Giants 4, Athletics 1
Pablo Sandoval has made strides nearly as big as his nickname:
Kung Fu Panda.
Sandoval, San Francisco’s slimmed-down, free-swinging slugger,
hit an RBI double in the second inning of the Giants’ 4-1 victory
over the Oakland Athletics on Tuesday night and yet again showed
off his improved range at third base from an offseason of rigorous
He also staked Barry Zito to an early lead. These two are the
players on the World Series champions with the most to prove in
2011. Zito was left off the playoff roster for all three postseason
rounds last fall during the club’s surprising run to the city’s
first championship since moving West in 1958.
”Both of them came into camp in great shape and both performed
well,” manager Bruce Bochy said. ”Both look very determined to
bounce back and have great years.”
Zito went 5 2-3 allowing four hits, four walks and a run with
The left-hander with the big curveball is beginning year 5 of
his $126 million, seven-year contract and would like nothing more
than to return to the dominating form of his 2002 AL Cy Young Award
season while with the A’s.
Zito, the team’s No. 4 starter, went 9-14 last year and failed
to reach 10 wins for the first time since his rookie season in
2000. His 4.15 ERA was the fourth-highest of his career. He went
1-8 with a 6.72 ERA over his last 11 outings and 10 starts and only
had one victory in his last 15 appearances.
”Just another one to get the rhythm going heading to L.A.,”
Zito said. ”I just want to be quiet out there, in a good rhythm
and comfortable. Keep the game slow.”
Nate Schierholtz added a solo home run for the Giants in the
eighth. Ramon Ramirez (1-0) pitched one inning of relief for the
Oakland designated hitter Hideki Matsui singled off Zito to
start the second in his first game at the Coliseum since joining
the A’s this offseason on a $4.25 million, one-year deal. Matsui
also added a fourth-inning single and a base hit in the sixth that
chased Zito – Matsui’s first three-hit game this spring.
”Physically I feel pretty good. Hitting wise, I’m pretty close.
I feel pretty ready,” Matsui said. ”I was able to hit the ball
pretty well, pretty hard today.”
The Giants went ahead in the seventh when Mark DeRosa walked and
later scored on an error. Mike Fontenot added an RBI single that
A’s lefty Gio Gonzalez (1-2) allowed two runs and three hits in
6 1-3 innings, struck out four and walked three in his final tuneup
for the regular season.
Gonzalez said the Giants’ surprising run last fall motivated him
to upgrade his offseason fitness routine.
”I’d have to say what the Giants did, it’s pretty inspiring,”
Landon Powell hit an RBI single in the sixth for Oakland’s lone
It’s two more lefties for the preseason Bay Bridge Series finale
Wednesday at AT&T Park, with Madison Bumgarner going for the
Giants and Dallas Braden for the A’s.
Top Giants prospect Brandon Belt earned a start at DH and has
done all in his power to make the club as a first baseman, Bochy
said. The Giants’ brass had a tough decision to make on whether to
keep him in the big leagues or start him at Triple-A Fresno. Bochy
said an announcement should come after Wednesday afternoon’s game
before the team flies to Los Angeles, where the Giants open the
season Thursday at Dodger Stadium.
”It’s up to us to decide if it’s his time or not,” Bochy said.
”He’s had a good spring and done very well for himself.”
The A’s lost their fifth straight exhibition game and sixth in
Notes: Guillermo Mota earned the save. … The Giants granted
RHP Jeff Suppan his release from a minor league contract. Suppan
wasn’t going to make the roster by the March 30 deadline in his
deal and had an opt-out clause in the contract that allowed him to
be released and become a free agent. … Injured San Francisco
closer Brian Wilson threw 25 pitches in a bullpen session back in
Scottsdale, Ariz., to test his strained left side muscle. He is
likely headed to the disabled list to start the season, and would
be eligible to come off April 6. ”Willie felt great,” Bochy said.
”We’re very encouraged with his progress. We’ll decide tomorrow
our next move. I don’t think he’ll start the season with us.” …
A’s 2B Mark Ellis was scratched with tightness in his calf. … A’s
closer Andrew Bailey (strained forearm) made 30 throws playing
catch from 80 feet. ”He said it went extremely well. He was very
positive of his throwing session,” manager Bob Geren said. …
Oakland RHP Rich Harden threw his first bullpen session in six
weeks, making 30 pitches. He is nursing a strained lat muscle below
his pitching shoulder.