Game Fourteen – Cubs 9 Royals 1
WP – Chad Gaudin (2-0) LP – Brian Bannister (0-1) Save – None
The message Sweet Lou sent through the media about the offense needing to step it up was apparently heard loud and clear. The Cubs ended the six-game losing streak with a lot of offense and very good pitching.
For the second day in a row Piniella ran out a starting lineup that could be seen in the regular season. Alfonso Soriano and Mike Fontenot both went deep for the second time on the spring. Derrek Lee recorded his first extra base hit with a RBI double in the first inning. Aramis Ramirez added a single and Micah Hoffpauir was 2-for-4 with a double and a run scored.
“Little Babe Ruth” finished the afternoon 2-for-3 with a walk, a double, a home run, two runs scored and two RBI.
A day after issuing seven walks, Cubs pitching on Monday did not issue a single free pass. Chad Gaudin put together his best outing of the spring and other than hitting a batter and allowing the Royals’ only run, Jeff Samardzija was solid as well in his two innings of work.
As a team the Cubs played their best ball of the spring….
The Cubs scored three more times in the second inning. Micah Hoffpauir led off the inning with a single to right. Aaron Miles sacrificed him to second and Hoffpauir advanced to third on a ground out to first by Paul Bako. Joey Gathright followed with a bloop single to right center that plated Hoffpauir.
Alfonso Soriano stepped in and gave the Cubs a 4-0 lead. Soriano hit his second home run of the spring over the wall in left.
Paul Bako led off the fourth with a single to center. Bako was erased on a fielder’s choice off the bat of Joey Gathright. With two outs and Mike Fontenot at the plate, Gathright advanced to second on a wild pickoff attempt at first. Fontenot then lined a double to left center that plated Gathright.
The Cubs scored runs in three of the first four innings.
Mike Fontenot led off the seventh with his second home run of the spring. Fontenot pulled the shot over the right field wall. In the eighth the Cubs put the exhibition game away against Kyle Farnsworth.
Aaron Miles reached on a single to right and advanced to second on the second single of the game by Paul Bako. Joey Gathright walked to load the bases.
So Taguchi cleared the bases with a triple to center….9-1 Cubs.
Chad Gaudin worked a 1-2-3 first inning and threw strikes. He faced the minimum in the second after allowing a leadoff single to Mike Jacobs. Billy Butler grounded into a 4-6-3 double play and Alex Gordon grounded out to second.
Jeff Samardzija took the mound in the third and for the first time this spring struggled from the beginning. Ross Gload reached on a 1-out single to center. With Tony Pena, Jr. at the dish, Samardzija uncorked a wild pitch that allowed Gload to advance. Pena grounded out to third but Mitch Maier singled to center and drove in the Royals’ lone run of the game.
Samardzija worked a perfect fifth inning.
Kevin Gregg retired all three batters he faced with a strikeout in the sixth. Piniella inserted Jason Waddell in the seventh. The southpaw struck out two of the four batters he faced and allowed the Royals’ last hit of the game.
Esmailin Caridad and Randy Wells retired the Royals in order in the eighth and ninth to end the game.
Lou Piniella wanted to see his offense hit the ball after dropping six games in a row and his crew responded.
The Cubs will face the Mariners in Peoria on Tuesday before Wednesday’s off day. Rich Harden will start the game and both Aaron Heilman and Ryan Dempster are penciled in to take the mound. Cub-for-a-minute Garrett Olson will start for Seattle.