OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) — The Oakland Athletics are back to following the formula that propelled them to the AL West title last season: a starting pitcher that goes deep into games, a little pop at the plate and a bullpen that protects the lead.
Josh Donaldson hit a two-run homer to back Dan Straily's strong start, and the A's beat the San Francisco Giants 4-1 in the Bay Bridge Series opener Monday for their fourth straight win.
"That started last year," A's manager Bob Melvin said. "It's just a little different feeling. You don't have to get up for these games. You don't have to find extra adrenaline."
Straily (3-2) allowed four hits and one walk in six innings. Buster Posey's groundout in the sixth drove in San Francisco's lone run.
Donaldson connected against Madison Bumgarner (4-3) in the fourth, and Yoenis Cespedes added a two-run double against George Kontos in the seventh to extend Oakland's lead.
Sean Doolittle pitched two perfect innings and Grant Balfour recorded his 11th save of the season for Oakland, which has won nine of 10 since falling to a season-low two games below .500.
"I didn't watch much of the playoffs last year, but I heard the Giants won the World Series," Doolitte said, sarcastically. "So they're the defending champs in your building. That's a crosstown rival. That's a game you get up for. Packed house. The crowd was electric. It was an awesome environment."
The usual sprinkling of green-and-gold clad fans mixed with San Francisco's orange-and-black following that traveled from across the bay to pack the Oakland Coliseum. The announced sellout crowd of 36,067 traded chants of "Let's go Oakland!" and "Let's go Giants!" throughout the cloudy afternoon.
Straily retired 14 of his first 15 batters and looked confident and in control from the start. Bumgarner struggled with his command —matching a career high with five walks — but didn't allow a hit until the fourth.
That hit turned out to be the difference.
Donaldson sent a cutting 89 mph fastball over the right-center field wall to give the A's a 2-0 lead. Donaldson raised his right hand in the air after jogging around first base, celebrating his eighth home run with a little extra flair.
"He had thrown a few balls in a row there and I guess wanted to challenge me right there and try to get a double play," Donaldson said. "But I was fortunate to put a good piece of wood on it and hit it out."
Bumgarner struck out six, was tagged for all four runs and also hit a batter in 6 2-3 innings. The lefty has lost three of his last four starts.