San Francisco Giants make steady gains, while A’s come out on top


It was spring training deja vu all over again for the San Francisco Giants, Saturday afternoon, as the Oakland A’s had their way, 5-2, at HoHoKam Stadium. After spotting the Giants two runs in the top of the first, the A’s took a 4-2 lead after two and cruised to the March win. The Orange and Black mustered only one hit after the third inning, while dropping to 3-8-1 in the early going of the spring schedule.

There were some positive elements to the game from the pitching corps, as the A’s scored only once after the second inning. After starter Matt Cain, making his second start after a two-perfect-inning stint, gave up six singles and four earned runs in an inning and two-thirds, five San Francisco pitchers combined to limit Oakland to one run over the rest of the game. Two of the six hits off the returning ace were of the infield variety.

Saturday was not the day to play shortstop for the Giants and the task fell to Matt Duffy. In the second inning both Andy Parrino and Niuman Romero managed to place the ball so that Duffy could make a play on it, but not complete the putout at first. Romero doubled down by victimizing Duffy again in the fourth, when he hit sent a liner that the erstwhile backup infielder got a glove on, but then saw it trickle into short left field and the A’s had their third infield hit off of Duffy. 

Mar 6, 2015; Surprise, AZ, USA; San Francisco Giants second baseman Matt Duffy hits a home run against the Texas Rangers during a spring training baseball game at Surprise Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Braulio Lara relieved Cain with two outs in the second and immediately gave up the fourth run charged to Cain, on a double by Ben Zobrist, the versatile Tampa Bay Ray so eagerly sought by the Giants over the off-season. After that, however, Lara (2.1 IP/3 H/ 0 ER/1.93 ERA), Jake Dunning (1 IP/ 0 R/1 K), Jeremy Affeldt (1-2-3, 1 K), Santiago Casilla (1 IP/3 H/1 ER, 3.18 ERA), and Brett Bochy (1 IP, 1 BB, 2.25 ERA) completed the pitching duties for the day.

The Giants scored twice in the first inning, when Gregor Blanco and Matt Duffy led off the game with back-to-back singles, and after Travis Ishikawa hit a come-backer, Casey McGehee doubled to right field to drive them both home. McGehee added a second double later in the game and is now batting .500 this spring, with four doubles and no home runs. McGehee’s line this early going looks like this: 500/.524/.700/1.224.

For the A’s Jesse Chavez started and went four-and-a-third innings, giving up the two first-inning runs and five hits, with no walks and four K’s. Fernando Rodriguez (3 BB), Jim Fuller, Angel Castro (2 BB) and Brock Huntzinger (1 BB) one-hit the Giants over the final four-and-two-thirds innings of the game, though they coughed up six walks, none of which San Francisco could take advantage.

After the game, Bochy expressed confidence in Cain and said he is where the Giants want him to be.

Bruce Bochy has expressed confidence that Matt Cain is right where he needs to be.

Bochy said that the goal was to get him up to ninety pitches by the start of the season (he doubled his number to 44 in

Saturday’s start) and he was on pace to do so.

Sergio Romo’s sore shoulder has improved to the point that he threw a successful bullpen session on Tuesday, and will pitch in Sunday’s game. Tim Lincecum’s sore neck continues to bother him.

Oct 4, 2014; Washington, DC, USA; San Francisco Giants first baseman Brandon Belt (9) is greeted in the dugout after hitting a solo home run in the eighteenth inning against the Washington Nationals in game two of the 2014 NLDS playoff baseball game at Nationals Park. Mandatory Credit: H. Darr Beiser-USA TODAY Sports

In a split-squad, B-game on Saturday, Brandon Belt connected for a big fly and a triple in a 5-2 loss to the Arizona Diamondbacks. Belt’s line early on looks like this: .435 (10 for 23) .519/.913/1.432. He is the only Giant to have hit two home runs so far.

Am I worried about the 3-8-1 record? No. I would prefer that it be 8-3-1 but this is not a team that has to prove itself during spring training.

Besides, they seem to do okay in October.