Cubs Drop Fourth Straight Spring Game – Cubs 2, Giants 3

Spring Game Fourteen – Cubs 2, Giants 3
WP – Eric Surkamp (2-1) LP – Matt Garza (1-2) Save – Danny Otero (3)

The Cubs lost their fourth exhibition in three days on Friday afternoon in front of the largest crowd of the spring at HoHoKam Park. There were a lot of positives that came out of the game … but in the end it was the Cubs’ over-aggressiveness that cost them a meaningless victory.

For as good as the pitching was on Friday afternoon, three runners were thrown out at third base and two errors ended up costing the Cubs two runs.

Matt Garza rebounded nicely from his start against the Dodgers last Sunday and allowed two runs, both earned, on three hits with a walk and three strikeouts in four innings. Once again it was a free pass that led to the oppositions first run of the game. Garza retired six of the first seven batters he faced with three strikeouts … and nine of the first 10.

The Giants first run came after Garza issued a leadoff walk to Melky Cabrera in the fourth and a single to Pablo Sandoval. Steve Clevenger tried to pick off Sandoval from first, the ball ended up in right field and Cabrera scored easily from second. And the second run came on a single by Aubrey Huff on a 0-2 pitch one batter later.

Rafael Dolis (no runs on one hit without a walk or a strikeout) was impressive in his inning of work. Non-roster invitee, Chris Rusin, tossed two innings of shutout ball and allowed only one runner to reach base (no hits, a walk and two strikeouts). Lendy Castillo struck out the side in his inning of work but gave up a double and his throwing error allowed the Giants third run to score. Trever Miller pitched a scoreless ninth.

The Cubs offense outhit the Giants 7-6 but three decisions on the bases likely cost them runs. Starlin Castro and Anthony Rizzo were thrown out trying to steal third in the sixth and Joe Mather was thrown out at third in the ninth trying to go from first to third on a sacrifice bunt by Brett Jackson.

Anthony Rizzo (2-for-3 with a home runs) hit his second home run of the spring (both against the Giants) and Blake Lalli (1-for-1 with a home run) hit his second longball of the spring in the eighth inning.

Matt Garza mowed down the Giants in order to start the game. Garza struck out Gregor Blanco and Melky Cabrera then retired Pablo Sandoval with one pitch (groundout to third).

The Cubs did nothing against Eric Surkamp in the first … DeJesus (struck out swinging), Byrd (fly out to center) and Castro (lined out to center) went down in order.

Buster Posey led off the second with the first hit of the game, a single to right on a 2-2 pitch. Garza retired Aubrey Huff (flyout to left center), Nate Schierholtz (struck out looking) and Ryan Theriot (flyout to center) to end the inning.

Anthony Rizzo led off the home half of the second with his second dinger of the spring … and just like that the Cubs led 1-0. Surkamp sat down the next three batters in order (Mather, lineout to third; Clevenger, struck out swinging; Sappelt, groundout to short).

After two, the Cubs had a 1-0 lead.

The Giants did nothing against Matt Garza in the third.

Adrian Cardenas (popped out to short) and Matt Garza (struck out swinging) to start the third. David DeJesus, the newly crowned bunting champion, reached on an infield single to Ryan Theriot … the former Cub mistimed his jump and the ball went off his glove. Marlon Byrd followed with a single to right center. DeJesus ended up at third with two out.

Starlin Castro chopped a 0-1 pitch to third. Sandoval gloved and threw out Castro to end the inning.

Matt Garza issued a leadoff walk to Melky Cabrera to start the fourth. Sandoval followed with a single to right … and the Giants were in business.

After Garza’s 0-1 pitch to Buster Posey missed the zone, Steve Clevenger made a snap throw to first. The ball ended up in right field and Cabrera scored … game tied at one. Posey hit a tapper back to Garza. Sandoval held at second as Garza threw to first for the out.

