Struggling veterans Samardzija, Anderson square off

SAN FRANCISCO -- The Oakland Athletics hope to get All-Star Jed Lowrie back in the lineup Saturday night when they continue a stretch of six straight games against the rival San Francisco Giants.

Oakland lost the opener of the three-game San Francisco portion of the sequence 7-1 on Friday night after taking Lowrie out of the game in the fifth inning with a bruised lower left leg.

A's manager Bob Melvin didn't seem overly concerned with the injury after the game, and was looking forward to penciling his top hitter onto Saturday's lineup card.

"He's day-to-day," Melvin downplayed. "It got sorer as the game went along. I decided to get him out of there."

With Lowrie only getting two at-bats, the A's were limited to three hits by three Giants pitchers, including winner Madison Bumgarner, who worked into the seventh inning.

San Francisco will hand the ball to another veteran, right-hander Jeff Samardzija (1-5, 6.42), in an attempt to make it two straight in the series.

The former member of the A's has struggled both overall this season and in his career against Oakland.

He is coming off a 3-2 loss to St. Louis in which he allowed all the Cardinals' runs on seven hits in five innings.

Samardzija's gone just 2-2 with a 7.92 ERA in four career starts against the A's.

The biggest thorn in his side has been Oakland shortstop Marcus Semien, who's run up a .412 batting average (7-for-17) against him with a double, home run and four RBI.

The A's will counter with a struggling veteran of their own, left-hander Brett Anderson (1-2, 5.75).

The journeyman pitched brilliantly in his last outing, shutting out the Cleveland Indians over five innings in a 6-0 win, allowing just three hits.

He's just 2-4 with a 4.53 ERA in nine career starts against the Giants, including 1-4 with a 4.80 ERA in six starts in San Francisco.

Like Samardzija, Anderson will have to be wary of the opposing shortstop who has tortured him in the past. Giants All-Star Brandon Crawford has gone 5-for-11 (.455) against the fellow left-hander with a double and two RBI.

Giants manager Bruce Bochy left the stadium Friday night wondering what to do with his star hitter in Friday's win, center fielder Steven Duggar.

He hasn't been starting the rookie against left-handed pitchers, but Duggar had a critical two-run double off A's lefty reliever Jeremy Bleich late in Friday's win, which got the veteran skipper weighing his options afterward.

"He was in the middle of everything, all the rallies, and got the hit that broke it open," Bochy gushed of Duggar, who's two doubles raised his average to .286 since a promotion from Triple-A earlier this month. "He already looks very comfortable up here."

Friday's win evened the Giants' interleague record at 4-4, while snapping Oakland's six-game winning streak against National League competition.

After Sunday's conclusion of the three-game series in San Francisco, the clubs will meet again in Oakland Friday through Sunday after getting four days off.
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