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A's finally find a way to beat Tim Lincecum and the Giants

OAKLAND, Calif. -- Conor Jackson wasn't surprised to see
Oakland playing small-ball against San Francisco ace Tim Lincecum
in the first inning.

The way Lincecum has dominated the Athletics in the past,
Jackson expected and welcomed the new philosophy of interim manager
Bob Melvin.

"We don't have guys that are going to hit 50 home runs on this
team so we have to manufacture runs any way we can," said Jackson,
who had three hits and drove in the first run off Lincecum in
Oakland's 5-2 win over the Giants on Friday night. "That's one of,
if not the, best pitcher in the game so we had to figure out a
way."

Lincecum (5-6) had not lost in six previous starts against the
A's and pitched a complete game shutout against them earlier this
season when the two teams met at AT&T Park on May 21.

With the Bay Bridge series shifted back to Oakland, though, the
results were vastly different. The A's stayed patient at the plate,
working into favorable counts then delivering key hits with runners
in scoring position.

Oakland also took advantage of a critical throwing error by San
Francisco backup catcher Chris Stewart to score on the way to
beating the Giants for just the fourth time in the last 18
interleague games between the two Northern California rivals.

In doing so, the A's won their third straight - a milestone for
a club that went into the night with the second worst record in the
American League and played in front of only its third sellout crowd
of the season.

"That was a lot of fun," Melvin said. "I kind of got caught
up in watching the fans go back and forth with the chanting. Being
from the Bay Area, I had to work at times to keep my mind on the
game, but that's a good win for us."

Josh Willingham hit an RBI double and also scored on Stewart's
throwing error, and Graham Godfrey pitched seven innings to win in
just his second major league start for Oakland.

Cody Ross homered for San Francisco but the Giants couldn't
overcome Lincecum's fourth straight shaky outing and a sputtering
offense that continues to misfire with runners in scoring position.

"We didn't swing the bats," San Francisco manager Bruce Bochy
said. "We squandered a few pretty good chances there, and with our
margin for error we can't do that."

Melvin didn't think the A's would have much room for error,
either. That's why Oakland's interim manager had No. 2 hitter Cliff Pennington lay down a sacrifice after Coco Crisp led off the first
inning with a single.

Hideki Matsui followed with a walk, and after Lincecum retired
Willingham, Jackson singled in Crisp.

"I just wanted to try to score first," Melvin said. "I've
been caught with him and been beaten (by him) so many times before,
so for us we just wanted to try to get a lead."

Lincecum, who didn't make it out of the fifth inning in either
of his previous two starts, gave up two more runs in the third. The
three runs equaled the total Lincecum gave up to Oakland in his
previous five starts combined.

Godfrey (1-0) and two relievers did the rest, combining on the
six-hitter.

Godfrey, roughed up for five runs and nine hits in his major
league debut against the White Sox on June 10, allowed six hits and
gave up both San Francisco runs. He had three strikeouts.

That was the third straight win by an Oakland starting pitcher
following a 14-game stretch when the staff went 0-11.

Rookie Jemile Weeks continued his impressive showing since
getting called up from the minors 10 days ago to fill in for
injured second baseman Mark Ellis. Weeks had two hits to raise his
average to .361, including an RBI double in the ninth when the A's
scored a pair of insurance runs off Giants reliever Guillermo Mota.

It was a tough day all around for San Francisco's pitchers and
came less than 24 hours after reliever Santiago Casilla gave up a
winning home run to Arizona's Justin Upton in the 10th inning.

After Lincecum breezed through the second on 11 pitches, the A's
got to him for two more runs in third.

Matsui walked and scored on Willingham's double when the
ball hit a folded chair leaning against the wall near Oakland's
bullpen. Willingham then stole third but Stewart's
throw sailed into left field, allowing Willingham to score easily
and make it 3-1.

The three runs were the most the A's have scored off Lincecum
since June 8, 2007 - his second month in the majors. Lincecum, who
left after walking Coco Crisp leading off the seventh, finished
with seven strikeouts and five walks.

Lincecum, who has a 7.59 ERA over four starts in June, has
walked 12 batters over his past three outings and has won just once
since pitching a complete game against Oakland on May 21.

Ross homered off Godfrey in the second, and San Francisco added
an unearned run in the sixth when Aubrey Huff's slow grounder
rolled through the legs of shortstop Pennington.

Godfrey, called up from the minors last week after Brett
Anderson
went on the disabled list with elbow soreness, looked more
relaxed making his first start at the Coliseum. The Oakland
right-hander pitched out of a jam in the first then later made an
inning-ending play in the fourth to tag out Pablo Sandoval trying
to score the tying run from third on a wild pitch.

That was key because San Francisco didn't get many other
chances.

Godfrey retired nine of the final 10 batters he faced after Bill
Hall
scored on Pennington's error. Grant Balfour pitched the eighth
and Andrew Bailey worked the ninth for his third save in four
chances.

Game notes
Giants LHP Barry Zito allowed four runs in six innings
during his latest rehab start. ... Oakland 2B Mark Ellis
(hamstring) will begin a three-game rehab assignment with Triple-A
Sacramento beginning Saturday. ... RHP Tyson Ross (strained left
oblique) threw off a mound, an important step in his rehab. ... RHP
Brandon McCarthy (shoulder blade) is scheduled to throw to hitters
Saturday for the first time since early May.