The Giants and Athletics found themselves engaged in consecutive pitcher’s duels in San Francisco, combining for six runs with the home team plating five. A day trip across the Bay Bridge yielded a renovated Oakland Coliseum, some sun, and finally, some scoring.
Behind a pair of homers, including a grand slam, the Giants threw six runs on the board. The A’s, who averaged 6.3 runs per game in Arizona, tripled their total of runs at AT&T Park. But it wasn’t nearly enough, as Oakland fell 6-3.
Manager Bob Melvin, who is normally steadfast in his assertion that Spring Training results have little meaning, was visibly upset when speaking to media i after the game:
“I didn’t particularly care for the last three games, that is not the way you want to end spring. We swung the bat a little bit better today — we scored one run in two nights over there. … After the frustration of this, you move on, you have an off-day, and really the only games that count are during the regular season.”
It was a battle for Andrew Triggs — in his final tune-up game before assuming the No. 4 spot in the A’s regular season rotation — from the very first frame. Serving up a Brandon Belt double in front of a pair of two-out free bases — a walk and a hit batsman — put Triggs in the unenviable position of facing the power-hitting Chris Marrero with nowhere to put him.
The second-year starter narrowly escaped the threat, coaxing a fly-out from the Giants’ first baseman, but the wound was left festering and ready to erupt.
Of Triggs, who finished his afternoon being tagged with six hits and one walk while also hitting to batters, the skipper said:
“He’s got to throw the ball over the plate, a little more precisely at times — hit a couple of guys. … His breaking ball probably wasn’t as consistent as it normally is.”
San Francisco put runners on second and third again in the third, but Triggs was bailed out by a quick glove — his own. The big righty was forced to go low, but a snappy reaction allowed him to snag a liner back up the middle from Giant lead-off man Eduardo Nunez. An immediate turn to get Gorkys Hernandez at third gave the A’s an inning-ending double play.
Still, the wound was hemorrhaging.
It finally burst in the fourth, but not before the Oakland offense finally broke through against Giant rookie Tyler Beede.
Batting in the top spot, Matt Joyce smoked a liner into the right-field corner to break up the monotony of a scoreless tie driving in both Marcus Semien and Yonder Alonso, who had led off the frame with back-to-back doubles.
Beede finished tossing 4 complete, allowing five hits and two runs while striking out five.
Before he left, though, he got a chance to pitch with a lead, thanks to batterymate Nick Hundley. Hundley was the second G-Man to get a crack with the bases loaded, and crack is exactly what he did. Taking a monster swipe at a cutter that leaked a bit over the plate, the 33-year-old first-year Giant launched a grand slam well into the left field bleachers.
Triggs said the results weren’t the main focus of his final pre-season outing, rather it was regaining the confidence in that cutter, which he did:
“It had kind of taken a backseat because we’ve been working on changeups a lot lately. I threw some really good ones that I was happy with, got some swings and misses, and save for the one to Hundley which just got lazy and stayed over the plate, it was good. I accomplished what I was trying to do.”
Oakland catcher Josh Phegley cut the lead to one with an RBI double in the sixth, but Justin Ruggiano got that one back, and added another for San Francisco in the next inning with a two-run belt of his own.
The A’s challenged in the ninth, putting a pair on with two down, but they went down in search of a big hit with Adam Rosales ending the game on a ground-out.
The green and gold will open the regular season hosting the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim Monday, with Kendall Graveman getting the ball for the home team. The two teams made up the bottom of the AL West division in 2016 — A’s finishing 69-92 and Angels 74-88.
The A’s debuted their new “Champion’s Pavilion,” which featured a slew of food trucks, games — cornhole and jumbo Jenga — and a big-screen TV. The hang-out is located between the Coliseum’s West Side Club and Oracle Arena. … Prior to the game, Melvin offered his Opening Day roster, which will include 13 pitchers and 12 position players. … Sonny Gray, working his way back from an early-March lat strain, threw a flat-ground session today. Melvin said that he threw all pitches and finished felling comfortable.