OAKLAND — Derek Norris learned a couple of things on Sunday. Shaving-cream pies taste awful. And he loves them.
The A’s rookie catcher was smiling despite the lingering sting of the traditional pie-in-the-face celebration that followed his first career homer, a dramatic walk-off three-run blast that lifted the A’s to a 4-2 victory over the Giants at the Coliseum.
“The pie in the face didn’t feel too good, but it’s a feeling I wouldn’t trade for any in the world,” said Norris, still beaming after ending his fourth major-league game in thrilling fashion.
The A’s avoided a sweep and denied Matt Cain a spot in Giants history. Cain was on the way to winning nine consecutive starts, which would have been a first in San Francisco history.
The A’s trailed 2-1 heading to the bottom of the ninth with Giants closer Santiago Casilla on the mound.
Yoenis Cespedes singled to lead off the inning. An out later, Brandon Inge singled. Casilla struck out Brandon Moss. Then Norris worked a full count before blasting a ball over the fence in left.
“A terrific at-bat,” A’s manager Bob Melvin said. “You just talk about grinding, two strikes, the whole bit.”
It was the second consecutive shaky outing for Casilla, who was pulled in the ninth on Saturday without retiring a batter. The Giants still won that game.
Giants manager Bruce Bochy said that he would give Casilla a day off today. Casilla, who suffered just his second blown save of the season, did not take any questions from reporters after the game.
In this game, he cost Cain (9-2) a victory that would have been a record. No San Francisco Giants pitcher had won nine consecutive starts. The last Giants pitcher to do so was Sal Maglie, with the New York Giants in 1952.
Cain put himself in position to get the victory when he allowed just one run on three hits in seven innings.
A’s starter A.J. Griffin also settled into a nice rhythm in his major-league debut.
Griffin, 24, got the start because Brandon McCarthy went on the disabled list with a recurrence of the shoulder trouble that has dogged him for most of his career.
The fourth batter he faced, Buster Posey, fouled off six consecutive two-strike, two-out pitches before launching a hanging changeup over the left-field fence.
Griffin returned to the dugout and told his teammates that was all he was going to give up. They were bold words from a rookie, but he backed them up. He retired 16 of the next 17 hitters.
“That’s a spectacular first outing,” Melvin said.
NOTES: Bochy said Posey will have the day off today, even though the Giants are playing the first-place Los Angeles Dodgers, because his day off was previously scheduled. ... Angel Pagan returned to the outfield for the Giants after spending the past two games at designated hitter to rest a sore right abdomen. ... The A’s designated Danny Farquhar for assignment to make room for Griffin on the 40-man roster. The A’s also promoted reliever Evan Scribner and optioned infielder Eric Sogard. —