Extra Bases Under the Lights

Spring Training Game Thirty-One – Cubs 8 Mariners 5
WP – Ted Lilly (2-1) LP – Miguel Batista (0-1) Save – Rocky Cherry (5)

wflag.jpg The Cubs played their first and only night game of the spring on Friday. The Cubs led from the beginning of the game and plated runs in the first 5 innings. Derrek Lee hit his first triple and both Michael Barrett and Aramis Ramirez hit 2-run homers over the very tall left field wall.

Ted Lilly threw the ball very well despite allowing 3 runs on 5 hits in 4 innings of work. Lilly gave up his first home run of the spring to Jose Guillen in the 4th but he did not walk a batter and struck out 2. Ryan Dempster was very sharp and Neal Cotts pitched his way out of a jam in the 7th after walking the bases loaded. Rocky Cherry picked up his 5th save of the spring.

The Cubs got on the board in the 1st inning. Alfonso Soriano led off the game with a double to left, his only hit on the day in 5 trips. Jacque Jones grounded out to 1st, Soriano moved to 3rd and scored on Derrek Lee’s sacrifice fly to center. Aramis Ramirez hit a 2-out single to right center but was stranded at 1st when Cliff Floyd grounded out to end the inning. In the 2nd, Matt Murton reached on a fielding error by Richie Sexson (he dropped the ball). Mark DeRosa walked after a very good at bat and Cesar Izturis doubled to left to plate Murton. Raul Ibanez dove to catch the ball, misplayed it and Ichiro picked it up at the base of the wall. Soriano struck out, Jones walked and Lee flied out to right with the bases loaded to end the inning.

In the 3rd, Floyd singled to right with 1-out and scored on Michael Barrett’s 2-run, line drive home run over the left field wall. Matt Murton then doubled down the left field line, DeRosa flied out to left, Izturis singled but Murton was unable to score….he was held at 3rd, Izturis’ single was not hit hard enough to risk Murton being thrown out at home. Soriano struck out to end the inning. In the 4th, Jones singled to center to start the inning and scored on Lee’s triple down the right field line….Jose Guillen fumbled the ball and that allowed Lee’s triple to be of the standup variety. Aramis Ramirez then homered over the left field wall and in the process broke his bat….to say it was a shot would be an understatement. The Cubs added one in the 5th. DeRosa led off the inning with a double off of the right field wall. He advanced to 3rd on a ground out by Izturis and scored on Jones’ double to left center.

Of the 14 hits the Cubs pounded out on Friday night….8 of them were for extra bases and all of the starters recorded at least one hit and Izturis was the only starter not to score a run….he did reach base 3 out of the 4 times he went to the plate.

Ted Lilly was sharp early and retired the Mariners in order in the 1st. Lilly recorded one ground out and two fly outs in the process. In the 2nd, Raul Ibanez and Richie Sexson singled to start the inning, Jose Guillen popped out to right but Kenji Johjima single to left to load the bases. Murton did a good job by acting like he was going to catch the ball as the ball fell in front of him for a single….Murton’s decoy kept Ibanez from scoring. Yuniesky Betancourt hit a sacrifice fly to left to plate Ibanez.

Lilly retired the Mariners in order in the 3rd but in the 4th with 1-out, Sexson singled to center and scored on the homer by Guillen. Lilly then finished his outing with consecutive groundouts to Aramis Ramirez.

Scott Eyre pitched the 5th and gave up a 2-run homer to Adrian Beltre after Ichiro had singled. Ryan Dempster pitched a perfect 6th and threw first pitch strikes to the three hitters he face….Sexson, Guillen and Johjima. Federico Baez pitched to 2 batters in the 7th before Piniella brought in Neal Cotts. Cotts walked two to load the bases but settled down and was able to get Jose Vidro to pop out and Ibanez to fly out to center to end the inning.

Rocky Cherry was very impressive against arguably the best hitters he has faced all spring. Cherry struck out Betancourt, allowed a single to Ichiro but was able to strike out Adrian Beltre to end the inning.

The Cubs played a solid game and the offense looked extremely good, let’s hope some of these hits and all of the patience head east on Sunday.

Box Score from MLB.com

The Cubs “play host” to the Mariners in the last spring training game of the year on Saturday in Las Vegas….the end of the “Big League Weekend” at Cashman Field. Jason Marquis is scheduled to finish what he started back on March 1st against the San Francisco Giants.

Quote of the Day

"Unless you try to do something beyond what you have already mastered, you will never grow." - Ralph Waldo Emerson
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