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Duggar leads charge to open Battle of the Bay

MLB.com

SAN FRANCISCO -- Steven Duggar harmlessly grounded out to the pitcher in his first-bat of Friday's game. But from that 11-pitch at-bat, in which Duggar fell behind 1-2 and fouled off five pitches, it became evident the leadoff hitter was locked in.

The Giants won, 7-1, to capture the first installment of the Bay Bridge Series. Duggar had a hand in five of those runs. In just his fourth career game, the 24-year-old went 2-for-3 with three runs scored and two RBIs.

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SAN FRANCISCO -- Steven Duggar harmlessly grounded out to the pitcher in his first-bat of Friday's game. But from that 11-pitch at-bat, in which Duggar fell behind 1-2 and fouled off five pitches, it became evident the leadoff hitter was locked in.

The Giants won, 7-1, to capture the first installment of the Bay Bridge Series. Duggar had a hand in five of those runs. In just his fourth career game, the 24-year-old went 2-for-3 with three runs scored and two RBIs.

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Manager Bruce Bochy praised the youngster's performance Friday.

"He was in the middle of everything today," Bochy said. "All of the rallies, got the big hit to break it open, and the first at-bat was a good at-bat. He looks like he's comfortable already from the get-go; he's throwing out some good at-bats, playing good defense. Just a really nice ballgame by him."

Video: OAK@SF: Duggar lines a 2-run double to right in 7th

Ranked the Giants' No. 3 prospect by MLB Pipeline, Duggar faced his biggest moment since his Major League callup Sunday in the seventh inning. Trailing, 2-1, the A's brought in a left-hander to face Duggar with the bases loaded. Down 0-2 in the count, the center fielder ripped his second double of the game, putting the Giants up 4-1.

"I was locked in, ready to go," Duggar said. "I had a feeling they were going to go to that lefty in the 'pen when I was in the hole if the bases were loaded. I just tried to mentally prepare for that and just tried to make the most of that situation."

Buster Posey capped the five-run inning with a double and his second RBI of the game.

Video: OAK@SF: Posey rips RBI double down third-base line

Starter Madison Bumgarner (3-3) threw six-plus innings of one-run ball to earn the win. He allowed three hits, struck out five and walked three, two of which came in a laborious seventh inning. The Giants have won four of his last five outings.

Video: OAK@SF: Bumgarner tosses 6-plus innings of 1-run ball

Not only did the Giants win, they seem to have found their leadoff hitter of the future. It's something Bochy said he is going to think about.

"The thing you like about Steven is he's a patient hitter," Bochy said. "He usually sees a lot of pitches, battles up there, he's got some pop, too. And then he gives you the speed, he can steal a base or take the extra base. I think that [leading off] is going to be his role."

Duggar is comfortable in the leadoff spot. It's where he hit in his ascent through the Giants' farm system, and where he's hit in three of his four Major League starts thus far.

"I think up here the emphasis is just to get on base," Duggar said. "Work a good at-bat to lead off the game. Just try to find a way on because the guys behind me are All-Stars, they swing. Just try to get on base, make something happen and score some runs."

Video: OAK@SF: Duggar races home on wild pitch in the 7th

On Friday, Duggar showcased his entire skillset. He was poised at the plate, he manufactured runs with his speed and he played terrific defense. It was everything the Giants were hoping to see from the highly touted July callup.

"I'm glad he's here," Bumgarner said. "I've been waiting, I think a lot of people have. We're all excited to have him here and see what he can do."

MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Reyes Moronta entered Friday night's game in the seventh inning with the bases loaded and nobody out. The right-hander exited to a standing ovation after escaping from the jam that Bumgarner induced by allowing a leadoff single and issuing consecutive walks, both on full counts.

"Unbelievable job right there," Bumgarner said. "It was a tough spot to put somebody in and he did as good of a job as you can do, especially in a one-run game. I think that was the big momentum shifter. I think that particular inning won the game for us."

Video: OAK@SF: Moronta induces groundout, leaves bases full

Bochy agreed.

"You always look at a point in the game that could be the turning point and that certainly was," Bochy said. "Bum threw a great ballgame but a base hit, walk, and then he walks the next guy. At that point he's coming out and we've done that a few times to Moronta, put him in a tough situation. But he handles it so well, that's going beyond, not to give up a run. He has that kind of stuff and poise, and that's the turning point in the game, really."

Video: OAK@SF: Bochy talks Duggar's night, Moronta in win

Moronta has not allowed a hit in 12 straight appearances and lowered his ERA to 1.76 with a scoreless frame Friday.

"I just go out there and the first thing I think is to do my job," Moronta said through translator Erwin Higueros. "Try to throw strikes and let the ball find the strike zone."

Bumgarner was the first person to greet Moronta at the dugout steps, a formal handshake followed by an appreciative hug. A bevy of Giants came next.

Asked what Bumgarner said when he met him in the dugout, the right-hander smiled.

"He just hugged me."

SOUND SMART
Posey entered Friday's game 1-for-17 in his career against Edwin Jackson. It was the fewest hits among all pitchers he has faced at least 16 times. Posey collected his second career hit off Jackson, an RBI single in the sixth inning.

Video: OAK@SF: Posey plates Duggar with a single to left

YOU GOTTA SEE THIS
Duggar manufactured the first run of the game by leading off the fourth inning with a double. He advanced to third on Brandon Belt's groundout and scored when Jackson balked.

"My front spike just caught the dirt," Jackson said. "It's a first. I guess when you play this long there's a first for a lot of different things, but that's the first time that I've had that happen where someone is on base and a run gets brought in."

Video: OAK@SF: Duggar comes home on balk for game's 1st run

HE SAID IT
"He competes and he's not afraid when he goes out there. He's picked me up more than once this year. It's nice to be able to keep battling, making pitches and not give in and just try to just throw a strike in that situation. I saw him down there; I knew depending on what was happening, he was getting close. Like I said, I didn't give in and kept trying to make pitches and we made some good ones." -- Bumgarner, on his confidence in Moronta

UP NEXT
Jeff Samardzija (1-5, 6.42 ERA) will get the nod for the Giants on Saturday in the second game of the Bay Bridge Series at AT&T Park. Last Saturday, in his first start in 35 days, the right-hander went five innings and allowed three earned runs. Samardzija will be looking to get ahead of batters early; he threw first-pitch strikes to only 12 of the 23 batters he faced in his last outing. The A's will counter with veteran Brett Anderson (1-2, 5.75 ERA). First pitch is scheduled for 7:05 p.m. PT.

Martin Oppegaard is a reporter for MLB.com based in the Bay Area. Follow him on Twitter @MartinOppegaard.

San Francisco Giants, Madison Bumgarner, Steven Duggar, Reyes Moronta