SAN FRANCISCO -– Regardless of whatever further changes might hit their roster, the A’s have daily business to tend to.
That involves trying to win games amid the trade rumors and speculation that continues to swirl around them.
On Friday they opened the three-game Bay Bridge Series with a forgettable 9-3 loss to the Giants that lost all traces of suspense by the fifth inning. Jesse Chavez turned in his shortest start of the season, and the A’s went quietly in the opener against their cross-bay rivals.
The Giants scored twice off Chavez (5-10) in each of the first two innings, and the bullpen didn’t fare much better as the home team tacked on three more runs in the fifth, aided by a careless error in the infield. That made it 7-1, and the rest of the night played out like a lopsided Cactus League contest.
A’s manager Bob Melvin talked before the game of the need for his team to stay focused in the present. Following Thursday’s trade of starter Scott Kazmir, a move made with an eye toward the future, it’s widely speculated that the A’s will ship out other veterans, including utility man Ben Zobrist.
It wound up being Zobrist who provided the A’s biggest highlight, a solo homer in the seventh off Jake Peavy (2-4) that made it 7-2.
The A’s also watched center fielder and leadoff man Billy Burns leave in the fourth with what was described as a “testicular contusion”, when he fouled a ball off that bounced up and hit him in the groin area. His status wasn’t immediately known after the game.
Starting pitching report
After an encouraging outing in his last start, Chavez reverted back to his shaky form of late. He lasted just three-plus innings, giving up four runs on eight hits and two walks. Over his last nine starts, he is 3-5 with a 5.04 ERA. Given the loss of Kazmir and the injury to fellow starter Jesse Hahn, the A’s need Chavez to resemble the form he showed for most of the first half and provide stability every fifth day.
Called into early duty and tasked with keeping the game close, the relief corps couldn’t do it. Fernando Rodriguez worked out of a bases-loaded, no-out jam in the fourth, but the Giants got to him and Eric O’Flaherty for three runs in the fifth. Two more runs came home off Edward Mujica in the eighth.
At the plate
The A’s couldn’t get much goingoffensively until the game was already out of hand. They got to within 4-1 on Burns’ RBI groundout in the third, but were held down until adding two more in the seventh that made it 7-3. They missed a golden opportunity in the second with runners on the corners when Eric Sogard hit into an inning-ending double play.
In the field
Third baseman Brett Lawrie threw into the dirt on a routine play in the fifth, and Billy Butler, drawing a rare start at first, couldn’t scoop it. The uninspired looking display brought home a run with two outs.
The announced turnout was 42,128.
Chris Bassitt (0-2, 2.93) is being recalled to start Saturday after a brief return to Triple-A Nashville to stay sharp. He threw six innings on Sunday against Omaha. Bassitt is filling the rotation spot of the injured Jesse Hahn. Madison Bumgarner (10-5, 3.27) goes for the Giants, with first pitch at 1:05 p.m.