OAKLAND – For all the talk of the two starting pitchers the A’s added via trade over the weekend, the rotation members who were already in place are demanding attention lately too.
Jesse Chavez was the latest Oakland starter to dazzle, firing six dominant innings Monday as the A’s beat the Giants 5-0 in the opener of the four-game Bay Bridge series.
Over the past five games, Oakland’s starters have allowed just three runs over 33 innings. Not surprisingly, the A’s are 5-0 in those games. And they’ve won 10 of their past 12 against the Giants at the Coliseum.
Before a bi-partisan sold-out crowd, the A’s failed to convert on some early chances against Giants right-hander Ryan Vogelsong (5-6). But they broke a scoreless tie in the fifth and grabbed momentum in this four-game series, their only meeting of the regular season against their neighbors across the bay.
Starting pitching report
Did Chavez feed off the energy of a sold-out crowd? He sure pitched like it, tying his career high of nine strikeouts over six innings. The Giants didn’t advance a runner past second base against him, as Chavez was dialed in with both his fastball and breaking stuff.
Chavez had allowed a combined nine earned runs over his past two starts and carried a 4.08 ERA over his past eight outings. The A’s chose to keep Chavez in the rotation over Tommy Milone, who was optioned to Triple-A Sacramento after the trade for Jeff Samardzija and Jason Hammel. Part of that was where Milone’s spot fell in the rotation, but nonetheless, the form Chavez showed Monday night certainly justified the decision.
[RELATED: Samardzija's passion shows in A's debut]
Fernando Abad, Dan Otero and Ryan Cook finished up the final three innings to complete the A’s first shutout of the Giants since May 2010.
At the plate
It’s a good sign for the A’s that shortstop Jed Lowrie is showing some offensive life. He went 2 for 4 and is now 6 for his last 12. He singled as part of a two-run rally in the sixth that made it 3-0.
The A’s got their first run in the fifth without a ball leaving the infield. Craig Gentry was hit by a pitch and stole second. He went to third on a bunt single from Coco Crisp and scored on John Jaso’s groundout.
Alberto Callaspo doubled in two runs in the seventh to pad Oakland’s lead.
In the field
Two throwing errors from Giants shortstop Brandon Crawford led to two unearned runs in the seventh, as the A’s stretched a 3-0 lead to 5-0.
Stephen Vogt, making just his second start of the season at first base, turned in an excellent play in the top of the seventh. Josh Donaldson fired a throw in the dirt, and Vogt made the stretch and scooped the short-hop, keeping his foot on the bag as he started to lose his balance.
A sellout crowd of 36,067 was on hand. Green and gold go well together. So do orange and black. But mixed together throughout a stadium, it looks a bit funky.
A nice pitching matchup awaits in Tuesday’s 7:05 p.m. game as Sonny Gray (8-3, 3.08) squares off against Giants All-Star Madison Bumgarner (9-6, 3.09).