Bay Bridge rivalry games always seem important, even if it's March 1 and the game is played 760 miles down the road from the Bay Bridge. Today was the first time in 2013 that I've actually been disappointed that the A's couldn't come away with a win — that probably won't happen again until April, or potentially (but hopefully not) on March 23 when Oakland faces off against the Giants in Scottsdale.
Side note: my first two recaps have been pretty expansive; today I tried and failed to cut it down. It's hard not to include everything, and this is only a summary of the scoring plus the pitching performances for the A's. Feel free to skim as necessary.
Jarrod Parker got the game off to a fantastic start for the A's, striking out Marco Scutaro and Cole Gillespie in a 1-2-3 first inning. Brandon Belt led off the 2nd with a single up the middle, but Brett Pill quickly grounded into a nicely-turned double play around the horn from Josh Donaldson to Jemile Weeks to Daric Barton, and Parker only faced 6 batters over the first 2 innings.
Madison Bumgarner wasn't quite as dominant, allowing Chris Young and Cespedes to reach base in the 1st. In the 2nd, Jemile lined MadBum's first offering to left, scoring Derek Norris and advancing Donaldson. Bochy pulled Bumgarner, and Shane Loux closed out the inning with no further damage — the A's led 1-0 after 2 innings.
In the top of the 3rd, with Jerry Blevins in the game for Oakland, the Giants strung together three singles, capped by a Weeks error on a grounder — Giants broadcaster Jon Miller noted that two of those four batted balls should have resulted in double plays. Scutaro's sac fly and Brandon Belt's single plated two more runs, forcing Melvin to pull Blevins. Kyler Newby cleaned up the mess, getting Brett Pill to fly out for the inning's third out. 3-1 Giants.
The A's wasted no time getting those runs back in their half of the 3rd. A Young single, free passes issued to Lowrie and Smith (with Loux still pitching), and a Barton single resulted in three A's crossing home plate. Oakland 4, San Francisco 3.
Ryan Cook and Sean Doolittle each faced four batters in the 4th and 5th innings, respectively, with Cook issuing a base on balls and Doolittle allowing a hit. Neither runner advanced past first. Neither pitcher struck out a batter, but overall they both had good showings. Travis Blackley, on the other hand, was terrible, as you'll see in just a second.
We didn't see any more scoring action until the 6th inning, when Belt and Pill began the Giants' half of the frame with consecutive singles off of Blackley. Francisco Peguero's triple scored both of them; Blackley went on to walk Kensuke Tanaka and Jackson Williams consecutively, and allowed Peguero to score on a wild pitch to boot. Juan Perez doubled, scoring two runs, and Brock Bond hit a 3-1 fastball over the fence, scoring himself and Perez. BoMel had to make a move — he brought in Brian Gordon, who got two quick outs to bring the nightmare to an end. 10-4 Giants.
Oakland went right back to work in their half of the 7th. Adam Rosales, Michael Choice, and Michael Taylor started the inning with back-to-back-to-back singles. They then resorted to small ball: Rosales scored on a wild pitch, Choice scored on a Shane Peterson groundout, and Eric Sogard beat out the throw on his bunt attempt up the third base line, scoring Taylor. He completely caught the infield napping - great play, albeit extremely risky. Giants 10, Athletics 8.
In the top of the 8th, Bond and Tyler LaTorre scored on Gary Brown's triple - Giants 12, Athletics 8.
Bottom 8th — Andy Parrino scores on a Michael Choice single. 12-9 San Francisco.
Top 9th — Angel Villalona takes James Simmons deep to center field. 13-9 San Francisco.
The A's couldn't make a comeback in the bottom of the 9th, and the Giants prevailed by that same score of 13-9. It happens — hopefully more in March than in the regular season.
Today's bright spots:
- Parker, Doolittle, and Cook's scoreless outings
- Chris Young's 2 hits
- Michael Choice continuing his absolutely incredible start to spring training with 2 hits of his own
- Sogard's cheeky, run-scoring bunt
The A's play tomorrow at 12:05 PT at Phoenix Muni against the Colorado Rockies. Tommy Milone is making his Cactus League debut — expect him to go 2 innings, like Parker did today. I happen to be flying back to the Bay Area from the Midwest tomorrow afternoon. Guess where I'm flying through? Phoenix. Guess when I land? An hour before game time. I'm hoping if I yell at my airline for long enough, they'll let me reschedule the second leg, but I doubt it.
As always, thanks for reading! Remember to check out all the Fanpost recaps and rec your favorite one.