The Giants lost game one of the Bay Bridge Series tonight, falling to the A’s 4-1.
And it seemed kind of like a miracle that this game wasn’t a blowout. In either direction, really. Both starting pitchers had moments where they struggled mightily, but only one team was able to capitalize on it. Add to that a strike zone that was both incoherent and inconsistent, it rendered the game nearly unwatchable at times.
For Alex Wood, the damage came in the fourth inning. Jed Lowrie walked to lead off the inning, followed by a double to Yan Gomes. With runners on second and third, Wood allowed a single to Josh Harrison, which scored the first two runs of the night for the A’s. But that’s only the runs that did score. Because Wood then walked Pinder after a ten pitch battle, with only one out and it looked like this was going to be either a short night for him, or a high scoring inning for the A’s.
However, Wood was able to grind out the rest of the inning, eventually striking out Elvis Andrus and Mark Canha (with the help of the above mentioned strike zone), which gave him the green light to start and complete a clean fifth inning, his last of the night but one that was much needed by a taxed bullpen.
On the other end, things were rough for Oakland’s starter as well. In the top of the third, with two outs, Tommy La Stella worked a ten pitch walk off of James Kaprielian. This was swiftly followed by a four-pitch walk to Buster Posey, then a walk to Brandon Belt to load the bases. But as he did multiple times tonight, Starling Marte was there to put a stop to it, catching a fly ball from Kris Bryant.
And that was somewhat of a theme tonight. Marte was like the anti-Visa, everywhere you didn’t want him to be.
With two runners on in the second inning, Marte had made an absolutely incredible catch at the wall, running 94 feet to rob Wilmer Flores of what likely would have been a pair of RBI. And the fun didn’t stop with his glove.
Not only was he a magnet in the outfield, but he knocked in the A’s third run of the night in the bottom of the seventh with a double. He then went to steal third, and Giants reliever Jose Alvarez had a bad throw to Flores, who got completely tackled for his trouble, allowing Marte to score the final run of the night. Effectively cashing in both of Zack Littell’s runs after he left the game.
So, I guess we should maybe look for some highlights. Mike Yastrzemksi scored the Giants only run of the night on a home run, his 19th on the season. That was swell. It was 106mph off the bat and traveled 401 feet. You truly do love to see it.
Speaking of things you love to see, old friends Yusmeiro Petit and Sergio Romo got to pitch against their former team, and Romo’s good humor was present as always, including this exchange after Buster Posey dug out a single against him in the top of the eighth.
During BP, Sergio Romo said it's still surreal to face Buster Posey. "It's hard to hide the excitement or happiness that you get when you see a friend, but it's also cool to compete against your friends," he said. Romo had some fun after Posey singled: pic.twitter.com/RmlKF2oM5w— Alex Pavlovic (@PavlovicNBCS) August 21, 2021
With this loss, the Giants lose ground against the Dodgers, who won tonight, and thus maintain only a 1.5 game lead on their division rivals. And that’s really the only reason this loss stings. Games like this happen. They happen all the time. You literally can’t win them all and I’m not one to sweat a loss in a season like this. But to have three in the span of a week, three that were fairly close with opportunities to do damage with runners in scoring position that just fall flat, well, it’s a little bit frustrating.
It’s just such a rough time for it, with the Dodgers seemingly channeling the spirit of Thanos and snapping other teams out of existence in their mission to bring their version of balance back to the NL West. But the season isn’t over yet, there are a lot of games left to play.
And Starling Marte won’t be in all of them.