Dodgers nearly no-hit Red Sox in spring finale; Mike Sweeney helps A's beat Giants Print
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Sunday, 30 March 2008 14:23
MLB Headline News

 The Dodgers came close to a no-hitter in the final game of spring training. Their opening-day opponent, the San Francisco Giants, ran into a forgotten slugger who still has some power.
At Los Angeles, Hiroki Kuroda and Clayton Kershaw held Boston hitless into the eighth inning and Los Angeles beat the road-weary Boston Red Sox 8-0 on Sunday.
At San Francisco, Mike Sweeney hit a three-run homer and the Oakland Athletics beat the Giants 7-2.
The Joe Torre era begins for real at home for the Dodgers on Monday, and Los Angeles' new manager is ready to go.
``I'll be excited. When I stop getting excited, I should be doing something else,'' Torre said. ``It never gets old. I think we're about as ready as we can be, considering everything around us. We're going to be as good as our pitching allows us to be.''
In the final tuneup, the Dodgers' pitching couldn't have been much better.
Kuroda threw 40 of his 62 pitches for strikes over four innings, allowing only a leadoff walk to Dustin Pedroia and striking out six.
The 33-year-old right-hander, who signed a $35.3 million, three-year contract in December after 11 professional seasons in the Japanese Central League with Hiroshima, was 2-1 with a 4.18 ERA in seven starts this spring.
Kershaw, one of eight players the Dodgers assigned to their minor league camp after the game, pitched four innings and also struck out six. Pinch-hitter Bobby Kielty broke up the no-hitter with a clean single to right-center on a 3-2 pitch with one out in the eighth.
Brian Falkenborg finished up the combined one-hitter with a perfect ninth.
Sweeney, who signed a minor league contract with Oakland in February, helped the A's set a franchise record with an 18-8 spring.
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.
``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.''
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 Giants will send left-hander Barry Zito to the mound Monday against Dodgers right-hander Brad Penny.
 

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