SAN FRANCISCO –- That momentum the A’s built up during the Cactus League apparently followed them north.
The team with the majors’ best spring record rolled to another victory, 8-2, over the Giants on Thursday night in the Bay Bridge Series opener.
They hung seven of their runs on right-hander Jake Peavy, opening up a 7-0 lead by the top of the fourth. Scott Kazmir turned in an efficient six innings on the mound, and the defense chipped in some nice plays behind him.
As tough as it might be for A’s fans to digest the Giants’ run of postseason excellence, they can take a little solace in Oakland’s preseason mastery of San Francisco. The A’s are 5-0 against the Giants this spring, and 13-2 over the last 15 spring meetings.
Can the A’s bottle up some of this quality play and call on it in the regular season? They improved to 22-9-2 in the spring, and those 22 wins tie the Oakland record for most spring victories.
Starting pitching report
With so much focus on the newcomers in the A’s rotation, Kazmir’s standout spring has gone somewhat under the radar. He held the Giants to one run and four over six innings and finished the spring with a sterling 1.00 ERA. Kazmir said he’s had springs where he had one or two pitches really working. Never has he felt as dialed in with his entire repertoire as this year.
Fernando Abad, the A’s lefty specialist, began the bottom of the eighth by loading the bases with one out. But he escaped, getting Angel Pagan on a fly to left that wasn’t deep enough to score a run, and then striking out Matt Duffy.
Switch pitcher Pat Venditte, throwing left-handed, allowed Brandon Belt's leadoff homer in the ninth.
At the plate
A three-run second inning became a cardio workout for Sam Fuld and Brett Lawrie. Lawrie lined a ball to the gap in right-center and motored all the way to third for a triple. He scored on Stephen Vogt’s sacrifice fly. Later in the inning, Fuld crushed a ball high off the wall in right that went for a triple. When Giants center fielder Angel Pagan mishandled the ball, Mike Gallego waved Fuld around and he scored standing up.
Marcus Semien took a more leisurely lap around the bases that inning when he hit a deep, towering home run over the left field wall off Jake Peavy.
The A’s added four more in the fourth and chased Peavy. That rally included an RBI double down the right field line from Billy Burns. It was justification for some pregame praise from manager Bob Melvin, who credited the switch hitter for pulling the ball with more authority from the left side.
In the field
It wasn’t the best night to be a right fielder. The Giants’ Justin Maxwell looked confused as Fuld’s triple ricocheted away from him off the wall. Craig Gentry made a tough catch on a slicing liner from Angel Pagan in the first, but then missed on a leaping attempt at the wall on Brandon Belt’s double in the second.
Lost in the shuffle of the A’s terrific spring is this nugget –- their 21 errors were second-fewest in the Cactus League. They got a couple of nice plays in the field Thursday. Brett Lawrie made a nice stop on Casey McGehee’s sharp grounder toward third. First baseman Ike Davis navigated the territory near the railing well to haul in Maxwell’s high pop-up in the second.
The announced turnout was 41,581.
Kendall Graveman, named Oakland’s No. 4 starter, takes the ball in Friday’s 7:15 p.m. game at AT&T Park. He’ll oppose Matt Cain.