PHOENIX — The A’s roughed up Los Angeles Dodgers starter Josh Beckett to the tune of seven runs on six hits in four innings of a 7-4 victory Phoenix Municipal Stadium on Sunday.
Beckett had strong efforts in his three previous spring starts, but the right-hander couldn’t get many of his pitches to work this time around.
“He couldn’t get the breaking ball over. That’s a big weapon for him,” Mattingly said. “It slows guys down.”
Dodgers right fielder Andre Either hit his first homer of the spring off A’s right-hander A.J. Griffin in the first inning, but the A’s countered with a two-run homer by Jed Lowrie, who is looking more and more like he will start somewhere in manager Bob Melvin’s infield on Opening Day.
Los Angeles outfielder Carl Crawford connected off Griffin in the third inning, but the floodgates opened on Beckett in the bottom half.
Oakland scored five times on four hits, including a two-run homer by catcher Derek Norris, his fifth of the spring. Norris is expected to split time with John Jaso this season.
Griffin, who rose from Double-A Midland to win seven games in 15 starts last season for the A’s, said he is making progress after giving up four runs on five hits, walking one and striking out eight in 4 2-3 innings.
Someone pointed out that Crawford’s homer might have stayed in the park had it not been for the dry, desert air.
“You can’t really use that as an excuse,” Griffin said. “There are going to be other places we play where the ball carries.”
He said the pitch to Crawford “was a poorly executed curveball. I should have ‘dirted’ it ... what it all comes down to at the end of the day is that you have to keep the ball down.
NOTES: The A’s optioned middle infielder Jemile Weeks and outfielder Shane Peterson to Triple-A Sacramento after the game. The move eases a logjam in the middle a bit. Weeks never was quite able to return to form after bruising his right shoulder early in camp. ... Oakland closer Grant Balfour made his second appearance of the spring, pitching another scoreless inning with a strikeout. ... A’s pitchers have walked 72 batters, putting them among the major league leaders for fewest free passes.