MLB

Sat, Jun 18, 2011 - 10:05 PM ET
 

Giants-Athletics Preview

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AT&T Park and the O.co Coliseum sit just across the San Francisco Bay from each other, but lately it seems home-field advantage has meant everything when the San Francisco Giants and Oakland Athletics get together.

The host has won the last 10 games in the Bay Bridge Series, which should be good news for the A's as they try to match a season high with a fourth straight overall win Saturday night against the visiting Giants.

Only twice in the rivalry's last 16 games since 2009 has the road team come away with a victory, an advantage San Francisco (39-31) made count with a three-game sweep last month on the west side of the bay.

The series shifted to Oakland on Friday night, and the A's (31-40) had both the last at-bat and the last laugh. Conor Jackson had three singles and Oakland took advantage of seven strong innings from rookie Graham Godfrey in his home debut to top Tim Lincecum and the Giants 5-2.

"We don't have guys that are going to hit 50 home runs ... so we have to manufacture runs any way we can," Jackson said of his team, which has a major league-low 38 homers.

The A's have gotten three straight wins from their starting pitching after a 14-game stretch in which their rotation went 0-11. Saturday's starter Guillermo Moscoso (2-3, 3.91 ERA), however, has lost his last three decisions.

The first came June 4 in one of the his two relief appearances of the season. Moscoso returned as a starter three days later, giving up two runs over five innings of a 4-0 loss at Baltimore. On Sunday, he surrendered five runs over 6 1-3 innings while falling 5-4 to the White Sox.

Despite those struggles in Chicago, interim manager Bob Melvin was pleased with his right-hander.

"He keeps the ball down, locates, throws breaking balls behind in the count, throws changeups to right-handers as well,'' Melvin said. "I was extremely pleased.''

Moscoso's first look at San Francisco couldn't come at a much better time. The Giants, who have six position players on the disabled list even after Pablo Sandoval's mid-week return, have averaged an NL-low 2.79 runs since June 3.

That's put the onus on their starting pitching to be even better than usual, but manager Bruce Bochy's rotation has a 5.19 ERA in its last six outings.

Five walks were a big issue for Lincecum in Friday's opener, and control issues also tend to plague probable Saturday starter Jonathan Sanchez (4-4, 3.47).

The left-hander allowed five free passes Sunday against Cincinnati, the third straight outing he's issued at least that many. He held the Reds to two runs over six innings, but left without a decision in San Francisco's 4-2 victory.

Sanchez has allowed an NL-high 50 walks through 14 starts - 11 more than he had at the same point a year ago.

He's lost his last two starts in Oakland - walking eight in 12 1-3 innings - and is 1-2 with a 2.84 ERA in four career starts in the Bay Bridge Series.

Jackson is 10 for 21 with two homers against Sanchez, but those numbers are a bit deceiving. Nine of those hits came from 2006-2008, and Sanchez has retired him nine times in 10 chances since.

Tagged: Athletics, Giants, Conor Jackson, Jonathan Sanchez, Tim Lincecum, Guillermo Moscoso

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