A's Earn Split Decision On Saturday

In a "only in spring training" kind of day, half of the A's squad was nearly no-hit by the Cubs in one game and the other half pounded out 17 hits in the other game versus the Mariners. Plenty of A's minor leaguers got a chance to compete on Saturday. The A's also learned that Frank Thomas will be ready to play in Catcus League action as soon as tomorrow. Find out the details inside...

A's Hitless Through 9.2 IP; Harden Shines Versus Cubs

Arizona doesn't usually yield many pitching duels, but the Cubs and A's put on a show on Saturday. A's ace Rich Harden dazzled in his six innings of work, throwing regularly in the high 90s and striking out eight while allowing only two bloop hits and a walk. Jay Witasick and Huston Street each added scoreless innings. John Rheinecker escaped a one-out , bases loaded jam in the ninth inning, but allowed a run in the 10th to give the Cubs the win.

The A's managed to walk seven times, but they couldn't buy a hit for most of the game. Oakland finished regulation without a hit and only could manage a two-out single by Dan Johnson (one of the only hard hit balls the A's had all day) in the 10th to stave off the no-hitter.

The A's called up a number of players from minor league camp to help out in the game versus the Cubs. Kory Wayment, Ronnie Merrill, Jason Perry and Richie Robnett all made appearances. On defense, Merrill forced a runner at home in the 9th with the bases loaded to help send the game into extras. Robnett walked in his only at-bat.

A's Smash the Mariners

Offense was not in short supply in the A's other game on Saturday, as Oakland and Seattle combined to score 28 runs. The A's had 20 of them and they came in bunches in the form of a six-run first, a four-run sixth and a nine-run ninth. Oakland used three walks, a hit and a hit-batsman to chase Seattle starter Jesse Foppert before Foppert could record an out. The A's would draw seven walks in the game.

Chad Gaudin made the start and he was cruising along until running into trouble in the fourth, when he allowed four runs to finish the game with five runs allowed in 3.1 innings pitched. Santiago Casilla relieved him and wasn't much better, allowing three runs on four hits in 1.2 innings.

Ron Flores stopped the bleeding, as he shut the Mariners out for two strong innings. He allowed only two hits and he struck out two. After a rough start to his spring, Flores has now strung together three straight scoreless outings. He has his ERA down to 9.00. It was as high as 18.00 earlier in the week.

Juan Cruz continued his dazzling spring, finishing off the game with two scoreless innings. Cruz has yet to allow a run this spring. He struck out three and walked none. He didn't allow a hit.

Freddie Bynum was the A's lead-off hitter and he played both right and centerfield, showcasing his versatility. He reached base three times (twice on walks) and scored three runs. He is hitting .375 this spring.

Nick Swisher went 3-6 including a three-run homer in the A's nine-run ninth. He is hitting .339 this spring, a positive sign since Swisher struggled last spring and those struggles appeared to carry over into the regular season. Non-roster invitee Scott McClain also continued to be productive. He started the game at first and went 2-5 with a three-run, first inning double. He is hitting .389 with 14 RBI.

Keith Ginter played the whole game at third and went 3-5 with three RBI and a homerun, his second of the spring. Ginter is hitting .324 this spring. The A's are hoping he will generate some interest from another team looking for a second baseman.

John Baker raised his batting average to a team-leading .438 with a hit in two at-bats. He drove in two runs and drew a walk. Baker has 10 RBI in limited action this spring.

The A's used a number of players from minor league camp and they were all generally impressive. Second baseman Kevin Melillo went 1-2 and drove in two runs with a two-out, two-run single in that ninth inning that opened the floodgates for the A's. Mark Kiger took over for Bobby Crosby at short and went 2-3 with a run scored. Brian Stavisky had a hit and an RBI in his only at-bat. Doug Clark, sent down to minor league camp earlier in the week, went 0-2 with a run scored.

Thomas To Play Tomorrow

Frank Thomas was cleared to play by the A's doctor on Saturday and he is expected to start Sunday's game versus the Colorado Rockies as the DH. Thomas has been competing in minor league camp and had collected 30 at-bats. He ran in spikes on Saturday for the first time this spring and reported no problems.

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