Welcome to what I'm told by Ray is a beautiful day for baseball in Phoenix! Today we have the Oakland A's up against the visiting Arizona A's...err...Diamondbacks. With so many current/former Athletics on these rosters, it may be hard to tell these teams apart!
Anderson started out the game by allowing a single to Eaton, and it got quickly worse from there! Our old friend Pennington came up next and hit what should have been an easy out by Donaldson at third, but the baseball gods were not on our side. With Eaton running on the pitch, he was waived around second on Donaldson's error and apparently collided with Anderson who was covering third. Anderson left the game with a sprained right trapezius muscle, and Mike Ekstrom was called in from the bullpen.
Ekstrom may have needed a few more warm-up pitches, because he immediately allowed an RBI single to Pollock. After striking out Goldschmidt, a failed pitchout allowed Pollock to reach second and a Hinske groundout allowed Pollock to reach third. Ekstrom then unloaded a wild pitch to plate Pollock, and complete Anderson's day by allowing both his baserunners to score! Thankfully Ekstrom got out of the inning with his second strikeout, and the Top of the First From Hell finally came to a close.
Something named Skaggs came in to pitch for Arizona, and right off the bat (heh) Pollock robbed Coco of a hit to start off the bottom of the first. Lowrie and Reddick apparently wanted to get back onto the field as quickly as possible with a lineout and a groundout.
Ekstrom, having had enough excitement already, pitched a clean 3-up 3-down top of the second. The A's, on the other hand, were just getting warmed up! Donaldson started the bottom of the second with an infield single, Sizemore followed that up with a walk, and Jaso capped it off with a bunt single to load the bases with none out! Hiro got the A's on the board with a run-scoring double-play groundout. Choice, not wanting to be left out of the RBI/Out situation, hit a pop-up to first that dropped and scored Sizemore, but wasn't hit far enough to prevent him from being thrown out at second.
Doolittle came in and pitched a clean top of the third, with a strikeout to Pennington. Yet again, the A's, still not done punishing Arizona for knocking out Anderson, scored two more in the bottom of the third with a walk to Coco and a homerun by Lowrie! Around that, Barton, Reddick and Donaldson all decided to use this game to work more on defense than on offense.
Colon was called in for the fourth, and got a couple of strikeouts, but not before allowing a single and an RBI double that clanked off of Reddick's Gold Glove. Someone should remind Reddick that no matter how much he cherishes that Gold Glove, he should probably be using the leather glove while out in the field! In the bottom of the fourth, our good friend Kila Ka'aihue came in to play first for Arizona and immediately dug out a low throw from Skaggs to rob Sizemore of a base hit (or at least an E1). Jaso and Hiro decided to follow their teammate's lead and get back on the field as quickly as possible to work on their defense.
Hiro and Jaso wouldn't have to wait too long to work on their defense, as after a single by Wilson to start out the fifth, they hooked up on a strike-em-out-throw-em-out double play! Next up, Penny tested the mettle of Reddick's glove, and found little gold and plenty of leather as he lined out to end the inning! The bottom of the fifth showcased an old-A and a new-A working together to score a run-A. Barton did what Barton does, and Lowrie continued to be the only Athletic working more on offense than defense by cracking an RBI double that plated Barton. Choice, Crisp and Reddick choose to get back into the dugout as quickly as possible.
The top of the sixth sees the start of the transition from a Major League game to a Minor League game as only Choice comes back out of the dugout, leaving Crisp and Reddick behind. Lowrie, probably exhausted from proving all the offense, gets replaced by Perez at second. Colon stays in for his third inning, and allows a single and a walk before allowing his defenders to get some work in and gets out of the inning unscathed. Arizona swaps out four of their own Majors for Minors in the bottom of the sixth, and the A's respond with three groundouts.
Figueroa takes the mound in the top of the seventh, with only Barton, Hiro and Choice the remaining starting position players in the field behind him. It works, as a double off of Marte's bat is the only blemish in the inning. Apparently Barton overstayed his welcome, since in the bottom of the seventh he's hit by a pitch for the only A's baserunner of the inning.
Figueroa starts the top of the eighth inning by allowing a single and getting a couple of strikeouts. After his second strikeout, he's replaced by Okajima to face something called a Clevlen. Apparently, Okajima needs more work on his screwball as he walks Clevlen before getting out of the inning. I'm starting to get more and more confused as to who's on who's team at this point in the game, not because of the current/former A's players, but because I'm unfamiliar with the minor league players! Gameday isn't helping much, since it just showed someone wearing an Astro's hat getting a hit, and it took me a minute to figure out that he's playing for the A's (the Oakland version, not the Arizona version). Ahhhh...that's better... Seth Smith gets an RBI single! Wait, what's he doing playing in the Minor League game? Did I miss something? Keebs made an appearance, too, and walked to load the bases! A wild pitch plates another A's run before Choice K's to end the inning.
Okajima (who according to Gameday plays for the Yankees) isn't fooling anyone in the top of the ninth as he gives up a double and a homerun to start the inning. Luckily, he regains his control and finishes out the inning (and the game) with a few quick outs, including a strikeout.
The A's win! Or, to be more specific, the Oakland A's defeat the Arizona A's by the score of 7 to 5.
The offensive highlight today was provided by Lowrie, who went 2-for-3 with a homerun and 3 RBI's. He was the only Athletic with more than one hit. The other offensive highlight would have to be the fact that the A's only had one strikeout (Choice to end the 8th).
The pitching highlight is a tie between everyone not named Okajima. The standouts are Colon pitching three innings and only allowing one run with four strikeouts, and Doolittle pitching a clean inning with one strikeout.
The pitching lowlight has to be the fact that Anderson had to leave the game after pitching to just two batters (who both reached base and eventually scored). Let's hope that he's OK and will be back on the field soon!
The defensive lowlights were the A's two errors (Donaldson in the first, Choice in the ninth), and Reddick mistaking his gold glove for his leather glove in the fourth.
Hopefully this wasn't too much detail for a Spring Training game and that you enjoyed my recap!