Scutaro, DiNardo lift A's to sweep of GiantsJun 11, 2007 - 12:43 AM SAN FRANCISCO (Ticker) -- Marco Scutaro is batting just .231 but to the Oakland Athletics, he is the modern day Reggie Jackson coming through with the big hit late in the game.
Scutaro's line-drive home run off Matt Cain in the eighth inning delivered the go-ahead run as the Athletics notched a 2-0 victory and completed a sweep of the San Francisco Giants at AT&T Park to conclude the Bay Bridge series.
It was the third homer this season for Scutaro, who also had a dramatic three-run walk-off blast against Mariano Rivera of the New York Yankees on April 15.
"I'm just happy to contribute to the game and feel a part of the team," Scutaro said. "The last thing you'd expect is that I would hit a home run in that situation. I was just trying to get on base and make good contact and fortunately I hit the homer."
Santiago Casilla (2-0) pitched two scoreless innings and Alan Embree worked around a single in the ninth - getting Barry Bonds on a fly ball to left field - for his seventh save.
Shannon Stewart added an insurance run for the A's in the ninth with an RBI single off Brad Hennessey.
"He threw a fastball inside, first pitch for a strike and I was just trying to get a good pitch to make contact and drive the runner in," Stewart said. "I think I got it just enough over the second baseman's head. This is big, it's my first time in the Bay series but it's a big rivalry. We've been playing good baseball and they played good too and all three games were tight.
"You've just got to give both teams a lot of credit playing good ball and we were able to get the victories in all three games."
Oakland starter Lenny DiNardo may not be a household name but he has held his own against the likes of Daisuke Matsuzaka and Cain (2-6) in consecutive starts.
Forced into the rotation because of injuries to Esteban Loaiza and Rich Harden, Oakland has used both Chad Gaudin, who is 6-1 with a 2.43 ERA - second best in the AL - and DiNardo who recently joined the rotation on May 29.
"I think we feed off each other," DiNardo said. "You go out and you see a great outing like the previous games before me and it's just something you can build on. You watch good pitching and I think it helps you. You see what they do to get guys out and you kind of build off that."
DiNardo was superb as the Giants had only one runner reach third base. The lefthander allowed four hits in six innings, striking out five and walking two. He has not allowed a run in his last 12 innings and has given up only one earned run in 17 1/3 innings pitched for a 0.52 ERA.
"He has a lot of movement and if you talk to catchers, they say his ball moves all over the place," A's manager Bob Geren said. "It's fairly hard even to catch so that alone makes him difficult to hit obviously and he keeps us in the game. He makes the big pitch when he needs to and he's done a great job."
"I've having a good time, it's been exciting," DiNardo said. "I'm pitching with a great bunch of guys and (the defense) plays their butts off behind me and all I can do is go out and pitch the best I can so it's been fun."
San Francisco's best chance was in the second when Bonds walked, Bengie Molina singled and an infield single by Daniel Ortmeier loaded the bases. The crafty DiNardo struck out Omar Vizquel and Cain. He also induced the Giants to ground into a pair of double plays.
"They've got one of the most dangerous hitters in the league in Barry Bonds and I was trying to pitch around him a little bit and try to let him get himself out late in the count but I wouldn't say it's easy or easier," DiNardo said. "Every big league team you face is kind of a grind. You have to make your pitches and if you don't they're going to hit the ball out of the ballpark."
Bonds is in a home run drought. The Giants slugger has hit only one home run in his last 77 at-bats and was 0-for-3 Sunday.
"I'm not going to get into why he's not hitting home runs," Giants manager Bruce Bochy said in frustration. "Everybody goes a period of time without hitting a home run, and the bar has been set so high with Barry over the past few years. This has to be done collectively as a team. We just can't sit back and wait for Barry to pop one. That's not going to work, we have to do some little things to get it done."
But DiNardo's solid pitching did not translate to Oakland's offense, which failed in the fourth and sixth innings to plate any runs.
In the fourth, Nick Swisher hit a one out double just past the lip of the infield dirt down the left-field line past third baseman Pedro Feliz and far out of the reach of Bonds.
After Eric Chavez singled to move Swisher to third, Dan Johnson grounded into a fielder's choice and Swisher broke for the plate on contact, but he was thrown out by Cain.
Cain was the hard-luck loser, pitching eight solid innings and allowing only five hits, three walks and eight strikeouts.
"It happens, and if you look back at the video, guys were squaring the ball up, it was just going to guys (on defense). And there are times guys would dink balls and they go in and it goes both ways," Cain said. "Every start, no matter what, if you win or not, I feel as if I need to learn from it and take it on to the next start and the next start after that."
The Giants, who have lost five of their last six, haven't scored in their last 21 1/3 innings.
"If we lose, we lose. It doesn't matter if we lose by one run or a ton of runs, we've just got to get back to winning," Cain said.
"We need to hit better, play better defense, we need to run the bases better, we need to be better at situational hitting ... everything," Giants center fielder Randy Winn said. "I don't think there's just one thing that we're not doing. We've had some situations where we haven't gotten runners in from third, we've had some baserunning errors, we've had some games where we haven't played defense well.
"You can't put your finger on one thing and say this is what we have to do. We need to get better across the board."
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
- - - - - - - - - - - -
OAKLAND 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 1 2 7 0
SAN FRANCISCO 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 5 0 (FINAL)
BATTERIES: OAK - LENNY DINARDO, SANTIAGO CASILLA (7TH), ALAN EMBREE (9TH) AND
SFO - MATT CAIN, BRAD HENNESSEY (9TH) AND BENGIE MOLINA
HOME RUNS: OAK - MARCO SC
Jun 10 6:34 PM
AT SAN FRANCISCO - SCORING UPDATE
SINGLE BY SHANNON STEWART SCORED MARK KOTSAY.
SITUATION: 1 RUN IN, S STEWART ON SECOND, 2 OUT
CURRENT SCORE: OAKLAND 2
SAN FRANCISCO 0 TOP, 9TH
DUE UP FOR OAKLAND: S CASILLA (.000, 0 HR, 0 RBI)
Athletics vs. GiantsJun 10 6:18 PM
AT SAN FRANCISCO - SCORING UPDATE
SOLO HOME RUN BY MARCO SCUTARO (3) TO LEFT WITH 0 OUT IN
THE 8TH OFF MATT CAIN.
CURRENT SCORE: OAKLAND 1, SAN FRANCISCO 0
DUE UP FOR OAKLAND: N SWISHER (.296, 1-FOR-3)
Athletics vs. GiantsJun 10 6:03 PM
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