By: Eric He
April 4, 2015
SAN FRANCISCO — Whenever I visit AT&T Park, I am always in awe of its beauty. They don’t get every stadium right here in the Bay Area (see: Candlestick Park, Levi’s Stadium), but I’m not sure if they could have designed AT&T Park any more perfect.
The location — right along the San Francisco Bay — is the biggest perk. The view is impeccable, and I love how the design allows for fans to walk along the waterfront and peer across the bay at Oakland.
It’s been 15 years since the park was built, and today, it still looks as good as new. Moreover, I fail to see a day when such a picturesque view will get old like the Candlestick Park wind gusts.
I was there on Thursday night for an exhibition game between the Giants and A’s and wrote an A’s gamer for Sports Radio Service, the full text of which runs below:
Read to the end to see more shots of AT&T Park and a video of an idiot streaker who ran onto the field (is that enough incentive)?
The games don’t count, but the Oakland A’s will certainly take the wins.
The good times kept rolling on Thursday for the A’s as they beat the Giants 8-2 at AT&T Park in an exhibition game.
It was the A’s eighth straight win, improving their MLB-best record to 22-9-2.
Oakland jumped ahead with three runs in the second inning off Giants’ starter Jake Peavy.
Brett Lawrie opened with a three-bagger, hitting one into the right field gap in Triple’s Alley, and Stephen Vogt knocked him in with a sacrifice fly. Cal-product and new starting shortstop Marcus Semien followed with a home run just to the right of the left-field foul pole.
Then came the hit of the night, courtesy of Sam Fuld, who circled the bases on a triple and an error with two out in the second. Fuld smacked one high off the right field wall and the ball was mishandled in the outfield by Angel Pagan, allowing Fuld to score to make it 3-0 A’s.
Veteran southpaw Scott Kazmir got the start for the A’s in his final tune-up before the regular season and he threw six strong innings, allowing one run on four hits. He pitched out of trouble in the second and third innings, stranding a runner at second in both instances.
Kazmir’s lone blemish was a solo home run by Angel Pagan in the fourth inning that got the Giants on the board.
The A’s added more runs in the fourth inning. Back-to-back walks to lead off the inning followed by a double along the chalk down the right field line by Billy Burns gave the A’s a 4-0 lead. With one out, Craig Gentry knocked in another run with a single.
That hit knocked Peavy out of the game after 3.1 innings and 79 pitches.
But the A’s weren’t done scoring. They would take a 7-0 lead by inning’s end off new Giants’ pitcher Steven Okert on a sacrifice fly by Ben Zobrist, scoring Burns, followed by a hard single by Billy Butler that knocked in Gentry.
Butler later launched a homer in the ninth inning to close out a productive offensive evening for the A’s.
The A’s lineup consisted of a majority of their starters, but with one notable exception: Coco Crisp. The everyday outfielder and leadoff hitter will miss 6-8 weeks, requiring surgery to remove a bone spur in his right elbow.
Crisp will join Josh Reddick on the disabled list to start the season. Reddick has a strained right oblique and will miss at least the first five games of the regular season.
The injuries most likely solidify a roster spot for Billy Burns, who has been tearing it up this spring for the A’s. His 29 hits entering Thursday was tied for the Major League lead.
Burns went 2-for-5 against the Giants, upping his average to a blistering .397.
Melvin announces starting rotation
Bob Melvin announced the A’s starting rotation before tonight’s game, and it will consist of Sonny Gray, Jesse Hahn, Kazmir, Kendall Graveman and Drew Pomeranz. Hahn and Graveman are newcomers to the team this season. Hahn was acquired from the Padres in the Derek Norris trade and Graveman came over from the Blue Jays for Josh Donaldson.
Graveman, who had limited big league experience last season, surprised this spring recording a 0.42 ERA in Cactus League play.
Left out of the rotation is Jesse Chavez, who had a break out season last year with the A’s but will now be relegated to a bullpen role.
Switch hitters are aplenty in the majors these days, but what about switch pitchers? Meet Pat Venditte, who pitched the ninth inning on Thursday night. Venditte can indeed pitch both left-handed and right-handed, and the non-roster invitee has appeared in 11 games for the A’s this spring, holding the opponent scoreless in eight of those outings.
Friday night was not one of those outings, however, as he gave up a homer to Brandon Belt. He settled down, though, switching sides to retire the side in order and close out the win.
Coming into Thursday, the A’s led the majors in runs (190), doubles (86) and sacrifice flies (15). … The pitching hasn’t been too shabby either, ranking second in the Cactus League in strikeouts (241) and third in ERA (3.77) entering the night. … The A’s are 13-2 in their last 15 spring games against the Giants. … Evan Scribner and Fernando Abad each pitched a scoreless inning in relief. Abad escaped a bases-loaded jam with one out unscathed in the eighth. … The first regular season game will be Monday, April 6 as the Rangers visit the Coliseum.
Originally published on Sports Radio Service.
Few more shots of the exterior of AT&T Park:
And as promised, the streaker:
I only caught the tail end of his venture on video, but the idiot ran straight across center field toward second base. He lifted up his shirt just as security got to him so thankfully we didn’t see any more of his skin.
Some close-ups courtesy of Bob Stanton of USA Today Sports: