SAN FRANCISCO -- Not many 5-foot-10 second basemen are in a major-league lineup because of their power stroke. Then again, not many teams need big hits more than the power-starved Oakland Athletics.
Keith Ginter hit a three-run homer in the seventh inning and had a career-high five RBI in Oakland's 8-4 victory over the San Francisco Giants on Friday night.
Ginter drove in five runs with just one official at-bat in the opener of the Bay Bridge interleague series. The backup infielder, who entered batting .171 in his first season with the A's, also drew a walk and drove in two runs with early sacrifice flies.
Oakland's 25 homers this season are the fewest in the majors, along with its lows in slugging percentage and extra-base hits. So Ginter, who hit 19 homers for Milwaukee last season, is getting regular playing time from manager Ken Macha despite his miserable average.
"It's something we've struggled with all season long," Ginter said. "I was in situations tonight where all I needed to do was get the ball in the outfield, and I was able to do it. I feel like my time is coming. I know the numbers aren't there, but I feel like I can stay in the lineup and make some contributions."
Along with Wednesday's 13-6 victory over Boston, the A's have their highest-scoring back-to-back games this season. Bobby Kielty matched his career high with four hits and scored three runs as the A's got their third victory in four games following an eight-game skid.
"We overcame some things," Macha said. "Some big walks, us falling behind, a major baserunning mistake (by Scott Hatteberg). ... But we're starting to knock in some runs, and it's a significant thing for our club to succeed."
Eric Chavez had a tiebreaking single during Oakland's five-run seventh, when four San Francisco pitchers couldn't stop the A's. Oakland's rally began against starter Kirk Rueter (2-3) and finished against Jim Brower, who allowed Ginter's third homer of the season.
"It's a big homestand, but they're all important for us now," Rueter said. "I was in trouble early, and I kept battling. Unfortunately, they got five runs in the seventh."
Keiichi Yabu (4-0) allowed two hits and two walks in two innings of relief.
Moises Alou hit a two-run homer for the Giants, who lost for the fourth time in five games. They allowed four unearned runs in the opener of a nine-game homestand, with their mistakes and poor relief pitching eliciting groans from the sellout crowd.
The Bay Area's ballclubs had split the first 44 games of their rivalry since interleague play began in 1997. With both teams struggling below .500, there was little anticipation of the matchup -- but SBC Park still was practically filled, with only a few stretches of empty seats in the highest reaches of the stadium.
A's rookie Joe Blanton couldn't hold a two-run lead in his latest failure to record his first major-league victory after eight starts this season. Blanton, who is 0-4, allowed a runner in each frame of his 4 2/3 innings, and his lapses in control included a pitch that flew over catcher Jason Kendall and hit the backstop.
But he kept San Francisco off the scoreboard until the fifth, when Alou hit just his fourth homer of the season, a two-out shot to center.
Rueter also struggled for the Giants, allowing eight hits and four walks, including Marco Scutaro's bases-loaded walk in the second. He left after Eric Byrnes' one-out single in the seventh, but relievers Scott Munter, Jason Christiansen and Brower struggled to quell Oakland's rally.
Before the game, San Francisco transferred Barry Bonds to the 60-day disabled list, but the slugger seemed upbeat and thankful to be healthy after fighting off a dangerous bacterial infection in recent weeks. Bonds' quest to catch Hank Aaron and Babe Ruth on baseball's career homers list has been derailed by three surgeries on his right knee since Jan. 31.
But Bonds misses baseball, and he spent time chatting with teammates and signing autographs for kids before the game.
"I want to finish what I started here," Bonds said. "I have a contract, and I have an obligation to the team, the city and the fans here. I'm being an optimist. I'm looking at the positives of this, and I'm going to do the best I can now that this infection is gone."