The San Francisco Giants may have been a first-place team this week, still, but the Oakland Athletics tore them up pretty easily on the way to a Bay Bridge Series win for the second season in a row. The A's took three of four against the Giants this week, outscoring the historically-inferior club, 19-7, in the process.
Oakland has now won six of eight the last two seasons combined against San Francisco, and overall in MLB interleague play, the A's hold a 53-47 advantage since the two teams started playing each other in the regular season back in 1997. S.F. hasn't let this head-to-head rivalry since the 2001 season, in fact.
After the 2001 season, the Giants led the interleague series, 14-12. But since then, the A's have taken charge and held edges in most of the seasons since then:
- 2002, 2005, 2008: Oakland won four of the six games between the two teams.
- 2007: Oakland won five of the six games between the two teams.
- 2003, 2004, 2006, 2010, 2011: The two teams split their six games.
The 2009 and 2012 seasons were the only times the Giants have won the season series since 2001, by 5-1 and 4-2 margins, respectively.
Throw in the 3-1 margins in both 2013 and now 2014 for the A's, and it's simple to see—again—why the Oakland organization has historically dominated this matchup (not to mention the 4-0 edge from the only matchup that really matters: the 1989 World Series, of course).
The A's have also won twice as many MLB division titles as the Giants have (16-8), while winning twice as many World Series championships since both teams moved west so many years ago. If S.F. hadn't had its recent success in the postseason—the only two times the Giants have been to the playoffs in the last ten years, in fact—the margin would be even more lopsided in Oakland's favor.
But we digress.
The Athletics won in Oakland at the O.co Coliseum on Monday and Tuesday nights, by 5-0 and 6-1 scores, respectively. On Monday, Jesse Chavez threw six scoreless innings, striking out nine batters, while Alberto Callaspo drove in two runs. Tuesday night, Sonny Gray held the Giants to one run in seven innings, striking out eight batters, and six different Oakland hitters drove in runs off the Giants' best starter, Madison Bumgarner.
Wednesday night in San Francisco was the lone loss of the series for the A's as Jason Hammel lost his Oakland debut. But Thursday's matinee final was all Athletics, again, as Scott Kazmir tossed seven scoreless, striking out nine Giants, in another 6-1 win. Stephen Vogt had three RBI off Tim Hudson, as the Oakland lineup pounded the former A's ace from the Moneyball days.
Overall now, the A's have won seven of eight since their struggle in Detroit last week, and they close out the first half of the season in Seattle for three games starting tonight. Despite the best record (58-34) in Oakland history after 92 games, the team still only leads the American League West division by 3.5 games over the Angels.
The A's always need to keep winning, of course. And right now, it seems like they so often do keep winning.