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A's Continue Stellar Spring Play, Pound Diamondbacks

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  Note from Nico: The Dallas Braden interview will run at 8:00pm tonight, following the WBC game. Hope you enjoy!

A's 11, Arizona 3

After being in Phoenix live the last four days, it is a bit different to recap the radio broadcast of today’s game, but here we are. Expect pictures of the trip by Friday, including the amazing, brand-new Dodgers/White Sox stadium complex.

The Oakland A’s continued their stellar play this afternoon, as they defeated the Arizona Diamondbacks 11-3, backed by a strong start by Sean Gallagher, who allowed three hits and zero runs in his four innings pitched. Arizona was not so fortunate; they used Max Scherzer (who didn’t get out of the first), Pena, Petit, Gutierrez, and Buckner in a futile attempt to stop the A’s offensive onslaught.

The A’s got on the board early in the game; scoring their first run on singles by Cabrera, Sweeney, Cust, and a bases loaded walk by Mark Ellis. An error, a sac fly by Aaron Cunningham, and a Hannahan single led to four more runs, giving the A’s a 5-0 lead after the first inning.

Gallagher shut down the Diamondbacks in his four innings, and his replacement,  Russ Springer, pitched a scoreless fifth, but Arizona got to Vin Mazzaro for four hits, three earned runs, and three walks total; two of the runs in the sixth.

The A’s answered with four runs of their own in the bottom of the sixth; an error, a stolen base (Cunningham), a Hannahan walk, a wild pitch, and a groundout by Petit brought in one run, while the combination of a great at bat resulting in a single by Corey Wimberly (to go with his sparkling catch on a ball he had no business getting to), an RBI double by Pennington, another error, and another wild pitch scored three more.

Mazzaro came back out to throw the seventh, and struggled some more, allowing two hits and another run, and knocked down - and was almost knocked out - by a comebacker to end the inning. The A’s scored two more in the bottom of the seventh, on a triple by Josh Donaldson and yet another wild pitch, and a solo homerun by Cunningham.

Vince “third time’s a charm” Mazzaro got the first out of the eighth, but then walked two and gave up a single, loading the bases for his replacement Chris Schroder. Mazzaro was rubbing his hip as he left; I’m sure it’s just a bruise, just like all A’s injuries. Schroder made the most of his short stint in the game; striking out both batters he faced with the bases loaded, and was able to save Mazzaro further damage. Brad Kilby finished the ninth for the A’s, allowing a hit, but finishing the game. 


   Added notes from Nico, written just before his flight...

   * Sean Gallagher's fastball looked terrific, with velocity, movement, and "giddyup" to it. He couldn't throw his offspeed stuff for a strike to save his life, which is possibly to be expected given how little he has thrown this Spring. Certainly, Gallagher would not get through 4 scoreless innings in a regular season game without any command of his curve, slider, or changeup, but it is also a tribute to the quality of his fastball that he was essentially a one-pitch pitcher today, yet that one pitch was sufficient.

   * Mazzaro's stuff is good - it looked like his velocity was the best of the three MACs and the ball jumps out of his hand - but he really had no command today. If the A's feel he can generally pound the strike zone (clearly I did not see him at his best) then he's probably ready to hang in there as a #5 starter for Oakland. But if not, there could be a lot of short outings because major league hitters will make you throw strikes and Mazzaro did not throw many today.

   * Three triples! (Two by Pennington and one by Donaldson, who was 3 for 3 with a single, double, and triple during my stay in Phoenix). The "runnin' A's" are getting me excited.

       Injury updates:

      * Matt Holliday is back in camp today, and did work out, recovering from his “non-        baseball illness”.

       * Eric Chavez has worked out, but has not taken BP yet.

       * Joey Devine threw a flat-ground bullpen session.

       * Justin Duchscherer threw long toss, as planned today.