Game Thirty-Seven – Cubs 9 Indians 8
WP – David Patton (1-1, BS 1) LP – Steven Wright (0-1) Save – None
Seven weeks, thirty-seven games, Team Japan, high skies, a lot of wind and a trip to Las Vegas later and Lou Piniella’s crew finished the Arizona portion of their exhibition season with a walk-off win. The Cubs ended a five game winless streak and finished with an 18-16-2 record in the desert.
Alfonso Soriano tied the game with his fifth home run of the spring in the first inning. Soriano launched a 1-0 pitch from Anthony Reyes over the wall in right. The Cubs score six runs in the second hitting with help from the Indians’ sloppy defense and a bases clearing triple by Koyie Hill.
Ryan Dempster got his work in but could not throw an out pitch in the third inning. Dempster gave up two home runs on the afternoon but struck out seven in four innings of work…without a walk. Dempster departed with an 8-3 lead (three runs on five hits in four innings).
The Cubs’ pen gave up a lot of runs again. Chad Gaudin did not help his trade value and surrendered three runs on six hits in two innings of work. Gaudin served up a 2-run shot to Ryan Garko in the sixth.
Carlos Marmol allowed another run to score in the seventh. After his best outing of the spring Monday against the Royals, Marmol issued a one-out walk to Shin-Soo Choo then a single to Josh Barfield. With runners on first and third, Barfield stole second and Choo scored on a sacrifice fly by Ryan Garko. Marmol’s line: one run on one hit with a walk and two strikeouts.
Chad Fox tossed a perfect eighth but David Patton could not hold the one-run lead in the ninth. After a leadoff single by Wilson Valdez, Patton uncorked a wild throw to first that got away from Doug Deeds. Valdez advanced all the way to third and scored on a single by Jamey Carroll. Patton induced a double play off the bat of Shin-Soo Choo that kept the Indians from scoring the go-ahead run.
After the rally-killing double play, Patton gave up a single to Josh Barfield and walked Ryan Garko before retiring Tony Graffanino on a ground out to short to end the inning.
Reed Johnson pinch-hit for David Patton and reached on a single to left to start the ninth. Bobby Scales sacrificed him to second and Andres Blanco drove him in with a single to left.
On February 25 the Cubs beat the Dodgers 5-3 thanks to a big home run from Micah Hoffpauir…thirty-seven days later the Cubs left victorious in the last game of 2009 at HoHoKam Park. The Cubs offense displayed a lot of patience on Thursday. It is unusual on the last day of Spring Training to see a team take a lot of pitches and not only did they make the Indians’ staff work, they walked five times on the afternoon.
The Cubs big inning once again started with a walk. On Thursday, Mike Fontenot started the run parade. Bobby Scales followed with another walk and Andres Blanco blooped a single to right that loaded the bases.
Koyie Hill stepped in and ripped a triple into the alley in right center that cleared the bases…4-1 Cubs.
With the infield in and no outs, Ryan Dempster punched a single to right. Hill scored and Alfonso Soriano followed with a walk. Joey Gathright blooped a single into left that loaded the bases for the second time in the inning.
Kosuke Fukudome hit the ball hard all afternoon and left the park with nothing to show for it. Fukudome lined out to Asdrubal Cabrera who made a diving catch up the middle to rob Fukudome of a single and a couple of RBI. Cabrera, however, through the ball away when he tried to shovel the ball to Jhonny Peralta. Dempster scored on the error, 6-1 Cubs.
With runners on first and second and one out, Micah Hoffpauir hit a grounded to Ryan Garko at first. Garko threw to second to force Gathright but Anthony Reyes broke late from the mound and was not at the bag in time to catch the return throw from Peralta. The Indians shortstop realized too late, tried to hold up but ended up throwing the ball into the ground. Soriano scored, 7-1 Cubs.
Mike Fontenot drove in Joey Gathright with a single to right that accounted for the Cubs eighth run of the game.
The bags are packed and Lou Piniella’s crew is slated to unofficially open the new Yankee Stadium on Friday night…weather permitting (80 percent chance of rain with a high of 56, Friday in the Bronx). Ted Lilly will face Chien-Ming Wang.