CACTUS FEVER / Sun-Feb-23

San Francisco at Oakland … Hohokam Stadium, Mesa … Temp: 60, Mostly sunny

Brantly Brings Home Winner

An 8th-inning single by Rob Brantly snapped a 3-3 tie, bringing home Brice Johnson with the winning run as the Giants topped the Athletics 5-3. Jacob Gonzalez would score an insurance run for the Giants in the top of the 9th when he scored on a Parker Dunshee wild pitch. Dunshee would take the loss (0-1) while Sam Wolff recorded the win (1-0). The Giants improve to 1-1 while the A’s remain winless at 0-3. They lost their other split squad game Sunday 7-3 to the DBacks.

The Giants got on the board first in the 3rd when Abiatal Avelino touched them all with his first cactus dinger, a solo shot laced down the left field line inside the 340-ft foul pole. The next batter Jamie Westbrook walked and came around to score when A’s third baseman Matt Chapman missed second base with a missile throw, trying to nab Westbrook at second after Chapman fielded a Jacob Gonzalez ground ball.

The A’s tied it up in their half of the 3rd when DH Mark Canha hit a sharp, clutch, two-out single up the middle to score Austin Allen and Chapman. 

Giants CF Joey Rickard, who went 2-for-3 on the day with a double, singled home Westbrook who’d doubled earlier to go up 3-2 in the top of the 5th. But the A’s answered right back in the bottom half when, after Tony Kemp fouled off 5 pitches, he launched a long bomb to right-center into the bullpen. Unfortunately Nate Orf was caught stealing a couple of pitches before Kemp’s blow, negating an A’s lead. 

Bunts, Bits & Bites … Mike Fiers started for the A’s. He of course exposed the Houston Astro sign-stealing scandal. The fans were receptive to him as he retired all six Giants he faced, striking out Wilmer Flores. … The Giants fans didn’t travel that well. San Fran is typically a tough cactus ticket to get your hands on but there were a lot of empty seats down either line. … A’s RF Luis Barrera got a long look today, the only player in the game not to be replaced. He didn’t disappoint, banging out 3 singles in 4 at bats. Kemp added a single with his homer to go 2-for-3 on the day. … Airline flights overhead averaged 5-6 per inning. Drink of choice: Blue Gatorade. My better half and I sat in Section 200 — great seats behind home plate. Nice views of, from left-to-right, McDowell, Red and Usery Mountains. On the menu: one huge jumbo dog, a beyond-the-bun deal at $7.50.

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