Rewind: A's vs. Giants, Game #3

The hometown team gave away Mr. Potato Heads dressed in Giants uniforms to the first 5,000 kids Sunday, but it was the cross-bay rivals who did the rearranging and dismantling of the boys donning the Orange and Black.

The Oakland Athletics ripped to pieces San Francisco rookie starter Matt Cain, who stifled them a month ago with a one-hit gem at the Oakland Mausoleum.

The A's gladly returned the favor with a 10-4 drubbing of Cain and the Giants at the ballpark on 24 Willie Mays Plaza Sunday afternoon.

The Giants right-hander surrendered five runs on five hits and issued six walks to the Athletics, leading to his first loss since being re-inserted into the starting rotation.

Cain (6-6) was coming off an impressive performance this week against the Los Angeles Angels with yet another one-hitter, but miserably failed to replicate that success against Oakland.

"I was frustrated with myself for not being in the zone more," the 21-year-old pitcher told reporters after the game. "I couldn't get that put-away pitch, and they were real patient and able to end up working the count into their favor a lot of times, too."

A team perennially built to get on base, the Athletics worked several counts in their favor and quickly built a 7-4 advantage in the fifth inning, chasing Cain out of the game for good and snapping his five-game win streak.

"I was just missing," said Cain, who threw 105 pitches in only 4 1/3 innings. "I got myself in trouble and they capitalized. That's what six walks will do. So often it's going to kill you, no matter what you do."

The walks, along with the dozen hits that produced 10 runs by the A's, took apart the Giants pitching staff as Oakland (41-34) snatched two of three from San Francisco (37-38) over the weekend.

The question now is whether the Giants bucket of parts needs any more reshuffling after two of their stars left Sunday's game early with various tweaks.

Left fielder Barry Bonds left the contest in the second inning, hobbling on his irritated right knee. Shortstop Omar Vizquel left the game in the seventh, after favoring his lower back. Both are listed as day-to-day.

Bonds' injury stems from Friday's contest against the A's, when he stole a base for the first time since 2004. The Giants slugger was supposed to sit out Saturday's game as a precaution, but "demanded" to be inserted in the starting lineup.

"This is a minor injury," San Francisco manager Felipe Alou told MLB.com. "It's not like the chronic right knee that needed all that care last year."

Oakland right-hander Esteban Loaiza picked up the win after tossing his first complete game in two years.

Loaiza (3-4) yielded four runs, one of which came off the bat of center fielder Steve Finley, who launched his first homer at the ballpark on Third and King.

"He was mixing in a cutter and changeup, and we were just hitting balls at people -- we were hitting 'em hard," Finley said of the A's right-hander. "They just didn't find any holes. "We're just waiting for that good stretch," the 41-year-old told MLB.com. "It seems like we've been treading to hold our head above water this whole season, with different guys going down with injuries. We've never had a run of people being healthy. Once we get that, that'll be our time to run."

The Giants hope to make a run this week as they welcome the Texas Rangers to San Francisco. The three-game set will conclude Interleague games for the 2006 season.

The Rangers will send their ace Kevin Millwood (8-3, 4.29 ERA) to the mound against the Giants ace-in-salary Matt Morris (5-7, 4.60) on Tuesday at 7:15 p.m.

Quotable: Steve Finley, on his first homerun at the ballpark on the shores of McCovey Cove: "I was beginning to wonder, but sooner or later it was bound to happen. It was a ball I've hit lots of other places and been way out somewhere else, but I just knew it would go out."

Game Notes: The Giants honored several San Francisco milestones before the game Sunday: Moises Alou's 300th career homer, Bonds 715th blast (placing him second on the all-time list), Finley's 300th homerun (joining five others in the elite 300 homer/300 stolen base club) and Jason Schmidt's 16 strikeouts (matching a 102-year-old club record)... Former Giant Russ Ortiz signed with the Baltimore Orioles, reuniting with pitching coach Leo Mazzone, who mentored the pitcher to a 21-win season in 2003... Randy Winn threw out Mark Kotsay at the plate in the sixth inning for his fourth outfield assist of the season... Sunday marked yet another sellout crowd with 42,414 fans.

SFDugout's Player of the Game: The nod goes to Steve Finley, who went 2-for-4 with two runs scored and two RBI. He finally launched one at the Giants ballpark, something that has eluded him since the park’s inception in 2000. Although it’s exciting to watch the 41-year-old round the bases as he hits one into Finley Alley, it’s much more fun to see him go deep at the yard.



Phil Delacruz was a transplanted Giants fan, buried in the Southland. After four strenuous years in College, studying (read: partying), he's back in the beautiful "City by the Bay" – San Francisco. Do you think he should move back to LALA land? Or do you like him where he is now and appreciate the good reads? Either way, send him an e-mail at phildelacruz@aol.com to air out your frustrations or, more likely, songs of praise.

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