out eight, allowing four hits and a walk. Of his 64 offerings, 46 were strikes.
Junis´s replacement, Jake McGee, allowed a two out triple that Cristian Pache slashed to right center before retiring Kemp. on a line drive to Slater in center field.
It was Sam Moll on the mound to face the Giants after the seventh inning stretch. He lasted the required three batters, the first two of whom he retired but left after walking the third, González, giving way to Zach Jackson, who had to deal with Estrada. He got him swinging on an 85mph full. count slider.
Tyler Rogers rode San Francisco’s bullpen merry-go-round in the eighth. He got his three men out with no trouble, fanning two of them, Pinder and Murphy.
Jackson came out to face Jason Vosler in the Giants eighth. The third sacker walked on a 3-2 change up that caught the lower outside corner of the strike zone, but home plate umpire Carlos Torres didn’t see it that way. Casali went down swinging on another full count, bringing the top of the order to the forefront.
Andrus made a sterling grab and behind the back toss on Slater’s grounder up the middle to force Vosler out at second for the second out of the inning. This paved the way for Kirby Snead to face off against Brandon Belt. Slater stole second, increasing the tension, but Snead stayed calm and got the Giants’ first baseman to fly out to medium left field.
Camilo Doval entered the fray to try to maintain San Francisco’s deficit to a single tally. He got Piscotty on a three pitch strikeout and then surrendered a a solid double to right to pinch hitter Billy McKinney, batting for Bethancourt. Following an intentional walk to Brown, Doval. dodged a couple of bullets to strike Andrus out swinging and induce a fly out to center from Pache.
Danny Jiménez was called on to act as the closer. He pitched well to lead off man Flores, who hit a grounder wide of first to Brown. Jiménez admired the play rather than going to first to cover the bag. Crew Chief Martiy Foster called Flores safe, but his call was overruled on review. Crawford grounded out to Kemp, and Ruf popped out to first, and that was it.
The win went to Blackburn, leaving him undefeated at 3–0. Jiménez earned the save, his forth in four attempts. Long took the loss.
The first play of the game decided iit.
Both teams have tomorrow off. The A’s will send Frankie Montás against the Cleveland Guardians´ Aaron Civales at the Coliseum on Friday evening, the 19th, while the Giants will play host to the Washington Nationals at Oracle Park at 7:15 that same evening. The probables are Aaron Sánchez for the Nats and Alex Wood for the Gints.