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Oakland at San Francisco

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Oakland (16-12) «000241000770
San Francisco (15-14)001100001370

Athletics 7, Giants 3

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SAN FRANCISCO (AP) - Back on the mound in his home ballpark, Tim Lincecum was still far away from his old form.

The former ace allowed five runs in his final start before the regular season, and the San Francisco Giants lost to the Oakland Athletics 7-3 in the Bay Bridge Series opener Thursday night.

With a black-and-orange clad crowd announced at 40,630 returning to AT&T Park for the first time since San Francisco won the World Series last October, many left guessing about Lincecum's future again. He struck out six and walked one in 4 2-3 innings. He gave up five hits, including a home run to Yoenis Cespedes for the second straight start.

Lincecum ended a shaky spring with a 10.57 ERA in five starts.

"I wish I would've gotten out there more," said Lincecum, whose progress was slowed by a blister on his right middle finger earlier in spring training. "But I think we're at the point where you just kind of have to put that at the wayside, and you just have to compete out there to get outs. That's where it all happens. I feel like my stuff is getting there."

Lincecum looked every bit in his comfort zone at the start in front of an adoring fan base that supported The Freak through last season's funk. San Francisco is still anxious to see Lincecum find the dominance that won him consecutive NL Cy Young Awards, especially after watching him regroup in the bullpen in the postseason.

Giants manager Bruce Bochy said he was satisfied to see Lincecum be consistent with his delivery and believes better results will follow soon.

"He should be pleased with this," Bochy said. "Again, being behind, he hasn't been out there a lot. But this was a good game for him."

Lincecum mowed down the A's lineup with ease over the first three innings. His velocity was still down in low 90s (mph), but his control was better, tossing 20 of 24 pitches for strikes.

Brandon Crawford backed Lincecum's effort when the shortstop ran to his left to snag Eric Sogard's grounder, spun on the edge of the center field grass and threw him out for the first out of the third. Crawford also had an RBI triple in the fourth.

Hunter Pence doubled down the left field line with two outs before NL MVP Buster Posey singled him home to give the Giants a 1-0 lead in the third.

There was a heavier sprinkling of green and gold throughout the ballpark from extra-giddy A's fans eager to see how their low-budget club can follow up its surprising AL West title last season. Tommy Milone gave up two runs and five hits in 4 2-3 innings. He struck out five and walked two, giving plenty of reason for A's fans to cheer.

"It's definitely a better feeling. A night game, you've got a lot of fans here in a big league park," Milone said. "It didn't feel like a spring training game. It's definitely a better feeling."

Cespedes helped Oakland crash San Francisco's party when he sent an 82 mph changeup well over the wall in left to put the A's ahead 2-1 in the fourth. Cespedes dropped his bat and stared for a moment before trotting around the bases, leaving Lincecum looking lost again.

"Not the guy that you worry about the most," A's manager Bob Melvin said of Cespedes.

Cespedes also hit a towering homer off Lincecum in his previous start. Lincecum gave up five runs and six hits in three innings of a 12-5 loss to the A's last week in Arizona.

"He just made two bad pitches look like home runs," Lincecum said. "Good thing he's in the AL."

Lincecum labored for his final five outs. Sogard hit an RBI single off Lincecum in the fifth. After a two-out walk to Jed Lowrie, Lincecum was pulled for lefty Jeremy Affeldt, who gave up a three-run shot to Josh Reddick that put Oakland ahead 6-2.

San Francisco's lanky right-hander has said all spring that he is determined to redeem himself and prove his worth as a starter in a contract year. He worked out with a personal trainer during the offseason to add about 10 pounds of strength, tweaked his mechanics and even cut his long locks for a fresh start.

Instead, a lot of the same troubling signs have surfaced this spring, with Lincecum coming unraveled in one bad inning the way he so often did last year. He finished 0-3 with a .324 opponents' batting average in exhibition games.

Lincecum is slated to slide into the third spot in the rotation behind right-hander Matt Cain and lefty Madison Bumgarner.

"You want to take something from (spring), but you don't want to take everything just because we were down in Arizona most of time, and it's a different game," Lincecum said. "Guys are trying different things. But you still have to compete. You still want to show better numbers."

NOTES: Giants 3B Pablo Sandoval took batting practice and fielding drills before the game. Bochy said the World Series MVP could play Friday or Saturday and possibly be ready for opening day. Sandoval has been sidelined since March 16 because of an inflamed nerve in his right elbow. ... Oakland INF Hiro Nakajima is unlikely to play during the series after straining his left hamstring Tuesday, Melvin said.

 
Copyright 2015 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.
 
