Cactus League: Oakland Offense Picks Up Steam In Win Over Brewers


March 23, 2013; Scottsdale, AZ, USA; Oakland Athletics shortstop Eric Sogard (28) singles in the second inning during a spring training game against the San Francisco Giants at Scottsdale Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Rick Scuteri-USA TODAY Sports

As usual with these Oakland Athletics, when they’re hitting the ball well, success is sure to follow.

The A’s recorded 14 hits and nine runs against the Milwaukee Brewers – four of them on a grand slam from Chris Young in the bottom of the fourth – and Bartolo Colon pitched five innings with three earned runs and three strikeouts to get the win by a final score of 9-7.

Colon didn’t allow any runs until the fourth, and he didn’t record any walks in a much-needed solid outing after getting rocked his last several appearances, including one with Oakland’s minor league affiliate.  For any Colon detractors that didn’t enjoy my Sunday piece on the issue of supporting his re-signing, it looks like the guy might still have something left in the tank, so don’t write him off just yet.  Or do.  I don’t know.  Read the article, I already wrote about this.

In addition to Young, second basemen Scott Sizemore had a nice day at the plate, going 4-for-4 with two RBI and two runs.  That had to be a good sign for Bob Melvin and Billy Beane since they optioned Jemile Weeks to the minors over the weekend, a move that was forced in part because of Weeks’ own inconsistent play, but also because Erik Sogard has emerged as a hitting machine in Arizona that can step in and play second base right away.  As far as Sizemore, this had to be exactly what Melvin was looking for, and if you’re looking for a reason why Weeks got sent down and not Sizemore, just know that expectations for him are a little lower as he’s still acclimating to the majors after sitting out all of last year.

Josh Donaldson also went 4-for-4 with a double and two RBI, and if the A’s infield hits like this throughout the regular season, they’ll like their chances to repeat as AL West champs.

It looked as if Oakland was on cruise control as they upped the score to 9-3 by the seventh inning, but Dan Straily surrendered three runs in the eighth after not allowing a run since he entered the game in the top of the sixth.  Melvin is still looking for improvement by Straily, as he’s yet to put together a confidence-inspiring performance that he can build off of in the regular season.

Still, if you’re one that believes that the A’s fate hinges on what happens on offense, this was a game that points to them being competitive with the big-spending Angels and Rangers in 2013.  Oakland takes on the Cleveland Indians tomorrow at 1:05 PDT, and Brett Anderson will get the start.  Let’s hope to see more of the same.