Spring Training Game Five – Cubs 7 Rangers (ss) 8
WP – Cody Eppley (1-1) LP – Thomas Diamond (0-1) Save – Ben Snyder (1)
Q’s crew lost for the fourth time in the first five Spring Training games despite a four-run fourth inning. Carlos Zambrano started the game and gave up a pair of hits, walked two and hit a batter in three innings. Zambrano struggled a little with his command but did not allow any runs in his second outing. Zambrano complained of arm fatigue after the game but said that is typical this early in the spring. Zambrano and the Cubs are not concerned.
The Cubs defense committed another error, their 15th of the spring, and it cost the team two unearned runs in the loss. The Cubs were also unable to turn a double play in the third due to a bad throw by Blake DeWitt.
The Cubs pen could not hold the lead and gave up seven runs over the last four innings.
Carlos Marmol was sharp and sat down all three batters he faced in the seventh. Marmol struck out one and did not walk a batter.
Quade’s other relievers vying for a spot in the pen did not help their cause. Rafael Dolis was credited with four runs, two earned, on two hits with two walks in a third of an inning. The big hit off of Dolis was a three-run bomb by Mitch Moreland. Esmailin Caridad could not hold the one-run lead he was given and allowed an inherited run to score.
Thomas Diamond (two runs on two hits with a walk and a strikeout) was credited with the loss. Marcos Mateo pitched the ninth and gave up a run on two hits.
Braden Looper made his spring debut. After a shaky fourth, Looper settled down and pitched scoreless fifth. The Rangers did not hit a ball out of the infield against Looper in the fifth.
The Cubs scored two in the bottom of the ninth to make the final score 8-7. Marquez Smith (1-for-3 with a double and a run scored) doubled with two outs and scored on a single by Scott Moore. After Moore stole second, Matt Camp drove him in for the Cubs’ seventh run. With the tying run on first, Koyie Hill flied out to center to end the game.
The Cubs offense woke up Thursday and so did the defense … the pitching staff, well that’s for another day. The players the Cubs figure to start the season with had a better day … Blake DeWitt (2-for-3 with a run scored and a RBI), Tyler Colvin (1-for-3), Aramis Ramirez (1-for-2 with a RBI), Carlos Pena (0-for-2 with a walk and a run scored), Alfonso Soriano (1-for-3 with a run scored), Geovany Soto (2-for-3 with a run scored) and Augie Ojeda (1-for-2 with a double, a run scored and two RBI).
Carlos Zambrano pitched from behind for a majority of his three innings … and dodged two deep fly balls off the bat of Josh Hamilton.
Zambrano gave up a two-out single to Michael Young in the first but got out of the inning after Josh Hamilton flied out to deep left center. Zambrano threw13 pitches in the first, seven for strikes.
The Cubs got on the board in the first against Derek Holland. Blake DeWitt doubled down the right field line to start the inning. DeWitt advanced to third on a wild pitch with Marlon Byrd at the plate. Byrd lined out to third for the second out.
Aramis Ramirez delivered a two-out single into center that plated DeWitt … 1-0 Cubs.
Zambrano held the 1-0 lead despite issuing a leadoff walk to Mitch Moreland in the second. Former Cubs farmhand, Doug Deeds hit into a 3-6-1 double play. Zambrano threw 13 pitches in the second, seven for strikes.
The Rangers had plenty of opportunities against Z in the third … but came away empty. Zambrano hit Elvis Andrus with one out and the Cubs defense was unable to double up Esteban German after he hit a routine grounder to Ojeda at short. DeWitt’s throw to first was off the mark. Zambrano walked Michael Young on four pitches. With runners on first and second and two outs, Josh Hamilton stepped to the plate.
Hamilton drove a 1-1 pitch to the wall in right. Tyler Colvin went all the way back and caught the ball just before it left the park. Hamilton just missed it …
The Rangers tied the game in the fourth against Braden Looper. Mitch Moreland and Doug Deeds singled to start the inning. With runners on first and third, Matt Treanor flied out to deep left center. Brett Jackson made a running catch but Moreland tagged and scored the tying run. Endy Chavez grounded into a 4-6-3 double play to end the inning.
Carlos Pena started the four-run fourth with a one-out walk. Alfonso Soriano and Geovany Soto reached on infield singles to load the bases. Augie Ojeda stepped in a doubled down the right field line. Pena and Soriano scored … 3-1 Cubs.
Braden Looper flied out to deep right, Soto tagged and scored … 4-1 Cubs.
With Ojeda at third, DeWitt blooped a single into center. Ojeda scored, 5-1 Cubs.
Following a Tyler Colvin single, Brett Jackson walked to load the bases but Marquez Smith struck out to end the inning.
The Cubs pounded out 14 hits and finished the day 6-for-14 with RISP (nine left on base).
The Cubs will travel to Surprise Friday to face the Kansas City Royals. Matt Garza will make his second appearance, first start. Tyler Colvin is expected to get the start at first with Brett Jackson starting in center.