World Series champ Giants lose to A's, out of wild-card race
OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) The San Francisco Giants ate their postgame meal in an eerie silence, the defending World Series champions' playoff hopes all but over.
San Francisco was eliminated from wild-card contention Friday night, losing to Sonny Gray and the Oakland Athletics 5-4 and helping send the Chicago Cubs into the postseason for the first time since 2008.
There's a daunting task ahead, too. The Giants trail the NL-West leading Dodgers by eight games with nine to go, and the defending division champs visit AT&T Park for four games next week.
''You don't like losing games like this,'' manager Bruce Bochy said. ''The one-run games are killing us right now. It's caught up to us these one-run games.''
This every-other-year thing seems to be ringing true once again. The Giants won titles in 2010, '12 and last season, missing the playoffs altogether in the odd years.
Bochy's team dropped to 79-74, losing its 15th in the last 16 one-run games and a sixth in a row at the Oakland Coliseum.
Billy Burns hit a two-run homer and Billy Butler added a solo shot as the A's snapped a five-game losing streak to start a Bay Bridge Series in late September with little on the line.
Gray (14-7) struck out seven in six innings to bounce back from two rough starts in which he had no-decisions, but this might be it for him given he has been dealing with lingering tightness in his left hip for two starts.
''All week it's been a little sore. Nothing crazy,'' he said. ''Probably in like the fifth inning I threw a pitch and I slipped a little bit. Just jarred it up and started being a little sore again.''
Matt Duffy and Jarrett Parker homered for the Giants. Mike Leake (10-10), acquired earlier this season to help for the stretch run, took the loss.
''It's not exactly what I had in mind coming to them,'' Leake said of his tough go losing for the fourth time in five starts.
Josh Reddick provided an insurance run with an RBI single in the seventh that made it 5-3.
Marlon Byrd got the Giants back within a run on a two-out RBI single in the eighth against Sean Doolittle, who escaped further damage when catcher Stephen Vogt caught Mac Williamson's foul popup with the bases loaded.
Doolittle finished with a perfect ninth for his second save.
Gray gave up five hits. The right-hander beat the Giants 6-1 on July 8, 2014, in his only other appearance against them.
Parker's leadoff homer in the seventh into the second deck in center field was one of the deepest home runs in recent memory at the Coliseum. It was first career homer surrendered by A's reliever Ryan Dull, who began with 11 scoreless innings.
''Strong kid,'' Bochy said. ''We were all impressed by it. We've been doing this a while and I don't know how many balls have been hit up there.''
Leake allowed four runs on six hits in six innings.
Giants: 1B Brandon Belt, sidelined by a concussion for the second straight September, left Pittsburgh, where he was examined by renowned specialist Dr. Micky Collins at the University of Pittsburgh. ... RF Hunter Pence, out since Aug. 18 with a strained left oblique, should be able to begin his offseason routine nearly on time. ''Hopefully in a month Hunter's going to be pain-free and resuming his workouts,'' Bochy said.
Athletics: Vogt returned to catch for the first time since a terrifying groin injury Sept. 6 against Seattle. He was likely to start behind the plate again Saturday if he felt fine afterward. Vogt received his Jim ''Catfish'' Hunter award before the game, becoming the first A's player to win in consecutive years for his spirit, example and demeanor on and off the field exemplifying the late Hall of Famer.
San Francisco's Tim Hudson (8-8) takes on Barry Zito (0-0) in what could be the final start for both pitchers who began their careers with Oakland as part of the vaunted ''Big Three'' that also included Mark Mulder.
''We had some of our best years as a professional here in Oakland,'' said the 40-year-old Hudson, who will retire - with Zito expected to join him. ''It's something that when I heard it was going to happen it really made me smile, happy for me personally and Barry as well. I couldn't have thought of a better way to go out. ... It's going to be a nice little throwback moment.''