Lots of Sun and Lots of Longballs – Cubs 9 A’s 3

Game One – Cubs 9 A’s 3
WP – Randy Wells (1-0) LP – Trevor Cahill (0-1) Save – None

wflag.jpgThe first game of the long exhibition season was a successful one for the Chicago Cubs. Not only did the Cubs’ offense hit five home runs and pound out 16 hits but several of the young Cubs had impressive afternoons.

Randy Wells was very sharp. He retired all six batters he faced, throwing only 25 pitches in two perfect innings. Tyler Colvin got the start in place of Alfonso Soriano in left. Colvin hit the ball with authority and finished the afternoon 3-for-3 with a pair of doubles and a long homer over the right center field wall.

Derrek Lee, Marlon Byrd, Brad Snyder and Sam Fuld each homered on a beautiful afternoon with the wind blowing out at HoHoKam Park.

Starlin Castro made his debut on Thursday. He finished 1-for-3 with a triple and played a solid game in the field. Castro’s reputation preceded him … he is a smooth fielder with a strong accurate arm. Castro caught the last out of the day, a pop up to short … a fitting end to the Cubs’ first Spring Training game.

Randy Wells’ first pitch went for a strike and he continued hitting the strike zone while featuring a nice change-up. Wells retired the A’s in order in the first on 15 pitches, nine for strikes. He struck out Eric Barton on a nice change looking … the other two outs, both ground balls.

Wells retired former Cub, Jake Fox on the first pitch of the second inning. Wells struck out Gabe Gross swinging for the second out. Adam Rosales grounded out to third to end the inning. Not one fly ball, not one ball left the infield. More than a solid first outing of the spring for Randy Wells.

Sean Marshall took over in the third … and was Sean Marshall. He was effective but issued a walk on 15 pitches, nine for strikes in his first inning of work. Marshall sat down the A’s in order in the fourth … all three outs were on ground balls.

Mike Parisi was next to the mound for Lou Piniella. Parisi is this year’s Rule 5 guy and struggled a little with his command and left the ball up in the fifth. Adam Rosales put the A’s on the board with a solo homer to left center. Derrek Lee made two great scoops in the fifth that helped out his pitcher. Parisi threw 15 pitches in the fifth, seven for strikes.

Parisi appeared more confident in the sixth. He hit his spots, struck out two and found a rhythm. Parisi threw only 12 pitches in the sixth, eight for strikes.

J.R. Mathes was hit pretty hard in his two innings of work. Mathes gave up a pair of runs on two hits (one a solo homer by Chris Carter) with a walk, a hit batsman and two strikeouts. Mathes struggled mightily with his command.

Esmailin Caridad on the other hand was sharp in the ninth. He retired all three batters he faced on 14 pitches, nine for strikes.

Derrek Lee put the Cubs on the board in the first inning. After just missing a 1-0 pitch from Trevor Cahill, Lee ripped the fourth pitch of his season over the wall in left center. Ryan Theriot, Kosuke Fukudome and Aramis Ramirez went quietly around Lee in the first inning.

Marlon Byrd led off the second with a solid single to center. Tyler Colvin followed and ripped a double to left center. Mike Quade held Byrd at third, he could have scored.

Mike Fontenot hit a sacrifice fly into left, Byrd scored but Colvin was thrown out at third on a close play. Geovany Soto struck out looking to end the inning.

After two, 2-0 Cubs …

Sean Marshall led off the bottom of third with a walk. After Ryan Theriot struck out swinging on three pitches (Theriot was very aggressive against Cedrick Bowers after he just walked a pitcher), Kosuke Fukudome was the beneficiary of a wind blown double to center. With runners on second and third with one out, Derrek Lee stuck out swinging and Aramis Ramirez flied out to right to end the inning.

Marlon Byrd led off the fourth with a home run to left center. Tyler Colvin added his second double of the game. After Mike Fontenot walked, Geovany Soto plated Colvin with a single … but Mike Fontenot was thrown out at third.

Bryan LaHair grounded into a 6-4-3 double play to end the inning.

The Cubs took a 4-1 lead into the bottom of the fifth. Starlin Castro led off and flied out to right on a 3-1 pitch. Kosuke Fukudome (2-for-3 with a double) reached on an infield single to short. Brad Snyder pinch ran and advanced to third on a bloop single to right by Derrek Lee (2-for-3 with a home run).

Lee slipped rounding first and Jake Fox tried to throw behind him. Fox’s throw nearly ended up in the stands. Snyder scored and Lee ended up at second on the error.

Tyler Colvin gave the Cubs a 6-1 lead in the bottom of the sixth. Colvin ended his day with a long home run to right center … with a little help from the wind. The ball cleared the wall, along with the glove of the A’s centerfielder.

The Cubs offense tacked on in the seventh. Brad Snyder hit one of the longest home runs this writer has ever seen at HoHoKam Park. Snyder launched the ball 3/4 the way up the berm.

Not to be outdone, following Chad Tracy’s single to left center, Sam Fuld ripped a home run into the Cubs’ bullpen just over the right field wall.

Fuld’s homer completed the scoring for the Cubs on Thursday afternoon.

Kevin Millar singled in his only at bat in the sixth … after Andres Blanco was thrown out trying to steal second base.

Thursday was a good day for the Chicago Cubs … the first game of any kind with the Ricketts family as the owners.

Box Score from MLB.com

Carlos Zambrano is scheduled to face Dan Haren and the Arizona Diamondbacks on Friday at HoHoKam Park. Casey Coleman, John Gaub and Jeff Stevens are also on the Cubs’ pitching schedule.

Quote of the Day

"When you play, play hard; when you work, don’t play at all." – Theodore Roosevelt