- Associated Press - Sunday, March 16, 2014

GOODYEAR, Ariz. (AP) - Joey Votto and Brandon Phillips homered to power the Cincinnati Reds past the Oakland Athletics 7-6 on Sunday.

Votto’s first home run of the spring came off A’s starter Sonny Gray. Billy Hamilton had two hits for the Reds, including a push bunt down the first base line that caught pitcher Josh Lindblom flat-footed. Lindblom couldn’t get to first base to cover on the play.

Hamilton stole second and third as Lindblom fell behind in the count to Phillips, who belted his second home run. Hamilton also singled home a run in the second.

“Billy is that guy. He’s doing the things we’ve asked him to do,” Reds manager Bryan Price said. “We’ve asked him to get on base and make things happen. He’s been terrific. He’s done everything we’ve asked for and more.”

On defense, Hamilton made a diving catch in center field of a line drive hit by Alden Carrithers.

Derek Norris, one of three catchers in the running for roster spots with the A’s, doubled home two runs in the first off Tony Cingrani. That came after Norris’ foul pop fell between Votto and catcher Devin Mesoraco, who was charged with an error.

“It wasn’t a great game but it was nice to win,” Price said.

Oakland designated hitter Yoenis Cespedes was 0 for 2 with a walk, dropping his batting average to .111.

A’s third baseman Josh Donaldson left in the middle of the fourth with a minor sprain in his right calf, according to manager Bob Melvin.


Athletics: Gray pitched three-plus innings after throwing four in his previous outing. He gave up five runs, three earned, and six hits.

Consecutive singles by Todd Frazier, Zack Cozart and Skip Schumaker to open the fourth led to Gray’s early exit.

“I felt I didn’t throw enough strikes,” said Gray, who walked two and struck out four. “I was nibbling all around. I was trying to treat this like a regular game. I threw a lot of pitches, 69, around the zone, just not in it.”

Reds: Cingrani pitched into the fifth but left with none out. He was charged with five runs - three earned - and three hits. He struck out four, walked three and balked, which allowed another run to score. Oakland’s Billy Burns struck out swinging but reached base on a wild pitch.

“I was overstriding in the first inning,” Cingrani said. “I found my mechanics, though. In the fifth my arm was dead. Maybe it was because we had a long fourth.”

Story Continues →