Hard to say goodbye San Francisco Giants pitcher Sergio Romo (54) is emotional after exiting his last game in his MLB career retiring to the applause of the Giants fans and players in a exhibition game against the Oakland A’s’ at Oracle Park in San Francisco on Mon Mar 27, 2023 (@SFGiants photo)
Oakland. 2 2. 0. 0. 3. 4. 1. 0. 0. – 12. 15. 1
San Francisco. 1. 0. 1. 0. 0. 0 4. 0. 0 – 6. 7. 0
By Lewis Rubman
SAN FRANCISCO–This evening’s closing pre-season game for both the A’s and the Giants was to have honored a player who was an important part of each team’s bullpen at various times over his 15 year MLB career, Sergio Romo. Romo’s having pitched on both sides of the bay mirrored his frontier background.
He was born in Brawley, but came from a baseball -playing Mexicali family. I once read an article in the Mexicali press (I wish I could locate it) that reported that when Romo was in Brawley, he was treated like a Mexican and that when he was in Mexicali, he was treated like an American.
In neither place did that mean he was treated like an honored guest. Maybe that explains why his walk up song, Préndeme el mechón (more or less, “Light My Fire”) celebrates always moving somewhere else.
I particularly remember one incident from Romo’s stint in Oakland. After a night game, a pair of youngsters, about 10 years old, were waiting in the cold by the exit to the players’ parking lot. Car after car zoomed past them, but none stopped or even slowed down.
Then a pick up (or maybe it was an SUV) whizzed by with the driver’s window open. One of the kids shouted out, “Romo!” The vehicle stopped abruptly, backed up, and two young fans were the proud owners of a Sergio Romo autograph.
The Giants honored Romo by signing him to a minor league contract and announcing they would plan to let him make a farewell performance sometime during this evening’s contest.
The A’s also added another veteran reliever to their roster, but this signing was less ceremonial. They agreed with Jeurys Familia on the terms of a a one-year contract shortly before yesterday’s ugly but, in a weird way hopeful, 9-5 defeat by the Giants.
Oakland placed left-handed pitcher Kirby Sneadon the injured list to make room for Familia on their roster. The familiar face pitched an inning, surrendering an unearned run on two hits while chalking up a pair of Ks. 16 of his 22 pitches qualified as strikes.
Ross Stripling, the Giants’ starter tonight, began the evening with a record that perfectly matched his team’s could-go-any-way condition. He has a lifetime major league record of 38-38, 3.78 with the Dodgers and Blue Jays and had gone 1-1, 5.00 in the Cactus League for San Francisco this spring.
The 33 year old righty got off to a rocky start, surrendering a first inning two run homer to Jesús Aguilar that travelled just over the glove of a leaping Bryce Johnson 399 feet in to center field gardens at the 391 foot sign. The just good enough blast came off an 89 mph four seamer.
Things didn’t get better for Stripling. He ended up pitching five innings, in which he surrendered nine runs, all of them earned, on 11 hits, three of them for the distance, and a walk. He also was charged with the loss.
Stripling’s mound rival, also throwing from the starboard side was James Kaprielian, who brought a big league balance sheet of 13-14, 2.40 and a spring training mark of 1-1, 2.53, with him. Last year he went 5-9 with a 4.23 ERA and .735 opponents OPS in 26 starts.
Kaprielian began his evening’s labor by coughing up half of the two run lead he’d been given. He hit LaMonte Wade, Jr., the Giants’ leadoff hitter. Wade advanced to second what was first considered an infield single by Michael Conforto. Oakland appealed first base umpire Bill Miller’s call, which was reversed upon review.
Joc Pedereson’s single to left drove Wade home. But he improved after that and ended up with a line of 5-1/3 innings pitched, two runs allowed, both earned, on five hits, two walks, and a hit batter, with six strike outs. He was the winning pitcher.
Undaunted, the green and gold tacked on two more tallies in the second on Ryan Noda’s single to left, a triple to right center by Shea Langeloiers, and Estury Ruíz’s sac fly to right center made it 4-1 in favor of the visitors. The orange and black countered with a run in their half of the third, Brandon Crawford’s single to right plating David Villar.
In the top of the fifth, Ramón Laureano got ahold of an 82 mph change up and turned it into a 392 foot home run to left, his first round tripper of the pre-se soon, giving Oakland a 7-2 lead, which became 9-2 in the next inning a two run 396 foot blast to left center that ended Stripling’s stint on the mound.
Although the crowd chanted “Romo, Romo,” it was Tyler Rogers who entered the fray. Just to shake things up a bit, the two run homer he gave up to Brown went to right field. Believe it or not, the rag tag bunch from the east bay was leading, 11-2.
After the A’s finally were retired in the sixth and Zach Jackson had disposed of the Giants in their half of inning. Romo made his entry to the thunderous applause of the 30,254 fans whip were watching.
Although left as he had arrived, to thunderous applause, it was the A’s batters who supplied most of the thunder to his brief mound activity. He didn’t retire a single man he faced but gave up a run on a pair of hits and a walk. Oakland led 12-2 at his departure, and Mauricio Rivera kept it that way.
The Giants staged a modest uprising in the home seventh, but like Oakland’s ninth inning flare up, it fell short. Trevor May was tagged for four runs on four hits and four walks before minor leaguer Rico García for Oakland put an end to the threat. Tyler Rogers’ brother Taylor pitched a scoreless top of the eighth for the Giants.
Domingo Acevedo struck out the side in the home half of the inning, and Camino Duval set the A’s down in order in the top of the ninth. Calvin Coker, an extra like García, from the minor league camp,
The A’s season starts this Thursday, the 30th, at the Coliseum. The promising Kyler Muller will try to strut his stuff against the Angels, who will send Shoei Ohtani to the mound in what promises to be a–shall we call it “interesting”–match up. The an action is scheduled to start at 7:07, and we’ll be there. Meanwhile, Giants will fly to New York to test their mettle against the Yankees. Logan Webb will start for San Francisco, and Gerritt Cole will take the mound for the Yanks at Yankee Stadium a 10:05 AM first pitch.