A Split-Squad Sweep for the Cubs – Cubs 11 Reds 4 – Cubs 8 White Sox 7

Game Ten – Cubs (ss) 11 Reds 4
WP – Mike Parisi (1-0) LP – Jon Adkins (0-1) Save – None

Game Eleven – Cubs (ss) 8 White Sox (ss) 7
WP – John Gaub (1-0) LP – Jeffrey Marquez (0-1, BS 1) Save – Justin Berg (1)

wflag.jpgThe Cubs got their work in on Saturday in Mesa and Las Vegas … with some solid performances but with a little injury in Mesa.

Lou Piniella’s crew beat the Reds in Mesa by a lopsided 11-4 score. Sean Marshall put together a good start. He allowed only one run in three innings, a solo home run by Juan Francisco. The Cubs managed only one run off of Homer Bailey in his three innings of work … his first start of the spring. After the Reds built a 4-1 lead, the Cubs offense scored 10 times in the fifth, sixth and seventh innings.

Bryan LaHair (2-for-4 with a double, a home run, two runs scored and three RBI) tied the game with a three-run homer in the fifth … and Hak-Ju Lee added a two-run double in the sixth. Tyler Colvin (3-for-5 with a run scored) and Darwin Barney (2-for-4 with a walk, a run scored and a RBI) had good days at the plate.

Aramis Ramirez left the game against the Reds in the third inning with right triceps soreness. Ramirez is listed as day-to-day and the Cubs downplayed the injury.

Alan Trammell managed the Cubs to a two-game sweep of the White Sox in Las Vegas. For the second time in less than 24 hours, Josh Vitters drove in the game winner against the South Side. Vitters grounded into a fielder’s choice in the eighth that broke a 6-6 tie.

Ryan Dempster was solid once again. The White Sox managed one unearned on one hit against Dempster in three innings of work. Dempster did not walk a batter and stuck out a pair.

With the wins on Saturday, the Cubs improved to 7-4 in Cactus League play …

Cubs vs. Reds at HoHoKam Park – Final Score, Cubs 11 Reds 4

Sean Marshall began the game by retiring the Reds in order. Juan Francisco gave the Reds a 1-0 lead in the top of the second. Francisco launched a 3-2 pitch from Marshall over the wall in right center.

After Wladimir Balentien reached on an infield single to Aramis Ramirez (Ramirez took his time throwing to first), Darwin Barney robbed Yonder Alonso of a base hit to center. Barney flipped to Starlin Castro for the second out in the inning. Ryan Hanigan popped out to Barney to end the second.

Sean Marshall retired the Reds in order in the third. Marshall’s line for Saturday: one run on two hits with no walks and two strikeouts in three innings.

Casey Coleman struggled in relief of Marshall. He gave up a pair of home runs, a two-run shot to Juan Francisco and a solo homer to Paul Janish. Coleman also walked a couple of batters in his two innings against the Reds.

The Cubs’ pen shutdown the Reds offense after Coleman left the game. Mike Parisi was impressive in his two innings of work. Parisi did not allow a baserunner and struck out one. Jeff Stevens and Esmailin Caridad finished the game.

James Adduci continued to impress on Saturday. Adduci finished the game 3-for-4 with a RBI and two runs scored. Adduci started the rally in the fifth with a one-out single to center.

Starlin Castro advanced Adduci to third with a groundout to second. Darwin Barney (2-for-4 with a walk, a run scored and a RBI) worked a two-out walk against Micah Owings. Bryan LaHair ripped Owings first pitch over the wall in right … LaHair’s three-run shot tied the game at four.

Tyler Colvin blooped a single into left but was thrown out by Chris Dickerson trying to stretch it into a double. At the end of five, game was tied at four.

Chad Tracy led off the sixth with a single to left center. Alfonso Soriano followed with a double to left but Tracy ran through the stop sign at third, and could not get back. Tracy was thrown out at the plate. Bobby Scales doubled in Soriano for the Cubs’ fifth run.

Koyie Hill blooped a single into right, Scales held at third. After James Adduci struck out, Hak-Ju Lee made his spring debut.

Another one of the Cubs’ top prospects delivered, Hak-Ju Lee doubled to left. Scales and Hill both scored … 7-4 Cubs after six.

The Cubs scored four more times in the seventh. Bryan LaHair led off with a double and advanced to third on a single by Tyler Colvin. After Dusty Baker brought in Pedro Viola for Jon Adkins, Chad Tracy struck out.

Ty Wright, up from minor league camp, singled to left to plate LaHair … 8-4 Cubs. Chris Robinson just missed a home run, settled for a double off the top of the wall and drove in Scales and Colvin. James Adduci plated Robinson with a single to center, 11-4 Cubs.

Box Score from MLB.com

Cubs vs. White Sox at Cashman Field – Final Score, Cubs 8 White Sox 7

Ryan Dempster quietly went about his business again on Saturday. Dempster got his work in, threw strikes and if not for errors by Ryan Theriot and Jeff Baker, the White Sox would not have scored any runs with Dempster on the mound.

Brent Lillibridge reached on a fielding error by Theriot. Juan Pierre then reached on a throwing error by Jeff Baker. Lillibridge scored and Pierre advanced to second. Dempster retired C.J. Retherford and Paul Konerko to end the inning … and his outing.

The Cubs jumped out to an early lead against Lucas Harrell. After going quietly in the first, Kevin Millar led off the second with a single. Geovany Soto walked. Following a strikeout by Mike Fontenot, Jeff Baker ripped a double into the right field corner. Millar and Soto scored the first two runs of the game.

Robinson Chirinos doubled in Baker with the Cubs’ third run.

The White Sox took a 5-3 lead in the fifth off of J.R. Mathes. Mathes struggled with his command again. He gave up four runs on four hits with four walks in his two innings of work. Mathes should be in the first round of cuts, along with Jeff Kennard.

The Cubs started chipping away at the White Sox lead in the fifth. Robinson Chirinos led off the inning with a walk. Sam Fuld hit into a 6-4 fielder’s choice but advanced to third on a single by D.J. LeMahieu. Kyler Burke drove in Fuld with a sacrifice fly to left … at the end of five, 5-4 White Sox.

The Sox built a 6-4 lead against the Cubs after Jeff Kennard gave up another run in the seventh.

After John Gaub retired the Sox in order in the eighth, the Cubs’ offense woke up in the bottom half of the inning. Brett Jackson worked a one-out walk and scored on a double to right by Micah Hoffpauir. Jackson showed off his speed by scoring from first on a double to right.

Brad Snyder reached on a broken bat blooper to center. With runners on first and third with one out, Ryan Flaherty singled to right. Hoffpauir scored and tied the game at six.

Ozzie Guillen went to his pen and brought in Justin Cassel to face Josh Vitters.

Josh Vitters hit a slow chopper to short. Flaherty was forced but Vitters beat the throw to first. Snyder scored to give the Cubs the lead. Welington Castillo followed with a double to left. With runners on second and third with two outs, Matt Camp walked. D.J. LeMahieu then reached on a throwing error by Lillibridge at short that allowed Vitters to score the Cubs’ eighth run.

Justin Berg worked around an error by Matt Camp in left in the top of the ninth to pick up the save.

Box Score from MLB.com

The Cubs won three of the four split squad games. The highlights of the last four games … the top prospects in the organization playing with the big leaguers.

Lou Piniella’s crew will be reunited on Sunday … just one game. The Cubs face the Angels in Tempe, Randy Wells against Joel Pineiro.

Beginning on Sunday, all of the Cubs’ Cactus League games will start an hour later with the time change … 3:05 pm CDT.

Quote of the Day

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