OAKLAND -- Bay Area native Marcus Semien hit a grand slam in the sixth inning to power the A's to an 8-5 win over the Giants in the first of the four-game Bay Bridge Series on Monday night at the Coliseum.
Semien came up after Bruce Maxwell walked, Rajai Davis doubled and Matt Joyce drew a walk against Giants left-hander Josh Osich. With right-hander George Kontos in to face Semien, the shortstop drilled a 1-1 fastball to center for his second career grand slam and first for Oakland, erasing a 3-2 A's deficit. His fourth homer of the year was also his longest, traveling a projected 406 feet, according to Statcast™.
"A lot of Giants games, a lot of A's games that my parents and grandparents took me to as a kid. A lot of these games," Semien said. "To be able to hit a grand slam? You don't have that many grand slams in your career, so for it to be in this series, it's pretty cool."
The grand slam gave A's rookie Paul Blackburn the second win of his career, with the right-hander going 6 1/3 innings and allowing five runs on eight hits. Blackburn, also a Bay Area native, capped off his first month in the big leagues by striking out four and beating the team he grew up watching the most. Blackburn got the start in place of Sonny Gray, who was traded before Monday's non-waiver Trade Deadline to the Yankees for three prospects.
"This series is obviously a big rivalry. You want to go out and do what we did tonight," Blackburn said. "I feel like everybody kind of ups their intensity, ups a little bit more of everything when you're playing a rival like this. It was great. Tonight was a lot of fun."
A's manager Bob Melvin added, "He's developing. We brought him in … to see what we had. We saw him very little in Spring Training, but the way he has pitched, he's kept himself here."
After the Giants scored one in the first, the A's answered by scoring twice in the first four batters against starter Matt Cain. But the veteran right-hander settled in and didn't allow another run in five innings of work. Cain surrendered seven hits and three walks while striking out one.
"I just tried to be more aggressive," Cain said of his strategy after the first. "I think I was just trying to be a little too fine. Rags [Pitching coach Dave Righetti] did a good job, kind of came out there and told me that. Just get after it a little more."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED Hendriks holds the lead:Liam Hendriks was called on by Melvin in a very difficult spot in the seventh with runners on first and third with two outs in a 6-5 game and Buster Posey at the plate. But Hendriks struck Posey out swinging on a 2-2 slider low and away to end the inning.
"Coming in there, all I'm trying to do is get ahead and not let him put a good swing on the ball, and try and get out of the trouble so we can win the game," Hendriks said. "Got ahead, he took a couple pitches and I threw my first slider of the at-bat, I think that was key. It was a good sequence -- he hadn't seen the slider yet, so that's the one that got him in the end."
"There's nowhere to go right there," Melvin said. "You gotta go after him, arguably one of best hitters, not arguably, he's one of the best hitters in baseball and was having a good game leading up to that point. That was a huge at-bat -- a situation we don't want to be in with Posey at the plate, that's for sure."
Healy adds insurance: With the A's ahead, 6-5, entering the bottom of the eighth, Ryon Healy came up with the bases loaded with a chance to add on. Giants reliever Hunter Strickland threw Healy a curveball, which he grounded through the infield to left for a two-run single, his second hit of the game and some much needed insurance runs.
"Anytime we play these guys, it's different -- that's what I told them before the game. You throw [records] out when playing the Giants. We don't get too many packed houses here, that kind of atmosphere, it usually means the Giants are in town. Especially for our younger guys, they need to know what it means to play these guys and what it's all about." -- Melvin on the importance of the Bay Bridge Series
"That shouldn't happen. The walks killed us. In the Major Leagues, that shouldn't happen. That's what did us in." -- Giants manager Bruce Bochy on his bullpen's six walks over four innings
WHAT'S NEXT Giants: Right-hander Jeff Samardzija (5-11, 4.85 ERA) will make his first start Tuesday night at the Coliseum since joining the Giants organization. He's 5-2 with a 3.15 ERA pitching in Oakland and has lasted at least seven innings in eight of his 10 career starts there. First pitch is set for at 7:05 p.m. PT.
Athletics: The A's will send left-hander Sean Manaea (8-5, 3.82 ERA) to the mound to wrap up the Oakland portion of the four-game Bay Bridge Series. Manaea has settled in as one of the team's top pitchers, going 7-2 with a 3.23 ERA in his last 13 starts.