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Jesse Hahn (W, 1-2) recorded his first victory this spring, striking out 2 and allowing only 4 hits over 5 innings. Strong defense and broken bats helped him overcome his only trouble spots and the one error on a pick-off attempt. Hahn kept his fastball in on the hands of the Reds’ hitters, and in the few cases where he struggled, he went to the curve. This was especially effective against Boesch who has been tearing it up during spring training. All in all, a nice outing and a solid showing for a pitcher working for a spot in a quality rotation. Scribner struggled a bit in relief and gave up 1 run and 4 hits over 4 innings. He struck out 3 and walked 2, and Abad and Whelan finished the Reds off in perfect fashion.
On the offensive side, Phegley showed off his power with a 2-3 performance and a two-run shot in the 6th off Chapman. He wasn’t the only A’s hitter who showed up either. Although Lawrie went 1-3, his hit was a three-run home run in the first inning. Sogard also had 3 RBIs to go along with 2 doubles. Canha, coming in for Vogt in the 6th, also had 2 doubles. Crisp did nothing at the plate, striking out twice, but he got some more time in his new spot in left field. All told, Oakland scored 8 runs on 12 hits and stranded 5 in the process.
The Reds couldn’t get anything going against the A’s and their bullpen, an issue from last season, gave up 5 runs. Only Byrd and Negron had more than one hit, with Negron picking up the RBI as well as adding a triple off Scribner. Speedy Billy Hamilton was caught stealing in the 6th--nice to see Phegley showing off the arm, since this is an area where Oakland struggled last year. Starting pitcher Iglesias (L, 0-2) gave up 5 runs over 3 innings and struck out 4. Although the Reds’ pitchers only walked one batter and played error-free, even fireballer Chapman got knocked around by the Oakland hitters.
With the victory, Oakland moves to 13W-7L-1 and Cincinnati falls to 8W-9L-2, for whatever that’s worth. And in miscellaneous notes, Zobrist’s wife nailed the national anthem and our announcers could not stop talking about Sogard’s socks. It was that sort of game.
Coming into spring training, there was little doubt that pitching would be Oakland’s strength, but given the dramatic re-shaping of the lineup, this game was an encouraging sign for any questions about their ability to hit and play defense. The caveat being, again, that it’s only spring training and there are plenty of mirages. But this game should do much to bolster the confidence of the team and its fans with only two weeks to go until the season starts.