Kurt Suzuki homers in A’s 12-6 loss to Hanshin

Kurt Suzuki hit his second home run in Japan on Monday in the

Oakland Athletics’ 12-6 loss to the Hanshin Tigers in an exhibition

game.

Oakland shortstop Cliff Pennington led off the fourth inning

with a solo homer and Suzuki, who hit a two-run home run in the

Athletics’ 5-0 win over the Yomiuri Giants on Sunday, connected for

a three-run shot at Tokyo Dome to cut Hanshin’s lead to 7-4.

”I was just trying to put the barrel on the ball and keep it

simple,” Suzuki said. ”When you go out there you can’t take

anything for granted and have to play hard.”

The Athletics are in Japan to open the season against Ichiro

Suzuki and the Seattle Mariners on Wednesday and Thursday.

Cuban defector Yoenis Cespedes sat out Monday’s exhibition after

leaving Sunday night’s contest because of cramps in his quadriceps.

Cespedes was 0 for 4 in Sunday’s game against the Giants but is

expected to be in the lineup for Wednesday’s game.

The Tigers took a 7-0 lead through the first three innings,

taking advantage of some sloppy defensive play by the A’s.

In the bottom of the third, Hanshin scored four runs. Former

major leaguer Craig Brazell hit an RBI single to right, scoring

Takeshi Toritani. Tomoaki Kanemoto drove in another run with a

double and Brazell and Kanemoto both scored on a throwing error by

Pennington.

”Today wasn’t our best day,” Oakland manager Bob Melvin said.

”We had a good spring executing defense, but weren’t able to do

that today. Take nothing away from them, we just didn’t play one of

our better games and they took it to us.”

Brazell, who was 2 for 3 Monday and had three hits in his team’s

5-1 win on Sunday, said it was good to face major league pitching

again.

”I was a little nervous at first because it’s been five years

since I hit major league pitching,” Brazell said. ”But to be able

to come out and hit like this gives me a lot of confidence for the

season.”

Oakland starter Tyson Ross gave up eight runs – six earned – and

10 hits in just four innings.