SAN FRANCISCO -- There are a lot of incredible stats from the first 77 Giants games, but this one might top the list: Only Joe Ross and Cole Irvin have managed to throw eight innings against this deep, grinding lineup.
Irvin did it Sunday, keeping the Giants from ever even sniffing a sweep. They lost 6-2, with Sammy Long giving up four runs and the lineup managing just three hits in eight innings off Irvin, who struck out eight.
The Giants didn't even get a runner into scoring position until the eighth, when Steven Duggar drew a leadoff walk and Austin Slater got nicked by an inside pitch with two outs. Irvin joined Ross and Walker Buehler as the only starting pitchers to even go seven innings against the Giants this year.
The Giants scored a couple of runs in the ninth, getting the crowd of 35,920 back into it and forcing the A's to bring Lou Trivino in with two outs, but he struck Brandon Crawford out to end it.
Minimal Trouble With the Curve
Long once again got some ugly swings on his looping curveball -- most notably from Matt Olson -- but he also gave up base hits on the pitch for the first time as a big leaguer. Long left one up to Elvis Andrus in the first inning for a single and #ForeverGiant Skye Bolt later roped a curve into left. Coming into the game, Long had thrown 86 curveballs since being called up and had not allowed a hit.
Long threw a career-high 91 pitches and after the rough first inning he settled in, but he lost touch with the strike zone in the sixth. A hit-by-pitch and four-pitch walk ended his day and the A's went on to score three runs in the inning, taking a 5-0 lead. Long was charged with four earned runs, raising his ERA to 4.95 through four big league appearances.
Small Ball Sixth
The A's broke the game open with a long rally off Long and John Brebbia in the sixth as part of a two-inning run when it seemed like every A's player who crossed the plate slid in a fraction of a second ahead of the tag.
After Long was pulled, old friend Aramis Garcia brought a run across with a hard single to right. Irvin put a good bunt down and Tony Kemp slid in just ahead of Darin Ruf's flip to the plate, and the A's tacked on one more run on a sacrifice fly by Elvis Andrus.
Something's Not Right
With Evan Longoria on the IL, the Giants are already a little bit short against left-handed pitching, and it doesn't help that their leadoff man is in a pretty wicked slump. Slater struck out twice and flied out before getting nicked on the jersey in his final at-bat.
Slater is just 4-for-37 over his last 20 appearances, dropping his average to .201 and his OPS to .645. The Giants have basically faced only right-handers this month and Slater and Mauricio Dubon seem to have been hurt by the inconsistent playing time more than anyone. They won't have a chance to find their rhythm in the next few days, as the Giants will see Trevor Bauer and Buehler in Los Angeles.