A’s split squad edges Padres in 10 innings

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PHOENIX (AP)—Oakland right-hander Clayton Mortensen(notes) is on the fringe of the competition for the final spot in the Athletics’ rotation. Finally getting a start gave him a chance to stretch things out.

San Diego right-hander Kevin Correia(notes) threw more than 60 pitches in his third start of the spring with mixed results.

Adrian Cardenas(notes) scored on Mitch Canham’s throwing error with two outs in the ninth as an A’s split squad beat the Padres 10-9 in 10 innings on Saturday.

The A’s escaped a bases-loaded jam in the top of the 10th and the Padres, who lost their fourth straight, came close to getting out of their own bases-loaded jam.

Chris Denorfia(notes) had three hits and drove in a run for the Padres. Chase Headley(notes) had two hits and drove in two runs and Tony Gwynn(notes), Jr. added a pair of hits. Mike Antonelli added a two-run single in the five-run ninth.

Rajai Davis(notes) went 3 for 4 with an RBI and both Travis Buck(notes) and Dallas McPherson(notes) hit a home run for the A’s. Patterson, Eric Chavez(notes), Gregorio Petit(notes) and Adrian Cardenas also drove in runs.

Mortensen went three innings, allowing three runs and five hits. Correia lasted 3 2-3 innings, giving up five runs and six hits with no walks and three strikeouts.

Mortensen, who came to the A’s in a deadline trade with the St. Louis Cardinals for Matt Holliday(notes) in July, got close to his 50-pitch limit.

“It felt good to get a start and get back into my own routine,” Mortensen said. “I’ve been a starter my whole career and there’s a different mental focus to it. It was nice to get into a rhythm. I gave up a couple of runs but I also got a lot of ground balls and that’s what I’m supposed to do.”

Mortensen recorded seven of his nine outs on grounders and all but one of the five hits allowed were grounders through the infield.

Undrafted out of high school, Mortensen began attracting scouts as a senior at Gonzaga University, when he finished 9-2 with a 3.92 ERA and 122 strikeouts in 119 innings. He was the West Coast Conference Pitcher of the Year.

“That was a make-or-break year for me,” Mortensen said. “I had to make up my mind to work harder if I wanted to play pro ball. I had to put it all on the line.”

That meant focusing on drills and mechanics, and dedicating himself to the weight room.

“We’re all still close friends from that year and we all came together,” Mortensen said. “We made a run at it and actually won the conference title. I think we brought the program back to life.”

Mortensen followed fellow Rexburg, Idaho, resident Matt Lindstrom(notes), who pitches for the Houston Astros, into pro baseball by five years.

“He grew up with my older brother Damon, so he was always at the house,” Mortensen said. “I didn’t really know he was a good pitcher until I saw him in junior college and realized he had what it takes.”

Lindstrom became a model for Mortensen, who made his major league debut with the Cardinals last year and pitched in September for the A’s.

“It was nice to get that taste of it,” Mortensen said. “What it’s like, how the hitters make adjustments. You see that and it’s motivation to work harder, to stay consistent with my delivery.”

Correia, who caught on with the Padres last spring training, continues to work on getting better.

“I put a lot of pressure on myself,” he said. “I want to improve on last year. I’m always working on something. Right now I’m using all my pitches and getting my command.”

Notes: Padres OF Matt Stairs(notes) received a warm ovation from A’s fans even though he has not been in the Oakland organization since 2000. … A’s RHP Justin Duchscherer(notes) is scheduled to throw in a minor-league game on Tuesday and could pitch in a spring game the following Sunday. … A’s OF Coco Crisp(notes) (hamstring) had the day off and will resume training Sunday. … Padres’ 1B Oscar Salazar(notes) was scratched from the starting lineup with an ongoing foot problem. … A’s LHP Dallas Braden(notes) is also scheduled to pitch in a minor-league game Tuesday to keep him on schedule. … Padres manager Bud Black used a fifth infielder in the 10th with Jemile Weeks at-bat. Ryan Webb(notes) struck him out.

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