Third baseman Josh Donaldson left Sunday’s Cactus League game with tightness in his right calf, an injury manager Bob Melvin said wasn’t serious, and the Oakland Athletics lost to the Cincinnati Reds 7-6 at Goodyear Ballpark.
Gray was tagged for five runs, three earned, on six hits with two walks and four strikeouts in three-plus innings, inflating his spring ERA to 6.30, and Josh Lindblom (0-2) was charged with the loss after surrendering Phillips’ homer in the seventh. He worked 2.1 innings and allowed two runs on four hits with three strikeouts.
As for Donaldson, who left in the bottom of the fourth after going 0-for-2, Melvin said it was not a major issue.
“It was just a little tightness in his calf,” Melvin told CSNBayArea.com. “He could have played. I don’t expect it to be a problem. He’s off (Monday) anyway. I expect him to play the next day.”
The A’s (8-8) got new life in the first inning when Reds catcher Devin Mesoraco dropped Derek Norris’ pop up in foul ground and Norris made the Reds pay. With two outs and two on, Norris took advantage of a second chance against Reds’ starter Tony Cingrani by driving a double to deep center field. Both runners scored as the A’s took a 2-0 lead.
Joey Votto got one of the tallies back in the bottom of the first with a solo shot off Gray to the opposite field.
The Reds went up 3-2 in the second, with Oakland’s defense setting the table. Zack Cozart reached with one out on an error by shortstop Jed Lowrie and after a walk, Mesoraco singled into left field to score Cozart, who beat the throw to the plate, allowing the runners to move up to second and third. Billy Hamilton grounded a single to right, with Skip Schumaker scoring. But right fielder Michael Taylor gunned down Mesoraco to keep the deficit at one run.
But the Reds chased Gray in the fourth. Gray surrendered three straight hits to start the inning, with Schumaker driving in a run on the third hit. After Andrew Werner came on in relief and got the first batter he faced, with a run scoring on a double play to end the inning. Ramon Santiago grounded to Lowrie, who fired to first for the second out. As Cozart scored, though, first baseman Daric Barton threw across the diamond to nail Schumaker at third base.
The A’s tied it up with three in the fifth. Taylor and Sam Fuld drew back-to-back walks off Cingrani to start the inning and Jake Elmore singled to left to score Taylor, with Fuld moving to third. Cingrani then forced in a run with a balk and Billy Burns reached on a strikeout when Cingrani’s wild third strike got away.
The A’s got a run back in the ninth but the rally fell short. Billy McKinney reached with a one-out single and scored on a double to center by Nate Freiman. But Conner Crumbliss bounced out and after Jake Goebbert walked, Reds reliever Drew Hayes fanned Tyler Ladendorf to end it.
The A’s had six hits on the day, with Norris raising his spring training average to .400 by going 2-for-3.
Oakland is back home at Phoenix Municipal Stadium on Monday to take on a Chicago Cubs split squad at 1:05 p.m. Pacific.