OAKLAND – Sure, their commute only involved a bus, a bridge, a toll plaza and a few miles of pothole swerving along Interstate 880.
But it still counted as a road game for the Giants on Monday – and it began a stretch in which they’ll play 14 of 18 away from AT&T Park.
The Giants were an outstanding road team last year. They’re about to spend most of June living out of a suitcase. But under an overcast sky, and in the shadow of Mt. Davis, it was clear: they are still trying to find their way in gray.
Madison Bumgarner allowed a two-run home run to Josh Donaldson, which was a toll the Giants couldn’t afford to pay in a lethargic, 4-1 loss to the A’s Monday afternoon.
Dan Straily only struck out one batter in his six innings, but the Giants managed just an RBI ground out against him. They fell to 9-14 on the road and will turn to left-hander Michael Kickham in his major league debut on Tuesday as they try to avoid being swept in the East Bay portion of the Bay Bridge interleague series.
The Giants finished with just four hits – all singles – while losing for the eighth time in their last 10 regular-season games in Oakland.
Brandon Belt, normally so mild mannered, barked at plate umpire Mark Carlson after taking a called third strike on the outside edge to end the game.
Starting pitching report
Hard to believe, but Bumgarner is actually eight months younger than Kickham, who will make his major league debut on Tuesday. And Bumgarner, 23, was making his 95th big league start Monday.
Bumgarner (4-3) pitched well enough to win. He walked off the mound trailing 2-1 with two outs in the seventh inning – and he looked none too happy about it. That’s because his last pitch to Chris Young was ruled a ball by plate umpire Mark Carlson.
It was Bumgarner’s fifth walk, which matched both a season and career high.
Yoenis Cespedes drew one of those walks in the fourth and Donaldson followed with his eighth homer of the season. The A’s third baseman sure does like these Bay Bridge games, doesn’t he? He had a two-double, one-homer game against the Giants last year at AT&T Park.
Bumgarner’s line: 6.2 innings, 4 hits, 4 runs (4 earned), 5 walks, 6 strikeouts and a hit batter. He threw 64 of 115 pitches for strikes.
Even through his struggles, George Kontos had done a fine job stranding inherited runners. Only four of 17 had crossed the plate on his watch.
But now even that part of his game is beginning to slip. Kontos hung a slider that Cespedes hit off the right field wall to cash in both of Bumgarner’s runners. It was a rare mistake against a right-handed hitter; Kontos had held them to a .188 average compared to .394 against lefties.
Sandy Rosario pitched around two walks in the eighth.
At the plate
The A’s outfielders left some cleat marks on the warning track, but Straily (3-2) kept the Giants in the ballpark.
The Giants managed a run in the sixth inning after Gregor Blanco drew a leadoff walk and took third after he went into motion on Marco Scutaro’s single. Pablo Sandoval followed with a ground out to first baseman Nate Freiman, who decided to look back Blanco rather than try for a double play.
Freiman kept the run from scoring, but only for the span of one batter. With the A’s still keeping their infielders back, Buster Posey followed with an RBI ground out to shortstop.
Scutaro represented the tying run at third base but Straily stuck out his glove and caught Hunter Pence’s chopper up the middle to end the inning.
Posey’s hitting streak was stopped at 10 games as the Giants were held hitless over the final three innings. Sandoval, Posey, Pence and Brandon Belt – the Nos. 3-6 hitters – were 0 for 15.
Last year, no major league left-hander allowed more stolen bases than Bumgarner (27). But he continues to make progress in this area. He showed a nice move to pick off Coco Crisp in the first inning. Opponents are just 3 for 5 against him in stolen-base attempts and he owns two pickoffs.
The A’s announced 36,067 paid – a sellout.
The Giants and A’s play the last of two games under the shadow of Mt. Davis before the Bay Bridge series shifts to AT&T Park. Left-hander Michael Kickham makes his major league debut for the Giants against A’s right-hander Jarrod Parker (2-6, 5.76 ERA) on Tuesday. First pitch is scheduled for 7:05 p.m. PDT.