TEMPE, Ariz. -- Andrelton Simmons hit his first spring homer, Hector Santiago cruised for six-plus innings and Geovany Soto took over down the stretch, hitting a game-tying home run in the eighth and drawing a bases-loaded walk in the ninth to give the Angels a 6-5 walk-off win over the
TEMPE, Ariz. -- Andrelton Simmons hit his first spring homer, Hector Santiago cruised for six-plus innings and Geovany Soto took over down the stretch, hitting a game-tying home run in the eighth and drawing a bases-loaded walk in the ninth to give the Angels a 6-5 walk-off win over the A's at Tempe Diablo Stadium on Tuesday.
Oakland's only real hard-hit ball against Santiago came off the bat of third baseman Danny Valencia, who blasted a fifth-inning solo home run beyond the grass in deep left-center field for his team-leading fifth home run of the spring.
Santiago finished six innings having given up just two runs on five hits and one walk. The 28-year-old left-hander yielded a single to Valencia in the seventh, then exited and watched him score later in the inning with reliever Fernando Salas on the mound, bumping the lefty's Cactus League ERA to 3.50.
Santiago entered camp fighting for a job in the rotation, but now, with health and performance issues throughout the staff, he looks like a lock.
"I hope so," Santiago, an All-Star last year, said of winning a spot on the Angels' starting staff. "I think I've put myself in a good spot. ... Overall, it's a yes. But it's still up in the air. Until they come up to me and say, 'Hey, you're starting,' I'm not going to say I'm in the rotation."
Kendall Graveman started for the A's and was charged with four runs on eight hits and two walks in 5 1/3 innings, putting his Cactus League ERA at 6.75. Oakland tacked on a second run vs. Santiago in the sixth on a two-out RBI single by Josh Reddick, who's batting .444 this spring.
The A's then grabbed a 5-4 lead in the seventh on a single by Valencia, a double by Billy Butler, a two-run triple by Jed Lowrie and an RBI single by Stephen Vogt. But Soto hit his third home run in the eighth and battled back from a 1-2 count against Seth Frankoff in the ninth for the game-winning walk.
Simmons, battling arm fatigue for most of spring, returned to shortstop for the first time in nine days and made a leaping catch, started a double play and handled a handful of routine grounders. In the third, he gave the Angels a 2-0 lead with a two-run shot to left field.
In the fifth, he bunted two runners over to set up back-to-back singles by Daniel Nava and Mike Trout, who are batting a combined .441 this spring.
Angels third baseman Yunel Escobar, who normally bats in front of both of them as the leadoff hitter, was a late scratch due to what the team called left eye irritation. Escobar felt the irritation after batting practice, but Angels manager Mike Scioscia doesn't expect it to keep him out very long.
Up next for the A's: Right-hander Jesse Hahn will be on the mound Wednesday for a rare spring night game with the host Mariners at Peoria Sports Complex, to be aired on MLB Network and MLB.TV. First pitch under the lights is set for 7:10 p.m. PT.
Up next for the Angels: The Angels are off on Wednesday, with no workout scheduled, and they resume their Cactus League schedule with a matchup against the White Sox in Glendale, Ariz., on Thursday, with first pitch set for 1:05 p.m. PT. Angels rotation candidate Matt Shoemaker, who has allowed 13 runs in 14 innings, will face off against ace lefty Chris Sale. Tyler Skaggs is also expected to pitch two innings in what would be his first game since undergoing Tommy John surgery in August 2014.
Alden Gonzalez is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @Alden_Gonzalez and Facebook , and listen to his podcast.