Spring Training Game Thirty – Cubs 6 Rangers 5
WP – Andrew Cashner (2-1) LP – Brett Tomko (0-1, BS 2) Save – Jeff Samardzija (1)
After a horrible start, Q’s crew put together one of their best games of the spring and in the process posted their fourth Cactus League win in a row … the longest winning stretch of the spring for the Chicago Cubs.
The Cubs jumped out to an early lead against C.J. Wilson but Andrew Cashner labored through a horrible 28-pitch first inning. Cashner gave up five runs (three earned) on five hits, walked a batter, committed an error and served up a long home run to Mitch Moreland. Cashner appeared flustered in his first outing after being named the Cubs’ fifth starter.
Andrew Cashner not only rebounded from the bad start but he dominated over his last four innings of work. Cashner allowed just two hits and no walks over his last four innings and in the process he struck out four. Cashner mixed in a very good breaking ball and an excellent changeup. Cashner retired 17 of the last 18 batters he faced, including six in a row to finish his afternoon.
Cashner threw 72 pitches in his first five-inning outing of the spring, 49 for strikes.
Q’s pen put together another string of shutout innings and retired 18 in a row before Chris Davis singled with two outs in the ninth.
Casey Coleman and Kerry Wood retired the side in order in the sixth and seventh innings … and Jeff Samardzija threw two shutout innings to close out the game.
The Cubs offense battled back from a 5-2 hole behind Reed Johnson (1-for-4 with a double, a run scored, a sac fly and a RBI), Geovany Soto (2-for-4 with a double, a run scored and a RBI), Marlon Byrd (1-for-3 with a triple, a RBI and a run scored) and Marquez Smith (1-for-4 with a double and two RBI). Soto also played a good game behind the plate. Soto threw out Endy Chavez in the second and made a couple of strong throws.
Marquez Smith tied the game with a two-run double in the third and Marlon Byrd tripled in Darwin Barney with the eventual game-winning run in the fourth.
Saturday’s exhibition game also featured a rare catcher’s interference call in the first inning. Mike Quade decided to take a run off the board and play for a big inning. The Cubs ended up plating a pair and the decision worked out for the Cubs’ skipper.
The Cubs ended their four-game errorless streak with an Andrew Cashner miscue in the first inning.
With one out, Marlon Byrd hit what appeared to be a sac fly to left center. Reed Johnson tagged and scored … but Yorvit Torrealba was called for catcher’s interference.
Mike Quade chose to take the run off the board, sent Johnson back to third and Byrd was awarded first base (Quade could have let the play stand but it was his choice to take away the run). With runners on first and third with one out, Geovany Soto just missed a home run. Soto launched Wilson’s 2-1 pitch to right, the ball hit 3/4 the way up the padded wall. Johnson scored and Byrd ended up at third on Soto’s double.
Carlos Pena put the ball in play on a 1-1 offering from Wilson. Pena grounded out to first but Byrd scored on the play … 2-0 Cubs.
Andrew Cashner labored through the first inning. Cashner struggled with his command and appeared to get a little flustered.
Cashner retired Endy Chavez on a ground out to first but Esteban German ripped a 2-1 offering into left. German stole second on a 0-1 pitch to Daniel Murphy. Murphy hit a grounder to Pena on a 1-2 pitch. Pena tossed the ball to Cashner but the Cubs’ fifth starter did not catch the ball. Cashner’s error allowed German to score. Cashner’s miscue was the Cubs first error since Monday in Tempe … Andrew Cashner’s last start.
Nelson Cruz hit a ringing double into right center on a 2-0 pitch, Murphy scored and tied the game at two. Mitch Moreland then gave the Rangers a 4-2 lead with a booming homer to right. Cashner hung a breaking ball on a 1-0 pitch and Moreland launched the mistake.
Mike Napoli recorded the Rangers fourth hit of the inning, a single to left center on a 1-0 offering. Cashner walked Torrealba on four pitches. Andres Blanco singled to right on a 1-1 pitch. Kosuke’s spring throwing problems continued. Fukudome’s throw was up the third base line, Napoli scored but Soto saw Blanco had rounded first. Soto threw behind Blanco, who was eventually tagged out to end the inning.
Andrew Cashner threw 28 pitches in the first, 15 for strikes.
The Cubs started chipping away in the second.
Kosuke Fukudome led off with a single to left on a 3-2 pitch from Wilson. Blake DeWitt blooped a single into right center. Kosuke advanced to third. With no outs, Andrew Cashner tried to sacrifice DeWitt to second but failed to get the bunt down on three attempts.
Reed Johnson lifted a 2-0 offering from Wilson into right center. Fukudome tagged and scored … 5-3 Rangers. Darwin Barney popped out to left to end the inning.
Cashner gave up his sixth hit of the game to start the second. Endy Chavez ripped Cashner’s first offering into left center. After Chavez’s two-bagger, Cashner settled down.
German grounded out to third on a 1-2 pitch. With Murphy at the plate, Soto threw out Chavez trying to steal third. Cashner then retired Murphy on a ground out to first.
C.J. Wilson departed in the third with tightness in his left hamstring. Brett Tomko took over and struck out Marlon Byrd to begin the inning. Soto ripped Tomko’s first offering into center for his second hit of the game. Carlos Pena walked on four pitches.
Marquez Smith tied the game with a double to left. Soto scored easily and Pena slid in safe with an awkward-looking slide to tie the game. Fukudome walked to put runners on first and second with one out.
Blake DeWitt hit grounder to third. Chris Davis fielded the ball near the bag, forced Smith but could not complete the 5-3 double play. Andrew Cashner grounded out to short to end the inning.
Andrew Cashner made quick work of the Rangers in the third.
After striking out Nelson Cruz swinging and retiring Moreland on a fly out to right, Mike Napoli reached on a single to center. Cashner then struck out Chris Davis swinging on three pitches to end the inning. Cashner threw 12 pitches in the third, nine for strikes.
The Cubs took the lead in the fourth. Darwin Barney reached on a swinging bunt up the third base line. Marlon Byrd then ripped a triple into right center on a 0-1 offering from Tomko. Barney scored … 6-5 Cubs.
Geovany Soto grounded out to short for the second out and Carlos Pena flied out to right to end the inning.
Andrew Cashner dominated the Rangers in the fourth and fifth innings. Cashner looked like a different pitcher. He mixed his pitches well and threw strikes … showing an excellent breaking ball and changeup in the process.
Cashner sat down the Rangers in order in the fourth on 10 pitches, nine for strikes … and in the fifth it took Cashner 11 pitches, nine for strikes, to retire the Rangers.
Andrew Cashner retired 11 of the last 12 batters he faced … and the last six in a row.
Casey Coleman likely made his last appearance of the spring with the Cubs and put together another solid outing. Coleman turned the game over to Kerry Wood … and the former ‘Kid K‘ sat down the Rangers in order in the seventh on just nine pitches, seven for strikes.
Jeff Samardzija picked up the save with two shutout innings. Samardzija threw eight pitches in the eighth, five for strikes, and 16 in the ninth, nine for strikes.
Q’s crew played a good game … but more importantly, three pitchers on the Opening Day roster had good outings in Surprise.
The Cubs begin the final stretch of games of the Cactus League Sunday in Mesa. Ryan Dempster will face Ubaldo Jimenez and a Rockies split squad.