Giants spoil Hammel’s debut, beat A’s 5-2

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SAN FRANCISCO (AP) - As awful as the San Francisco Giants have played for most of the last month, they are back in an enviable position: first place in the NL West.

Beating their Bay Area rivals to get back there was a nice bonus, too.

Hunter Pence homered and drove in two runs, Matt Cain tossed six strong innings and the Giants spoiled Jason Hammel’s debut for Oakland with a 5-2 victory over the Athletics on Wednesday night.

San Francisco, which had lost 20 of 27, moved percentage points ahead of the Dodgers in the division.

“If you look at how things have gone, you find that amazing,” Giants manager Bruce Bochy said. “It’s all from the good work that happened earlier. We’ve got to get back on track.”

For one night, they did.

Cain (2-7) allowed two runs and five hits for his first win since May 15 against Miami. He struck out four and walked two to help the Giants snap major league-leading Oakland’s six-game winning streak.

“Felt really good,” Cain said. “Guys came up with some big, clutch hits when we needed them. Guys kept putting pressure on those guys, which is always nice.”

Santiago Casilla got three quick outs for his fourth save.

Hammel, acquired by the A’s along with fellow right-hander Jeff Samardzija from the Chicago Cubs last week for three top prospects, had anything but a clean opener with Oakland.

He pitched with runners on base for most of the night, and his left thumb on his glove hand cramped up and looked disjointed at one point. He left after giving up six hits and three runs - two earned - in five innings, striking out three and walking three.

Hammel said his thumb was fine afterward and he was bothered more by his performance.

“Tonight was a grind and they grinded me pretty good,” he said.

Stephen Vogt homered and Jed Lowrie had an RBI single for Oakland.

The A’s shut down the Giants 5-0 and 6-1 in the first two games of the Bay Bridge Series in Oakland and looked every bit like a team with the best record in baseball while doing it.

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