SAN FRANCISCO -– Chris Bassitt is getting a crash course in the art of the hard-luck loss.
The A’s rookie right-hander impressed over six innings but was done in once again by a lack of run support in a 2-1 loss to the Giants. It’s the third time in four starts that Bassitt has been on the losing end of a 2-1 game. But 0-3 record aside, he’s continued to instill confidence that he’s capable to be an extended replacement for injured starter Jesse Hahn if necessary. He’s posted a 2.74 ERA in four starts for the A’s this season.
Bassitt’s mistakes were few but costly, because the A’s had trouble breaking through against All-Star lefty Madison Bumgarner (11-5), who allowed just one run and five hits over seven innings.
Bumgarner actually put the Giants on the board with a third-inning homer to left-center. It was a 1-1 game when the Giants broke through in the sixth on a two-out rally. Joe Panik doubled to right-center and Matt Duffy punched a run-scoring single to right to make it 2-1.
A’s second baseman Ben Zobrist singled, doubled and tripled to fall just a homer short of the cycle. He homered the night before, doing nothing to discourage teams thinking about trading for him.
Starting pitching report
Bassitt, returning to the A’s after a brief retreat to Triple-A Nashville, more than held his own over six innings.
It was a scoreless game in the third when he engaged Bumgarner, perhaps the majors’ best hitting pitcher, in a seven-pitch at-bat. That battle ended with the right-handed hitting Bumgarner launching a solo homer to left-center, his third homer of the season and ninth of his career.
But in his fourth start this season, Bassitt (0-3) continued to show impressive stuff. He had Hunter Pence stepping in the bucket with buckled knees on a 70 mile-per-hour curve in the second that went for called strike three. He displayed a fastball in the mid 90’s and elevated it effectively when the situation called for it. He gave up five hits, struck out four and walked none.
Fernando Abad and Fernando Rodriguez held the Giants down late and gave the A’s a chance to break through in the ninth.
At the plate
With former Athletic Santiago Casilla on the mound, the A’s threatened in the ninth. With two outs, Ike Davis worked a walk and Billy Burns blooped a single to left. But Marcus Semien struck out on a check-swing to end it.
Josh Phegley’s RBI double accounted for the A’s only run.
In the field
Acquired to provide right-handed pop against lefties, Smolinski continues to make head-turning plays in the outfield. Drawing the start in right over Josh Reddick against Bumgarner, Smolinski made an outstanding play on Brandon Crawford’s fifth-inning drive off the right field wall. He fielded a perfect ricochet and fired a strong throw to second to nail Crawford going for the double. The initial call was safe, but it was overturned on a replay review. That review took just 53 seconds, a refreshing change from the more time-consuming exercise that’s been the norm.
Smolinski added a diving catch on Angel Pagan’s sinking liner in the sixth .
A crowd of 42,162 was on hand.
Kendall Graveman (6-6, 3.78) and Tim Hudson (5-8, 4.76) take the mound in Sunday’s 1:05 p.m. series finale.