OAKLAND -- The noise was everywhere Tuesday night. It cascaded down from the right field seats and Hunter Pence encouraged it. It spilled out of the dugouts after close calls, and out of Giants' mouths after many a called strike.
The Giants were loud, heated and in the middle of one argument after another. They were also on the losing end of a 6-1 game with the A's, falling for the 20th time in 27 games. When it was over, manager Bruce Bochy pointed out that the passion directed at the umpires -- most notably home plate umpire Angel Hernandez -- was counterproductive more than anything else. His starting pitcher agreed.
"It definitely is, but we're frustrated right now," Madison Bumgarner said. "We're not playing the kind of ball that we know we can play. Tempers flare and that's good. Our guys have got a lot of heart and they care, and nobody wants to go out there and get beat. We're working -- it's just a tough time.
"I don't really know how to explain it. It's just not going our way."
Few calls went the Giants' way Tuesday, but as they grumbled, the A's lineup rumbled. Both sides dealt with Hernandez's floating zone, but the A's racked up 11 hits and broke through with a four-run rally in the third. The Giants got their lone run on a solo homer and left nine runners on base while striking out nine times. Many of those strikeouts ended with the hitter making the long walk back to the visiting dugout with one eye trained on Hernandez.
"I know it's frustrating for them, but you can dwell on that a little too much," Bochy said. "I know how frustrating it is when you have calls you don't think are strikes, but it does work both ways. Now you're not only thinking about the pitcher, you're thinking about the calls. It's something you can't think about too much because it's going to make it worse."
The complaints did little but add a little color to a second straight lackluster performance at the Coliseum. The Giants were outscored 11-1 in two games here. Ordinarily, that one run might be just about enough for Bumgarner in a road game. He took the mound with a Major League-leading 1.32 ERA on the road and needed just 18 pitches to get through the first two innings. But his rhythm briefly fell apart in the third, when the A's hit around while scoring four times.
The inning started with a flare to right that dropped between second baseman Joe Panik and right fielder Pence, who backed off at the last second because he didn't want to "lay out and blow (Panik) up." A batter later, Pence made a sliding grab of another ball to right and playfully prodded the fans in the right field bleachers, holding his right hand to his ear and then waving his hands to encourage the diehards to make more noise.
"They're a lot of fun out there, man. Creative, loud, rowdy," Pence said. "It's a great baseball atmosphere to play in. They were razzing me a little and I went and kind of made a play and got a little fired up. I don't really remember what I said. I just made the play and had fun."
The drum-pounding, flag-waving fans had their fun for the rest of the inning. Four more hits and a walk gave the A's a 4-0 lead, and with the way the Giants are going right now, that felt more like 40. Tyler Colvin snapped a 16-inning scoreless streak with a solo homer in the seventh and the Giants twice brought the tying run to the plate with one out in the eighth. But Pablo Sandoval lined out to center and Michael Morse struck out. The Giants went 0 for 9 with runners in scoring position.
"We had too many strikeouts," Bochy said. "We had trouble putting the ball in play with runners in scoring position and (the A's) didn't. That was the difference."
"We see the light at the end of the tunnel with him," Bochy said. "Hopefully this continues to go well."
As Scutaro continued to seek new ways of treating his lower back strain, the Giants just about gave up on the idea of him returning to the big leagues as a starter. Bochy said that thinking is changing a bit because of how strong Scutaro has felt in the past week.
"I think there's a little more hope that he can play more than (just) two or three games a week," Bochy said. "I saw the reports (from Triple-A), and he's moving well at second. He's comfortable diving for balls and he seems to be letting it go with the bat.
"This is all good news. Really good news."
For more on the Giants, see Alex Pavlovic's Giants Extra blog at blogs.mercurynews.com/Giants.