The Oakland Athletics split a pair of Cactus League games Sunday falling on the road to the San Francisco Giants and defeating the San Diego Padres at home in Mesa.
Oakland got on the board in the second against Ross Stripling and the Giants in Scottsdale. Ryan Noda jumped on a first-pitch fastball and drove it into the left-center gap for a leadoff double. After a ground out and a strikeout, Kevin Smith dropped in a single that scored Noda to make it 1-0. Cristian Pache followed with a triple to center that scored Smith to make it 2-0.
Stand-up RBI triple for Pache pic.twitter.com/FM7VHRvZad— A's on NBCS (@NBCSAthletics) March 12, 2023
JP Sears came into the game needing a good outing and he delivered early. He retired the side in order in the first and then pitched around a leadoff single in the second by getting Joey Bart to ground into an inning-ending double play. He worked a perfect third.
Thairo Estrada just missed a homer with a one-out double off the wall to start the fourth. Estrada stole third base, but Sears got LaMonte Wade Jr. to pop out for the second out. Sears was on the verge of getting out of the inning, but Wilmer Flores jumped on an 0-1 pitch and drove it out to left for a two-run home run to tie the game. Sears got Mike Yastrzemski to ground out to escape with no further damage.
Sears came back out for the fifth and retired Joey Bart on a ground out and then struck out Brett Wisely. Sears issued a free pass to Will Wilson, but then picked him off first to end the inning.
Sears would exit after the fifth. He allowed three hits and two runs over five innings. He struck out six and walked one.
Rico Garcia replaced Sears in the sixth and struck out Luis Matos to begin the inning. He then walked Austin Slater and Estrada made him pay with a triple to the gap to give the Giants a 3-2 lead.
Oakland threatened again in the eighth facing position player turned pitcher Ronald Guzman. Austin Beck worked a lead off walk and then advanced to second on another walk by Greg Deichmann. Max Muncy struck out for the first out. Guzman’s 1-0 pitch to Cody Thomas sailed all the way to the backstop allowing both runners to move up. Guzman was hurt on the play and was replaced by Juan Sanchez. Thomas then lined a 3-2 pitch to third baseman Armando Alvarez who stepped on the bag for the unassisted double play to end the inning.
The Giants added an insurance run in the eighth against Parker Dunshee. Will Wilson walked and then moved up to second base on a wild pitch. He came around to score on a soft single by Brett Auerbach to make it 4-2.
The A’s tried to put a rally together in the ninth. Michael Goldberg doubled with one out and moved to third on an errant pick off attempt. Tyler Soderstrom was hit by a pitch to put runners at the corners. Pinch-hitter William Simoneit then delivered a two-out single that scored Guldberg to cut the deficit to 4-3. Nick Morreale replaced Juan Sanchez on the mound and got Austin Beck to ground into a force play to end the game.
Oakland out hit the Giants 10 to 5, but came up short where it mattered. Cristian Pache led the way with two hits as he continued his bid for a spot on the Opening Day roster.
Back home in Mesa, the A’s offense was the difference as they homered four times to defeat the Padres.
James Kaprielian made his spring debut and had an eventful first inning. He struck out the first batter he faced and then allowed a single to Jose Azocar. Azocar moved up to second on an errant pick off throw and Kaprielian walked Rougned Odor to put runners at first and second. Both runners moved up on a passed ball by Shea Langeliers, but Kaprielian struck out Rangel Ravelo and David Dahl to end the inning.
Kaprielian came back out for the second and struck out two more before issuing back-to-back walks to Jackson Merrill and Matthew Batten. He would give way to Chase Cohen who got Luis Liberato to line out to a diving Esteury Ruiz in center to end the inning.
brb watching this @RuizEsteury catch five more times pic.twitter.com/XnoPJrDMcE— Oakland A's (@Athletics) March 12, 2023
Overall it was a solid debut for Kaprielian who showed good velocity. He allowed one hit and no runs over 1 2/3 innings. He did walk three, but struck out five.
Dany Jimenez entered to pitch in the third and allowed a solo home run to Odor to give the Padres a 1-0 lead. Jimenez stayed in to start the fourth and issued back-to-back walks to Alfonso Rivas and Pedro Severino before giving way to Sam Moll. He was treated by a single by Merrill that scored Rivas to extend San Diego’s lead to 2-0. Moll then got Matthew Batten to ground into a double play and struck out Liberato to escape with no further damage.
The Padres added on against Moll in the fifth. Jose Azocar led off the inning with a triple. Moll then struck out Odor and was replaced by Zach Jackson. Ravelo then lifted a sacrifice fly to Conner Capel in right to score Azocar to make it 3-0.
The A’s finally got something going offensively in the fifth against Padres reliever Robert Suarez. Nick Allen walked to lead off the inning, but was erased on a double play by Tyler Wade. Ruiz then singled and came around to score on a two-run home run by Conner Capel to put Oakland on the board at 3-2.
Crushed by Conner pic.twitter.com/Qedn4mY5rA— Oakland A's (@Athletics) March 12, 2023
Jackson stayed in the game for the sixth and pitched around a pair of singles in a scoreless frame. He was replaced by Joe Weiland in the seventh who surrendered another solo home run to Odor to extend the Padres’ lead to 4-2.
The A’s came roaring back in the seventh. JJ Bleday singled to get things started and then advanced all the way to third on a double by Nick Allen. Lawrence Butler then brought Bleday home with a single to cut the deficit to 4-3. Pablo Reyes followed with his first home run of the spring to put Oakland back in front 6-4.
Pablo oppo boppo pic.twitter.com/ELgQEVvNTA— Oakland A's (@Athletics) March 12, 2023
Oakland added two more runs in the eighth as Jonah Bride and JJ Bleday hit back-to-back homers. Bride’s left the park, while Bleday hammered one off the wall in center and came all the way around for an inside-the-park homer to make it 8-4.
Luis Medina allowed a two-run home run in the ninth to Preston Tucker, but closed the door from there to end the game. Bleday led the way offensively with two hits. Ruiz went 1-for-3 with a run scored. 10 of the 16 A’s players to appear in the game recorded a hit.
The A’s will hit the road again on Monday for a matchup against the Colorado Rockies. Shintaro Fujinami is scheduled to start for Oakland with lefty Kyle Muller also scheduled to pitch.