Spring Training Game Thirteen – Cubs 10 Giants 5
WP – Carlos Zambrano (1-0) LP – Matt Morris (0-1)
The Cubs scored 6 times in the 1st inning against Giants’ starter Matt Morris and on the day they put up 7 of their 10 runs against the former Cardinal. The offense took advantage of two misplayed balls in left by Barry Bonds and a rare error by Omar Vizquel.
Carlos Zambrano pitched 4 strong innings, gave up 2 runs on 3 hits, walked 2 and struck out 5 with 2 of his k’s being against Barry Bonds….swinging. At the plate Zambrano hit a double, a triple and was 2-3 on the day with a RBI. But his “little” stumble between 2nd and 3rd kept him from an in-the-park home run. Zambrano landed on his left shoulder and he remained in the game. Carlos Zambrano was staked to a 6-0 lead before he took the mound, something he and the Cubs hope will happen more often than not during the regular season when the games count. Alfonso Soriano singled to start the game and advanced to 3rd on a double by Ryan Theriot….the first of Bonds’ miscues on the day. Omar Vizquel booted a grounder off the bat of Derrek Lee and Soriano scored from 3rd. Aramis Ramirez then followed with a single to center but Mike Quade held Ryan Theriot at 3rd to load the bases for Jacque Jones. Jones singled to left to plate Theriot. Cliff Floyd recorded his first hit as a Cub with a single to right that scored Lee and Ramirez.
Lou Piniella promised the Cubs would be more aggressive on the bath paths and to this point of spring training….he has kept his word. Jacque Jones stole 3rd and scored on a ground out to 1st by Cesar Izturis. Cliff Floyd scored on Zambrano’s triple. Soriano popped out to end the inning. The Cubs scored 6 runs on 6 hits and took advantage of every opportunity the Giants defense gave them.
In the 2nd the Cubs added another run….that included another scare. Derrek Lee singled and advanced to 2nd on a wild pitch by Matt Morris and while he was running to 2nd, his cleat stuck in the dirt and he slid awkwardly into the bag. Lee remained in the game but was lifted in the bottom of the inning. All reports have indicated Lee left the game for precautionary reasons. Ramirez walked ahead of a double by Jacque Jones that scored Lee.
The offense remained quiet until Jake Fox struck again in the 7th. Jones reached on an error to start the inning. Buck Coats drew a walk and Geovany Soto doubled to right to score Jones. Jake Fox continued on Monday where he left off from over the weekend. Fox hit a double to straight away center that appeared to be heading out of the park….both Coats and Soto scored.
The Cubs scored 4 unearned runs on the 3 Giant errors and most importantly they took advantage of a Giants team that featured most of their regulars.
Carlos Zambrano did have a good outing after the scare he provided. The two strikeouts of Barry Bonds were very impressive but he must cut down on the amount of pitches he throws. While his pitch count was not announced with 5 strikeouts, 2 walks and several long at bats it was a typical Zambrano outing….
Jeff Samardzija pitched 2 scoreless innings but had to pitch his way out of trouble in both innings. “The Shark” has a very bright future and will benefit by quality innings he will receive this season in the minors. Samardzija gave up 4 hits, walked a batter and struck out 2 on the afternoon. In both innings he retired the first two batters he faced before pitching himself into trouble. In the 5th he loaded the bases with 2 outs on 3 singles by Vizquel, Bonds and Feliz before Aurilia flied out to center to end the inning. In the 6th he struck out the first 2 batters he faced (one looking, one swinging) before giving up a walk and a single.
Bobby Howry gave up 2 more runs in the 9th on a home run by Chad Santos. Howry threw strikes but the one he gave up for the homer was “right down main street”.
The Cubs played a good game, took advantage of the gifts and they made the Faithful hold their collective breath on a couple of occasions. Carlos Zambrano, Derrek Lee and Henry Blanco are very important pieces to the Cubs’ puzzle….ones that they cannot afford to be without.
The Cubs will travel to Tucson on Tuesday to play the Arizona Diamondbacks. Wade Miller is scheduled to take the hill against Micah Owings.