San Francisco, CA – The Bay Area Bridge series ended in a sweep as the San Francisco Giants showed no mercy to the Oakland A’s in the final exhibition game for both teams. The Giants scored twice in the ninth inning leaving little hope for the A’s. But what can one expect from the World Series Champions who are ready to defend their title this season.
Before San Francisco sealed their 2-1 win, they were down to their last out in the ninth frame. Mike Fontenot singled and stole second followed by a throwing error at first base. Eli Whiteside, who was next up at bat hit an RBI single and made it to second on the throw. The game was now tied 1-1. But it was pinch hitter Chris Stewart who hit a single RBI for the game winner.
We had fun out there,” Madison Bumgarner said. “It was a great spring training and I’m just beyond excited for the season to start!”
It was a pitching duel between Dallas Braden and Bumgarner. Braden didn’t face eight of the Giants starters who were out resting but pitched well giving up five hits, walked two and struck out five in 5 2/3 innings. Bumgarner gave up four hits (one earned), stuck out six and walked three in six innings.
Oakland saw a little bit of action when Ryan Sweeney led off in the third frame with a double to right center and stole third with one out. Bumgarner walked Coco Crisp and he stole second with Mark Ellis at bat. Ellis then hit a sacrifice fly to bring in Sweeney to give the A’s a 1-0 lead for most of the game. Oakland used most of their regulars and a few costly errors led to their loss.
“Spring training gets to be a drag toward the end but really excited for the season to start” Sweeney said. “We have a lot to look forward to this year, I think we definitely gained more strength and we are a much better team.”
A day away from the opening day, it’s not likely that many will hide their excitement. The Giants will seek a back-to-back winning season and know they have a target on their backs. Every team is MLB is hoping to steal their title but in order to do that you have to be just as good. No surprise for the returning champs, they know the envy that lurks around them.
“We know we have to go out there and play our best baseball,” manager Bruce Bochy said. “”It’s a new slate and we’re starting in LA, the team is very humble and overwhelmed but will keep their focus on the road.”
The A’s also have the future on their minds as well. They’ve made many changes over the Summer and have the same quest as their rivals across the bridge. A World Series or at least a chance to play for it. If they can shine behind their dynamic young bullpen than they might have a chance.
“We’re excited about the new additions to our bullpen,” said Gio Gonzalez. “I’m looking ahead with positive thoughts and hope in return positive things happen.” As long as we stay healthy, we have as good a chance to be playing through October.”
Immediately following the game the Giants manager had more serious matters to deal with than preparing for their road trip down South. Bochy had to deliver good and bad news to players trying out for the team, who all are hoping to make the 25-man roster. But for one player, his dream came true and brought him to tears.
“This is an unbelievable feeling to make this team,” Brandon Belt said. “When he gave me the news I immediately came to tears, this is a dream come true.”
Belt, 22 hit .352 with 23 home runs, 112 RBI’s and 22 stolen bases at three minor league stops last season. Bochy named him the starter for tomorrow’s game and the remaining of the season. Aubrey Huff will move to right field.
Written by: Malaika Bobino