Crisp returns; A’s knock off Giants |

Crisp returns; A’s knock off Giants

AP Baseball Writer

OAKLAND, Calif. – The first ball of the night sailed Coco Crisp’s way and the wind was blowing. He scooted back in center field and made sure he didn’t miss it.

Crisp certainly looked like his old dependable self in a long-awaited Oakland debut.

“I was definitely nervous out there,” he said. “Especially that first ball hit to me.”

Crisp drove in two runs in his first game since last June 12 with Kansas City and the Athletics beat their former ace, Barry Zito, and the San Francisco Giants 6-1 on Friday night in the first Bay Bridge Series this season.

Zito (6-2) was off to a career-best start for the Giants heading into his second outing back at the Coliseum since the 2002 AL Cy Young Award winner was lured across the bay by a $126 million, seven-year deal before the 2007 season.

Ryan Sweeney added an RBI single for the A’s to help Trevor Cahill (2-2) win for the first time in three starts. Oakland kept Zito from a win against the only team in baseball he’s yet to beat in his 11-year career. He is 0-4 with an 8.85 ERA lifetime against the A’s.

San Francisco lost its third straight game a day after an 8-7 defeat at last-place Arizona in which ace Tim Lincecum struggled and manager Bruce Bochy was ejected late.

The Giants couldn’t capitalize against Cahill despite having several chances with runners in scoring position. San Francisco lost to the A’s for only the second time in the last nine meetings after going 5-1 in the rivalry in 2009.

With Crisp in center, Rajai Davis in left and Sweeney in right, the A’s have a tough outfield to penetrate, too.

“We had opportunities. We’ve got to get the hit when you need them and we’re missing it,” Bochy said.

Zito received a mixed welcome of boos and cheers from the crowd of 33,369 when he was introduced before first pitch.

After the left-hander pitched 1-2-3 innings in the first and second, Oakland produced three straight hits to start the third. Former Giants outfielder Davis got the A’s on the board with a two-run double and Crisp followed with a sacrifice fly. Crisp, who began the season on the disabled list with a broken left pinkie that he injured April 2 in an exhibition game against the Giants, doubled in a run in the seventh to chase Zito.

“Coco brings a nice energy to the team,” teammate Jack Cust said.

Crisp missed the final 3 1/2 months last season for the Royals after needing surgeries on both his shoulders. Each was covered by an ice bag after the game.

He ended his rehab stint a day early after telling manager Bob Geren he had regained his timing. It showed.

“I was grateful to be here,” said Crisp, who thought he might have a home run on his double off the wall. “The results are awesome, to win. Going out there, I didn’t have any real expectations, especially facing Zito.”

Zito pitched more than six innings against the A’s for the first time in the four outings against them – and this was at least better than his last one here.

On May 18, 2007, in his first return to Oakland, Zito was tagged for seven earned runs and six hits with seven walks in four innings of 15-3 loss.

Zito allowed season highs of six runs and nine hits Friday.

“Today was a lot different than it was three years ago,” Zito said. “It was just a game like any other pretty much. I didn’t know how it was going to be coming out but it was like any other park pretty much. I didn’t have a lot of thoughts going in my head like I did in ’07 like, ‘It’s weird to be on this side of the field’ and all that stuff.”

Giants shortstop Juan Uribe left the game in the bottom of the third with a tight left hamstring. Fortunately for the Giants, regular shortstop Edgar Renteria is set to be activated from the disabled list today.

Notes: Giants C Bengie Molina was the DH. … Zito had been 2-0 with a 0.89 ERA on the road this year. … Oakland’s Dallas Braden, who pitched the majors’ 19th perfect game May 9, was honored for his feat in a pregame ceremony. He received home plate from the game and also will be given a commemorative ring with 78 diamonds from the team for his accomplishment. The LHP will be honored in his hometown of Stockton on Saturday night before the Class-A Stockton Ports play. Also, the City of Oakland proclaimed May 21 “Dallas Braden Day.” Braden’s grandma and fellow southpaw, Peggy Lindsey, threw out the ceremonial first pitch to her grandson. … Davis stole his 14th base of the season, while Crisp was caught stealing on his first attempt this season in the fifth.