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Spring Game #14: Defense Shines in Victory

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MLB: Spring Training-Milwaukee Brewers at Oakland Athletics Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

With Franklin Barreto carrying the torch and leading the offense to victory in yesterday’s game, Jorge Mateo looked determined to not be outdone. Using his speed, defense, and even some hitting, Mateo was the spark plug that allowed the A’s to get ahead early and never look back.

**Click Here to Revisit the Game Thread**

Jorge Mateo began the action today with an infield single hit between the third baseman and the shortstop. He then stole second on a pitch out, and scored on a comebacker to the pitcher, Mateo’s speed on his dash to home plate caused the White Sox’ pitcher to bobble the ball, eliminating any chance of Mateo being thrown out on the play.

Mateo grounded out in his next at bat, but he had a chance to deal a big blow in his third plate appearance, batting with one out and the bases loaded. Mateo fought off a high fastball and blooped a single into center field to drive in two more runs, restoring the A’s lead.

The young shortstop got one more plate appearance, wherein he ripped a single to right field, and advanced from first to third on a poor pickoff throw that got passed the first baseman. Mateo was also superb on defense yet again, and was an integral part of an infield that turned four double plays in the first five innings of action.

Two other members of that infield were Tony Kemp at second base and Vimael Machin at third, and each of them also had good days in their own right. Kemp was hitless at the plate but did a wonderful job making the turn at second base on double plays, and he had a good approach at the plate despite his end results. Machin looked strong at third base, and he walked twice and singled on the day at the plate, scoring a run.

The other Athletic with a great day at the plate was Jonah Heim, who began the game with two line drive singles, and capitalized by hitting a long, run scoring double in his third at bat. He did a good job of receiving at the plate as well, although his throw to second base on a stolen base attempt left a little to be desired. It will be interesting to see if Heim’s strong level of play earns him a spot on the roster at the end of the month.

The team as a whole showed really good discipline in today’s game, and worked a ton of full counts and ratcheted up White Sox pitch counts in a hurry. Greg Deichmann had a hat trick on the day, but saw seven-plus pitches in each of his at bats before going down.

Chris Bassitt got the start today in lieu of A.J. Puk. Who is fine. He has a mild shoulder strain and is being shut down for a few days. But he’s fine. He’s fine. Bassitt got off to a shaky start in this one, and generally struggled with his control in his three innings of work. The White Sox hit a booming two run home run off of Bassitt in the bottom of the first inning, and were jumping on pitches that strayed over the plate early in the count when not letting Bassitt get himself into trouble. All in all, Bassitt allowed the two runs, two hits, and two walks with no strikeouts in his start today.

Yusmeiro Petit and J.B. Wendelken each looked strong in their one inning of work. Petit allowed a hit and a walk in his inning, but also induced a lot of soft contact and got one of the A’s double plays to help him get out of trouble. J.B. Wendelken had a shutdown inning with a strikeout.

T.J. McFarland did not look as good. While he got a lot of ground balls in the inning, as he is wont to do, he also allowed three hits and a walk, with a run scored.

Wandisson Charles had a strong inning and a weak inning. All in all, he got three of five outs via strikeout, showed good velocity and movement on his pitches, and looked to be in decent control of his offerings. However, the White Sox did string four hits off of him as he faded in his second inning, and two runs scored, narrowing the A’s lead to 6-5. Fortunately, Trey Cochran-Gill and Jaime Schultz closed the door on Chicago without giving up the lead.

Another day, another victory for Oakland, who have won six games in a row dating back to Saturday. The team gets a rare, well deserved day off tomorrow, and are back in action on Thursday.