Spring Game #16: Dodgers Beat A's 10-5 After Grand Eighth

Allan Henry-USA TODAY Sports

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It looked like the auspicious kind of spring training afternoon A's fans hoped to see. Kendall Graveman, in the mix for a spot on the A's starting rotation, went 4-2/3 strong innings, and was saved from a minor jam in the 5th by a little mastery from Dan Otero. Josh Phegley homered and doubled to knock in three runs, showing the power and defensive prowess Billy Beane was looking for when acquiring his new platoon catcher, and despite Otero's two earned runs in the sixth, the A's took a 4-2 lead into the eighth with Ryan Cook on the mound.

There was nothing auspicious about Cook's performance. Instead it was like déjà vu all over again, in an effort the A's hope is not a premonition of things to come. Cook allowed a single to Austin Barnes to lead off the eighth before retiring Erisbel Arruebarrena on a fly ball to right. Then it was a hit and walk to load the bases, and Darnell Sweeney at bat. Cook threw two balls, but managed to put one squarely over home plate on pitch number three. Unfortunately Sweeney was waiting, driving the ball deep over the left field fence, and the grand slam made it 6-4.

Phegley got things going earlier with a homer in the top of the third, leading off with a first pitch shot to left. A fielder's choice off the bat of Jason Pridie started the A's scoring in the 4th, and Phegley followed up his homer by collecting two RBI's on a right field double, advancing to third on Scott Van Slyke's fielding error.

But that would be all the scoring for the A's until the 9th, when Andy Parrino's sacrifice to left provided a meaningless run to make it 10-5.

After giving up the grand slam to Sweeney, Cook allowed a base hit to Alex Guerrero and hit O'Koyea Dickson before being pulled in favor of Ryan Verdugo. Verdugo proceeded to give up homers to Scott Schebler and Chris Heisey, and the romp was on.

The big news of the day was the official announcement by Bob Melvin that Sonny Gray will be the A's starter on opening day, becoming the first Athletic to start back-to-back opening days since Barry Zito in 2005 and 2006. Last year, Gray pitched six scoreless innings but got no decision in a 2-0 loss to Cleveland.