In an game full of offense but short on quality pitching, the Oakland Athletics held on to win by a final score of 10-9 against the Cincinnati Reds.
The A’s had things going early at the plate, scoring five runs against Reds starter Johnny Cueto in the second inning. Following a double by Chris Young with one out, Derek Norris hit his fourth home run in the Cactus League to make it 2-0 Oakland. Josh Donaldson drew a two-out walk after Daric Barton grounded out to first, and Jemile Weeks singled to keep the inning alive. Cueto then walked Eric Sogard to load the bases, and in the next at-bat Jed Lowrie hit a single to center to score Donaldson and Weeks, making it 4-0 Oakland. Sogard then scored from second on a double by Josh Reddick, and at that point Reds manager Dusty Baker had seen enough, bringing in right-hander Nick Christiani for Cueto, and Christiani quickly disposed of Seth Smith to end the inning.
Cincinnati would answer back against Oakland starter Brett Anderson, who had his own troubles in the bottom half of the inning. After giving up a lead-off double to Ryan Ludwick, Todd Frazier homered to right field with one out to make it 5-2. Anderson would give up a single, a walk and an RBI double over the rest of the inning to make it 5-3 Oakland going into the third.
The A’s would score two more in the third inning on a ground-rule double by Josh Donaldson. They would add one more in the fourth on a sacrifice fly from Seth Smith.
Anderson would surrender three more runs in the fifth, including a lead-off home run to Reds center fielder Derrick Robinson. He left the game with two outs, having given up six runs on eight hits with five strikeouts and two walks. Anderson admitted after the game that he was experimenting with a different approach, so in other words, don’t get too wrapped up in one bad outing.
Closer Grant Balfour came in to pitch the sixth, seeing his first bit of playing time in the Cactus League after a recovering in minor league camp from surgery to repair a torn meniscus. He struck out one and disposed of the side in nine pitches, and all signs point to him being ready to contribute by Opening Day.
Travis Blackley would finish out the game, giving up five hits and three runs over the final three innings, including a solo home run in the bottom of the ninth to bring the Reds within one. Blackley also struck out three and walked one.