The Oakland Athletics’ pitching was spot on as they worked their way to their first shutout win of the Spring. The A’s squared up against the Diamondbacks, and walked away with a 2-0 win. Scott Kazmir looked to be in great shape as he worked 3 scoreless innings. Here’s how it all went down.
Things got off to a great start as Kazmir stood on the mound and retired the first three hitters by getting them to ground out. This was causing Alberto Callaspo, who debuted at 1st base today, to get in a lot of work.
The next inning he saved Callaspo some trouble, by getting one ground out from Mark Trumbo to start the inning, before striking out two straight batters in Aaron Hill and Matt Tuiasosopo.
The 3rd inning made people a little nervous. He gave up two back to back singles, but quickly avoided trouble by getting Didi Gregorius to ground into a double play, then getting A.J. Pollock to pop up to second basemen Jake Elmore. Kazmir proved to be up to speed with the rest of the pitching staff despite this being his first start of the Spring.
Then along came Jesse Chavez, who still had yet to give up a run. He had made 2 previous starts, both times putting up only shutout innings. In the 4th inning, he gave up a lead-off single, but then got Martin Prado to fly out to center field. He then proceeded to get a double play ground ball from Mark Trumbo.
In the 5th, he got another ground out from Aaron Hill, then went on to strike Tuiasosopo out as well as Nick Evans. He had two innings of work in after that, so most assumed that would be all he would get, but that wasn’t the case.
Bob Melvin let Chavez pitch in the 6th as well, seeing as how Chavez is the long reliever in the A’s bullpen. He did not disappoint, getting two more strikeouts and a fly out. That earned him the 7th inning as well, where he started the inning with yet another strikeout followed by two ground outs. In total, Chavez pitched 4 shutout innings, keeping his no runs allowed streak alive.
With two hard acts to follow up, Joe Savery was given the ball for the 8th inning. He kept the trend going with 3 straight outs, two of which were strikeouts, after walking the first batter. Even with that great inning, he didn’t get the 9th.
The 9th inning was one full of nerves. Of all people to pitch in a save situation, Melvin gave the nod to Fernando Nieve, who hasn’t been doing so hot since arriving at camp. He gave up two straight singles, and it looked like the A’s were going to have to bat at the bottom of the 9th after all. With the go ahead run at the plate, Tony Campana flied out to Sam Fuld, but not deep enough for a sac fly. Two outs to go. The next guy, Chris Owings, grounded into a force out, moving the runner up to 3rd base. So with runners on the corners, The A’s needed just one more out to win the game. The A’s got just that when the last man the D-backs sent to the plate flied out to Sam Fuld. Fernando Nieve pulled through, and the Oakland Athletics’ pitching staff got their first shutout of the Spring. It is an encouraging sign to see. We’ll see if they can replicate their success tomorrow when the A’s go up against the Colorado Rockies.