The Oakland A’s played a pair of split-squad games on Saturday, and after losing the opener to Seattle they salvaged the finale against the Giants with a comfortable 8-3 victory.
Oakland’s offense wasted no time in this one, as they put up a 4-spot in the opening frame. It started with a gift, as Franklin Barreto led off by reaching on an error by Gold Glover Brandon Crawford, but the lineup earned the rest off of lefty pitcher Ty Blach — line drive doubles by Matt Joyce and Jake Smolinski, and then a homer by Sheldon Neuse. The dinger was Neuse’s fourth of the spring, which now leads the entire team.
The A’s kept it rolling in the 3rd. Stephen Piscotty led off with a triple, and Matt Olson knocked him in with a sac fly. In the 4th, Anthony Garcia and Steve Lombardozzi led off with back-to-back doubles, with both eventually coming around to score. By this point, Oakland held a 7-0 lead that they wouldn’t relinquish.
They later manufactured one final run, when Bruce Maxwell led off the 6th with a single, advanced on two productive groundouts, and scored on a wild pitch. Themes for the day: Getting the leadoff man aboard, and capitalizing on opponent’s mistakes in the field.
The Giants began to put together a comeback effort against Oakland starter Andrew Triggs, but it wasn’t nearly enough. Triggs faced the minimum through three innings, but not in the most ideal way — twice he walked a batter and then eliminated him on a GIDP. In the 4th, though, his wildness caught up with him. A single, a walk, and a HBP loaded the bases with nobody out, and although he induced another GIDP, this time it scored a run. Another single plated one more and ended Triggs’ day. Fortunately, Chris Bassitt came in and managed to escape the jam despite issuing two more walks.
San Francisco scratched out one more run in the 5th off of reliever Eric Jokisch, but it wasn’t really Jokisch’s fault. A leadoff bunt single advanced to second base on a bad throw by Neuse, then a groundout and a sac fly brought him in. That was all they could muster, though, as Daniel Gossett came in and threw zeroes for the rest of the afternoon. A’s win!
A few notable performances in the box score:
- Triggs: 3⅔ ip, 2 runs, 4 Ks, 3 BB, 2 hits, HBP
Not his best effort, especially in terms of giving out too many free baserunners. On the bright side, he did an excellent job of limiting the damage thanks to his ability to keep the ball on the ground. Whenever the Giants threatened, he picked up a key grounder for a double play instead of surrendering a big fly for a back-breaking extra-base hit. He’s also racking up Ks this spring (16, in 15⅓ innings).
Someone didn't study up on their Triggsonometry. pic.twitter.com/5aQ0isuQoO— Oakland Athletics ⚾️ (@Athletics) March 18, 2018
- Gossett: 4 ip, 0 runs, 5 Ks, 2 BB, 2 hits
We’ll take any strong performance we can get out of a potential starter. Gossett was pitching the late innings of a spring game, but he did get to face legit MLB hitters for one full turn through the lineup. Also:
Cool moment as childhood friends and HS and college teammates Daniel Gossett and Steven Duggar squared off in the A’s/Giants split-squad. Gossett got Duggar to fly out.— Melissa Lockard (@melissalockard) March 18, 2018
- Neuse: 2-for-4, HR, 2B, 2 RBI
Just keep hitting.
Had the batter's eye not been there, @sheldonneuse would've had his second homer of the day. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯— Oakland Athletics ⚾️ (@Athletics) March 17, 2018
- Barreto: 2-for-4, K
Let’s check in on Barreto Watch — 12 Ks in 42 PAs (28.6%), but 1.053 OPS to make up for it (on a .385 BABIP). Can’t wait to see what he does when the real games start.
- Olson: 1-for-3, 2B, sac fly, RBI
As long as we’re counting Ks, Olson has only 9 in 43 PAs (20.9%). Remember how worried folks were about whether he would make enough contact, just 12 months ago?
The A’s are back in action on Sunday against the White Sox. For the A’s, exciting lower-minors prospect Jesus Luzardo will make the start.