SAN FRANCISCO (AP)Cole Irvin struck out eight in eight innings to remain unbeaten in five June starts, and the Oakland Athletics beat the San Francisco Giants 6-2 on Sunday.
Matt Chapman had two hits and two RBIs. Aramis Garcia added a pair of RBI singles to help the A’s avoid a three-game sweep by their Bay Area rivals.
Oakland went 4-6 on its trip and fell out of first place in the AL West but picked up a game on Houston with its 16th win in June.
”We haven’t played our best recently but all that’s made (about) the Bay Bridge rivalry, there’s a little more to it and the last thing you want to do is be swept,” A’s manager Bob Melvin said. ”I’m not saying it was the most important game in the world but our guys came out with some fire. They were a little upset last night that we lost that game.”
On Saturday the A’s led in extra innings but couldn’t hold on and lost 6-5.
Things were much different on Sunday.
Oakland jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the first then rode the pitching of Cole and two relievers to beat San Francisco.
Irvin (6-7) allowed three hits, walked two and matched the longest start of his career after making a slight adjustment in his delivery. The lefty retired 12 of the first 13 batters and allowed one runner to reach second base.
”I was really working on getting further down the mound, about a half-foot length,” Irvin said. ”It really showed up today. I was able to stay on top of the ball a lot more, the ball was coming out of my hand later. Just feeling that I could command the ball and the ball was coming out later than it normally does, it gave me a sense of confidence.”
Irvin also laid down a perfectly executed squeeze bunt during the A’s three-run sixth.
”I definitely wanted that RBI,” Irvin said. ”If I wasn’t bunting for it I was going to be swinging for the fences for it, that’s for sure.”
Deolis Guerra retired two batters and allowed two runs. Lou Trivino struck out Brandon Crawford to end it.
Buster Posey and Darin Ruf had two hits apiece for the Giants. San Francisco entered the day with the best record in the majors but missed a chance to move 25 games over .500 for the first time since 2012.
The Giants were on the verge of being shut out for the third time in 15 games before scoring twice in the ninth.
”It was good to have the crowd on their feet at the end,” San Francisco manager Gabe Kapler said. ”We are better than we showed in the first couple of innings, but also Cole Irvin deserves a lot of credit for pitching a great game.”
Chapman’s two-run single off starter Sammy Long (1-1) in the first extended his hitting streak to a career-best 15 games. It followed consecutive hits and a double steal by Elvis Andrus and Matt Olson.
After Chad Pinder was hit by a pitch leading off the sixth and Tony Kemp walked, Garcia singled to right off reliever John Brebbia to drive in Pinder. Irvin’s squeeze bunt scored Kemp, who beat the throw to home with a headfirst slide. Andrus’ sacrifice fly made it 5-0.
Long allowed four hits and four runs in five innings in his second career start.
”The first inning I left a few pitches up there when I was ahead in the count that I wanted down,” Long said. ”Left some good pitches over the plate for them to hit.”
Athletics: RHP J.B. Wendelken pitched two innings for Triple-A Las Vegas on Saturday and could rejoin the A’s soon.
Giants: 1B Brandon Belt is seeking additional opinions on his right knee injury. Kapler declined to say whether Belt would require season-ending surgery. … RHP Logan Webb threw 20 pitches in a simulated inning before the game and could begin a rehab assignment soon. Webb has been out since June 3 because of a right shoulder strain.
Athletics: Following an off day, RHP James Kaprielian (4-1, 2.86 ERA) faces the Texas Rangers on Tuesday. Kaprielian has allowed five hits or fewer in each of his eight starts.
Giants: RHP Anthony DeSclafani (8-2, 2.77) pitches against the Dodgers and RHP Trevor Bauer (7-5, 2.57) in the opener of a two-game series at Los Angeles on Monday. DeSclafani has won his last four starts while allowing three earned runs over 27 innings.
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