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Spring Game #2: Mark Canha, Alejandro De Aza with big hits but A’s fall short 5-3 to Angels

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The Athletics are still looking for their first win of the spring, but it’s fine.

Chicago White Sox v Oakland Athletics
Mark Canha bats at Opening Night 2016.
Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

The Athletics lost Sunday’s HoHoKam Stadium opener to the Angels, 5-3. Mark Canha and Jaycob Brugman each drove in a run while Andrew Lambo scored on a wild pitch. Most of the runs the A’s conceded were off of non-roster invitee Aaron Kurcz, who gave up two walks that both scored in the top of the seventh inning.

*** Click here to revisit today’s Game Thread! ***

Fifth starter race

Daniel Gossett was moved into today’s starter’s spot after Sonny Gray’s World Baseball Classic participation cancellation rearranged the rotation schedule. Kendall Graveman will start tomorrow, instead, with Sean Manaea pitching in relief.

Bob Melvin was quoted by the San Francisco Chronicle’s Susan Slusser as suggesting that Gossett could play his way into the fifth starter discussion. He conceded two walks but didn’t allow any hits in two innings of work. Of note is that the Angels left their top starters back in Tempe, with Mike Trout and Kole Calhoun among the others not rostered for today’s contest.

Paul Blackburn tossed a scoreless fourth and fifth, inducing four ground balls and striking out one.

Good hitting

Mark Canha again just hooked a baseball to the left of the foul pole, showing that the injury he suffered last year appears to not have had a permanent deleterious effect. He hit a double instead with a ground ball that hit the third base bag and jumped over a diving Luis Valbuena.

Alejandro De Aza also seeks to be seen as an option for the A’s in center field. As today’s lead off hitter he tripled in the third to be scored by Canha one batter later. De Aza also dropped a good sacrifice bunt in the fifth that allowed Andrew Lambo to be in position to score on a wild pitch.

Franklin Barreto had himself a nice afternoon with two singles. Ryan Lavarnway doubled and scored in the seventh.

Defense watch

Today’s catchers impressed this afternoon. Josh Phegley, making his first start behind the play since July, threw out Jefry Marte trying to steal second in the second. Ryan Lavarnway followed in the fifth by retiring shortstop Nolan Fontana.

The A’s errorless streak for spring lasted 14 23 innings before Trevor Plouffe booted a sharp grounder in the sixth. This time last spring, the A’s had already committed four errors through three games in two days on their way to an MLB-high 45 for the preseason.

Franklin Barreto showed decent range, though he short-hopped his throws to first on at least three occasions. Yonder Alonso and Matt Olson rescued him on each occasion, with Olson throwing back across the diamond in the sixth to throw out a wandering Kaleb Cowart.

Up next

The A’s visit Scottsdale Stadium to play the first of two exhibitions against the Giants in Arizona. First pitch is slated for 12:05 Pacific/1:05 Mountain with Kendall Graveman to take the start followed by Sean Manaea. The teams will be racing a weather system that’s due to arrive in the afternoon and get worse as the day continues on.

But from HoHoKam Stadium in Mesa, Ariz., it was the A’s 3, the Angels 5.