The San Francisco Giants and Oakland A's faced off in their annual interleague Battle of the Bay series over the weekend, a three game set at AT&T Park in San Francisco.
The Giants won all three games, which were all close and which featured superb pitching matchups and clutch hitting by the Giants.
The first game featured a 10 inning duel where the Giants won 2-1 on a walk-off RBI single by Aubrey Huff. Both A's starting pitcher Trevor Cahill and Giants pitcher Ryan Vogelsong went 6 innings giving up only a run, Vogelsong's was unearned. Each team only had 5 hits in the game.
The second game featured a masterful pitching performance by Giants ace Tim Lincecum beating the A's 3-0. Lincecum pitched a complete game 3-hit shutout, while A's pitcher Brett Anderson only went 5 innings but only gave up one run. In this case, the one run was the difference in the game.
The third game, perhaps the most exciting of the three, featured an amazing comeback by the Giants winning 5-4 in 11 innings. Once again, it was a great pitching matchup as the A's Gio Gonzalez and Giants Jonathan Sanchez gave up only one run each.
However, both bullpens faltered in the late innings and it was the Giants young batters Nate Shierholtz, Darren Ford, and Emmanuel Burriss who provided the clutch hitting down the stretch.
What was striking throughout the three games was how similar these two Bay Area teams were. Both have stellar pitching, including aces which are having amazing years in Tim Lincecum and Trevor Cahill.
Both offenses are anemic, ranking in the bottom of the league in every major offensive category.
However, while the Giants are an astounding 13-3 in one-run ballgames, the A's are only 7-11. The Giants seem to have a different batter coming through in the clutch every night. The A's are hit or miss on any particular evening.
This has allowed the Giants to lead their division with a 27-19 record, while the A's are in last place in their division with a 22-25 record.
While the Giants and A's are similar teams, the Giants are just plain better and they showed it last weekend.