SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. (CBS / AP) — Arizona’s Brandon McCarthy acknowledged he was a bit weary going four innings in the 90-degree heat of Scottsdale.
Oakland’s venerable Bartolo Colon seemed only to get better as the warm afternoon wore on.
When all was accounted for, McCarthy and Colon each allowed a pair of runs in four innings, the longest outing of the spring for both, and that was it for the offenses for both teams as the Diamondbacks and Athletics finished in a 2-2 tie Friday.
McCarthy, facing his former Oakland teammates for the first time, gave up three hits, struck out six and walked two. He blanked Oakland for three innings before giving up consecutive two-out RBI doubles to Seth Smith and John Jaso in the fourth.
McCarthy was pleased, though, with the progression of the change-up he is adding to his repertoire this spring, saying he threw “at least 10” against the A’s.
So far this spring, McCarthy — coming back from a horrific head injury when he was hit by a line drive late last season while pitching for Oakland — has 16 strikeouts in 12 innings. The two walks he gave up Friday were his first of the spring.
“The change-up was actually really good today,” he said. “I was able to set a lot of guys up with that and do some good things with it. Hopefully the strikeouts come because of that changeup. I think it sets up a new layer and it’s hard to stay on my stuff, but I have to execute to make that happen.”
Colon, who has five games left on his 50-game suspension for his substance abuse violation, gave up both runs in the first then settled down, scattering six hits, striking out three and hitting a batter. He didn’t talk to reporters afterward, but manager Bob Melvin said the 39-year-old right-hander knows what he needs to accomplish in the spring.
“He’s the kind of guy that knows how to prepare and get ready for the season,” Melvin said, “so we don’t get too caught up in results for him although he threw the ball pretty well after the first inning today.”
Gerardo Parra and Paul Goldschmidt each had an RBI single for Arizona. Seth Smith and John Jaso had consecutive RBI doubles for Oakland.
The Diamondbacks got four singles off Colon in their two-run first inning.
Leadoff batter Adam Eaton was hit by a pitch, took second on a passed ball and scored when Gerardo Parra singled. Martin Prado hit into a double play, but consecutive singles by Aaron Hill, Miguel Montero and Paul Goldschmidt brought in the inning’s second run.
McCarthy cruised through the first three innings before getting into trouble with two outs in the fourth. He walked Josh Reddick, then Sheth Smith double to deep left center to bring in the run. Smith scored when John Jason was called out on strikes, McCarthy’s sixth strikeout of the game.
“That was not a strike but I’m really thankful for it,” McCarthy said. “It’s one of the ones that makes the day look a lot better, at least lets me end on a good note. But I was struggling to execute there.”
Oakland loaded the bases with one out in the eighth when pinch hitter Grant Green hit a soft fly ball to short center. Adam Rosales tried to score from third but was called out on a close play on the throw from center fielder Evan Marzilli to catcher Wil Nieves.
Melvin bolted from the dugout for a brief but heated exchange with home plate umpire Jonathan Saphire. Melvin thought Rosales clearly got his hand on the plate before the tag.
“I’m not going to be out there if I didn’t think he was safe,” Melvin said. “You know, we’ve got a kid battling in at bat trying to make a team and these guys are trying to make a showing for themselves, so you stick up for guys like that.”
Notes: Reddick was lifted for pinch runner Shane Peterson in the fourth. … Smith got back on track after his eight-game hitting streak was snapped on Thursday. … The Diamondbacks will wear green caps against the Los Angeles Dodgers on Sunday for St. Patrick’s Day. … The crowd of 12,516 was the sixth sellout crowd of the spring for Arizona at Salt River Fields.
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