Giants 2, Athletics 1
Dallas Braden is ready to make this season memorable for more
than just one start.
The fiery lefty with the big breaking ball pitched 5 2-3
scoreless innings before the San Francisco Giants rallied in the
ninth to beat the Oakland Athletics 2-1 on Wednesday in the final
tuneup before opening day.
A year after pitching a perfect game and making headlines for
his infamous mound confrontation with Yankees slugger Alex
Rodriguez, Braden is out to prove his often stunning performances
were no fluke. He wants to be more consistent this season – and
injury free – with hopes of helping the A’s to an AL West title and
”I was ready to be done with spring training on day two of
spring training, so I’m definitely ready to get going now,” he
Braden struck out five and allowed five hits and two walks
against the World Series champions, who played mostly reserves in
the finale of the annual preseason Bay Bridge Series. The Giants
swept the series.
San Francisco starter Madison Bumgarner also had a solid
performance, giving up one run in six innings. He stuck out six and
The Giants begin their title defense Thursday at the rival Los
Angeles Dodgers. Oakland opens the regular season at home against
the Seattle Mariners on Friday night, and Braden believes the A’s
might surprise some people if they can stay healthy.
Braden will shore up the back end of a deep and talented
rotation at the fourth spot. Along with Trevor Cahill, Brett
Anderson and Gio Gonzalez, the A’s rotation – which led the AL in
ERA (3.56) and shutouts (17) last season – could be as good as any
in the majors.
”I’m riding around on their coattails,” Braden joked.
”They’re throwing around the ‘Fantastic Four’ name. I told them,
‘Big 3.5, and I’ll be the decimal.”’
The only run the A’s gave Braden came in the third inning when
Ryan Sweeney doubled and Mark Ellis drove him in two batters later.
The Giants had a two-out rally in the ninth, with Eli Whiteside and
Chris Stewart hitting RBI singles off Bobby Cramer.
While the Giants were more than pleased to close spring with a
sweep of their Bay Area rival, the real emotions came later in the
clubhouse. Promising prospect Brandon Belt made the 25-man roster,
crying tears of joy when he received the news from manager Bruce
Bochy, and teammates congratulated the rookie as he choked up
speaking to reporters.
”I’m not sure if I’m going to have a heart attack or cry,”
Belt said. ”This is pretty much the most exciting day of my
Bochy said Belt deserved to make the team because he was the
best player at his position. Belt will start at first base for the
Giants, moving veteran Aubrey Huff – who was among the first to
congratulate the rookie – to right field.
”I think Huff was crying more than Brandon,” Bochy joked.
On a picturesque day in San Francisco’s cozy waterfront
ballpark, Braden soaked up every moment against the team he rooted
for as a kid. He called AT&T Park ”the most hallowed ground in
baseball” and had never pitched in the ballpark across the Bay
from the Oakland Coliseum.
While Braden cherished the opportunity, he quickly moved past
He was only 11-14 last season, had a 3.50 ERA but pitched five
complete games, including his Mother’s Day’s masterpiece against
the Tampa Bay Rays on May 9. But he went 0-5 in nine starts and
dealt with an elbow injury after his perfect game before finally
winning again, and he still has plenty to prove after an otherwise
Braden allowed more runs than innings pitched in his first four
outings this spring but did close strong. He allowed one run in
just six innings in his previous start before holding the Giants
Braden said he’s more than ready for the regular season and
relishes his role in the A’s rotation.
”At the back end of the rotation, you want to be a surprise,”
Braden said. ”You want them to look up on that Sunday day game and
be like, ”Dang, that just happened? I’m fully embracing the fourth
NOTES: A’s closer Andrew Bailey (strained forearm) and RHP Rich
Harden (strained lat muscle below his shoulder) both had light
throwing sessions. … Giants outfielder Cody Ross (strained right
calf) said he will likely resume baseball activity over the
weekend. He will start the season on the DL and likely miss at
least another two weeks. … San Francisco allowed the A’s to use
the designated hitter for the final preseason game but the Giants
choose not to use the DH themselves.