SAN FRANCISCO -- Some first-place teams are more equal than others.

That's the answer to the question: "Daddy and mommy, what did we learn from this week's Bay Bridge Series?"

The A's are a good team, getting better. The Giants are a good team, still trying to figure out how to be a good team for more than a game or two (or inning or two) at a time.

Other than that, really, you can't draw many conclusions from the four games between our two local sides this week. Although for one team, it was more fun than the other.

"We got beat three out of four," said Giants catcher Buster Posey, who was on the team that had less fun. "That's the only conclusion to draw right now."

He's right, although fans will make many more assumptions from the 36 innings in which the A's outscored the Giants 19-7.

The A's definitely got a kick out of winning the series. But it was as much for their followers as anything else.

"As players, it's not a real ... you know, thing where we don't like them," said A's third baseman Josh Donaldson, speaking of the Giants. "But when both teams get on the field, we know how the fans feel about it. The energy in both ballparks, you feel it."

Right now, the Giants would like to feel more energy in their bats. Hard as it is to believe with their recent ugly downturn, they still aren't in a horrible spot going ahead. Their loss Thursday afternoon dropped them a half-game out of first place to Los Angeles -- it grew to a full game later when the Dodgers beat the Padres. But look at it this way: Last season, they had a 42-50 record after 92 games. This time at the same juncture, they are 50-42.

But are they actually playing better than a year ago at this time?

"Yes," Posey answered directly, when asked that direct question.

What the Giants need, more than anything, is three or more games in a row in which they score four or more runs. They haven't done that since mid-June. It has put too much pressure on their pitching staff and put too many zeros on the scoreboard.

Indicative: The series that began Monday night with the Giants' Hunter Pence fouling out to the catcher . . . ended with an instant replay decision on Gregor Blanco's nubber in front of the catcher and throw to first -- with the replay decision, naturally, going against the Giants.

In other words, the Giants' first and last outs of the series never traveled farther than a chip shot from home plate. The absence of Angel Pagan is a factor in the team's loss of pop. But sometimes, it can be an attitudinal approach.

It might be as simple as this: Through the early innings Thursday, as Giants starter Tim Hudson and A's starter Scott Kazmir were both working well and getting batters out, Donaldson said the A's dugout mood was that they would get to Hudson eventually, if they kept having quality at-bats. And that's what eventually occurred, even on a day when the Athletics' best player, Yoenis Cespedes, went 0 for 5.

But in the Giants dugout, whenever a batter had a potential hit snarfed up by a good A's fielding play, the body language spoke of frustration.

Bruce Bochy is keeping up his solid front. The Giants manager has seen much worse slumps over his years in the game. And he kept his sense of humor when a reporter asked if he thought about pinch hitting for Hudson in the fifth inning when the game was still tight. No way, the manager said.

"He hit one of the hardest balls we hit all day," Bochy mused.

And then he reminded everyone again that it's a long season.

The feeling here in April about the Giants -- and the feeling still -- is that no matter how things played out over the course of the long season, the National League West would come down to them and Dodgers in September.

The feeling here in April about the A's -- and the feeling still -- is that they are going to be a postseason team and will win the American League West if their starting pitching holds up.

Nothing that happened over the past four days changed any of that. The Bay Bridge Series was just a midterm exam for our local squads. But as the whooping and barking A's fans left AT&T Park and headed for BART trains back to the East Bay, while Giants fans walked quietly to the CalTrain station, there's no question which group liked its report card more than the other.

Read Mark Purdy's blog at blogs.mercurynews.com/purdy. Contact him at mpurdy@mercurynews.com. Follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/MercPurdy.