SAN FRANCISCO – The best news coming out of Friday night for the A’s was that Billy Burns isn’t believed to be seriously injured.
The rest of the happenings on the field are best quickly forgotten from Oakland’s perspective in a 9-3 loss to the Giants in the Bay Bridge Series opener at AT&T Park.
Starter Jesse Chavez couldn’t make it out of the fourth inning and the A’s had a couple of bumbling defensive miscues that are more common in the early days of spring training.
The most encouraging development of the night involved Burns’ condition, which might sound odd considering he left the game after a play that made you want to double over in pain just watching it.
Burns suffered a testicular contusion after he fouled a ball off that bounced up and hit him in the nether regions. He stayed in the game and finished that at-bat with an RBI groundout. But when he went out for defense in the bottom of the third, his stomach was hurting badly, and he didn’t return for the bottom of the fourth.
“It never got better,” Burns said. “I felt like I was going to throw up in the outfield. I could run fine, but as soon as I was trying to stand up, that was the worst. The left side of my stomach has been hurting ever since.”
Burns said he was diagnosed with swelling in the ureter tube that leads to the bladder. It’s not a serious injury and he does not appear ticketed for the disabled list. Burns said he might try to talk his way into the lineup for Saturday afternoon’s game, but manager Bob Melvin listed him as doubtful.
As for Chavez’s outing, both the pitcher and Melvin didn’t sound overly concerned even though the right-hander gave up four runs on eight hits and lasted just three-plus innings, his shortest start of the season. Chavez said he felt fine physically and that his biggest mistake was nibbling on the edges of the strike zone too much.
[INSTANT REPLAY: Chavez, A's staff smothered by Giants]
“There was just a lot of run (on his pitches), a lot of movement,” Chavez said, “and when it came back over the plate they went with it. You’ve got to tip your hat to a good piece of hitting. At the same time, you’ve gotta make adjustments, and I didn’t do that.”
“They made him work pretty hard,” Melvin said. “He was just missing, where he was getting behind. Then they fouled off a bunch of pitches, made him work, taking the ball the other way. Sometimes you have to give hitters credit.”
The Giants broke the game open with a three-run fifth to make it 7-1. That inning featured a two-out throwing error from third baseman Brett Lawrie, a bad throw in the dirt that probably should have been scooped by Billy Butler, getting a rare start at first base.
In the fourth, Giants pitcher Jake Peavy grounded a ball to the right side that either second baseman Ben Zobrist or shortstop Eric Sogard probably could have fielded, but a miscommunication let the ball sneak through for a single.
On a night like Friday, the A’s best course of action was to be thankful their rookie center fielder wasn’t hurt worse, then turn the page and move on to Saturday.