Spring Training Game Twenty-Eight – Cubs 7 Giants 5
WP – Sean Marshall (1-1, BS 2) LP – Tyler Walker (0-1) Save – Carmen Pignatiello (1)
For the first time this spring, Lou Piniella’s crew posted a win for the third consecutive game. While wins in the Cactus League have little to no meaning, the individual performances on the field have shown a lot of improvement over the last week. The Cubs’ newest acquisition, Reed Johnson had a very good debut in blue pinstripes. Johnson started in center before finishing the game in right and was 2-for-5 with a double, 2 runs scored and a stolen base.
Geovany Soto and Derrek Lee both went yard. Soto drove in a pair on Tuesday, one with his first home run of the spring and the other with a 2-out RBI single in the 4th inning. Lee’s 2-run homer in the 5th broke a 2-2 tie. Kosuke Fukudome led off the 8th with a walk and scored the go ahead run on a sacrifice fly by Matt Murton. Fukudome added another walk and a RBI single in the 9th in 5 trips to the plate. Aramis Ramirez was 2-for-2 with a double, a walk and a run scored.
Rich Hill showed a lot of improvement from his last outing. He walked only 1 batter in 5 innings and gave up 2 runs on 5 hits with 6 strikeouts. Sean Marshall allowed 2 inherited runners to score in the 7th after he stuck out Fred Lewis on what appeared to be the third out of the inning. Henry Blanco lost the ball, Lewis reached to load the bases and Rich Aurilia followed with a 2-run double. Carmen Pignatiello was sharp in the 9th and earned his first save of the spring. Rich Hill rebounded quite well in what should be his last outing of the exhibition season. Hill’s struggles his last time out were well documented (walked 6 of the 11 batters he faced) and there was some carry over but all-in-all, arguably his best outing of the spring….and without a doubt his best start. Hill finished his day by striking out all 3 batters he faced in the 5th inning.
After Soto’s home run in the 3rd, the Cubs tied the game at two in the 4th. Aramis Ramirez led off the inning with a walk and advanced to 3rd on a 2-out single to left by Matt Murton. Geovany Soto followed with a single to left that scored Ramirez. Rich Hill grounded out to short to end the inning.
Reed Johnson reached on a 1-out double to left in the 5th inning and advanced to 3rd on an error in left by Fred Lewis. Derrek Lee followed with his second home run of the spring to left center.
Reed Johnson added his second hit in the 9th inning. He singled to left, stole 2nd and scored on a triple to right by Alex Cintron. Fukudome followed with a single to center that accounted for the Cubs’ 7th run.
Carmen Pignatiello was credited with his first earned run of the spring….but Reed Johnson lost the ball in the sun. Jose Castillo was given a triple and he scored on the second infield single of the day by Eugenio Velez. Pignatiello ended the game by striking out Fred Lewis.
Lou Piniella’s crew improved to 13-14-1 in the desert with the win….only 4 games left in the exhibition season.
Carlos Zambrano will make his last start of the spring on Wednesday. Big Z and the Cubs will make the short trip to Tempe and face Jered Weaver and the Los Angeles Angels.
News from Arizona
Rich Hill might not make the trip to Las Vegas on Thursday according to a report on Cubs.com. Hill is not scheduled to pitch until the 4th game of the year against the Astros and might elect to stay in Arizona to get his work in on Sunday….in warmer weather.
Scott Eyre “is expected to open the season on the disabled list” according to a report on Cubs.com with a bone spur in his left elbow. Eyre will remain in Arizona for extended Spring Training. The report indicated there is “nothing wrong with the ligament or nerve in Eyre’s elbow.”
Angel Guzman was placed on the 60-day DL on Tuesday after having Tommy John Surgery last September.