San Francisco Giants

Bullpen struggles as Giants lose a slugfest to A’s, 13-11

The Oakland Athletics’ Jake Smolinski, right, is congratulated by third base coach Ron Washington after hitting a three-run, pinch-hit home run against the San Francisco Giants during the eighth inning of a baseball game, Tuesday, June 28, 2016 in San Francisco.
The Oakland Athletics’ Jake Smolinski, right, is congratulated by third base coach Ron Washington after hitting a three-run, pinch-hit home run against the San Francisco Giants during the eighth inning of a baseball game, Tuesday, June 28, 2016 in San Francisco. The Associated Press

And now this interleague series between the A’s and Giants moves to Oakland -- you know, where American League rules are supposed to generate offense.

The two teams made pitcher-friendly AT&T Park look like a hitter’s playground Tuesday night, combining for 30 hits in a wild affair the A’s won, 13-11. Oakland scored 12 runs in the final four innings, 10 of them charged to the Giants’ bullpen.

It was just the second time in 17 seasons at AT&T Park the Giants have scored 11 runs in a home game and lost. The only other was a 12-inning, 12-11 loss to the Cincinnati Reds on August 25, 2010.

"Just a rough night for the ’pen," Giants manager Bruce Bochy said.

How rough? Over the final four innings, the A’s sent 28 men to the plate. The Giants had leads of 4-1 and 8-5 and could hold neither. Their own 18-hit onslaught went for naught.

Starter Albert Suarez carried a 4-1 lead into the sixth and had two outs with a runner on first when the game began to slip away. Suarez walked Khris Davis and was replaced by George Kontos, who faced four batters and retired none, leaving after Billy Butler’s two-run, pinch-hit single gave the A’s a 5-4 lead. An error by third baseman Conor Gillaspie two batters earlier had prolonged the inning.

The Giants sent nine men to the plate in the bottom of the inning, surging ahead 8-5 on a bases-loaded triple from Brandon Crawford, who drove in five runs Tuesday. Josh Osich retired the A’s in order in the seventh, providing a semblance of order.

It didn’t last. The A’s scored five more runs in the eighth inning against Cory Gearrin, Javier Lopez and Derek Law. And they tacked on three more in the ninth against closer Santiago Casilla, whom Bochy had brought in to try to preserve a one-run deficit.

"We had our guys out there," Bochy said.

The Giants, of course, are missing one bullpen guy in Sergio Romo. And they might have used him in the eighth when Lopez faced back-to-back right-handed hitters. With two A’s on base and the Giants leading 8-6, Lopez retired Josh Phegley on a lineout to center field -- where Denard Span made an acrobatic, running catch.

"I was hoping that would kind of stop the bleeding," Span said, "and we’d be able to get out of that inning,"

But Jake Smolinski hammered a 2-2 slider from Lopez into the left-field bleachers for a three-run homer, giving the A’s a 9-8 lead. It was the first hit allowed by Lopez to a right-handed hitter this season in 11 at-bats.

Bochy had Casilla warming up during those at-bats but said he "was OK" with Lopez against the right-handed hitters.

"I had Casilla ready if somehow he loses (Smolinski)," Bochy said. "I would’ve brought him in earlier. I didn’t see the long ball coming, to be honest. Figured at worst a base hit. But he made a mistake there."

Less glaring, but no less costly, were the two walks Gearrin had issued to start the inning. Gearrin has provided an effective eighth-inning replacement for the Giants in Romo’s absence, but he shouldered his share of the blame for Tuesday’s meltdown.

"Definitely disappointed in the walks," Gearrin said. "You just can’t do it at the end of the game. You can’t put guys on base, especially with an offense that’s doing what they’re doing right now."

Romo, meanwhile, pitched in a rehab outing for High-A San Jose earlier Tuesday as he completes his recovery from an elbow injury. That means Romo would not be available to pitch again for at least for a couple days. But asked if Tuesday’s game could expedite Romo’s return, Bochy said: "It is something that will be in our discussion."

Gearrin sounded determined to have a "short memory" of his outing Tuesday. And Bochy said he did not feel the need to address his relievers after a collectively bad night.

"They’re big boys," Bochy said. "They have to deal with this like all of us do. They’re going to have their moments. They’ve done a good job. This is one of those wild games. You have one of these once in a while. Hopefully you come out on top, but we didn’t."

The wildness wasn’t over after the eighth. Trevor Brown played third base in the ninth inning for the first time in professional ball. Casilla gave up three runs -- which loomed large when the Giants mounted one last rally in the bottom of the ninth.

Jarrett Parker led off the inning with a home run off Ryan Madson, and Span followed by hooking his fourth homer just inside the right-field foul pole.

"I thought it was going to go foul to be honest," Span said. "That’s why I stood there. I don’t pimp home runs. I don’t hit enough home runs to pimp ’em. Not like Big Papi (David Ortiz). That felt like a little Big Papi moment right there."

It also jolted life into what Giants fans remained from an announced crowd of 41,730. Angel Pagan followed with a walk, and suddenly the Giants had the tying run coming to the plate with no outs and the heart of their order due up.

"I think the sense in the dugout is anything can happen," Span said. "There’s been crazy stuff happening all game."

But the final rally fell short. Brandon Belt flied out, Buster Posey and Brandon Crawford both struck out swinging. And the Giants dropped both of their home games in this cross-bay rivalry series with the A’s, losing consecutive games at AT&T Park for the first time since May 9-10.

"Give them credit, they fought back and they won the game," Span said of the A’s. "They swung the bat well. It’s a typical American League ballclub over there. They slug."

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