Athetlics’ Manaea eager to shut down Giants again (Aug 01, 2017)

OAKLAND, Calif. — Oakland Athletics left-hander Sean Manaea won’t soon forget his first start in the Bay Bridge Series against the San Francisco Giants.

It came on June 29, 2016, at the Oakland Coliseum as a rookie, and he blanked the Giants over 5 2/3 innings in a 7-1 victory. Manaea will face the Giants again on Tuesday night at the Coliseum in a matchup against former Athletics right-hander Jeff Samardzija.

“It was just really, really exciting,” Manaea said, looking back to last year before the Athletics’ 8-5 victory Monday night in the series opener. “The two fan bases here in the Bay Area are extremely passionate. You can definitely sense that in the stadium.

“It makes everything a little more intense, and I feel like it makes everything a lot more exciting. It’s going to be a lot of fun playing against those guys. I’m really looking forward to it.”

Samardzija made 16 starts for the A’s in 2014 after coming to Oakland from the Chicago Cubs as part of a five-player trade on July 4 that year. His stay with the A’s was short but enjoyable.

“Looking back on it, you really realize how the guys really make up the culture and the feel,” Samardzija said. “I was somewhat younger in my career, didn’t know that many guys only being on only one organization before that.

“But now that I’ve kind of gone and been around a little bit. Looking back, it was a lot of fun, just the personalities we had and what everyone’s priorities were here, which was essentially just going out and playing ball and enjoying each other. A lot of team dinners and things like that. It was just a very team atmosphere and a lot of guys that cared about each other and the game, so it was a lot of fun.”

Samardzija has had fun pitching at the Coliseum throughout his career. He is 5-2 with a 3.15 ERA in 10 starts in Oakland.

“This is a pitcher’s park,” Samardzija said. “A lot of foul territory. I assume guys’ numbers are a little better here than other places. For me, it’s just more nostalgic. There’s only a handful of places left that have that old feel, the same feel that all the legends played on back in the day. So it’s cool to share the walkouts in the tunnels and share the dugouts that the same guys that did it before.”

Samardzija is 1-2 with a 10.06 ERA against the A’s, with two poor outings away from the Coliseum. In his last start at the Coliseum, he held the A’s to three runs over eight innings in a 7-3 victory with the Chicago White Sox on May 17, 2015.

The A’s came into Bay Bridge Series after back-to-back wins against the Minnesota Twins, both on walk-off homers, a two-run shot by Rajai Davis on Saturday night and a solo blast by Yonder Alonso on Sunday afternoon.

Oakland got another huge home run against San Francisco, this time a grand slam in the sixth inning by Marcus Semien. The shortstop’s blast came before a raucous crowd of 38,391 and just hours after the A’s traded ace Sonny Gray to the New York Yankees and veteran infielder Adam Rosales to the Arizona Diamondbacks.

“I think really the distraction of the day was mitigated by the crowd and playing against these guys,” said A’s manager Bob Melvin, a former Giants catcher. “We don’t get too many crowds like that on a Monday night, so when you lose a couple guys like Sonny and Rosie, to be able to go out and have that kind of atmosphere, I think it kind of gets you past that. It certainly motivates you.”

The Giants lost their fourth consecutive games, leaving them with the major leagues’ worst record, 40-67.