SAN FRANCISCO (AP) -- Mike Sweeney earned a spot on the Athletics roster with a steady approach at the plate. He also showed his power stroke might be coming back.
Sweeney hit a three-run home run and Oakland beat the San Francisco Giants 7-2 on Sunday in the final exhibition game for both teams.Bobby Crosby also homered for the A's, and Dana Eveland gave up two runs and three hits in six innings for his team-leading third win of the spring.The A's, who already began the regular season last week by splitting a pair of games against Boston in Japan, set a franchise record and tied Tampa Bay for the best winning percentage in the majors this spring. Both clubs finished at 18-8 (.692).Sweeney, who signed a minor league contract with Oakland in February, has been a big part of that success for the A's after being hobbled by injuries each of the last two years."I've put up some pretty big numbers in the big leagues, and the last couple years I have not," Sweeney said. "The majority of that is due to injuries. If my back's healthy I know I can still be a productive player. There's still a fire that burns inside me to be the best, otherwise I would have retired after last year."The 34-year-old Sweeney is a career .300 hitter and averaged 23 home runs from 1999-05. But had only 15 and played in just 134 games the past two seasons combined with Kansas City while nursing back and knee injuries. He took up yoga in the offseason to help ease the strain on his back and help him stay healthy.His home run off Giants reliever Jonathan Sanchez was Sweeney's second of the spring and left him tied for the team lead in RBIs, encouraging signs for the five-time All-Star."A home run is a double in the gap that you get under a little bit," Sweeney said. "It feels good even though it's not the regular season. Hopefully that will equate to some line drives and doubles in the gap come opening day."Giants starter Kevin Correia gave up a solo home run to Crosby, and struck out two and walked one in four innings.Sanchez was charged with six runs in 2 2-3 innings and took the loss, falling to 0-3 with a 7.23 ERA."He's gotta learn to limit the damage and pitch a little better in traffic," San Francisco manager Bruce Bochy said. "He's got a little track record here having just an ugly inning and that's what did us in today. We've gotta stay out of the big inning. That's what kills you."
Giants LHP Barry Zito will start opening day for the fourth straight season Monday in Los Angeles against Dodgers RHP Brad Penny. ... Matt Cain opposes Derek Lowe on Tuesday in a matchup of right-handers. ... San Francisco 2B Ray Durham grounded out in his only at-bat. Durham has been bothered by tightness in his left hamstring but is expected to play in the season-opener Monday and will likely bat fifth. ... A's manager Bob Geren said that Daric Barton's left hand, which has bothered the infielder much of the spring, is OK.