Spring Training Game Twenty – Cubs 6 Royals 5
WP – Kevin Hart (1-0) LP – Joakim Soria (1-1, BS – 1) Save – None

wflag.jpgIf the reports are accurate about the numerous scouts in attendance during recent Cubs’ games, then Jason Marquis and Ronny Cedeno picked the right time to have a good day at the office. Marquis was very effective once again. He allowed only 1 run on 5 hits with 2 walks and 4 strikeouts in 5 plus innings of work. Marquis kept the ball down and did not allow a leadoff triple by David DeJesus to ruin his outing.

Ronny Cedeno had a breakout game. He was 3-for-3, scored the winning run after hitting a game-tying triple down the right field line in the bottom of the 9th. Cedeno was a home run short of the cycle after pitch hitting for Scott Eyre in the 6th and replacing Ryan Theriot in the field at short.

Aramis Ramirez hit his first home run of the spring in the 6th inning. His 2-out, 3-run shot to right gave the Cubs a brief lead. Casey McGehee drove in Cedeno for the game winner with a 1-out single to left.

A couple of quick notes…. Kosuke Fukudome was hit in the neck by a ball while trying to steal 2nd in the 6th inning. The throw from Matt Tupman short hopped Fukudome in what appeared to be the side of the face, Fukudome was safe but received immediate attention. Fukudome popped up, appeared to indicate everything was okay and he wanted to remain in the game. Fukudome left the field quickly as Eric Patterson replaced him at second base. From all indications, Fukudome is fine but he’s definitely had a rough week.

Alex Cintron, who figured to have a very good shot at making the team, appeared to injure his hamstring in his first game back from being hit in the face with a foul ball last Friday. Cintron singled to center in the 8th but grabbed his left hamstring as he made his way to 1st base. Sam Fuld pinch ran for Cintron. The Cubs have not made an official announcement concerning the injury.

A recent report mentioned that Ronny Cedeno being out of the lineup of late with a sore right hamstring was delaying the Brian Roberts trade. Hopefully the Orioles scouts were in attendance as Cedeno had an excellent game….before Tuesday he was hitting just .174 with a .208 OBP in 9 games, 23 at bats. Cedeno has the talent to be a successful Major League ballplayer and maybe he realized what he needs most is a change of scenery.

Jason Marquis threw the ball well once again and put the pressure on Ryan Dempster and Jon Lieber to have good outings on Wednesday (both Dempster and Lieber will pitch in the day-night double header on Wednesday). He pitched his way in and out of trouble and in typical Marquis fashion when he allows himself to do so…. he was able to limit the damage and keep the Royals off the board.

The Cubs offense had a decent day at the plate. They struggled for the most part against another southpaw but came through with the big hit when needed. Of the 10 hits the Cubs pounded out on Tuesday, 4 were for extra bases….Cedeno doubled, Mark DeRosa and Cedeno tripled and the Ramirez home run.

The Cubs first run came in the 2nd inning to tie the game. Kosuke Fukudome reached on an infield single that Ryan Shealy could not make a bare handed play on. Mark DeRosa then followed with a standup triple to center.

The Cubs took advantage of a miscue in the 6th inning. Ronny Cedeno singled to left to start the inning and broke a string of 11 straight retired by John Bale. Ryan Theriot reached on a sacrifice bunt attempt. Alfonso Soriano struck out and Derrek Lee hit what appeared to be a tailor made double play ball to 3rd. Alberto Callaspo bobbled the ball but threw to 2nd and forced Ryan Theriot. Aramis Ramirez stepped in and delivered a 3-run shot to right.

Felix Pie recorded his first hit of the day with 1-out in the 9th….and his team down by 1. Ronny Cedeno followed with a triple to right and scored the winning run on a single to left by Casey McGehee.

Scott Eyre had a good outing after replacing Marquis with a runner on 1st and no outs in the 6th. He walked a batter in an inning of work and did not allow a hit or a run. Tim Lahey did not have a good afternoon. The Royals scored 4 runs on 4 hits and a walk in just a third of an inning.

Kevin Hart threw another perfect inning of relief in the 9th and picked up the win.

Barring a trade, Tuesday’s lineup should be very similar to the one Piniella uses on Opening Day.

Lou Piniella’s crew is 8-12 with 12 left to play.

Box Score from Tuesday’s game

The Cubs second and last split squad day is on Wednesday. The Cubs will host the A’s at 2:05pm C.T. and then make the short trip to Scottsdale to face the Giants at 9:05pm C.T. Ryan Dempster is scheduled to make the start against Oakland’s Joe Blanton while Jon Lieber is expected to take the ball against Kevin Correia and the Giants.

Quote of the Day

"Build up your weaknesses until they become your strong points." – Knute Rockne