It was a rough afternoon for the Oakland Athletics who lost a pair of split squad games Sunday against the San Diego Padres and the Cincinnati Reds.
Out in Peoria, the A’s got on the board quickly as Kevin Smith took Blake Snell deep in the first inning for an early 1-0 lead.
Kevin getting us started! pic.twitter.com/HNDx7m5X4o— Oakland A's (@Athletics) March 5, 2023
Ken Waldichuk got the start for Oakland and struggled with his command early on. He walked Trent Grisham to begin the first and then later walked Jake Cronenworth to put runners at first and second with one out. Nelson Cruz then dropped a hit to right, but Ramon Laureano pitched it up and threw to second in time to force Cronenworth. However, Austin Nola delivered a run scoring single to tie the game.
Waldichuk’s struggles continued in the second as Rangel Ravelo hit a leadoff double. He moved over to third on a ground out and then scored on a sacrifice fly by Jose Azocar. Grisham followed with a single and that would be it for Walkdichuk who was replaced by Bryce Conley. Conley got Manny Machado to ground out to end the inning.
Another tough outing for Waldichuk who allowed three hits, two walks and two runs in just 1 2/3 innings.
Oakland loaded the bases in the fourth with a double, a walk and a hit batter. Esteury Ruiz then worked a walk to bring home Yohel Pozo to tie the game at 2-2.
Adrian Martinez relieved Conley and put up a zero in the third, but things went sideways in the fourth. Ravelo singled to lead off the inning. Jackson Merrill then reached on an error at second by Pablo Reyes. Azocar dropped down a bunt that Martinez fielded, but then airmailed the throw to first for another error. Ravelo scored to give the Padres back the lead 3-2. Martinez then uncorked a wild pitch that scored Merrill to make it 4-2. A sacrifice fly by Grisham scored Azocar to extend the deficit to 5-2.
Jorge Juan was unable to stop the bleeding in the fifth. San Diego loaded the bases with a hit and back-to-back walks. Merrill plated another run with a single to left to make it 6-2. A sacrifice fly by Azocar brought home another run. Luis Liberato then followed with a homer to the opposite field to bring home three more to make it 10-2.
The A’s added their final run of the game in the ninth when Denzel Clarke walked, moved to second on a wild pitch and then came around to score on a single by Cal Stevenson.
Martinez allowed three runs in two innings but all were unearned. Juan allowed three hits, two walks and five runs and retired just two hitters. Sam Moll and Zack Jackson each through a pair of scoreless innings. Smith finished with two of Oakland’s five hits in the game. Ruiz went 0-for-3 and is now 1-for-12 during the spring.
In Las Vegas, Paul Blackburn made his spring debut on the mound against the Reds. Jonathan India began the game with a walk and then moved up to second on a deep fly ball by Tyler Stephenson that Cristian Pache flagged down at the wall. India moved over to third on a wild pitch and then scored on a single by Jake Fraley.
Cincinnati broke the game open in the second against Blackburn. Two runs scored on a pair of infield singles by Michael Siani and Alex McGarry that made it 3-0. Blackburn would then exit after walking India. Jake Fishman entered and struck out Stephenson for the first out, but then walked Fraley to force in a run to make it 4-0. TJ Friedl followed with a two-run single to center to push the lead to 6-0.
Blackburn was tagged for five hits and six runs in 1+ innings. He walked two and struck out one and didn’t retire a batter in the second. All of the runs that Fishman allowed were charged to Blackburn, but he allowed one hit and walked two to go along with two strikeouts.
Luis Medina came on in the third and allowed a hit, two walks and struck out two over a pair of scoreless innings. Domingo Acevedo logged a scoreless appearance in the fifth.
The Reds struck again in the sixth against Dany Jimenez. A single and back-to-back walks loaded the bases with one out. Spencer Steer followed with a two-run single to right that extended the lead to 8-0. Jimenez got Jose Barrero to ground into an inning ending double play to escape without further damage.
Cincinnati blew the game wide open in the seventh against Norge Ruiz. Christian Encarnacion-Strand singled home McLain to make it 9-0. and then Ruiz hit Stuart Fairchild with a pitch with the bases loaded to force home another run. Ruiz struck out Nick Martini for the second out, but then allowed a two-run single to Nick Quintana to make it 12-0.
The A’s finally got on the board in the seventh as Lawrence Butler hit a one-out single to center. He moved up to second on a ground out by Max Muncy and then moved to third on a single by Cristian Pache. Butler would have scored easily on the play, but retreated to third after the third base coach threw up a late stop sign. He would score anyway on a wild pitch by Andrew Abbott to make it 12-1.
Oakland was finally able to string together some offense in the eighth inning against Reds right-hander Ben Lively. Daniel Susac doubled to left center to lead off the inning and then scored on a triple by Cody Thomas to give Oakland their second run. Thomas would score one batter later on a ground out by Kevin Cron. Zack Gelof then doubled off the wall in right and moved over to third as Ernie Clement dumped a single to center. Butler then struck again with a single to right that scored Gelof.
Pache finished with three hits. Lawrence Butler was in the middle of everything again going 2-for-3 with a walk, an RBI and a run scored. Zack Gelof was 2-for-4 at the plate. Hogan Harris allowed just one hit and no runs over the 2 1/3 innings.
Oakland will enjoy a much needed off day on Monday before continuing the Cactus League schedule Tuesday against the Arizona Diamondbacks.