GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- Brett Anderson got in his first big league start since straining a muscle in his neck on March 10 against the Diamondbacks. The Opening Day starter lasted four and two-thirds innings against the Reds. He allowed six runs on eight hits and two walks. He struck out five batters.
"The results weren't awesome, I threw some good pitches, I threw some not so good pitches," Anderson said after exiting the game in the A's 10-9 win. "I threw a lot of pitches I wouldn't normally throw in a regular season game."
Anderson felt like he took more positives than negatives out of his outing because he was tinkering with his change up. He threw the pitch in several different unusual situations.
"You can throw a shutout and feel bad about it, or give up six and feel good about it," Anderson said. "That's how spring training works sometimes."
It was a change up that sailed over the fence in the fifth inning with Derrick Robinson at the plate. Joey Votto also hit an 0-2 change that Anderson says he definitely wouldn't have thrown under normal circumstances.
He will make one more start before he takes the mound on Opening Day. In that start, he says he will focus on pitching like it's the regular season.
Don't expect to see as many change ups.
Anderson started off strong. He struck out Votto swinging in the first inning. He started the Reds' slugger off with a high and tight fastball and later finished him off with a fastball in the zone. After whiffing, the 2011 NL MVP threw his right hand up in frustration. Anderson easily retired the side in the first, but faced eight batters in the second frame.
During that rally, Anderson just missed getting drilled by a line drive off the bat of Zack Cozart. The ball was ripped up the middle and Anderson ducked to get out of the way as the ball looked like it traveled just left of his head.
"I had the really long top of the second there and it took me a little while to get back into rhythm," Anderson said. "That'll kind of get you back focused quicker, when you almost get your head taken off by a line drive."
While the lefty escaped unscathed, he said the highlights of his day were seeing Mark Prior take the mound for the Reds, the strikeout of Votto, and that his NCAA Tournament bracket was yet to be busted.
-- The A's infield stayed red-hot against the Reds. During the second inning in back-to-back-to-back plate appearances, Jemile Weeks reached on a single, Eric Sogard drew a walk to load the bases, and Jed Lowrie stroked a two-run single.
Sogard finished 1 for 3 with 2 walks and a run scored. He is now hitting .514 this spring. Weeks ended up 1 for 4 with a walk and a run. Lowrie was 2 for 4 with 2 RBI and a run.