The San Francisco Giants will be looking to end a rare losing streak when they send All-Star right-hander Kevin Gausman up against the host Oakland Athletics on Saturday afternoon.
The A’s remained 2 1/2 games behind the American League West-leading Houston Astros with a 4-1 win in a tightly contested series opener Friday.
They will put a two-game winning streak on the line when they hand the ball to lefty Sean Manaea (8-8, 3.77) in the rematch.
The Giants, meanwhile, saw their lead in the National League West shrink to 1 1/2 games with a combination of their loss and a Los Angeles Dodgers home win over the New York Mets. San Francisco led the division by five games just eight days ago.
Friday’s loss saddled the Giants with their first losing streak since July 23-24, when they were beaten on consecutive days by the Pittsburgh Pirates. They responded that time with 17 wins in their next 23 games.
Gausman (12-5, 2.40) has rebounded from his worst stretch of the season — four losses in six starts — with three consecutive wins in August, during which he has allowed just five earned runs in 16 innings.
He did not pitch when the Giants, playing at home, won two of three from the A’s in June. He has gone 1-3 despite a fine 2.87 ERA in six career starts against the A’s.
The 30-year-old has never won (0-3) in four starts in Oakland.
The Giants will put more than just one starting pitcher under the spotlight Saturday. They have scheduled right-hander Anthony DeSclafani for a bullpen session three days after he had to leave a start against the Mets because of an ankle injury.
Giants manager Gabe Kapler announced before Friday’s game that further examination showed no structural damage, and the door remains open for DeSclafani to make his next scheduled start in a rematch with the Mets on Tuesday.
“We haven’t made any decisions to push a start back and don’t anticipate having to do that,” Kapler said. “We just need to kind of see how he feels as we ramp up the intensity.”
Manaea has pitched as poorly as Gausman has pitched well in August, going 0-2 with a 12.27 ERA in three starts. He is coming off a 7-4 loss at Texas in which he allowed all seven Rangers runs in five innings.
The 29-year-old pitched well in a 2-0 setback at San Francisco during the June series. He allowed just one of the two Giants runs, that coming on a Brandon Crawford RBI single, but was saddled with the loss.
Manaea has faced the Giants three times in Oakland and gone 1-1 in those starts with a 2.65 ERA. Overall, he’s 2-2 with a 2.51 ERA in six lifetime starts against San Francisco.
Three guys the Giants did not see in Oakland uniforms in June combined to produce almost all the A’s offense in Friday’s win. Josh Harrison had two hits and drove in two runs; Yan Gomes singled, doubled and scored a run; and Starling Marte doubled home a run, then stole a base and scored on a throwing error.
“They’ve been pretty consistent since they’ve been with us,” A’s manager Bob Melvin said of the trade-deadline acquisitions. “What’s impressive to me (about Gomes) is he’s able to get up to speed with our pitchers. Marte is like a hurricane. And Harrison brings so much energy.”
–Field Level Media