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Spring Game #20: Strong Pitching Secures A’s Victory

MLB: Spring Training-San Francisco Giants at Oakland Athletics Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports

In a well-pitched ballgame, the A’s edged out the Padres in a 2-1 win. Potential opening day starter Kendall Graveman had the biggest performance of the day, as the A’s finally put an end to their spring-skid.

***Click Here to Revisit Game Thread***

The star of the show today was Kendall Graveman. Over the course of six innings pitched, Graveman would only allow two baserunners, his usual contact-heavy approach on the mound paying off higher dividends than usual. The sinkerballer started his day off by striking out two of the first three Padres he faced, Luis Sardinas swinging and Jabari Blash looking. His second inning would go nearly as well, earning himself yet another strikeout and continuing to keep all Padres off base. From the moment the game began, it was clear that Graveman was working quickly and throwing lots of strikes, moving the game along at an unexpectedly quick pace.

Graveman would run into trouble in the third inning, as he faced the bottom of the Padres order. After getting a strikeout of Brett Wallace, his fourth of the game, to begin the third, the former Royals’ prospect Dusty Coleman took a first-pitch mistake from Graveman deep to right-center field to give the Padres their first hit and run and lead of the game. Graveman was unfazed, however, and, over the course of the next three innings of the game, Graveman netted two more strikeouts and only surrendered one hit, a soft single to Luis Sardinas, who himself would get thrown out at second base by Bruce Maxwell behind the dish. Overall, for his final line, Graveman would pitch six complete innings, giving up just the two hits, no walks, just the one run, and six strikeouts. It was a dominant performance.

Ryan Dull is the A’s best reliever, and his appearance today in relief of Graveman fully demonstrated that fact. Dull would only need to face three batters in his day of work, earning himself a 1-2-3 inning with a soft groundout to second base and a pair of strikeouts to follow up. Frankie Montas, still being viewed as a starting pitcher, but likely to be used out of the bullpen at the big league level this year, would finish out the strong day of pitching for the A’s. Over two innings pitched, Montas would scatter two hits, but neither baserunner would threaten to score as his dominant stuff was able to stifle the Padres’ bats and starve off any possible rally, with the A’s clinging on to a slim lead. Over the course of the entire game, the A’s pitching staff as a whole did not walk a single batter, while striking out nine total, and only allowed four Padres to reach base all afternoon. It was truly a strong, team-wide effort on the mound today.

The A’s offense was rather quiet today as well, but it displayed a willingness to walk that had been absent for the past few spring training games. The second of these walks was Adam Rosales, rounding out the bottom of the A’s order, who would be singled to third base on a ground ball to left field by Rajai Davis. With runners on second and third base, Luis Perdomo, the Padres’ starting pitcher who struggled with command all day, uncorked a wild pitch that allowed Rosales to come scampering home for the A’s first run, a run that would tie the game up at one apiece in the third inning.

From the third until the seventh, the A’s offense was more or less stifled beyond the occasional single or error, but to get things started in the late innings, Mark Canha smashed a fly ball double to center field in the top of the seventh inning. It was then that Adam Rosales, who had begun the rally in the third inning with his walk, strode to the plate with one out and grounded a single up the middle that was well-placed enough to allow Canha to score easily. Rosales would be thrown out at second base on the play, trying to draw a throw, but the run crossing the plate would give the A’s a 2-1 lead and, with the way the A’s were pitching all day, that would be more than enough to secure the victory.

This game was a quickie, lasting only a bit over two hours from start to finish. The pitching from the green and gold was masterful, and the offense did just enough to give the team the win, 2-1. Tomorrow, the A’s take on the Rockies at 1:10.