South Africa's bats go cold against A's

Classic squad held scoreless until Phillips' RBI in eighth

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A's 6, South Africa 1
at Phoenix
Thursday, March 5

South Africans at the plate: Their first hit of the game was a grounder to third off the bat of Npho Ngoepe, who beat the throw and went to second after it went high over first base. They didn't have another until pinch-hitter Justin Lazarus rose off the bench in the eighth to single. He scored on a single by Anthony Phillips.

A's at the plate: The A's finally broke through for a pair of runs in the third inning on Jack Cust's sacrifice fly and Bobby Crosby's RBI single. Rajai Davis had two singles in the game. In a three-run seventh inning, pinch-hitter Yung-Chi Chin had a run-scoring single and pinch-hitter Josh Donaldson had a sacrifice fly.

South Africans on the mound: Despite some wildness, starter Alessio Angelucci pitched two scoreless innings, surviving a leadoff first-inning Davis single, four walks and a wild pitch. Gavin Jefferies threw a scoreless fourth and fifth, allowing one hit. Shannon Eckermans took the loss for allowing a pair of third-inning runs.

A's on the mound: A's starter Dallas Braden earned the win by throwing three innings of one-hit ball and survived three infield throwing errors: two by Crosby at short and the other by third baseman Jack Hannahan. Ryan Webb followed with two no-hit innings that included three strikeouts.

Up next: The South Africans wing to Mexico City on Friday and open the World Baseball Classic's Pool B play on Saturday at 2 p.m. ET against Cuba.

The A's play the Mariners at Phoenix Municipal Stadium on Friday with Oakland right-hander Edgar Gonzalez starting against Seattle left-hander Jarrod Washburn. Eric Chavez could get his debut at third base any day now.

Barry M. Bloom is a national writer for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.