A.J. Griffin Pounded Again, Oakland Athletics Rally To Beat Rockies 10-5


Maybe a little panic isn’t out of the question as it relates to Oakland Athletics starter A.J. Griffin. But fortunately, it seems, the A’s have Jesse Chavez to come to the rescue.

The right-hander now has a 10.38 ERA this spring after he was rocked for five runs on nine hits—including a pair of homers—in 3.2 innings Thursday night against the Colorado Rockies.

But the A’s (7-6) got the bats going, scoring four runs in the bottom of the fourth to take the lead and cruising to a 10-5 win over the Rockies (8-9) at Phoenix Municipal Stadium, with Chavez scattering five hits in four scoreless innings to close it out.

Chavez, projected for long relief, has now thrown 12.2 scoreless innings this spring, allowing only four hits.

Griffin gave up a run in the first, hitting the leadoff batter, Brandon Barnes, surrendering a double to Charlie Culberson and an RBI single to Corey Dickerson.

Wilin Rosario led off the second with a homer to left-center off Griffin to tie the game 2-2 and Dickerson tied it again in the third with a sacrifice fly. In the fourth, Griffin coughed up a two-run homer to Tim Wheeler that put the Rockies up 5-3 and after allowing two more hits, manager Bob Melvin came with the hook and brought in Deryk Hooker (1-0), who fanned Culberson to end the inning.

Facing Rockies reliever Matt Belisle, Alberto Callaspo greeted him with a leadoff single and one out later, Nick Punto reached on a bunt single up the third base line. Coco Crisp hit a ground shot that deflected off second baseman D.J. LeMahieu for an infield hit that scored Callaspo, with runners moving up to second and third on the throw.

Josh Donaldson walked to load the bases and Jed Lowrie promptly unloaded them, smacking the first pitch to left field to clear the bases and put the A’s up 7-5.

Oakland got its first run in the bottom of the first after Crisp and Donaldson drew back-to-back walks to start the game against Colorado starter Tyler Chatwood. Lowrie hit into a fielder’s choice, with Donaldson erased at second. With runners at the corners, Culberson booted Yoenis Cespedes’ grounder to third, allowing Crisp to score. A wild pitch moved runners to second and third and after Brandon Moss struck out, Josh Reddick reached on an infield single to score Lowrie.

After Colorado tied the game in the top of the second, the A’s reclaimed the lead as Bob Melvin made his first replay challenge of the spring. Stephen Vogt and Punto had back-to-back singles to lead off the inning and Crisp was initially called out to complete a double play after hitting a grounder to second. Melvin argued that Crisp had beaten the relay and replay confirmed that. Vogt scored on the play regardless, but the inning proceeded with one on and one out rather than the bases empty and two outs.

Josh Donaldson added an RBI single in the sixth, scoring Crisp, who had doubled and moved to third on an error by Colorado center fielder Jason Pridie.

In the eighth, Oakland added two more runs. Jake Elmore led off with a walk and went to third on a single by Billy McKinney. After an out, Chris Gimenez doubled to left to knock in Elmore and McKinney then scored on an RBI fielder’s choice by Nate Freiman.

Luke Gregerson allowed a hit and a walk and struck out two while working a scoreless fifth inning for the A’s, who banged out 13 hits, two apiece for Crisp and Punto.

Oakland heads to Surprise Stadium on Friday to take on the Kansas City Royals at 1:05 p.m. Pacific.