Harden and Dempster and Heilman! Oh, My! – Cubs 8 Mariners 1

Game Fifteen – Cubs 8 Mariners 1
WP – Ryan Dempster (1-2) LP – Garrett Olson (0-1) Save – None

wflag.jpgPitching, pitching and more pitching was the theme on Tuesday against the Mariners. Alfonso Soriano, Derrek Lee, Aramis Ramirez and Milton Bradley were absent from the lineup and did not make the trip to Peoria. With the performances Lou Piniella received, it would not have mattered.

Rich Harden made his long awaited spring debut. Harden surrendered two hits but did not allow a run in his two innings of work. Harden struck out one…swinging. Ryan Dempster followed Harden and after allowing a couple of hits in his first inning of work, he did not allow another base runner to reach. Dempster struck out a pair in three innings.

Despite allowing the Mariners’ only run of the game, Aaron Heilman was dominant once again. Heilman allowed a run on two hits (two doubles) in three innings with five strikeouts. Jose Ascanio pitched a perfect ninth to close out the game.

Cubs pitching combined on nine strikeouts with no walks.

The Cubs ‘B-Team‘ offense was led by Mike Fontenot, Doug Deeds, Koyie Hill and So Taguchi. The offense scored eight runs on 16 hits with six doubles off Mariners’ pitching.

The Cubs scored five of their eight runs in the fourth inning. Jake Fox led off with a walk and scored on a double to center by Mike Fontenot. Garrett Olson was lifted for Miguel Batista and the Cubs kept hitting.

Fontenot advanced to third on a fly out to center off the bat of Reed Johnson. Doug Deeds followed with a double to right that plated Fontenot. Deeds advanced to third on a single to right by Koyie Hill. So Taguchi followed with a single to right that plated Hill and Deeds.

The Cubs tacked on to their lead in the seventh. Jake Fox reached on a 1-out double to center. Sam Fuld pinch-hit for Reed Johnson and doubled home Fox with two outs. Doug Deeds hit his second double of the game that plated Fuld. Koyie Hill followed with the Cubs third double in a row with 2-outs. Deeds scored the Cubs eighth and final run of the game.

Box Score from MLB.com

Wednesday is the Cubs first of two off days during Spring Training (March 25). Lou Piniella’s crew will face Team Japan on Thursday at HoHoKam. Carlos Zambrano is scheduled to face a lineup that will include Kosuke Fukudome.

Quote of the Day

"People who write about Spring Training not being necessary have never tried to throw a baseball." – Sandy Koufax