SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Giants slugger Pablo Sandoval is still a possibility for Opening Day at Dodger Stadium, and he returned to the lineup as designated hitter in a 3-1 victory against the Oakland Athletics on Friday night.
The World Series MVP hadn’t played since March 16 because of an inflamed nerve in his right elbow, then returned to cheers each time he stepped into the batter’s box.
Buster Posey went 2 for 4 against the AL West champion A’s just hours after the Giants rewarded the reigning NL MVP and batting champion with a new $167 million, nine-year contract.
Gregor Blanco hit a tying RBI triple in the fifth, then Nick Noonan followed with a go-ahead single off A.J. Griffin (2-2).
Sandoval went 0 for 2, but what mattered most was that he played at all.
DODGERS 9, ANGELS 8
LOS ANGELES (AP) — A.J. Ellis hit a grand slam against Jason Vargas for his first homer of the spring, Luis Cruz doubled home two runs and the Los Angeles Dodgers beat the Angels 9-8 Friday night in their next-to-last game of spring training.
Josh Beckett threw 80 pitches over four innings to get the win despite giving up seven runs on nine hits, including a three-run homer by Mike Trout and a two-run shot by Albert Callaspo.
Paco Rodriguez got his second save of the exhibition season, facing one batter and throwing a called third strike past pinch-hitter Luis Jimenez with runners at second and third after Brandon League gave up an infield RBI single by Andrew Romine.
Vargas threw 60 pitches in just 1 1/2 innings, giving up eight runs and seven hits.
WHITE SOX 7, BREWERS 2
MILWAUKEE (AP) — Hector Santiago pitched three perfect innings and the Chicago White Sox beat the Milwaukee Brewers 7-2 on Friday night.
Santiago struck out five while throwing 35 pitches.
Adam Dunn went 3 for 3 with two RBIs for the White Sox, who finished with 12 hits. Jeff Keppinger and Paul Konerko each drove in a run.
Ryan Braun hit a two-run homer for the Brewers.
Wily Peralta, Milwaukee’s third starter, allowed four runs, two earned, and four hits in 4 1/3 innings. He struck out three and walked three. RANGERS 5, PADRES 4
SAN ANTONIO (AP) — Leonys Martin hit the go-ahead single in the sixth inning as the Texas Rangers edged the San Diego Padres 5-4 in exhibition play Friday night in the first baseball game played in the Alamodome.
The teams were scheduled to play again Saturday afternoon in a stadium designed for football — and just about every other sport, except baseball.
The configuration meant that the wall down the line in right field was wedged in to measure 285 feet away from home plate, 16 feet high and draped by a tarp that brought reminders of the days in the Metrodome in Minnesota.
The Padres didn’t need it to build a 2-0 lead through the fourth with long home runs by Will Venable in the No. 2 slot in the first off Rangers starter Alexi Ogando, and Jedd Gyorko in the fourth inning.
REDS 2, DIAMONDBACKS 1
PHOENIX (AP) — Patrick Corbin blanked Cincinnati on two hits through six innings, strengthening his bid for a spot in Arizona’s rotation in the Diamondbacks’ 2-1 loss to the Reds on Friday night.
The left-hander, competing with Randall Delgado to be the D-backs’ No. 5 starter, struck out seven and walked two.
Bronson Arroyo, whose previous outing ended when he was struck in his pitching hand by a line drive, gave up a run on Jason Kubel’s homer, scattering seven hits with one strikeout in six innings.
Ryan Ludwick got both hits off Corbin, a first-inning single and a fourth-inning double.
Kubel, batting .150 for the spring going into the game, hit his second home run of the preseason.