SF Giants swept by A’s, choke away three-run lead to MLB’s worst team

Alex Cobb sat and stewed in Oakland.

All he could do was watch as the Giants’ lead dwindled in the sixth inning of an eventual 8-6 loss to the Oakland A’s on Sunday afternoon.

With one out in the sixth and only 77 pitches, the Giants’ All-Star starter watched from the first-base dugout as Brandon Crawford bounced a throw to first. He buried his face in his hands as reliever Luke Jackson walked back-to-back batters, forcing in a run.

Cobb stayed for the entire inning, unable to do anything as the ugly inning culminated in a go-ahead base hit from Shea Langeliers, who unloaded the bases with a line drive over the glove of a leaping J.D. Davis after manager Gabe Kapler refused to remove his erratic reliever from the game.

Overall, the Giants (61-51) squandered one of their best offensive performances in a month and a half, as well as both of their best chances to win before embarking on a daunting stretch of games against teams at or above.500 beginning Sunday.

“I just couldn’t believe I had that opportunity in front of me today,” Cobb said in the dugout of his emotions. “The team appeared to give me everything I needed early, and I felt at the time that I had let the team down.”

The A’s (32-80) swept them in the two-game weekend series, and they had to settle for a split in the four-game, home-and-home Bay Bridge series.

“Not a good, clean baseball game,” Kapler said. “As a group, we’re better than that.” We did, however, swing the bat better and get some big hits. Simply put, we didn’t play good all-around baseball. It makes no difference who you’re playing. When you’re not playing good all-around baseball, it’s difficult to win.”

Langeliers’ two-RBI single in the sixth inning was the A’s eighth hit of the game, snapping the Giants’ pitching staff’s streak of holding opponents to fewer than eight hits in ten straight games, one shy of matching a major-league high this season.

Cobb gave up seven of those hits while allowing five runs, three of which came on a pair of home runs by shortstop Nick Allen, who entered the game batting.181 with one homer this year — but he took the mound with a 6-4 lead in the sixth inning.

“I don’t think it was Cobb’s best outing,” said Kapler. “I think he missed a couple of pitches, which hurt us.” But he pitched more than five innings for us and had a chance to pitch into the sixth but couldn’t.”

On a ground ball to Crawford from pinch-hitter Tony Kemp, Jackson should have easily recorded the second out of the inning. While Kemp is quick, Crawford had enough time to double clutch but still failed to get the ball to Wade, who attempted but failed to hit a one-hopper.

Jackson then walked the next two batters to load the bases, including four consecutive balls to Tyler Soderstrom, but Kapler chose to leave him in to face Langeliers, who laced the first pitch he saw into left field.

“Quite simply, Luke is an excellent, excellent major-league reliever,” said Kapler. “It has been for a long time. So far, he’s had a fantastic year for us. I had no reason to do anything but trust Luke Jackson right there, and I’ll continue to do so in the future.”

Crawford made his second throwing error of the game in the eighth inning, charging and throwing on the run wide of Wade at first, while Michael Conforto lost a fly ball in the sun in the seventh, allowing the A’s to push across an insurance run to make it 8-6.

When scoring at least six runs, the Giants lost for the fourth time in 32 games this season. It was a total they had only reached once in their previous 17 games and four times in their previous 30 games since the beginning of July.

“As a team, we’ve been waiting for that offensive breakout,” Cobb said. “You get the first run and immediately abandon it.” You take the lead again and then relinquish it. Just an extremely frustrating series in general for us. But, as one of the guys who wants to work deep into the game and defend the lead, I did the opposite.”

Oakland starter Luis Medina struggled even more than Jackson, needing 88 pitches to get 10 outs and only throwing 53 for strikes. Medina allowed the Giants to put runners in scoring position in all three innings despite walking five batters in 313 innings.

And, unlike the majority of the previous month and a half, they were able to capitalize.

J.D. Davis scored LaMonte Wade Jr. from second base with an opposite-field single in the top of the first. Wade increased the lead to 2-1 in the second inning with another RBI single, this time driving in Brandon Crawford from third. In the third inning, with the bases loaded, Patrick Bailey singled to left field.

That’s right: three consecutive innings of hits with runners in scoring position. Since the beginning of July, the Giants had been an MLB-worst 36-for-197 (.183) in such situations. They also had the third-fewest opportunities during that time period, but they had plenty on Sunday.

They came through five times in 16 chances, for a.313 batting average that was nearly double their previous five-week average.

However, they left 11 men on base, did not hit a ball faster than 100 mph, and did not record a hit after the fifth inning.

Up next

The Giants’ schedule only gets tougher from here: they play 21 consecutive games against teams with winning records beginning Monday. Their AL West swing continues with three games against the Angels in Anaheim before returning home to face Bruce Bochy’s Texas Rangers.

Monday evening, 6:38 p.m. RHP Logan Webb (9-9, 3.45) vs. LHP Patrick Sandoval (6-8, 4.11) in a pitcher’s duel.

Tuesday evening, 6:38 p.m. TBA versus RHP Lucas Giolito (6-8, 4.36)

Wednesday evening, 6:38 p.m. TBA vs. RHP Shohei Ohtani (9-5, 3.32 ERA)

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