OAKLAND — Believe it or not, the Giants were still alive in the Wild Card race when they took the field Friday night.
They’re not anymore.
The Giants gave up two homers to the A’s and fell 5-4, allowing the Cubs to clinch the second Wild Card spot. The loss was the 14th in the last 15 one-run games for the Giants, who took an early lead in front of a packed house.
Matt Duffy gave the Giants a 2-0 cushion with a blast to dead center in the first inning, but it was tough sledding against Sonny Gray from that point. Gray, the latest in a long line of young A’s aces, struck out the side in the second and cruised into the fifth, when the Giants put two on. He struck out Alejandro De Aza to end that threat. Brandon Crawford doubled with Buster Posey on first in the sixth, but Gray responded by whiffing Marlon Byrd.
Mike Leake couldn’t make the early lead hold up. He gave up a run in the second and Billy Burns hit a two-run homer in the third that just scraped the top of the right-field wall. The other Billy (Butler) hit a solo blast to the exact same spot in the sixth, extending Oakland’s lead.
There was never any doubt about the ball Jarrett Parker hit in the seventh. His third homer in 13 September at-bats was a moonshot to center that cleared the first row of suites above the high green wall and went an estimated 474 feet. It was the longest homer by a Giant this season. Mac Williamson followed with his second single, but Angel Pagan popped up and De Aza hit into a double play.
The A’s would immediately get the run back. Sam Fuld led off the bottom of the inning with a single, tagged on Burns’ fly to deep center, and scored on Josh Reddick’s single.
The Giants cut the deficit on Byrd’s RBI single in the top of the eighth and they loaded the bases ahead of Williamson, who was making his first career start. He popped up a two-strike pitch from Sean Doolittle.
Starting pitching report: Leake was charged with four earned in six innings. He has given up at least three runs in each of his last four starts.
Bullpen report: Yusmeiro Petit is still a Giant. He came on in the seventh and made his second appearance of the month. Ryan Vogelsong, who hasn't pitched in 18 days, warmed up.
At the plate: Williamson picked up his first career hit in the fifth. It was a single to left that had an exit velocity of 113 mph.
In the field: Parker generally looked just fine in center field, although he was caught flat-footed once, allowing a runner to tag up. If he can handle all three outfield spots, that’ll vastly improve his chances of sticking up here next season.
Attendance: The A’s announced a crowd of 36,067 human beings. Giants fan Steph Curry did not attend.
Up next: Zito. Hudson. Game on.