The A's committed three errors in a pair of losses to San Francisco this weekend, and although starter Gio Gonzalez is more than capable of getting a strikeout, the defense will have to improve in Sunday's series finale.
"I think we've played pretty good defense over the last couple of years as an organization, and I think we're going to come around and play good defense this year," said catcher Landon Powell, who made an error along with third baseman Kevin Kouzmanoff in Saturday's 3-0 loss. "That's why we have good pitchers, because we have great defense behind them. Everyone's going to make an error every once in a while."
While the A's have lost four straight, the Giants ride a four-game winning streak into Sunday's game at AT&T Park, where they are 12-5 this season.
San Francisco turns to Jonathan Sanchez, who struggled in his past three starts with a 5.50 ERA. But with Sunday's rivalry game already sold out -- the Giants had a sellout for each of the first 17 homes games -- the defending World Series champions believe they can again feed off the crowd.
"It helps the adrenaline. The players are self-motivated, but when you have the kind of crowds that we do, the support that we have, there's some extra incentive to go out there and play well and help try to win the ballgame for your fans," said manager Bruce Bochy. "It's something we don't see very often when we're on the road. What we have here is special. These guys know it. They talk about it. To have a packed house every day pulling for you is added incentive to do well."
A's: Bailey begins rehab with a positive
Closer Andrew Bailey met with the media Saturday in San Francisco, where he was scheduled to throw after a successful rehab outing Friday for Triple-A Sacramento.
The right-hander pitched a scoreless inning and struck out one, throwing 11 of his 16 pitches for strikes. He will likely make at least three more rehab appearances before returning to Oakland, but the first result was encouraging.
Fellow reliever Joey Devine, who underwent Tommy John surgery in May 2009, returned to action Saturday and pitched a scoreless sixth inning.
Devine allowed one hit as manager Bob Geren attempts to ease the right-hander back through low-pressure situations.
Giants: Schierholtz rests shoulder
Outfielder Nate Schierholtz was out of the starting lineup Saturday with a sore right shoulder, but entered in the ninth as a defensive substitute for Pat Burrell.
Schierholtz injured the shoulder making a diving catch Thursday and played Friday, but is receiving treatment and said he is not concerned.
Bochy might want Schierholtz in the lineup Sunday against Gonzalez, whom Schierholtz is 2-for-2 with a home run and two RBIs against in his career.
Oakland outfielder Conor Jackson, who started for the first time in the past six games Saturday, could be a candidate to remain in the lineup Sunday against Sanchez.
The right-hander is 9-for-18 in his career against the left-handed pitcher with two home runs and five RBIs.
The Giants cut into Oakland's advantage in the all-time series with their second straight win Saturday. The A's lead the Bay Area rivals' all-time series, 42-40.