OAKLAND—On Monday, July 20, the San Francisco Giants defeated the Oakland Athletics 6-2 in the first game of their two game exhibition series.
Monday’s game took place at an Oakland Coliseum devoid of fans and corresponding crowd noise due to current health risks associated with large gatherings of people. The A’s TV and radio stations broadcasted the game. According to Martin Gallegos, Oakland A’s MLB.com beat reporter, there were 5,100 cutouts of fans dispersed on seats throughout the stadium to compensate for fans’ inability to attend in person.
The Giants were able to win thanks to the hitting of left-fielder Austin Slater who got three hits, two of them doubles that collectively drove in five runs. Their new pitcher every inning strategy also worked, limiting the A’s offense to only two runs, one of them a solo home run by right fielder Stephen Piscotty. Sean Manaea started for the A’s, pitching five innings and only giving up a three-run double in the second inning. A’s fans also got their first look at 2019 All-Star closer Liam Hendriks in the ninth inning.
This was the first chance for these teams to play a baseball game against another team since March. As a result, A’s and Giants players were able to get valuable reps against opposing players before the 60 game season starts on July 23 and July 24. In addition, the exhibition game gave players, coaches, and other team personnel the opportunity to practice abiding to COVID-19 era health and safety protocols like no spitting. Some players like A’s outfielder Mark Canha even wore masks while playing.
On Tuesday, the A’s will try to earn a split of the exhibition games as the teams head across the bay to play the second game at Oracle Park.