If baseball games lasted seven innings, we would have missed out on a lot of excitement. The A's won both halves of their split-squad simultaneous double header, beating the Giants and the Padres.
In the Giants game, Gio Gonzalez looked fantastic, shutting out the Giants and registering three strikeouts in as many innings, with only one walk. Matt Cain wasn't nearly as sharp, allowing eight hits and five runs in 2.2 innings of work. The A's offense scored early and often, with Mark Ellis, Daric Barton, and Gabe Gross garnering two RBIs apiece. Ellis, in particular, looked very good as he had two singles and one double. After leading 8-3 in the middle of the fifth inning, the A's bullpen allowed four runs over the rest of the game--enough to make it close. The A's held on to win it 8-7.
The other game was essentially a crazier version of the first. The A's jumped out to an early 3-0 lead, but A's starting pitcher Clay Mortensen had trouble facing the lineup the second time. It was a close game until the bottom of the 8th, when the A's offense tagged San Diego's top prospect Aaron Poreda for three runs, with the help of walks and wild pitches. Not to be outdone, A's propect Fautino de los Santos immediately put five San Diego runs on the board. Cedrick Bowers stopped the bleeding, but the damage was done--the Padres led 9-8. In the bottom of the 9th, Dallas McPherson smacked an opposite-field home run, tying the game. The A's loaded the bases in the bottom of the tenth, when Adrian Cardenas scampered home from third on an error.
Tomorrow the A's take on the Kansas City Royals in Phoenix Municipal Stadium at 1:05 PM.
EYEBALL UPDATE FROM NICO -
First of all, thank you, danmerqury, for providing an insta-recap! You da man.
Some of this has been said already, but what stood out at the A's-Giants game was that Barton looked terrific, both at the plate and defensively; IMO, there's just no reason 1B should be anything but his at this point. I expect Coco Crisp to be DLed to start the season, which could allow Barton and Chavez and Fox and Rosales all to make the initial roster (with Cust and/or Chavez-Fox serving as backup OFers). But one way or the other, Barton needs to be the everyday 1Bman until further notice.
Also, Gio really threw the ball well. He threw a lot of strikes (he got through the 1st inning on 6 pitches, 5 strikes) and his curve was a "half-swing and a miss" pitch. He also threw one pitch that Buster Posey missed, throwing his bat into the 3rd base coaches box, and I thought it was a changeup -- if so, that's a really good sign.
And Michael Taylor just doesn't look ready. He ran a ways and got to a fly ball into left-center, which he promptly dropped (it was charitably ruled a double), swung at 9 of the first 10 pitches he saw and missed most of them, and seemed to struggle with reaching down to his a fastball at the knees.
See you tomorrow! -Nico