The Youngsters Lead the Way Over the Giants – Cubs 5, Giants 4

Spring Game Ten – Cubs 5, Giants 4
WP – Chris Volstad (1-0) LP – Madison Bumgarner (0-1) Save – Alberto Cabrera (1)

wflag.jpgDarwin Barney (1-for-3 with a RBI), Starlin Castro (1-for-3 with a RBI and a stolen base), Josh Vitters (pinch-hit RBI triple) and Anthony Rizzo (1-for-1 with a home run and two RBI) drove in all five of the Cubs’ runs and led the way in Tuesday’s Cactus League victory. The Cubs’ offense pounded out 13 hits, seven for extra bases, against Giants’ pitching and one of those hits came off the bat of Chris Volstad.

Chris Volstad picked up the spring ‘W‘ in his second Cactus League start. Volstad tossed three innings of shutout ball with two hits, a strikeout and no walks. Volstad singled in his only plate appearance and scored the Cubs’ first run in the third.

Scott Maine pitched another scoreless inning and Jay Jackson allowed one run on three hits in three innings of work. The Giants made a ‘game‘ out of it in the eighth against Andy Sonnanstine. The former Tampa Bay Ray allowed three runs on five hits without a walk and one strikeout. Two bad defensive plays by Blake DeWitt in the eighth extended the inning and helped San Francisco score one of the three runs.

Alberto Cabrera issued the only free pass of the afternoon by Cubs’ pitching in route to earning his first save of the spring.

Each of the starters notched at least one hit Tuesday afternoon with the exception of Bryan LaHair. LaHair’s spring struggles continued Tuesday (0-for-3 with three strikeouts).

Joe Mather (1-for-3 with a double), Alfonso Soriano (1-for-3 with a double), David DeJesus (1-for-3 with a double), Dave Sappelt (1-for-3 with a triple) and Adrian Cardenas (1-for-2 with a double) provided the other extra base hits … and Brett Jackson (1-for-2) put together another good day at the plate and even picked up a stolen base.

Madison Bumgarner made quick work of the Cubs in the first. The Cubs managed one of their seven hits off the southpaw in the opening inning, a one-out single by Darwin Barney, but that was it. DeJesus struck out swinging, Castro struck out swinging and Soriano popped out to third to end the inning.

Chris Volstad kept the ball on the ground in the first inning. Angel Pagan (groundout to short) and Melky Cabrera (groundout to second) made two quick outs before Pablo Sandoval reached on a single to center. Buster Posey grounded out to short to end the inning.

After LaHair struck out swinging to start the second, Joe Mather doubled to center. But Bumgarner retired Steve Clevenger and Dave Sappelt on fly outs to center to close out the inning.

Aubrey Huff flied out to left to start the second. Volstad then notched his fourth groundball out. Brandon Belt hit a roller to LaHair at first. Ryan Theriot singled to right but was stranded when Brandon Crawford grounded out to first to end the inning.

Of the first six outs Volstad recorded, five were of the groundball variety.

The Cubs got on the board in the third. Chris Volstad led off with a single to left and advanced to third on a double to center by David DeJesus. Darwin Barney drove in the first run of the game with a groundout to short, Volstad scored and DeJesus advanced to third on the play.

Starlin Castro made it 2-0 with a single to left that plated DeJesus. Soriano popped out to third for the second out. With LaHair at the plate, Castro swiped second but was left at second when LaHair struck out swinging.

Chris Volstad ended his day by retiring the Giants in order in the third … with two more groundball outs.

Madison Bumgarner stayed in and started the fourth. After Mather flied out to center, Steve Clevenger singled to left. Dave Sappelt ripped the first pitch into right … but right at Brandon Belt.

Dale Sveum went to his bench with two outs in the fourth and sent Josh Vitters up to hit for Volstad. Vitters ripped a triple into center. Clevenger scored … 3-0 Cubs. With Vitters at third, DeJesus flied out to center to end the inning.

Scott Maine gave up a two-out single to Aubrey Huff in the fourth … but that was all. Maine struck out Belt swinging (3-2 pitch) to end the inning, and his outing.

Bumgarner turned the game over to Steve Edlefsen in the fifth.

