By Morris Phillips
SAN FRANCISCO–Just six pitches in, Chad Pinder put the Giants’ win streak on notice.
Pinder’s line drive, first inning home run off Sam Long not only made a statement, it soon became the statement. The A’s and starter Paul Blackburn made it stand up in the A’s 1-0 win that gained them a split of the two-game series.
The Giants failed to score, but they also missed an opportunity to gain first place in the NL West and take full advantage of a rare, second consecutive loss by the Dodgers. Instead the Giants’ limped through a meager evening of just three hits, along with seeing offensive leader Joc Pederson suffer a troubling groin injury.
Already without Mike Yastrzemski, Steven Duggar and Lamonte Wade Jr., Pederson’s potential absence thins their outfield considerably. But if that’s what a team off to a flying start must experience, then so be it.
“I don’t really want to miss any games, but those games are always more fun,” Pederson said. “I think I have to look at the bigger picture. You see our team and it’s a playoff-caliber, World Series-caliber team. So the game matters now but you don’t want to put yourself risk of an injury that might cause you not to be able to play down the road.”
Jakob Junis, the length man in support of opener Long, kept the Giants within range by pitching five, scoreless innings while allowing four hits and striking out six. Jake McGee, Tyler Rogers and Camillo Doval followed with scoreless innings to boost the hosts hopes for a tying run at some point. But that run never materialized.
Paul Blackburn picked up the win by limiting the Giants to three hits over his five innings of work. Blackburn induced Brandon Belt’s double play, ground ball with the bases loaded that ended the third inning.
The Giants’ other threat came in the fifth when Luis Gonzalez leadoff with a double. But the outfielder was left stranded as Thairo Estrada, Jason Vosler and Curt Casali recorded outs.