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Players of the Game
Oakland

J. Reddick
AB 4
R 2
H 2
HR 1
RBI 3
San Francisco

J. Arias
AB 4
R 1
H 2
HR 0
RBI 1
 

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Oakland Athletics
HittersABRHRBIBBSOLOBAVG
Coco Crisp, CF5000012 .286
Jed Lowrie, SS2110110 .313
    Andy Parrino, SS1000000 .378
Josh Reddick, RF4223011 .292
Yoenis Cespedes, LF4112021 .278
Brandon Moss, 1B4000030 .315
Josh Donaldson, 3B3110010 .315
    Scott Moore, 3B1000000 .190
John Jaso, C3110100 .225
Eric Sogard, 2B4012000 .480
Tommy Milone, P2100001 .200
    Pat Neshek, P0000000 .000
   a- Chris Young, PH1000002 .226
    Jerry Blevins, P0000000 .000
    Jordan Norberto, P0000000 .000
   b- Seth Smith, PH1000000 .311
    Evan Scribner, P0000000 .000
Totals3577729  
a-flied out for Neshek in the 6th
b-flied out for Norberto in the 9th
Batting
2B - Josh Donaldson (4, Affeldt)
HR - Josh Reddick (4, Affeldt), Yoenis Cespedes (5, Lincecum)
RBI - Josh Reddick 3 (13), Yoenis Cespedes 2 (12), Eric Sogard 2 (9)
2-OUT RBI - Josh Reddick 3 (6)
SB - John Jaso (1, 2nd base off Lincecum/Posey)
Team LOB - 3
Fielding
DP - Parrino-Sogard-Moss
Oakland Athletics
PitchersIPHRERBBSOHRERA
Tommy Milone (W,3-0) 4.2522250 4.63
Pat Neshek (H,3) 0.1000010 0.00
Jerry Blevins (H,4) 2000010 2.45
Jordan Norberto (H,5) 1000210 4.35
Evan Scribner 1211120 6.55
Pitches-Strikes - Tommy Milone 74-46, Pat Neshek 3-3, Jerry Blevins 23-17, Jordan Norberto 20-9, Evan Scribner 21-11
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Tommy Milone 3-5, Jerry Blevins 1-4, Jordan Norberto 1-0, Evan Scribner 1-0
Batters Faced - Tommy Milone 20, Pat Neshek 1, Jerry Blevins 6, Jordan Norberto 4, Evan Scribner 6
San Francisco Giants
HittersABRHRBIBBSOLOBAVG
Angel Pagan, CF4000030 .243
    Joe Panik, 2B1000002 .188
Marco Scutaro, 2B2000210 .216
    Scott Proctor, P0000000 .000
Hunter Pence, RF3110110 .364
Buster Posey, C3011001 .283
    Guillermo Quiroz, C1000001 .286
Brandon Belt, 1B4110001 .437
Joaquin Arias, 3B4121000 .266
Andres Torres, LF-CF3000122 .244
Brandon Crawford, SS3021000 .373
    Nick Noonan, SS0000100 .254
Tim Lincecum, P2000022 .000
    Jeremy Affeldt, P0000000 .000
    George Kontos, P0000000 .000
   a- Cole Gillespie, PH1000000 .278
    Jose Mijares, P0000000 .000
    Francisco Peguero, LF1000012 .328
Totals32373510  
a-flied out for Kontos in the 7th
Batting
2B - Hunter Pence (8, Milone), Brandon Belt (7, Scribner), Brandon Crawford (5, Milone)
3B - Brandon Crawford (3, Milone)
RBI - Buster Posey (7), Joaquin Arias (8), Brandon Crawford (9)
2-OUT RBI - Buster Posey (2)
CS - Brandon Crawford (1, Home by Milone/Jaso)
Team LOB - 7
San Francisco Giants
PitchersIPHRERBBSOHRERA
Tim Lincecum (L,0-3) 4.2555161 10.57
Jeremy Affeldt 1.1222101 5.19
George Kontos 1000020 3.21
Jose Mijares 1000010 10.38
Scott Proctor 1000000 4.15
WP - Jeremy Affeldt 2 (2)
Pitches-Strikes - Tim Lincecum 81-52, Jeremy Affeldt 26-14, George Kontos 10-7, Jose Mijares 15-9, Scott Proctor 9-6
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Tim Lincecum 5-3, Jeremy Affeldt 3-2, George Kontos 1-0, Jose Mijares 2-0
Batters Faced - Tim Lincecum 20, Jeremy Affeldt 8, George Kontos 3, Jose Mijares 3, Scott Proctor 3
Game Information
Attendance - 40630
Game Time - 2:48
Temperature - 60
Umpires - Home - Brian Knight, First Base - Bill Miller, Second Base - Mike Muchlinski, Third Base - Quinn Wolcott