After Barney (groundout to third) and Castro (groundout to short) made two quick outs, Alfonso Soriano tried to check his swing on a 1-2 pitch but got just enough of the ball to punch it into shallow right. Soriano hustled out of the box and slid in safe at second with a hustle-double. Belt’s throw to second was low … but Soriano hustled. Bryan LaHair struck out swinging to end the fifth.

Dale Sveum began making substitutions in the bottom of the fifth. Anthony Rizzo (1B), Edgar Gonzalez (SS), Brett Jackson (LF), Adrian Cardenas (2B) and Matt Szczur (RF) took over for the starters … and Jay Jackson replaced Maine on the hill.

Ryan Theriot grounded out to third to start the fifth. Crawford followed with a single to left but Nate Schierholtz popped out to left. Angel Pagan ripped a triple over Dave Sappelt’s head in center. Crawford scored, 3-1 Cubs. Jackson retired Cabrera on a grounder to first to end the inning.

Jeremy Affeldt retired Mather (struck out swinging) and Clevenger (flyout to right) to start the sixth. Dave Sappelt tripled over Pagan’s head in center but was stranded when Matt Szczur grounded out to third to end the inning.

Dale Sveum made more substitutions and sent in Tony Campana (CF), Welington Castillo (C) and Blake DeWitt (3B) in the bottom of the sixth.

The Giants did nothing against Jay Jackson in the sixth.

Sergio Romo replaced Affeldt in the seventh. Brett Jackson was called out when he tried to check his swing on a 1-2 offering. Edgar Gonzalez popped out to first but Adrian Cardenas ripped a double into right that extended the inning. Cardenas ended up a third after Romo uncorked a wild pitch … but it would not matter.

Anthony Rizzo hit his first homer of the spring. A monster two-run blast that cleared both bullpens beyond the right field wall … and just like that the Cubs led 5-1.

Anthony Rizzo’s blast was the 14th home run of the spring for the Cubs in 10 games.

Jay Jackson hit for himself and grounded out to Theriot at third to end the inning.

Brandon Belt led off the seventh with a single into left center. Theriot hit into a 5-4 fielder’s choice. Crawford dropped down a bunt that allowed Theriot to advance to second but Jackson struck out Emmanuel Burriss swinging to end the inning … and his outing.

After seven complete, the Cubs led 5-1.

Guillermo Mota did not allow the Cubs to tack on in the eighth. Blake DeWitt grounded out to first to start the inning. Welington Castillo singled but Tony Campana struck out … and Castillo was thrown out at second with Matt Szczur at the plate to end the inning.

The Giants made the exhibition very interesting in the bottom of the eighth … with a little help from Blake DeWitt.

Angel Pagan led off the eighth with a double to right center (2-1 pitch) off Andy Sonnanstine. Mike Fontenot then ripped a 1-1 pitch into the right field corner that went for a double. Pagan scored, 5-2 Cubs.

Sonnanstine struck out Brett Pill swinging. Chris Stewart blooped a single into center that allowed Fontenot to score the Giants third run.

Joaquin Arias hit a deep fly into left center. Campana tracked the ball down but Stewart tagged and advanced to second. Justin Christian hit a grounder to third and instead of just ending the inning. DeWitt tried to tag Stewart as he went by. DeWitt missed and his throw to first was late.

With runners on first and third with two outs, Tyler Graham dropped down a bunt toward third. DeWitt’s throw to first was low and pulled Rizzo off the bag. Stewart scored, 5-4 Cubs and Bruce Bochy went to his bench.

With the runners on first and second with two down, pinch-hitter Hector Sanchez grounded out to second to end the inning.

The Cubs had a chance to tack on a run in the ninth after Brett Jackson reached on a one-out single to left center. Jackson stole second with Edgar Gonzalez at the plate. Gonzalez struck out swinging and Cardenas flied out to right center to end the inning.

Alberto Cabrera retired three of the five batters he faced to close out the game and pick up his first ‘save‘ of the spring.

Box Score from Yahoo Sports

The Cubs host the Brewers on Wednesday afternoon. Randy Wells will make his first start of the spring and is scheduled to face Randy Wolf.

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Quote of the Day

"Every strike brings me closer to the next home run." - Babe Ruth