Dodgers Defeat Athletics in 2021 Cactus League Opener

(Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

Designated hitter Matt Davidson homered, and shortstop Corey Seager added an RBI single, propelling the Los Angeles Dodgers to a narrow 2-1 victory over the Oakland Athletics in the 2021 Cactus League opener for both teams.

Boy, was it ever good to have baseball back, even if it was only for seven innings.

In the top of the third frame, second baseman Zach McKinstry singled on a liner to center with nobody out and later advanced to second on a DJ Peters walk. McKinstry wound up at third after a Mookie Betts flyout to right and ultimately scored when Seager umbrellaed a single to center, giving the Dodgers the early 1-0 lead.

In the bottom of the fifth, Oakland tied the game when former Los Angeles outfield prospect Cody Thomas scored after pinch-running for left fielder Mark Canha. The inning began with a Canha walk, followed by DH Mitch Moreland being hit by a pitch. Thomas crossed the plate after first baseman Seth Brown grounded out to Michael Busch at second base.

The Dodgers took the lead for good when Davidson, who was acquired through a free-agent minor league contract earlier in February, homered on a line drive to left-center field off Oakland reliever Argenis Angulo.

The Dodgers used a total of six pitchers on the afternoon. 32-year-old, non-roster invitee Mike Kickham started the game for Los Angeles, throwing two full innings while surrendering just one hit and a walk.

Edwin Uceta and Dennis Santana respectively pitched the third and fourth frames for the Dodgers.

Garrett Cleavinger threw the fifth, allowing the run by Thomas.

A pair of valued pitching prospects in Andre Jackson and Michael Grove threw the final two innings for the Dodgers in perfect fashion.

Jackson was credited with the win, and Grove collected the team’s first save of the spring. Grove struck out two of the three batters he faced.

Angulo suffered the loss for Oakland.

In addition to McKinstry, Seager, and Davidson, both Matt Beaty and Edwin Rios added base hits for the Dodgers.

Peters ended up drawing walks in each of his two plate appearances.

The contest was played in front of 2000 fans at Hohokam Stadium in Mesa, AZ, the home Cactus League venue for the Athletics.

Cactus League play continues on Monday when the Dodgers face the Rockies at Camelback Ranch.

First pitch is slated for 12:05 p.m. Pacific time.

12 thoughts on “Dodgers Defeat Athletics in 2021 Cactus League Opener

  1. I have to take issue with you Schlossman. You say Seager “roped a single to center”. Looked more like a dying quail to me. Although Seager made contact both times up, neither hit was barreled. I think another year or two for Seager at OKC would be of great benefit to him.


  2. Rios, Beaty, and McKinstry get hits, and Peters walks. Let the fight for the last roster spots begin! I think Rios is a lock and I will be surprised if McKinstry does not make it. But we shall see. I like McKinstry as I have always liked grinders. McKinstry makes contact.


      1. Curious I know we all look at rosters. How many pitchers do you think the Dodgers carry? If it’s 12 then either May or Gonsolin I think goes down. The roster the way Friedman uses it is fluid and guys like May have options. I sat down and really looked at the roster this morning. As we have all talked about there are only a couple of roster spots available and the competition is going to be fierce. If you figure Rios is a lock there are only two or three spots left if there are 12 pitchers. They may break camp with more than that as initially the pitchers have to get stretched out to pitch hopefully 6 or more innings. We have all debated it but looking at an actual roster it’s going to be tight. IF you figure Beaty and McKinstry make it there is one spot left does it go to a pitcher or bench spot? We all know that this will change throughout the year but really interesting to look at a roster.


  3. I was impressed with the walks. Especially with Beaty on as we know he is on the bubble and needs to make an impression. Taking those walks showed he has listened to the coaches. If he can get his OBP up and get selective at the plate he might make it to the MLB this year.


  4. Maxster, With the rosters staying at 26 again this season the team will carry 13 pitchers, you can put your money on it, the team carried an eight man bullpen most of the time when they had a 25 man roster, so I doubt there will be a change. I think they would carry a nine man bullpen if they were allowed, but I think they are limited to 13, the same as last season.

    Even with an 8 man bullpen, I think one of either Gonsolin, or May, goes down, to stay in starting shape,
    5 starters
    8 relievers
    8 field players
    5 bench players which we know one will be a catcher (Barnes)
    So you should have 4 bench spots left. So Maxster who do you think gets the four open bench spots? For this exercise let’s count Taylor as the starting 2nd baseman, even though we all know he is going to move around.
    Anybody else can chime in if they want.

    Here’s mine


    1. Keith thanks for your reply. Yes, I was thinking that Beaty and McKinstry are on the bubble and Lux needs to get productive fast or he is doomed to get sent to OKC. Taylor & Rios are a lock. Relievers Jansen, Graterol, Kelly, Treinen, Knebel, Gonsolin, Gonzalez, and a fight for a left-handed slot? May goes to OKC. Looking at that it becomes obvious why Friedman traded Kolarek and Floro. The back of the roster will be very fluid I think as players make a case to stay on the roster. I really like McKinstry I am not sold on Beaty. Depending on how Lux performs will change the dynamic a lot.


    1. What will really be interesting is who has won the roster spots come October! They will stick with Lux for now but he needs to hit! Period. Left-Handers, they have Alexander back from injury and traded for Vesia. I think the end of the bullpen will be very fluid. One prediction is this is Urias’s year to show he is a premier starting pitcher.


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