Bassitt throws 6 strong innings but A’s lose to Giants, 2-1
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Chris Bassitt pitched yet another gem and still has nothing to show for it. That has been the story of the season for Oakland’s starting pitchers.
Bassitt threw six strong innings in a match-up eventually won by World Series MVP Madison Bumgarner and the San Francisco Giants, who beat the Athletics 2-1 on Saturday.
Bassitt (0-3) has yet to allow more than two runs in any of his nine appearances, including four starts. In his lone major league victory, last September with the Chicago White Sox, Bassitt threw 7 2-3 scoreless innings.
A’s starters lead the AL with a 3.13 ERA and Oakland leads the league with an overall 3.44 ERA. That hasn’t translated into many wins though, as the A’s, 11 games under .500, occupy last place in the AL West.
Fernando Abad and Fernando Rodriguez each pitched a scoreless inning to keep the game close. But A’s hitters could not do much against Bumgarner and relievers Sergio Romo and Santiago Casilla, who did not allow a hit between Ben Zobrist’s fifth-inning double and Billy Burns’ two-out single in the ninth.
Zobrist was a home run shy of the cycle and walked in the eighth. He had half of the A’s six hits while Josh Phegley drove in the only run on a fourth-inning double.
“It was great,” A’s manager Bob Melvin said of Zobrist. “You could see early on he was tracking the ball and seeing it as well as he ever has.”
Bassitt faced two over the minimum through five innings, with the only blemish Bumgarner’s third home run of the season.
“The pitch before was a strike. He missed it,” Bassitt said. “It was an awkward thing. I was like, ‘Don’t walk him, don’t walk him, don’t walk him’ and I grooved a fastball right down the middle. I have to go after him like a hitter. It was a horrible mindset and he made me pay.”
Bumgarner — a Silver Slugger award winner in 2014 — homered on a 3-2 pitch.
“The best swing of the day was the one Bumgarner hit,” Melvin said. “You have to treat him like a DH. You’re certainly not going to walk the 8 hitter to get to him.”
Bumgarner (11-5) also struck out seven while working past the sixth inning — something he failed to do in each of his previous three starts.
The Giants went into the game leading the NL in scoring but had few opportunities against Bassitt and two relievers.
Bumgarner’s home run put San Francisco up 1-0 and was the first by a pitcher against the A’s since Baltimore’s Dave McNally homered off Ken Holtzman in 1972.
NOT SO BAD:
Burns entered the game as a pinch hitter and stayed in to play defense, one day after leaving a game with a testicular contusion. “I feel 100 percent. Before the game I got to run around, go through my regular routine and it all checked out,” he said. “It was weird thinking that a whole stadium was worried about my private parts. I’m happy to be back to normal.”
Athletics: RHP Angel Castro was optioned to Triple-A Nashville to make room for Bassitt. ... Closer Sean Doolittle (strained left shoulder) threw off flat ground and will pitch a bullpen session Thursday. seventh.
Giants: Manager Bruce Bochy said leadoff hitter Nori Aoki (broken leg), who went hitless in a rehab game Friday, needs more at-bats in the minors before rejoining the big league club. ... RHP Tim Lincecum has resumed playing catch and throwing but has yet to get back on a mound. Lincecum, who has been sidelined with a bruised forearm, was recently diagnosed with degenerative hip disorder in both hips.
Athletics: RHP Kendall Graveman (6-6) has a 2.76 ERA in 11 starts since being called back up from the minors, but has dropped his last two decisions.
Giants: RHP Tim Hudson (5-8), who pitches the series finale Sunday, was a sixth-round draft pick by Oakland in 1997. He’ll be facing his former team for just the third time in his career.