San Francisco Giants triumph over A’s in the first meeting of the Battle of the Bay
Jul 24, 2015; San Francisco, CA, USA; San Francisco Giants catcher Buster Posey (28) shakes hands with starting pitcher Ryan Vogelsong (32) after defeating the Oakland Athletics 9-3 at AT&T Park. Mandatory Credit: Ed Szczepanski-USA TODAY Sports
Just between you and me, I’m not a very good Giants fan when we play the A’s. Oh no, it has nothing to do with split loyalties between our two local teams‒I’m not now, nor have I ever been an A’s fan. I went to one A’s game when I was a kid, and Charlie Finley trotted his ass out onto the field. And then he brought out a donkey. #unimpressed.
The reason I’m not the best Giants fan is because I actually questioned or doubted the Giants ability to beat the A’s. Why? History.
Really, it’s a very short history. If you look back over the Battle of the Bay series numbers dating back to the beginning of interleague play, the A’s have won the series six times, the Giants three. More often than not, the teams split the series (nine times). But in the last two seasons (2013, 2014) the Giants have gone one for four. And that’s what stuck in my head.
When it comes to playing the A’s, I’m a little gun-shy. I’m ashamed to admit it.
Going into Friday night’s game, that was my mind-set. Never mind we just finished a road trip where the Giants dominated. Forget the fact that the A’s have struggled this year. I never even stopped to think about the A’s current MLB record‒dead last in their division, and number one in fielding errors.
My faith was shaken.
All because in the last two seasons, when it came to the interleague Battle of the Bay series, the A’s dominated.
I don’t know what I was so nervous about, the Giants looked great Friday night. I know, I know, it’s just one game‒the first game of the three game series. But it’s a good start. And I need to think positive. Get my mind right.
Peavy pitched a great game. His numbers don’t tell the whole story because this is how the box score reads: in five innings pitched, he gave up three runs (one home run, all earned) on five hits and struck out two. But he had great command of his pitches, he was executing well and he was very comfortable on the mound.
George Kontos relieved Peavy in the seventh inning. He has been a tremendous reliever this year. Prior to Friday night’s game, he inherited 26 runners on board and he did not allow a run to score. Not once, not no how, not ever. No other pitcher in our bullpen can make that claim.
They say that all good things must end, my friend. And Friday night, that stat ended for George Kontos. When he came into the game in the seventh, there was a runner on first. After a wild pitch and a base hit the runner scored. But you know what? Kontos is still impressive. 27 runners inherited, one run scored. Very impressive.
Speaking of impressive, Hunter Pence was more than just impressive, he was inspiring. There is a little more pep in everyone’s step since he came back. He finished the night with four hits‒two of them doubles‒in five at bats, scored a run and tallied up two RBI.
To be honest, all the Giants had a good night. Peavy, besides being great on the mound, helped out at the plate with a sac bunt. He also hit a single in the fourth and reached on an A’s error in the fifth.
But the player who had a really nice night was Brandon Belt. He scored a run, had two hits‒a double in the fifth‒and three RBI. On defense, he started a nicely turned double play in the second to end the inning.
Ryan Vogelsong, in his new role as relief pitcher, entered the game in the ninth, pitched for a ground out and a strike out to end the inning and the game. The final score was: Giants 9, A’s 3
I’m glad the Giants are better than I anticipated. I should have known better.