Jackson hits winning RBI double for A’s
PHOENIX (AP) – Conor Jackson finally got some good results out of one of those good swings he’s been taking.
Jackson doubled in the game-winning run with one out to give the Oakland Athletics a 6-5 victory against the Chicago Cubs on Thursday.
Jackson’s game-ending hit came after Andy LaRoche singled in pinch-runner Jemile Weeks.
Jackson, batting .114 this spring, figures to be a backup on the final roster while LaRoche continues to push for a utility job.
“Conor’s been swinging the bat well all spring, he just hasn’t had anything to show for it,” A’s manager Bob Geren said. “That was nice to see him get a big one there.”
The A’s used their projected starting lineup for just the second time this spring training. Kurt Suzuki hit a two-run home run off Cubs starter Ryan Dempster in the second inning.
Otherwise it was a good outing for Dempster. He allowed two runs on four hits over six innings.
“Probably this spring more than any other spring, I’ve just really been trying to establish my fastball as much as I can and trying to locate it as much as I can, and for the most part it’s been going that way,” Dempster said.
Geovany Soto led off the seventh inning with a solo homer, ending Oakland starting pitcher Gio Gonzalez’s shutout. After a walk, Gonzalez was lifted, and Alfonso Soriano belted reliever Brad Ziegler’s first pitch over the center-field wall for a two-run home run.
Reed Johnson’s two-run home run in the eighth was his fifth hit in 30 spring training at-bats.
Gonzalez, making his fourth spring training start, gave up five hits and struck out six against what figures to be the Cubs’ everyday lineup. He also walked two and threw 78 pitches.
“Gio was fantastic. He’s really maturing and from the second half of last year right through the spring he hasn’t missed a beat with anything,” Geren said.
The A’s pushed across a run in the bottom of the eighth on three singles, including a Matt Carson’s RBI hit off Cubs reliever Kerry Wood.
Notes: The Cubs’ John Grabow, who is coming back from a left knee injury, pitched a scoreless inning in his first outing since Feb. 27 The A’s will donate $1 for every ticket sold to their April 3 game against the Seattle Mariners to the Red Cross for relief efforts in Japan, the club announced.