MESA, Ariz. (AP) - Carlos Silva had something to prove, and time was running out.
Having a terrible spring training so far, it was essential he impressed his manager Wednesday. After giving up a leadoff hit and a one-out RBI double to Josh Willingham, Silva did just that. He turned it around, retiring 17 of 18 and leading the Chicago Cubs over the Oakland Athletics 3-1.
"I didn't want to walk out the door the way I was pitching," said Silva, who is competing with Braden Looper and Andrew Cashner for the final spot in the rotation.
The right-hander came in with a 15.88 ERA, but allowed one run and three hits in six innings. He also had three strikeouts in what should be his last appearance before manager Mike Quade finalizes his pitching staff.
Silva had allowed 20 earned runs in his previous 11 1-3 innings.
"This means the decisions remain tough and we are thrilled to death that guys are making it tough," said manager Mike Quade, who mentioned earlier in the day he wants a final decision by Saturday. "I was glad Silva threw the ball well."
Oakland starter Gio Gonzalez went 5 2-3 innings, allowing two earned runs on four hits and three walks. He struck out six. Geovany Soto and Alfonso Soriano had RBI singles in the first inning.
"I was working on a couple of changeups in certain counts," Gonzalez said. "There is stuff I am still working on and I wanted to get the runs out of the way now."
Abreu hits 3-run homer for Angels
TEMPE, Ariz. (AP) - Bobby Abreu and the Los Angeles Angels made Matt Cain pay for throwing too many balls.
Abreu hit his third homer this spring, a three-run shot that highlighted a five-run first inning that sent the Angels over the San Francisco Giants 8-0 Wednesday with boxing great Muhammad Ali in attendance.
Many of the Angels had their pictures taken with Ali prior to the game in the locker room. Ali then watched part of the game from a suite behind home plate.
Cain pitched three innings. He had gone five scoreless Cactus League innings over two previous games.
"I was behind on a lot of counts," Cain said. "I wasn't able to command the left side of the plate. I was a little bit out of rhythm. My arm strength was fine. I felt fine. Today doesn't look great, but I felt fine."
NOTES: Giants OF Cody Ross came out of the game in the first inning after catching a sinking line drive off the bat of Alberto Callaspo. Ross left with a strained left calf.