Chavez in control to cap breakout spring
New rotation member holds Giants hitless into sixth; Jaso, Fuld power offense
SAN FRANCISCO -- It's still Spring Training, but any time you can hold an MLB lineup hitless for a handful of innings, you're having a good night.
That was the case for Oakland starter Jesse Chavez on Friday, as he held the Giants without a hit for the first 5 1/3 innings in a 4-1 victory for the A's.
"Wasn't too bad," Chavez told reporters after his stellar start. "It was a good one to finish the spring off and go into the season and build off of that one."
It was a nice exclamation mark for what's been a superb spring for Chavez, who will take over a spot in the starting rotation after recent injuries to Jarrod Parker (Tommy John surgery) and A.J. Griffin (elbow soreness). Behind a solid array of pitches that included a deceiving changeup, Chavez struck out five and allowed just three baserunners. He walked one, hit a batter and allowed just one hit -- a double by Angel Pagan, the last batter Chavez faced.
In fact, Chavez might have been too efficient for manager Bob Melvin's taste, as he needed just 66 pitches to get through the outing. Melvin planned on getting four pitchers in the game, so he was somewhat relieved to see Pagan break up the no-hitter.
"I don't normally take out guys of potential no-hitters," Melvin said. "At the time, I was almost glad that Pagan got the hit, to tell you the truth. But it was impressive. He was on it all night."
After he was lifted, Chavez trotted down to the bullpen to throw 12 more pitches to raise his pitch count.
The next time Chavez gets tuned up, it will be for his third career start in his seventh Major League season, as he made two starts for the Royals in 2012. The 30-year-old, now pitching for his fifth team since 2008, said he's looking forward to the opportunity.
Granted, he might have some butterflies in his stomach while he's warming up in the bullpen at O.Co Coliseum in Oakland next week.
"It'll be different," Chavez said. "It'll be a lot of adrenaline, a lot of excitement. Think it's something that I'll have to calm down."
Meanwhile, Giants starter Tim Lincecum had a night he'd like to forget. On his final pitch of the night, Lincecum was drilled on the left leg by a Daric Barton comebacker before being helped off the field by a couple of trainers.
The Giants announced that Lincecum had a left knee contusion and that X-rays didn't reveal a fracture, which is a relief for the Giants, considering the shot he took.
"Not too worried," Lincecum told reporters after leaving the game. "I knew it hit me in a relatively good spot. It didn't hit me in the front of the kneecap."
Lincecum gave up one earned run in four innings, allowing three hits and three walks while striking out four.
He retired the first six batters he faced before John Jaso drilled a home run to right field to lead off the third inning. The score stayed at 1-0 until the until the sixth, when Sam Fuld ripped a triple down the right-field line to clear the bases and give Oakland a four-run lead.
Up next: Right-hander Dan Straily is set to take the mound Saturday for Oakland's final exhibition tuneup against the Giants. The 25-year-old righty has secured a spot in the rotation for the regular season and will be looking to improve upon his spring marks in four starts, a 4.73 ERA and 1.80 WHIP. Watch the game at 1:05 p.m. PT on a free offering of MLB.TV.
Alex Espinoza is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.