Matsui gets first spring hit, A's lose 6-3 to Mariners

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Matsui gets first spring hit, A's lose 6-3 to Mariners

March 7, 2011BOXSCORE A'SVIDEOMLBPAGE MLBSCOREBOARD

PHOENIX (AP) Mariners ace Felix Hernandez was fortunate to get through his first batter of spring training.Hernandez, the 2010 AL Cy Young Award winner, shook off a line drive by A's leadoff hitter David DeJesus that just missed hitting him in the head.He stayed in the game and struck out three in 2 2-3 innings of his spring debut and the Seattle Mariners defeated the Oakland Athletics 6-3 on Monday.NEWS: A's owner Wolff waits for commissioner's call
"It was fun," Hernandez said. "It's been a while since I pitched in a big league game, but I feel pretty good. I was down in the zone, throwing a lot of strikes."Hernandez allowed a run and five hits with three strikeouts and a walk. He threw 53 pitches and had a quick chat with DeJesus while walking back to the dugout after the first inning."I was like 'Whoa, first game, man, you're gonna do that?'" Hernandez said he told DeJesus in jest. "It was scary."Hernandez, who will pitch every five days throughout the rest of spring training, was lifted after giving up a run on Kevin Kouzmanoff's two-out single in the third and walking the last batter he faced.Chris Gimenez drove in two runs and Ichiro Suzuki, Jack Wilson and Brendan Ryan each had an RBI for the Mariners.Right-hander Michael Pineda, a prized rookie who's a strong candidate for the Seattle starting rotation, pitched two scoreless innings with two walks and a strikeout.He threw 40 pitches, 23 for strikes."It's a little difficult (pitching after Hernandez) because he's nasty," Pineda said. "I'm working on the mound. I threw the ball inside, outside. It's OK."For the A's, Kouzmanoff had two hits and is batting .500 in spring games (6 for 12). Hideki Matsui blooped a single in the first inning for his first hit of spring training (1 for 11), Andy LaRoche hit a two-run home run and starting pitcher Guillermo Moscoso allowed one earned run in three innings with two strikeouts."He had a good changeup, good fastball, good control," A's manager Bob Geren said of Moscoso, who is competing for a spot in the rotation.Notes: Mariners C Miguel Olivo's MRI on Sunday revealed a strained abductor muscle, and no timetable has been set for his return. Olivo was injured while running from third base to home on a sacrifice fly on Saturday. Olivo was scheduled to be Seattle's starting catcher after signing as a free agent in the offseason. ... C Adam Moore, among those who could get more playing time with Olivo out, was scratched from the starting lineup for Monday's game and sent home due to illness. Gimenez replaced Moore. ... A's RHP Joey Devine walked four of the five hitters he faced. ... Pitchers Craig Breslow and Andrew Bailey threw batting practice Monday. Breslow was limited with a tight hamstring and Bailey is expected to pitch in a game Thursday.

Hoesen leads the ways as Earthquakes take down Real Salt Lake

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USATSI

Hoesen leads the ways as Earthquakes take down Real Salt Lake

BOX SCORE

SAN JOSE — Danny Hoesen scored his second goal of the season and assisted on Marco Urena's second goal, lifting the San Jose Earthquakes to a 2-1 victory over Real Salt Lake on Saturday night.

Hoesen opened the scoring in the 13th minute, off a long cross from Nick Lima. After touching the ball down, Hoesen gathered it off a defender's foot, stepped inside and unleashed a left footer into the top corner from just off the penalty spot.

Hoesen's long through ball down the right side sent Urena free and from a tight angle he rolled the ball past Nick Rimando in the 68th minute.

San Jose (6-6-5), which has battled injuries and call-ups to score just 16 goals in 16 games, won for just the second time in its last seven games.

Lima picked up two yellow cards in the second half and the Quakes played a man down from the 71st minute.

David Bingham made only one save in each half but was denied his seventh shutout when Jose Hernandez scored his second goal in the fourth minute of stoppage time for Salt Lake (5-11-2).

Latest round of bullpen auditions go poorly in Giants' 50th loss

Latest round of bullpen auditions go poorly in Giants' 50th loss

SAN FRANCISCO -- Practically speaking, the 50th loss is no different than the one before or the one after, but this sport is built on milestones, and this one came quickly.

The Giants lost their 50th game on August 12 last year. This season, it was clinched when Ryder Jones grounded out in his fourth career at-bat, handing the Mets a 5-2 win on June 24. 

Bruce Bochy called losing 50 of your first 77 games "hard to believe" and "embarrassing." Johnny Cueto, who went seven strong, said the reality was "hard and sad." Brandon Belt, who got Cueto off the hook for a loss, agreed with his manager.

"That's a pretty good word to use -- it is embarrassing to come out and lose every day, especially with the group of guys we have," Belt said. "When you're losing as much as this, it is embarrassing. We're trying to do whatever we can to turn this thing around."

Lately, that has meant changes to the roster. It is officially audition season, and in that respect, it was not a particularly inspiring day for the bullpen. The Giants felt they would have a better mix this year, but it hasn't played out. Instead, they're once again trying to find pieces for the next successful Giants bullpen.

With Hunter Strickland suspended and Derek Law in the minors, two young relievers, a middle-innings stalwart, and a newcomer pitched the final two frames. They gave up four runs.

Sam Dyson was the first on the mound in the eighth. Belt had homered a few minutes earlier, tying a good starter's duel. Dyson gave up a leadoff triple to Curtis Granderson and walked Asdrubal Cabrera before throwing two good sliders past Yoenis Cespedes for the strikeout. With two lefties coming up and the go-ahead run still on third, Bochy turned to Steven Okert. He immediately gave up a seeing-eye RBI single to Jay Bruce. Wilmer Flores doubled off George Kontos later in the frame to make it 3-1. 

In the ninth, Kyle Crick showed some of the wildness that kept him in the minors for seven years. He, too, gave up a leadoff triple, a sin you always pay for. A walk helped put another run into scoring position and a wild pitch extended the Mets’ lead to four. 

Before the game, Bochy talked of getting an extended look at Jones. He was 0-for-4 in his first big league game but he’ll be back out there tomorrow. It’s time to fight for a job, and the same holds true of some relievers who didn’t fare well Saturday. It is a group with a closer locked into a longterm deal and little else decided. 

Are Strickland or Law eighth-inning guys? Will Dyson be a worthwhile reclamation project? Will Kontos be back, and will he carve out a different role? Are Okert and Josh Osich capable of giving Bochy lefties he trusts? Is Crick’s improvement in Triple-A a sign of things to come? There are many questions to be answered over the next three months. 

“This is a good time for them, this is what players get up here for, to show what they can do,” Bochy said. “Because of our situation, we’re going to take a look at these guys and we know there are going to be growing pains.”