A’s, Blackburn blank Giants for Bay Bridge Series split
SAN FRANCISCO — Paul Blackburn may have grown up a Giants fan, but the Giants were no fan of the A’s right-hander Wednesday night.
The ex-Heritage High of Oakley standout made himself at home at the same stadium where he rooted for his favorite team, blanking the Giants over five innings to get the win in the A’s 1-0 victory.
Oakland snapped San Francisco’s five-game winning streak to earn a split in the two-game Bay Bridge Series at Oracle Park in front of 32,014.
Blackburn, who’s proven to be a revelation early in his sixth season, lowered his earned run average to 1.35 after shutting the Giants out on three hits during his 84-pitch effort. He teamed with five relievers who held the Giants hitless over the final four innings. Ex-Giant Dany Jimenez finished the three-hitter with his fourth save in as many chances.
The 28-year-old who once cheered on his heroes Barry Bonds and Jason Schmidt, struck out four and walked one in his first time on the mound here.
A’s manager Mark Kotsay much prefers this version of Blackburn than the youngster who once bled orange and black.
“I think we’re all aware that this Paul Blackburn is one we could kind of project to be able to have success at the major league level,” Kotsay said before the game. “And to see it happening now, it should feel good not only for Paul but for us as an organization.”
The A’s stagnant offense got an immediate boost with Chad Pinder’s return from the COVID19 list. The versatile veteran missed the last eight games but was back in the lineup Wednesday, batting leadoff and playing left field.
He wasted no time in providing a jolt to a sagging offense. Pinder smashed Sam Long’s 83 mph changeup over the fence in left for his first career leadoff home run. It turned out to be a home run like no other in Oakland A’s history. Pinder’s blast was the first leadoff homer by the first overall batter of a game that the A’s won 1-0, according to the team’s PR staff.
The A’s came into the game having been held to two or fewer runs six times in their last eight games. During the span, Oakland batted just .182 to sink its American League-worst team batting average to .206.