TOKYO >> Kurt Suzuki hit his second home run in Japan on Monday in the Oakland Athletics’ 12-6 loss to the Hanshin Tigers in an exhibition game.
Oakland shortstop Cliff Pennington led off the fourth inning with a solo homer and Suzuki, who hit a two-run home run in the Athletics’ 5-0 win over the Yomiuri Giants on Sunday, connected for a three-run shot at Tokyo Dome to cut Hanshin’s lead to 7-4.
"I was just trying to put the barrel on the ball and keep it simple," Suzuki said. "When you go out there you can’t take anything for granted and have to play hard."
The Athletics are in Japan to open the season against Ichiro Suzuki and the Seattle Mariners on Wednesday and Thursday.
Cuban defector Yoenis Cespedes sat out Monday’s exhibition after leaving Sunday night’s contest because of cramps in his quadriceps. Cespedes was 0 for 4 in Sunday’s game against the Giants but is expected to be in the lineup for Wednesday’s game.
The Tigers took a 7-0 lead through the first three innings, taking advantage of some sloppy defensive play by the A’s.
In the bottom of the third, Hanshin scored four runs. Former major leaguer Craig Brazell hit an RBI single to right, scoring Takeshi Toritani. Tomoaki Kanemoto drove in another run with a double and Brazell and Kanemoto both scored on a throwing error by Pennington.
"Today wasn’t our best day," Oakland manager Bob Melvin said. "We had a good spring executing defense, but weren’t able to do that today. Take nothing away from them, we just didn’t play one of our better games and they took it to us."
Brazell, who was 2 for 3 Monday and had three hits in his team’s 5-1 win on Sunday, said it was good to face major league pitching again.
"I was a little nervous at first because it’s been five years since I hit major league pitching," Brazell said. "But to be able to come out and hit like this gives me a lot of confidence for the season."
Oakland starter Tyson Ross gave up eight runs — six earned — and 10 hits in just four innings.