Gio sharp, Anderson shaky in A's loss to Reds


Gio sharp, Anderson shaky in A's loss to Reds


PHOENIX (AP) Any young first baseman in the Cincinnati Reds' organization knows the path to the big leagues usually requires a detour.With reigning MVP Joey Votto a fixture at first base in Cincinnati, Yonder Alonso has been spending time this spring learning to play the outfield. The Reds are eager to find any way to get Alonso into the majors because of swings like the one he took on Tuesday.Alonso hit a two-run homer in the Reds' 7-6 victory over the Oakland Athletics. It was his first homer of the spring."He was sitting on the pitch middle-in, and he got his pitch and turned on it," said Reds bench coach Chris Speier, who managed the split-squad team. "That's a great thing to see."Alonso, 23, has been working out with Reds outfield coach Billy Hatcher to learn the new position. A former No. 1 pick, Alonso hasn't played the outfield in a game, but he is expected to do so later this spring.Alonso's two-run homer, off A's lefty Brett Anderson, followed Jonny Gomes' two-run shot earlier in the fourth inning, giving the Reds a 4-1 lead.The Reds did not have a batter reach base in the first three innings, striking out five times in the first two innings against A's lefty Gio Gonzalez."He was amazing," Oakland manager Bob Geren said. "He threw 95 and was hitting his spots. He had a great curve ball. Very impressive. A very nice first game."Gonzalez threw first-pitch strikes to all six batters he faced. He said that was a point of emphasis for him this spring. Last year, even though he had a 15-victory season, he still issued 4.1 walks per nine innings, highest among A's starters."That's a good hitting lineup," Gonzalez said. "You don't want to fall behind. You want to get ahead and put them away quickly before they start a rally."Reds starter Mike Leake, vying for Cincinnati's No. 5 starter job, gave up one run in two innings in his first start of the spring.Oakland's two new free-agent relievers, Brian Fuentes and Grant Balfour, each made their debuts. Fuentes pitched a scoreless inning and Balfour gave up three runs.A's designated hitter Chris Carter, one of the club's top hitting prospects, had two hits and an RBI.Trailing 7-1, Oakland scored five runs in the final three innings to get within a run. The final two runs scored after the Reds made two errors, a bad throw by third baseman Junior Arias and a dropped fly ball by center fielder Felix Perez.NOTES: A's OF David DeJesus (illness) is expected to return to the lineup on Wednesday. ... RHP Andrew Bailey, who is recovering from elbow surgery, threw a 40-pitch bullpen session with hitters standing in. Bailey is expected to make his spring debut next week. ... Hall of Famer Rickey Henderson will be in A's camp for a week, working with the players on baserunning, bunting and outfield play.

Blach only lasts three innings as Giants get mashed by Mets in loss


Blach only lasts three innings as Giants get mashed by Mets in loss


In only three innings of work, Ty Blach saw 12 runners reach base and seven cross home plate as the Giants fell to the Mets Friday at home, 11-4. 

The Mets finished Blach with 11 hits and he finished with no strikeouts. He is now 4-5 with a 4.86 ERA. 

Steven Okert, in his first game back from Triple-A, saw three more runs scored on him out of the bullpen. 

At the plate, Denard Span, Joe Panik and Austin Slater all had two-hit games. 

The Giants were out-hit 20-8. They are now 27-49. 

Instant Analysis: Five takeaways from A's skid-snapping win over White Sox

Instant Analysis: Five takeaways from A's skid-snapping win over White Sox


The A’s six-game road trip got off to a promising start Friday as they try to reverse their fortunes away from Oakland.

Jharel Cotton shined over five innings before leaving because of a blister on his right hand, and the bullpen took care of things from there to complete a 3-0 victory over the Chicago White Sox.

Considering the A’s came in just 9-25 on the road so far, this was the rare occurrence of them taking control early and staying in control while wearing the road grays. Now the A’s just hope the victory didn’t come with a steep price.

In addition to Cotton (5-7) leaving after a blister opened up on his right thumb, shortstop Chad Pinder left with a strained left hamstring. The severity of that injury wasn’t immediately known.

Here’s five things you need to know from the opener of this three-game series at Guaranteed Rate Field:

-- Davis hits No. 19: Khris Davis gave Cotton some early cushion with a two-run homer off Mike Pelfrey (3-6) to center field in the first. It was Davis’ team-leading 19th long ball, but just his third in 22 games this month.

-- Another solid outing for rookie: Coming off a strong 6 1/3-inning outing against the New York Yankees, Cotton again looked in control Friday before having to leave. The right-hander held the Sox to three hits over his five innings, striking out three and walking one. It’s unknown whether the blister will affect his availability for his next start, but the A’s learned with Rich Hill last season how nagging a blister can be for a starter.

-- Ninth-inning nerves: The final score didn’t indicate how tense things got for Oakland in the ninth. Closer Santiago Casilla gave up two singles to start the inning. After Avisail Garcia flied out, Todd Frazier hit a pop up behind first. Yonder Alonso couldn’t haul it in and the ball dropped, but Alonso alertly threw to second to get a force out. Then Matt Davidson sent a deep fly ball to center that Jaycob Brugman hauled in at the warning track.

--- Joyce powers up: In the fifth, Matt Joyce lit into a 3-2 pitch from Pelfrey and homered to center field to put the A’s ahead 3-0. It was the ninth homer for Joyce, who continues to provide some of the spark the A’s are looking for in the leadoff spot.

-- A double ejection: : White Sox shortstop Tim Anderson and manager Rick Renteria both were ejected for arguing a fifth-inning play after Anderson hit a dribbler near home plate that surprised him by being called fair.