Aubrey Huff lined a 0-2 pitch into left. Sandoval scored, 2-1 Giants. Schierholtz followed with a grounder to Rizzo. The Cubs’ first baseman threw to second to force Huff. Ryan Theriot popped out to center to end the inning.

The Cubs wasted a chance to tie the game in the bottom of the fourth. Rizzo (struck out looking on a 2-2 pitch) and Mather (tap back to the mound) went down quickly but Steve Clevenger reached on a double to left center. Dave Sappelt walked and the Cubs had runners on first and second with two down. Adrian Cardenas flied out to left (0-2 pitch) to end the inning.

After four, the Cubs trailed 2-1.

Rafael Dolis took over in the fifth and faced the minimum.

Rafael Dolis retired Mike Fontenot on a grounder to first to start the inning. Emmanuel Burris hit for Surkamp and reached on a ground rule double to right center. Burris tried to steal third with Blanco at the plate. Clevenger threw him out and Blanco ended up grounding back to Dolis to end the inning.

The Cubs did nothing against Jeremy Affeldt in the fifth.

Chris Rusin took over in the sixth. Matt Szczur (CF) stayed in the game after hitting for Dolis in the fifth and James Adduci (RF) replaced DeJesus.

Rusin threw the ball well and retired three of the four batters he faced. Rusin issued a two-out walk to Buster Posey but retired Aubrey Huff on a flyout to left to end the inning.

Starlin Castro led off the sixth with a smash off Clay Hensley to short that “ate up Ryan Theriot“. The ball ended up in left after it rolled under Theriot’s glove.

Anthony Rizzo followed Castro with a single to left. Joe Mather struck out swinging on a 3-2 pitch. Castro was running on the play and was thrown out at third. Rizzo advanced to second but he was thrown out at third to end the inning with Clevenger at the plate.

Dale Sveum made more changes prior to the seventh and left Chris Rusin on the mound. Edgar Gonzalez (1B), Junior Lake (SS) and Tony Campana (LF) took over for the starters.

Chris Rusin retired the side in order in the seventh … and struck out both Theriot and Fontenot for the last two outs.

Adrian Cardenas managed to reach on an error by the Giants’ first baseman with two outs in the seventh but Szczur struck out looking to end the frame.

Blake Lalli (C) and Lendy Castillo entered the game in the eighth.

Emmanuel Burris blooped a single into right center to start the eighth and stole second with Brett Pill at the plate. Lendy Castillo struck out Pill swinging on a 3-2 pitch. Eli Whiteside swung at and missed a 3-2 offering from Castillo and Tyler Graham tapped back to Castillo. Instead of inning over, Castillo’s lobbed throw sailed over Gonzalez’s head at first. Burris scored, 3-1 Giants. Castillo struck out Juan Perez swinging to end the inning.

Ramon Ortiz faced his former team for the first time this spring in the bottom of the eighth and retired James Adduci to start the inning.

Blake Lalli made it a 3-2 game with one swing of the bat. Lalli deposited his second homer of the spring over both bullpens in right. Junior Lake flied out to the track in center and Gonzalez grounded out to second to end the inning.

Trever Miller retired three of the four batters he faced in the ninth.

With the Cubs down 3-2, Joe Mather led off the ninth with a single to left against Danny Otero. Brett Jackson hit for Trever Miller and dropped down a bunt toward third. Burriss picked the ball up and threw across the diamond. Mather rounded second and tried to advance to third but Brett Pill’s throw was on the mark to Joaquin Arias covering the bag. Tony Campana grounded out to Arias at short to end the inning … exhibition game over.

Box Score from Yahoo Sports

The Cubs play four games in the next two days. Dale Sveum and half of the roster will be in Las Vegas for the weekend playing the Rangers while Jamie Quirk will lead the other half against the A’s (Saturday in Phoenix) and White Sox (Sunday in Mesa).

Jeff Samardzija is scheduled to face Derek Holland and the Rangers on Saturday afternoon while Paul Maholm will face Travis Schlichting and the A’s in Phoenix.

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