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SAN FRANCISCO – The sloppy San Francisco Giants are having their problems — starting pitching, defense, at the plate, you name it.
Three errors and two other defensive miscues did in the reigning World Series champions again.
Even manager Bruce Bochy is having a hard time explaining the funk in all facets of the game for the Giants, who dropped their third straight in the Bay Bridge Series with a 9-6 loss to the Oakland Athletics on Wednesday night.
Tim Lincecum was outpitched by Tommy Milone, and he got little help from the defense or bats.
"We're not playing winning baseball," Bochy said. "We're going through as tough a stretch as you can go through. The last two weeks, we're not playing like the team we are. This is not our game. It's gotten away from us for a while."
Hunter Pence homered for the second straight game and Brett Pill also connected for San Francisco.
"I think we're trying too hard sometimes," outfielder Gregor Blanco said. "The way the pitching has been we're trying to support them and sometimes we try to do too much."
Yoenis Cespedes hit an RBI triple in the first to extend his career-best hitting streak to 11 games, and Jed Lowrie added an RBI double as the A's (31-23) moved a season-best eight games above .500 for the first time since they were 12-4 on April 17. They won for the 11th time in 12 games.
"That's probably the most fun I've had in a long time outside of the playoffs. People are competing," said A's third baseman Josh Donaldson, who had two hits and a couple of defensive gems. "Good, clean fun. It was awesome."
Milone (5-5) received plenty of support, too. He received three or fewer runs of support in each of his previous seven outings.
Lincecum (3-5) lost his third straight start and fourth in five. The two-time NL Cy Young Award winner allowed six runs on seven hits in 4 1-3 innings with four strikeouts and four walks. He dropped to 5-3 in 10 career starts against the A's.
"I just didn't give my team a chance," Lincecum said.
San Francisco has only two quality starts in the last 15 games and none on the road this month. The Giants are in a stretch with 14 of 18 away from AT&T Park.
"This is a tough stretch," Bochy said. "We've got to get our act together."
Pence hit a solo shot in the second to highlight his three-hit night, then Pill hit his first longball of the year leading off the sixth.
After Cespedes' first-inning triple, Oakland added another run when Cespedes scored on second baseman Marco Scutaro's error. Scutaro misplayed a popup in shallow right field in which he bumped into Pence, giving San Francisco's second baseman nine errors this year — tied for most in the majors with Washington's Ryan Zimmerman.
Milone struck out three and walked three in five innings, allowing four runs and eight hits in his first career outing and start against the Giants.
A's bench coach Chip Hale was ejected in the bottom of the sixth, when the Giants added three runs. One of those came on Andres Torres' double that went over third base, which brought A's manager Bob Melvin out twice to argue. A fan interfered with the ball as it bounced near San Francisco's bullpen and was ejected, but baserunner Blanco was still allowed to score from first base.
"I argued everything that I could have argued," Melvin said. "He just said that in his judgment he would have scored (without the interference)."
Crew chief and third base umpire Gerry Davis told a pool reporter in that case there's a judgment call and "you award the runners the bases you feel they would have had had there not been interference."
A's center fielder Coco Crisp ran down a deep fly by Brandon Crawford to end the seventh, robbing him of an extra-base hit that would have driven in a run. Crisp hit a sacrifice fly in the eighth for insurance.
San Francisco lost its third in a row to the A's, dropping the Bay Bridge Series for the first time since going 2-4 in 2008. The clubs split their six games in 2010-11, then the Giants went 4-2 last season.
"Every time we come here the atmosphere is always awesome," Milone said.
Scutaro hit a two-out RBI double in the eighth and Pablo Sandoval followed with a run-scoring single to make it 7-6, snapping an 0-for-15 stretch. Sean Doolittle surrendered a run for the first time in 14 appearances.
The A's got one back in the ninth on the Giants' third error. Grant Balfour pitched the bottom half for his 12th save in as many chances and 30th straight dating to last year.
Giants center fielder and leadoff hitter Angel Pagan received a cortisone shot in his injured left hamstring to alleviate the bursitis that has sidelined him since Sunday. Bochy doesn't expect him to need a stint on the disabled list.
"He's probably down at least a couple more days," Bochy said. "Right now we think he should be ready in St. Louis."
Notes: Lincecum went 0-1 with a 6.30 ERA in two starts against the A's last year. ... RHP A.J. Griffin (5-3) pitches for the A's in the series finale Thursday afternoon against LHP Barry Zito (3-3). ... RHP Ramon Ramirez made his Giants season debut with two innings of relief after being promoted from Triple-A Fresno.