Updated 6:45 PM
OAKLAND — This whole season, San Francisco Giants shortstop Brandon Crawford had wowed fans with his spectacular defense. There was a long sprinting catch from near second base to the home bullpen. There was a ranging snag in shallow center field with two teammates almost on top of him. There were a number of strong throws whipped across the diamond.
With two outs and two men on in the 10th inning on Sunday, though, Crawford couldn’t handle a high-bouncing ground ball from Oakland A’s third baseman Matt Chapman. It clanked off Crawford’s foot and rolled into the outfield grass, allowing A’s shortstop Marcus Semien to score the winning run. Crawford didn’t stop his forward momentum, trudging straight off the field having played a role in the Giants’ 6-5 loss.
“[Chapman] runs pretty good, that’s why I wanted to come get it,” said Crawford, a three-time Gold Glove winner. “It came down a lot steeper than I thought it was going to. That’s what caused me to miss it.”
“You hope the ball’s hit to him,” manager Bruce Bochy said. “There’s nobody better.”
The Giants had rallied from a three-run deficit to take the lead in the eighth on an Andrew McCutchen home run, but A’s designated hitter Khris Davis tied the game 5-5 with an opposite field home run in the bottom of the eighth — his second homer of the game — setting up Chapman’s walk-off single. It was the second straight walk-off victory for the A’s.
Oakland finished the Bay Bridge Series having taken four of six games from San Francisco. The Giants (51-50) started the home-and-home set three games out in the NL West. Now, they’re five games back. The A’s, meanwhile, leapt from 5 1/2 games out of the second AL Wild Card spot to three games back.
Said Oakland starter Sean Manaea: “It’s huge, especially after the break coming in and taking the series to start the second half.”
Manaea went 6 2/3 innings with no walks and two runs allowed, with one scoring after he exited. His 97 pitches were the most he’d thrown since June 22. His fastball and changeup pairing continued to baffle opposing hitters to the tune of five strikeouts, as he lowered his ERA to 3.31.
The A’s jumped ahead with a series of long balls. In the first inning, Davis whacked a hanging Johnny Cueto curveball over the left field fence. In the fourth and sixth innings, first baseman Matt Olson tagged Cueto for solo home runs to right.
San Francisco’s lineup at first struggled to respond to those blasts, mustering just four hits off Manaea.
In the seventh, though, Giants pinch-hitter Pablo Sandoval roped a two-run double off reliever Emilio Pagan, and pinch-hitter Alen Hanson followed that with a game-tying bloop single off of Trivino. Right fielder Andrew McCutchen gave San Francisco the lead with a home run to left field in the next frame.
Davis’ game-tying shot shifted the momentum back to the A’s, and Chapman’s single won the game two innings later.
The Oakland third baseman finished the series on a 5-for-10 run, including a 2-for-5 performance on Sunday. He’d struggled before that, producing only two multi-hit games since returning from a right thumb contusion on July 3. While he said that he wasn’t completely comfortable at the plate this weekend, he gained confidence from his string of base hits, including a pair of flare singles to right on Saturday.
“That’s going to happen over the course of a season, especially this long of a season,” Chapman said. “You’ve just got to find a way to get the job done.”
Once again, the A’s did just that. They went 2-for-20 with runners in scoring position during the series, but both of those hits were walk-offs. They’ve now won eight series in a row, with the latest coming against a Giants roster used to success.
“We’re confident no matter who we’re playing,” Chapman said. “Whether they’re veterans, or with the Giants have a bunch of World Series champions on their team, we’re not scared to play anybody.”