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A’s/Giants roundup: Oakland loss costs it home field advantage

Hunter Pence

San Francisco's Hunter Pence connects for a two-run homer against San Diego in the Padres' 9-3 win over the host Giants on Saturday. AP photo

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From page B4 | September 29, 2013 |

SEATTLE — Brad Miller thought the ball would stay inside the foul pole. His manager wasn’t so sure.

Miller came up with the bases loaded and no outs in the fifth inning Saturday and drove Jarrod Parker’s 2-1 pitch high down the right-field line. The ball stayed fair for the rookie’s first grand slam.

The slam was the second of two home runs Miller hit against Oakland, and it gave Seattle a six-run lead. The Athletics mounted a comeback but the Mariners held on for a 7-5 win.

Boston clinched home-field advantage throughout the postseason with Oakland’s loss. The AL West champion A’s will play their playoff opener at home next Friday against AL Central champion Detroit, and AL East winner Boston will start at Fenway Park against the team emerging from the wild-card playoff: Cleveland, Tampa Bay or Texas.

The Athletics got a boost when Oakland’s Brandon Moss and Alberto Callaspo hit back-to-back homers in the seventh inning off Chance Ruffin. Moss’s two-run drive was his team-leading 30th.

Oakland’s comeback try was hurt by many missed chances. The A’s failed to score after loading the bases with two outs in the sixth and eighth innings, and they were 2-for-10 with runners in scoring position.

However, it was clear after the game that the Athletics were already turning their thoughts toward the upcoming series against the Tigers, who beat Oakland 3-2 in last year’s division series.

“It was a good matchup last year. We’ve had some spirited games with them this year, so it should be an exciting series,” said A’s manager Bob Melvin. “Two pretty well-matched teams, a little different in style. You look at the numbers overall, their pitching numbers and their hitting numbers, and ours and what we do and it’s a little different, but should be pretty evenly matched.”

Parker (12-8) gave up seven runs and seven hits — including three homers — in 4 1/3 innings. It was the second time in three starts he allowed seven or more runs without making it through the fifth inning.

“I think he was just a little off on the baseball (Saturday), but the stuff was still good,” Melvin said. “I’m not worried about that.”

Padres 9, Giants 3: At San Francisco, Yusmeiro Petit has been nearly perfect since the Giants brought him to San Francisco in late August. After losing his first game, Petit still feels he learned something.

Petit lasted a season-low 3 2/3 innings in the Giants’ loss to San Diego, giving up five runs and seven hits.

“I felt good all the way around,” Petit said. “This is a learning experience for me because when I get into big trouble I have to find a way to get out of it.”

Petit (4-1) pitched well enough in his first six starts to earn a chance at a spot in the rotation come spring training. He was one batter away from a perfect game on Sept. 6 against Arizona in his first career shutout. He also pitched into the sixth inning in his previous starts.

“I think I achieved a lot of things this year,” Petit said. “This was not a good outing, but I think I did enough to make them think about me for next year.”

Petit retired eight straight hitters before Chase Headley doubled in the fourth.

“I thought he threw the ball well,” said Giants manager Bruce Bochy. “That long inning, and that long at-bat in particular, took a lot out of him.”

Petit said Tommy Medica’s 14-pitch at bat, with two outs in the fourth, that resulted in an RBI single was a factor in his performance. Jesus Guzman followed with a home run in what became a four-run frame for the Padres.

Hunter Pence, who reached a tentative agreement on a $90 million, five-year contract before the game, hit a two-run homer for the Giants, who had their three-game losing streak end.

Pence’s 27th homer in the third put the Giants ahead 3-1. His homer total is the highest for the Giants since Barry Bonds hit 28 in 2007.

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