After beating the San Francisco Giants at AT&T Park on Wednesday night, the Oakland Athletics had to a chance to replicate their 1989 World Series feat by beating the Giants four straight times: the first two at the Oakland Coliseum and the second pair on the road across the water.
Alas, history doesn’t always repeat, as the Giants mustered up a win on Thursday to avoid a four-game sweep at the hands of the A’s.
But Oakland will take it, all things considered: the club has won 11 of its last 13, and with the series win against San Francisco this week, the A’s are in a virtual tie for the American League wild-card spot with the New York Yankees.
Not bad for a club that was under .500 a few weeks ago.
At AT&T Park, Tommy Milone and A.J. Griffin each delivered mediocre starts against S.F., and while Griffin didn’t get the run support on Thursday in a 5-2 loss, Milone certainly got what he needed in a 9-6 win on Wednesday night.
The A’s went up 6-1 on Wednesday by the fifth inning and had to fight off a patented, Giants home-park rally in the late innings. Milone couldn’t get out of the sixth inning, giving up three runs, but the bullpen did its job mostly.
San Francisco scored twice off Sean Doolittle in the eighth, who hadn’t given up a run since April 28. But Oakland scored three times itself in the last two innings, and Grant Balfour nailed his 30th straight save chance for the big win that clinched the series.
The A’s couldn’t get the sweep on Thursday, despite being gifted six walks in six innings by Barry Zito. Oakland hitters went only 2-for-10 with runners in scoring position, and Griffin had a rough sixth inning to give up a 1-0 lead.
All in all, there are two takeaways from this series for the A’s: first, the young starters need to work on being effective deeper into games, and second, if someone had told the Oakland contingent they’d win three of four in this series, no one would have complained.
The A’s next host the Chicago White Sox for three games this weekend, starting tonight, before heading out on the road next week through Milwaukee and the Windy City.