A sellout crowd at Phoenix Municipal Stadium was witness to Jason Giambi's first home run of the spring as the Oakland A's had little trouble with a split-squad San Francisco Giants team, winning 8-3. Six of the runs the A's scored were unearned.
Orlando Cabrera, who is scheduled to start at SS tomorrow, flew out to left in his first spring AB as an Athletic. With two away, Matt Holliday struck out but reached first on a passed ball by Steve Holm and it proved to be important because Giambi hit the first pitch he saw out of the yard. Then Landon Powell followed up by wrapping one around the right field foul pole for back-to-back homers, giving the A's a 3-0 lead after one inning. It was his second in March.
Dallas Braden retired the first eight hitters he faced before walking Holm on four pitches in the third, then a single by Randy Winn and a double by Emmanuel Burriss got the Giants their first run but Braden kept the damage to a minimum by getting out of the inning. He then worked his magic again in the fourth, escaping on a double play with the bases loaded. That was his last pitch of the day as Andrew Bailey came on in the fifth. His inning went the same way as Braden's first: 1-2-3. Braden allowed a run on five hits to go with a walk and four strikeouts.
Martinez settled down after the three unearned runs he gave up in the first, then Billy Sadler took over for him in the bottom of the fifth and proved incapable of duplicating Bailey's effort by walking leadoff hitter Rajai Davis, who promptly stole second after being thrown out the first time he got on base. A balk by Sadler then allowed Davis to trot over to third and a chopper by Corey Wimberly to Burriss was slow enough for Davis to beat the throw home, a fitting sequence with new Hall of Fame inductee Rickey Henderson in attendance. Wimberly got into the act by swiping second as well. Sure enough, a wild pitch resulted in him making it to third before Cabera's single plated him. With a 2-2 count on Giambi, Sadler left the game due to an undisclosed injury. Osiris Matos got him to pop out, ending the inning with the A's up 5-1.
James Simmons began the sixth and ran into some trouble as the Giants put a few singles together but he avoided anything major, only giving up a run on a sacrifice fly. After a pair of errors and strikeouts, then a single by Wimberly to load the bases, Travis Buck drew a walk and the A's got that run right back. Joe Dillon followed with a two-run double that stretched the lead to 8-2 and Simmons worked a much quieter second inning. Ryan Webb and Andrew Carignan closed things out for the A's, with the Giants scoring once against Webb.
The A's make the short trip to Tempe tomorrow for a 1:05 PM contest against the Angels. Brett Anderson may start for the A's while Nomar Garciaparra could see action as well. For a little extra reading, see this Q&A with Brad Ziegler, courtesy of Mychael Urban, in which Team USA matters are discussed. We'll have another Gameday thread in a little while in preparation for the World Baseball Classic matchup between the United States and Puerto Rico, set to begin in a little over an hour.