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Cespedes drives in 2 as Athletics beat LA Angels

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POSTED March 2, 2014 8:23 p.m.

TEMPE, Ariz. (AP) — Yoenis Cespedes hit a two-run double and the Oakland Athletics defeated the Los Angeles Angels 3-2 Sunday.

Cespedes, who hit 26 homers with 80 RBIs last year, lined his hit in the fifth off Joe Blanton. Jed Lowrie and Josh Donaldson singled earlier in the inning.

Blanton went 2-14 with a 6.04 ERA last season. He gave up two runs and three hits with a walk in 2 1-3 innings. He finished strong in his first appearance of the spring, retiring the last six hitters.

“His fastball-change-up combo was working,” Angels manager Mike Scioscia said.

Angels star Albert Pujols went 0 for 3. He struck out, fouled out and grounded into a double play with the bases loaded.

Hector Santiago, one of three starters competing for two open spots at the back end of the rotation, worked 2 2-3 innings and allowed one unearned run with one hit, two walks and three strikeouts.

Santiago has a screwball that Scioscia called “nasty.” Santiago said he threw four screwballs, all with good results.

Athletics’ starter Jesse Chavez allowed one hit with a walk and two strikeouts in 2 2-3 innings in his second spring start.

 Scioscia was impressed with Blanton’s outing.

“You can see him staying closed a little better,” Scioscia said. “He’s hiding the ball better. He’s worked hard.”

Blanton is on the last year of a contract that pays him $7.5 million this season with a $1 million buyout clause. Scioscia hinted this week that Blanton would have to make the club as a starter and he is not likely to keep a long reliever.

Santiago said he threw four screwballs, getting a ground ball and three fruitless swings, one for a strikeout.

“Four for four was a good day,” said Santiago, who said he wants to throw more screwballs than he did last year with the Chicago White Sox when he went 4-9 with a 3.56 ERA. “Last year I’d throw four in seven innings. Last year I wanted to throw more. (Angels catcher) Chris (Iannetta) looks like he’s going to be calling it, which I’m glad for.”

Santiago came over to the Angels along with left-hander Tyler Skaggs in the three-way deal that sent Mark Trumbo to Arizona.

“I had a lot of energy,” Santiago said. “I wanted to get off on the right foot.”

Athletics Manager Bob Melvin likes what Chavez can do for Oakland.

“He really found his way with us last year,” Melvin said of Chavez, who went 2-4 with one save and a 3.92 ERA in 35 games in 2013. “He pitched the way we heard he had in the minor leagues. He has four pitches, he pitches in relief and as a starter, and those guys are hard to find.”

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