A’s top Giants in Cactus League with power display

Oakland Athletics’ Alejandro De Aza, left, gets caught in a run downbetween San Francisco Giants third baseman Jae-Gyun Hwang, right, and shortstop Brandon Crawford during the second inning of a spring baseball game in Mesa, Ariz., Friday, March 3, 2017. (AP Photo/Chris Carlson)

Sports Radio Service
Friday, March 3, 2017

MESA, Ariz. – San Francisco pitcher Jeff Samardzija admits he’ll miss his catcher during the upcoming World Baseball Classic, but at the same time, he’s not too worried, either.

Giants backstop Buster Posey will be playing for Team USA in the WBC, which means Samardzija will be throwing to a different catcher for a while.

“I can’t say that’s happened before,” Samardzija said in the visitors’ clubhouse at Hohokam Stadium following his start against Oakland. “We’ll find out, but I don’t think it’ll be that big of a deal.

“Buster might be a little more worried about it, but he’s such a professional, so ready to go. He’s done this enough times that he knows where he needs to be come March 20 (when the WBC ends). I hope he has a good time with (the WBC). They’ll have three catchers rotating there, so he’ll be in and out and I look forward to him having a good competition out there.”

Samardzija added, “We look forward to him representing the country well and come back to us healthy. … and win it!”

Oakland manager Bob Melvin was pleased overall with the offensive power display Friday, and the innings he got from his bullpen, in particular, right-handers Paul Blackburn and Liam Hendricks..

“Blackburn has been very impressive,” Melvin said. “A long inning kind of took him out of his rhythm. We got him in the (Danny) Valencia trade from Seattle, and he’s got good stuff.

“(Liam) Hendricks was up in the zone a little bit, but his command was sharp and he was throwing the ball where he wanted to, He’s got subtle movement with everything he throws, keeps the ball down, his breaking ball is kind of short and he’s got a good changeup. His sinker is a late sinker, He’s doing a nice job for us.”

Oakland won 6-1 before 8,203 enthusiastic fans at Hohokam. Austin Slater, who replaced Hunter Pence in right field for San Francisco, drove in the only Giants run.

The Athletics, meanwhile, displayed some good bursts of power. Mark Canha smacked a pair of doubles, and Alejandro De Aza and Jaff Decker each had one two-bagger. Oakland also had home runs from Kenny Wilson, Yonder Alonso and Ryon Healy – the first of the spring for each.

Both the Giants and A’s used six pitchers in the game. Kendall Graveman threw the first two innings to get the win for Oakland, while Samardzija took the loss after tossing 2 2/3 innings.

Samardzija (0-1) struck out three without a walk, but also gave up a home run. Graveman struck out one and walked one while giving up one hit.

The Swingin’ A’s are 4-3 in Cactus League play, while the Giants are 3-6.


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