Hideki Matsui helps A's past Giants for 4th win in row

OAKLAND, Calif. -- Hideki Matsui had a private conversation with Oakland interim manager Bob Melvin regarding his role with the team. It was certainly a productive meeting.

Matsui had two hits and two RBIs to help the Athletics beat the San Francisco Giants 4-2 Saturday night.

"We did have an opportunity to speak one-on-one," Matsui said through an interpretor. "To have certain expectations put on you, for any ballplayer, is a comfortable feeling. Everybody seems more relaxed and settled in."

Matsui is hitting .321 with three home runs and nine RBIs since Melvin took over. He's been in the lineup every day and that's the way Melvin wants it.

"I'm good with him against anybody," Melvin said. "Left, right or middle-handers. He's been getting some of his best swings against left-handers."

Cliff Pennington and Daric Barton both had RBI doubles for the A's, who matched their season-best four-game winning streak.

Aubrey Huff drove in a run for the Giants, who lost their third straight. Nate Schierholtz added two hits.

Brad Ziegler (2-0) struck out Cody Ross -- the only batter he faced -- to end the fifth. Joey Devine, Brian Fuentes, Grant Balfour and Andrew Bailey each pitched a scoreless inning, with Bailey getting his fourth save in five chances.

"Nothing those guys do surprises me any more," Ziegler said. "We feed off each other. No matter who it is, our bullpen is so deep we don't need to pace ourselves. We go out with that strikeout mentality."

Jonathan Sanchez (4-5) pitched a season-low 4 2/3 innings, allowing four runs and six hits. He walked three and struck out three in falling to 1-3 over his last seven starts.

"He was actually pretty good early," Giants manager Bruce Bochy said. "He started to get the ball up and they took advantage. We're just in a rut right now."

A's starter Guillermo Moscoso lasted 4 2/3 innings, giving up two unearned runs on three hits. He walked three and struck out one.

The Giants broke a scoreless tie in the fifth with the help of the A's defense. Chris Stewart was credited with a single after Scott Sizemore apparently caught his spikes in the dirt on a grounder and could not make an accurate throw.

Moscoso walked Andres Torres and then threw away Emanuel Burriss' bunt, allowing Stewart to score. One out later, Huff hit a sacrifice fly.

"We're having a hard time driving in runs and that's what it comes down to," Bochy said. "It's how you win ballgames and when you don't get those big hits, it hurts you."

The A's came right back in their half of the fifth. Barton and Pennington had their run-scoring doubles and Coco Crisp walked ahead of Matsui's two-run single.

"The thing that stands out to me is the fight and perseverance of these guys," Melvin said. "Win or lose, that's what I've seen."

Game notes
Both teams used switch hitters in the top three spots of the batting order. For the A's, it's the first time since May 12, 1999. ... A's OF Coco Crisp batted third for the first time since July 20, 2005. ... A's RHP Brandon McCarthy (stress fracture in right shoulder) threw about 60 pitches to hitters and will likely be heading on a rehab assignment early next week. ... A's RHP Tyson Ross is expected to throw to hitters next week in New York and Philadelphia. ... A's OF Josh Willingham was out of the lineup with an Achilles' tendon strain. ... The A's have committed an error in a season-high nine straight. ... Giants INF Mark DeRosa began hitting off a tee. ... A's 2B Mark Ellis was 0-3 in his first rehab start with Triple-A Sacramento on Saturday night. ... Giants' OF Darren Ford is 2 for 11 with four strikeouts in his rehab.