SAN FRANCISCO (AP) – Oakland manager Bob Melvin was playing the matchups and getting a longer look at one of the Athletics’ younger players when he opted to start right-handed slugger Ryon Healy at first base instead of All-Star Yonder Alonso.
A strong outing from rookie pitcher Daniel Gossett and a big night from Chad Pinder were equally important to a ballclub already focusing on 2018.
Healy hit his 20th home run to end a monthlong power drought, Gossett pitched seven impressive innings and the A’s beat the San Francisco Giants 6-1 on Wednesday night.
“(Someone) asked me earlier today if you manage a little differently with the spot that we’re in right now, and to an extent we do,” Melvin said. “We’re going to take a good hard look at these guys. Gave them a little bit more prominent positions in the order today, and all of them came through.
Jed Lowrie doubled twice and scored, Matt Chapman added two hits and an RBI and Pinder singled twice and made a sparkling defensive play in left field to help the A’s win on the opener of their five-game road trip.
Gossett (3-6) pitched three-hit ball, allowing one run. He struck out five and walked two.
“I had a pretty tough one last time and it was kind of a gut check,” Gossett said. “I just tried to put all that behind me and go out there and pitch.”
The teams split a pair of games at the Coliseum in Oakland earlier this week before making the 16-mile trip across the San Francisco Bay to AT&T Park.
Healy, starting at first base in place of Alonso because of the pitching matchup, had gone a career-high 24 games without homering before his two-out, two-run drive off Matt Moore (3-11).
“When you’re a power guy like him and you have the track record of hitting home runs, and now you go into a little bit of a drought, it kind of wears on you a little bit
Chapman’s RBI double in the second got the A’s off to an early lead.
Moore allowed four runs over five innings and remained winless since June 20.
“There were three good innings and two (bad) ones,” Moore said. “I’ve been playing plenty long to know that leadoff walks or just walks in general, there’s nothing good that can from them.”
Pinder made his second career start in left field and provided support for Gossett when he chased down pinch-hitter Miguel Gomez’s deep fly ball to left-center to end the fifth after San Francisco scored. It was the latest in a series of defensive gems provided by Pinder, who has also started games in right field and at shortstop and second base.
“I felt like I was on it from the moment he hit it,” Pinder said. “Right when I saw the ball hit I look over and realized (centerfielder Rajai Davis) was a little bit further into the gap than I thought so I knew that it was going to be my ball.”
INVADING THE COVE
Team president Dave Kaval and about 50 other members of the A’s front office watched the game while aboard a pair of boats in McCovey Cove. Kaval skippered his own private boat into the waters just beyond AT&T’s right field then tweeted out a picture of it with the caption #McCoveyCoveTakeover
Giants: RHP Johnny Cueto has been diagnosed with a mild flexor strain in his right forearm and will be re-evaluated next week. Cueto had been on the disabled list because of a blister issue and pitched three innings of a rehab start Monday when his arm became sore. … Closer Mark Melancon threw 15 pitches and retired three batters with Class-A San Jose in his second rehab appearance. Melancon, who allowed one hit and had one strikeout, has been sidelined with a right pronator strain.
Athletics: LF Khris Davis was held out of the starting lineup because of a minor hamstring injury that he’s played with for a few days. Pinder started in Davis’ absence.
A’s right-hander Kendall Graveman (2-2, 3.83 ERA) is scheduled to come off the disabled list to start while the Giants will go with Ty Blach (6-7, 4.38 ERA) in the series finale at AT&T Park on Thursday night.
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