SAN FRANCISCO (CBS / AP) — Pablo Sandoval hit a go-ahead two-run single in the sixth to help Barry Zito end a six-start winless stretch, and the San Francisco Giants beat the Oakland Athletics 5-2 on Thursday to avoid a season sweep.
A day after San Francisco made three errors and two other defensive miscues, the Giants finally got to A.J. Griffin (5-4) to snap the A’s six-game winning streak with their lone win in the four-game Bay Bridge Series between last year’s West division champions.
Brandon Belt doubled in two runs in San Francisco’s four-run sixth.
Zito (4-3) won against his former club for his first victory since beating San Diego at home April 21. The Giants improved to 7-0 in his home outings and have won 13 straight regular-season games started by Zito at AT&T Park.
San Francisco hasn’t lost a home start by Zito since last Aug. 2 against the New York Mets. The Giants have won 13 straight starts by the lefty when including Game 1 of the World Series last fall against the Tigers.
Coco Crisp doubled among his three hits, but that was all the A’s could do against Zito. Yoenis Cespedes added an RBI single in the seventh.
Oakland (31-24) missed a chance to move a season-best nine games over .500 and lost for only the second time in 13 games. The A’s have dropped 11 of their past 14 in the Giants’ waterfront ballpark, which drew a sellout crowd of 41,250 for the afternoon finale.
The Giants lost the first three games of this Bay Area rivalry to drop the season series for the first time since 2008 after a mistake-filled 9-6 loss Wednesday night.
Sandoval’s hit in the sixth gave the Giants their first lead in 23 innings. San Francisco avoided its first season sweep by the A’s since the clubs began playing interleague matchups in 1997.
Zito faced trouble in each of his first five innings before finishing his day with a 1-2-3 sixth. He delivered just the third quality start in the past 16 by the Giants’ struggling rotation. The 2002 AL Cy Young Award winner for Oakland is 3-4 in seven career starts against his old team.
Sergio Romo, San Francisco’s fourth reliever, finished for his 14th save in 16 chances.
Zito allowed a leadoff double to Crisp in the first and Jed Lowrie’s walk before the two pulled off a double steal, but Zito then retired the next three Giants batters in order to escape unscathed.
He allowed a two-out walk to Griffin—making his first career plate appearance—in the second then Crisp’s single, and pitching coach Dave Righetti paid the lefty a mound visit.
Cespedes walked leading off the third, but was caught stealing. Josh Donaldson walked, then Nate Freiman grounded into an inning-ending double play.
Zito walked a season-high six batters, struck out five and allowed one run and three hits in six innings. Zito’s 117 pitches were his most since also throwing 117 on Aug. 6, 2010, at Atlanta.
Griffin, a younger version of Zito with his similar style and big curveball, gave up four runs and five hits, struck out five and walked one in 5 2-3 innings.
A’s manager Bob Melvin spent more than an hour in traffic Thursday morning trying to get across the bay during rush hour—after doing the same leaving late Wednesday.
“Literally the Bay Bridge Series,” he said. “I was on the Bay Bridge an hour last night and an hour this morning. Quick turnaround.”
Notes: Giants 2B Marco Scutaro was out of the lineup with what manager Bruce Bochy calls “the crud” that has been going through the clubhouse. “It’s flu-like symptoms,” Bochy said. … Melvin didn’t realize bench coach Chip Hale had been ejected Wednesday night. “I came back to the dugout and needed something from him and was looking for him,” he said. … RHP Chad Gaudin will start Sunday at St. Louis for the Giants, and Bochy believes he can go five or six innings considering he has 75 major league starts and has thrown 70-plus pitches. … San Francisco RHP Ryan Vogelsong had his cast removed from surgery last week on his broken pitching hand. He is now wearing a splint and began working out again Wednesday. “It’s a lot more comfortable,” he said.
(Copyright 2013 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)