Pinder hits leadoff homer in return, A’s blank Giants 1-0
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Paul Blackburn and five relievers combined on a three-hitter, making Chad Pinder’s leadoff homer stand up for the Oakland Athletics in a 1-0 victory over San Francisco that ended the Giants’ five-game winning streak Wednesday night.
Blackburn (3-0) allowed three hits in five innings, lowering his ERA to 1.35. The right-hander pitched around traffic, inducing three double-play grounders in the first three innings — including a difficult 3-6-1 turn to end the third after the Giants had loaded the bases.
“Our game plan today was to mix it up and I feel like we did a good job of that,” Blackburn said. “I take pride in getting groundballs, it gets you out of big jams. That’s kind of what’s been working for me.”
Domingo Acevedo, Sam Moll, Zach Jackson and Kirby Snead combined for three scoreless innings. Dany Jiménez pitched the ninth and got help from instant replay for his fourth save while helping the A’s to their second shutout in three games.
“The bullpen these first 19 games has done an exceptional job,” Oakland manager Mark Kotsay said. “They’ve built some confidence through this process. It feels good to have a bullpen with multiple options that you feel confident with.”
Wilmer Flores appeared to reach on an infield single leading off the ninth by outrunning first baseman Seth Brown to the bag after a short grounder. Brown was positioned far away from the base when he fielded the ball, and Jiménez failed to cover. Flores was initially ruled safe before the call was overturned on replay.
Flores walked slowly off the field, although manager Gabe Kapler said he was fine after the game.
Kotsay was grateful the A’s caught a break on the play and review.
“Thankfully, Brownie had enough speed to beat (Flores) to the base,” Kotsay said. “And replay went our way this time, which was nice.”
Pinder came off the COVID-19 injured list before the game and celebrated by crushing opener Sam Long’s sixth pitch into the left-field stands. The left fielder also singled in the third.
Oakland got a runner to third in the fifth and seventh but failed to score. The A’s have been held to two runs or fewer in seven of their last nine games.
The Giants entered the day leading the majors in scoring but went cold offensively on a chilly night at Oracle Park.
Long (0-1) took the loss while working as the Giants’ opener for the third time in the last six games.
“When you’re getting ahead the way he is, it’s easy to be the aggressor. He’s not on his back foot too often. He’s not finding himself in bad counts, and a lot of baseball is winning counts and flipping at-bats.” — Oakland catcher Sean Murphy on Blackburn.
Giants outfielder Luis González began the game in center, then moved to right in the fourth and made a tough catch while battling the swirling wind on Christian Bethancourt’s fly ball. González turned around while chasing the ball, then slipped and fell to his knees before making the catch.
Athletics: 3B Kevin Smith began a rehab assignment with Triple-A Las Vegas. … INF Christian Lopes was returned to Las Vegas.
Giants: Leadoff hitter Joc Pederson was removed with right groin tightness.
Athletics: RHP Frankie Montas (2-3, 3.28 ERA) pitches against the Guardians on Friday. Montas is holding opposing hitters to a .180 batting average this season.
Giants: Following an off day, LHP Alex Wood (2-0, 2.51) faces the Nationals on Friday in the opener of a three-game series.
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