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Spring Game #9: A’s score a run! But allow seven in loss

At least it was on TV though

MLB: Spring Training-Texas Rangers at Oakland Athletics Allan Henry-USA TODAY Sports

Let’s not dwell on this one.

The Oakland A’s lost again Sunday, to the Seattle Mariners by a 7-1 score. Spring training standings don’t matter, and we’re mostly concerned with taking a look at prospects and positional battles.

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

A few familiar veterans got their reps early on. Frankie Montas started on the mound and put in three innings, getting roughed up a bit as he prepares for games that count. Tony Kemp and Chad Pinder each had a hit, and Sean Murphy hit an opposite-field drive that looked like a homer off the bat but barely stayed in a deep part of the park for a double.

As for the prospects, Cristian Pache had a nice day. The box score says he went 0-for-4, but he was robbed of extra bases on a sharp drive to LF, and later he hustled to beat out a grounder and avoid a double play. On defense he made a few impressive catches, including one coming in and diving into the right-center gap, and another ranging deep into the left-center gap, and another sprinting straight back toward the wall (see below).

Infielder Kevin Smith played third base, a position he’s still learning, but which could be a possible destination for him in April. He made a solid play diving to his left into the hole to snare a grounder, then delivered a throw to first for the out.

Oakland only managed five hits overall, with the others being a Dalton Kelly infield single and a Christian Lopes double.

Like yesterday, the A’s avoided a shutout at the last minute. They were blanked for the first seven innings, but in the 8th they rallied behind Lopes’ double. They finally got a run on an RBI groundout by Vince Fernandez, who was selected over the winter in the minor league phase of the Rule 5 draft.

The bullpen had a couple positive performances. Zach Jackson continues to look like a serious candidate as a power arm, and Ryan Castellani keeps showing a promising breaking ball that can be placed in the zone and also miss bats. Castellani was sent back to the minors after the game, but that’s not necessarily an indictment after a good spring so far.

It’s just practice for now. Hopefully the A’s will practice winning some spring games too, but the positive takeaways are more likely to matter in two weeks when the season starts.