By Morris Phillips
OAKLAND–Apparently the A’s starting rotation isn’t the season-opening mess it appeared to be in Japan.
Projected No. 3 starter Brett Anderson breezed through six innings of work, allowing just three hits, as the A’s opened the Bay Bridge exhibition series with a 5-0 win. Frankie Montas, also slated for the starting rotation, looked good as well, pitching the final three innings and chalking up three strikeouts.
After staff ace Mike Fiers and No. 2 Marco Estrada had subpar outings against the Mariners in Tokyo, manager Bob Melvin was pleased to see the 31-year old Anderson carry over his sharpness that he developed in Arizona.
“He’s really pitched well. You really don’t go on spring training results for guys like him but it’s nice to see him in the fashion that he is,” Melvin said.
The A’s may have carried greater urgency than a normal exhibition given they’re already saddled with an unsightly 0-2 regular season record, but it wasn’t readily apparent. Melvin noticed a lack of energy in batting practice he attributed to jet lag.
“It seemed like we were kind of sleepwalking through. But you put a couple of good swings on them and the next thing you know you’ve got five runs on the board,” Melvin noted.
The lack of energy dissipated once the game started as the A’s got home runs from Stephen Piscotty, Jurickson Profar and Ramon Laureano to account for all the game’s scoring. That was plenty given the sharp efforts of Anderson and Montas. Piscotty connected in the first with Matt Chapman aboard, Profar added a solo shot in the fourth (in his A’s debut at the Coliseum), and Laureano capped the scoring with a two-run shot in the seventh.
Dereck Rodriguez took the loss for the Giants, allowing two of the three homers in his four innings of work.
The A’s open the regular season on Thursday at the Coliseum against the Angels, the first of a four-game set. Game time at 1:07 pm.