Spring Training Game Twenty-Eight – Cubs 8 White Sox 7
WP – Matt Garza (1-3) LP – Phil Humber (0-2) Save – Carlos Marmol (1)
Q’s crew won on consecutive days for the first time since March 10 and 11 as they held on and beat the White Sox Thursday afternoon at HoHoKam Park. The Cubs played better than the final score indicates and for the third straight day the defense did not commit an error.
Matt Garza posted his first spring-win in a Cubs’ uniform after a decent five-inning outing. Garza threw strikes but was bitten by a two-run homer in the fifth by Omar Vizquel. Garza allowed three runs on eight hits with two walks and four strikeouts. Garza threw 86 pitches, 55 for strikes.
Garza turned the game over to Braden Looper and the bullpen with the Cubs up by a score of 8-3.
The White Sox kept chipping away against Q’s pen. Braden Looper gave up a run on three hits and a walk in two innings. Looper is still in the mix for a spot on the Cubs’ Opening Day roster … and Thursday’s outing did not help his cause.
James Russell was torched in the eighth. Russell gave up back-to-back homers to Donald Lucy and Alexei Ramirez on his first two pitches of the inning. Russell gave up a double to Omar Vizquel but retired Adam Dunn (0-for-5 with three strikeouts) to end the eighth.
Carlos Marmol picked up his first save of the spring after allowing a run on a pair of hits. Marmol struck out Alexei Ramirez looking to end the game.
The White Sox pounded out 16 hits against Cubs pitching … but Starlin Castro and Darwin Barney not only turned two double plays but the young middle infielders also showed off their range.
The Cubs offense did just enough against the Sox’s pitching staff. The Cubs managed only eight hits but took advantage of seven walks.
Alfonso Soriano (2-for-4 with two runs scored, a home run and two RBI) hit his third longball of the spring and drove in another run with a single in the fifth. Marlon Byrd added a pair of RBI and a run scored in four trips to the plate.
Darwin Barney celebrated making the Opening Day roster with a huge day at the plate … and in the field. Barney tripled in a pair with two outs in the fifth and finished his afternoon 2-for-4 with a triple, a run scored and two RBI.
On his 21st birthday, Starlin Castro was 1-for-4 with a double, a walk and two runs scored.
The Cubs have shown improvement over the past two games … but it would be nice to see this group of players put together a complete game or two before they break camp Tuesday. Matt Garza started his day by retiring the Sox in order on just 11 pitches, seven for strikes. Garza struck out Adam Dunn looking to end the inning.
The Cubs jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the first inning. Kosuke Fukudome walked and advanced to third on Starlin Castro’s double to right center. Marlon Byrd put the ball in play and hit a sac fly into right center that plated Kosuke with the game’s first run. Castro advanced to third on the play and scored on a double to left by Aramis Ramirez (1-for-2 with a double, a walk, a run scored and a RBI).
Carlos Pena and Alfonso Soriano struck out to end the inning.
Matt Garza escaped trouble in the second. Alex Rios worked a one-out walk and advanced to second on a single by Carlos Quentin. A.J. Pierzynski flied out to center for the second out. Rios tagged and advanced to third on the play. Alexei Ramirez grounded out to short to end the inning.
The Cubs tacked on a run in the bottom of the second. Darwin Barney led off with a single. Koyie Hill walked and Matt Garza advanced both runners with a slash hit to Vizquel at second. Kosuke Fukudome hit the first pitch from Humber into center. Barney tagged and scored … 3-0 Cubs.
Garza labored through the third but kept the Sox off the board. Brent Morel led off with a single to right. Juan Pierre reached on a bunt single but Omar Vizquel grounded into a 4-6-3 double play. Adam Dunn struck out swinging on a 3-2 pitch to end the inning.
After the third, Garza’s pitch count stood at 46, 27 for strikes.
The Sox finally got on the board in the fourth after Paul Konerko walked to start the inning. Alex Rios singled to left but Carlos Quentin grounded into a 6-4-3 double play. With two outs and Konerko on third, Pierzynski singled to left. Konerko scored … 3-1 Cubs.
After four, Garza had thrown 68 pitches, 40 for strikes.
Alfonso Soriano got the run right back in the bottom of the fourth. Soriano hit his third dinger of the spring over the wall in center.
Garza gave up a pair on one swing of the bat in the fifth. Brent Morel singled to center to start the inning … and Omar Vizquel made it 4-3 with a long homer to right. The ball ended up in the Cubs’ pen.
Garza struck out Dunn for the third time before giving up a two-out single to Konerko. Alex Rios lined out to a leaping Darwin Barney to end the inning.
The Cubs appeared to put the game away in the bottom of the fifth. Starlin Castro worked a one-out walk. On a botched pitch out, Castro advanced to second and scored on a single to right by Marlon Byrd. Aramis Ramirez walked to end Phil Humber’s day.
Will Ohman took over and struck out Carlos Pena.
Alfonso Soriano made it 6-3 with a single to left on a 2-0 pitch. Byrd scored on the play and Ramirez held at second. Darwin Barney stepped in and tripled down the right field line on a 1-1 offering from Ohman. Koyie Hill walked but pinch-hitter Marwin Gonzalez grounded out to short to end the inning. At the end of five, the Cubs led 8-3.
Braden Looper took over in the sixth and gave up a run on a double by Carlos Quentin and a two-out single by Brent Lillibridge. Starlin Castro robbed Vizquel of a single to left to end the inning.
James Russell made his way to the mound in the eighth … and gave up two homers on the first two pitches he threw. Donny Lucy and Alexei Ramirez hit back-to-back homers to make the score 8-6 before Russell had a chance to catch his breath. Russell settled down but the damage had been done.
Carlos Marmol did his job in his first save opportunity of the spring. Marmol gave up a pair of hits a run but struck out two … and did not walk or hit a batter.
Spring Training or not, it is always a good day when the Cubs beat the Sox.
The Cubs will spend their last Friday in the Cactus League hosting a Mariners’ split squad team. Randy Wells will get the ball to start the game.