SAN FRANCISCO -- If there is to be a rematch of the 1989 Bay Bridge World Series this year, it might be almost as big of a mismatch as the last one if the last four days are any gauge.
Of course, the A's of 25 years ago swept the Giants in four fairly lopsided games. This year's model only managed to take three of four in the annual home-and-home, but the lasting imprint was that of Oakland domination following a 6-1 victory Thursday at AT&T Park behind Scott Kazmir.
In the three of the four games, the A's limited the Giants to one or zero runs. The aggregate score for the series was 19-8. They defeated San Francisco's All-Star ace Madison Bumgarner in one game, and in the finale, beat up on one of their own former favorites, Tim Hudson.
To be sure, if the A's needed an exclamation point to show themselves a superior team to the Giants right now, the last game was it. Kazmir (11-3) was once again brilliant, throwing seven shutout innings, allowing three hits, walking one and striking out nine.
Kazmir has had a bunch of these kinds of starts, but even though he's a newbie to the Giants-A's rivalry, he considered this victory -- and the A's performance in taking the four-game se t-- a little extra special.
"I think so, especially the way the crowd's been," Kazmir said. "It's almost been a playoff atmosphere the past four games. It gets you pumped for the series. It's the first time I've experienced it, and it's everything I heard about and expected."
A's manager Bob Melvin is simply astounded by Kazmir's consistent quality. It was the 11th time in 19th starts that he limited the opposition to one run or fewer.
"They seem like they're all the same to me," Melvin said. "He gives up zero, one or two runs, gets you deep in the game, and we didn't do him any favors defensively. One inning, we gave (the Giants) close to six outs and he still got through it with no runs. He's been as consistent as anybody in the league ... both leagues."
Kazmir didn't dodge his ability to deal dirty against the Giants on this day.
"I felt good from Pitch One," he said. "I mixed up a couple different looks and it was effective for me. I got a couple runs early in the game, felt comfortable out there and just attacked the strike zone."
Kazmir has been tough virtually every start but when he gets offensive support, it's pretty much a done deal -- he's 11-0 when the A's have scored three runs or more. The A's chipped away in the early innings, with single runs in the second and fifth, then unloaded on Hudson with a four-run sixth.
Josh Donaldson drove in a pair of the sixth inning runs with his 20th home run, fitting for a guy who was named to compete in the All-Star Home Run Derby earlier in the day. Few righthanded hitters put balls onto the right field pavilion, but Donaldson drove a first-pitch Hudson offering that easily carried the wall.
Both of Donaldson's hits were to the opposite field, a good sign that he's starting to hit a groove. And if he's driving the ball to right, that's an even better omen.
"We had a runner at second base and I just wanted to get him over that at-bat," Donaldson said. "I was able to drive it and hit it out of the park."
Yet another hero on this day was Stephen Vogt, who extended his career-best hitting streak to 10 games with a pair of two-out RBI hits, the second against tough lefty Javier Lopez. Vogt is hitting .457 during his 10-game streak, but he's also been a monster with two outs and runners in scoring position -- 7 for-17 (.412).
"Those two-out RBIs are your favorite hits because you have to get a hit in order to score runs, so they're awesome," Vogt said. "I feel like myself, to be quite honest. I was really hungry to come back up after having some success last year, but now I feel more comfortable. I'm just playing baseball."
So are the A's, who've now won seven of eight and 11 of 15 in matching an Oakland franchise-best 58 wins after 92 games. They've also won seven of their last nine against the Giants dating back to 2012.
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