Game Twenty-Eight – Cubs 20 A’s 5
WP – Ryan Dempster (2-2) LP – Dana Eveland (0-3) Save – None
That is not a misprint and there is no reason to adjust your screen. The Cubs pummeled the A’s in Phoenix 20-5…and it would have been worse if Neal Cotts had not allowed three runs in the bottom of the ninth inning.
Lou Piniella’s offense scored in all but one inning, the second, and pounded out 24 hits in the extremely long three hour and thirty-six minute exhibition game. Derrek Lee hit his first home run of the spring and Micah Hoffpauir added a pair of doubles in the rout. Hoffpauir added to his Major League leading RBI total (19) after he drove in Mike Fontenot with a double in the first inning…and made an outstanding diving catch in right on a ball hit by Nomar Garciaparra in the first inning.
Ryan Theriot put together a perfect day at the plate from the leadoff spot. Theriot finished 3-for-3 with a triple, a walk, two runs scored and two RBI. Mike Fontenot was 2-for-4 with a pair of runs scored and a RBI…and Paul Bako hit his first longball of the spring after replacing Koyie Hill in the fifth. Bako was 4-for-4 with a home run, a double, three RBI and two runs scored.
Ryan Dempster struggled with his command on Monday. He hit Matt Holliday with a pitch in the helmet in the fourth, but was able to pitch his way out of trouble. With the bases loaded and one out in the fourth, Dempster ended the inning with back-to-back strikeouts. Dempster struck out six, walked one and gave up a run on three hits in 4 1/3 innings. Nomar Garciaparra accounted for the lone run off Dempster, a fielder’s choice ground out to third off Kevin Gregg after Dempster departed.
For as good as Ryan Dempster was for a majority of his outing, the bullpen was as equally concerning and had trouble throwing strikes…with a big lead. By the time Aaron Heilman took the mound in the sixth, the Cubs were up by a score of 12-1.
Aaron Heilman gave up the A’s second run in the sixth. He allowed two hits and walked a batter in his inning of work. Luis Vizcaino, with his team up by 15 runs, could not find the strike zone. He walked another batter and gave up a hit with two strikeouts in the seventh. David Patton gave up a hit and a walk with a strikeout in the eighth.
Neal Cotts could not finish the game. Up 20-2 in the ninth, Cotts gave up three runs on four hits with a walk before Lou Piniella made the slow walk and brought in Kevin Hart. Hart recorded the last two outs to end the game.
The final score is not important but the offensive performances by Derrek Lee, Ryan Theriot, Mike Fontenot and Micah Hoffpauir were very impressive against a quality pitcher in Dana Eveland. The Cubs’ offense wasted little time jumping on the A’s pitching staff. Ryan Theriot worked a walk to start the game but was erased on a fielder’s choice. Mike Fontenot replaced Theriot and advanced to second on a single to left by Derrek Lee.
Micah Hoffpauir then doubled to right to plate Mike Fontenot. Jake Fox struck out and Reed Johnson grounded out to end the inning.
Ryan Theriot started the scoring again in the third after a leadoff triple. Mike Fontenot drove in Theriot with a single to right.
Reed Johnson led off the fourth with an infield single to the hole at short. Lou Piniella played a little hit and run and Bobby Scales advanced Johnson to second with a groundout to the right side. Koyie Hill advanced Johnson with another groundout and Ryan Theriot drove him in with a 2-out single to right.
Derrek Lee led off the fifth with a home run to center. Lee has hit the ball much-better in the last couple of games and hopefully he is close to getting the stroke back he lost during the second half last season. Micah Hoffpauir followed Lee with his second double of the game and scored a sacrifice fly to center by Reed Johnson.
The Cubs broke the game open with seven runs in the sixth.
Paul Bako, So Taguchi and Ryan Theriot loaded the bases with no outs on three straight singles. Mike Fontenot drove in Bako with the fourth consecutive single. After a lineout by Derrek Lee and a swinging strikeout by Micah Hoffpauir, Jake Fox came through with a single to center….Taguchi and Theriot scored.
Reed Johnson doubled in Fontenot and Fox then he scored on a single to center by Bobby Scales. Paul Bako doubled in Scales for the seventh run of the inning.
Esteban German singled with one-out in the seventh. Derrek Lee struck out for the second out of the inning but Micah Hoffpauir and Jake Fox were both hit by Derrick Gordon to load the bases.
Minor leaguer Jonathan Mota followed with a double to left that plated German and Hoffpauir. Bobby Scales singled in Jake Fox and Paul Bako doubled in Scales to complete the scoring in the five-run seventh.
Chad Gaudin is slated to make the start on Tuesday against the Rockies at HoHoKam Park. Southpaw Franklin Morales is scheduled to start for Colorado with Glendon Rusch on Clint Hurdle’s list of pitchers that will make the trip to Mesa.