The Oakland Athletics were unable to generate much offense Saturday in a 4-2 loss to the Cleveland Guardians.
Ken Waldichuk came into the game looking to bounce back after a couple of rough appearances, but found himself quickly in trouble against the Guardians. Steven Kwan led off the first inning with a double and then came around to score on a two-run home run by Jose Ramirez.
Waldichuk retired Oscar Gonzalez to start the second, but then walked Gabriel Arias and then gave up another two-run shot to Mike Zunino. He then took a line drive to his non-pitching arm off the bat of Myles Straw. Trainers checked on him, but he stayed in the game. He then walked Kwan and allowed a single to Amed Rosario, but got Ramirez to fly out to avoid anymore damage.
Oakland got on the scoreboard in the third. Kevin Smith got things started by reaching on an infield single. He then came all the way around to score on a double by Lawrence Butler to make it 4-1. Butler moved to third on a throwing error by Aaron Civale on a pick off attempt and then scored on a sacrifice fly by Tony Kemp.
Waldichuk retired the side in order in the third and then struck out Arias to start the fourth. He would exit after issuing a walk to Zunino. He was replaced on the mound by Domingo Acevedo who got Straw to ground into a double play to end the inning.
Waldichuk’s line was ugly again as he allowed four hits, three walks and four runs in 3 1/3 innings. He struck out one and allowed two home runs.
Acevedo allowed a single and a walk in the fifth, but came away unscathed. Chad Smith struck out the side in the sixth. Ryan Cusick entered the game in in the seventh for Oakland and struck out two in a scoreless frame. He stayed in the game to start the eighth and allowed a single to David Fry, but then retired the next two hitters before exiting. Cusick allowed a hit and a walk to go along with two strikeouts in 1 2/3 scoreless innings.
Lawrence Butler went 1-for-3 in the game and is now 7-for-14 with two doubles, a triple and a homer during the spring. Jonah Bride and Kevin Smith accounted for Oakland’s other two hits in the game. Acevedo, Smith, Cusick and Long combined to allow just two hits, two walks and no runs over the final 4 2/3 innings.
The Athletics will be back in action again on Sunday when they host the San Diego Padres at Hohokam Stadium. Right-hander James Kaprielian is scheduled to make his spring debut for Oakland.