Four Longballs, Matt Garza and a Spring Win in Surprise – Cubs 11, Rangers 4

Spring Game Twenty-Two – Cubs 11, Rangers (SS) 4
WP – Matt Garza (2-2) LP – Colby Lewis (0-2) Save – None

wflag.jpgThe Cubs came out swinging in Surprise on Thursday afternoon and scored runs in five of the nine innings. The offense put up 11 runs against Rangers’ pitching on 15 hits, nine went for extra bases including four home runs.

Joe Mather (3-for-3 with a home run, a double and two RBI) hit his third longball of the spring, a two-run shot in the second, that gave the Cubs an early lead. Darwin Barney (1-for-2 with a double, a RBI, a walk and a run scored) broke a 3-3 tie in the fifth with a run scoring double before the Cubs started playing longball.

Alfonso Soriano (1-for-3 with a home run and two RBI) hit his fifth dinger of the spring in the fifth. Ian Stewart (2-for-3 with a home run and two runs scored) cranked his first homer of the spring in the sixth and Brett Jackson launched his second jack in the Cactus League in his only at bat Thursday. Jackson hit a two-run shot in the seventh.

Dave Sappelt (1-for-3 with a double, two runs scored and a stolen base), Bryan LaHair (1-for-3 with a double) and Adrian Cardenas (2-for-2 with a triple, a run scored and a stolen base) collected the other extra base knocks on Thursday afternoon.

Matt Garza put together an excellent outing. Garza did not give up his first hit until the fourth and surrendered just two hits on the afternoon. All three runs the Rangers scored while Garza was on the mound were unearned due to two errors by Darwin Barney in the fourth. Garza walked three and struck out three in five innings (81 pitches, 48 for strikes).

The Cubs pen, with the exception of Frankie De La Cruz in his Cubs’ debut, picked up where Matt Garza left off. James Russell pitched a perfect 1 2/3 innings with a pair of strikeouts and Rafael Dolis struck out one of the three batters he faced in the ninth.

Marcos Mateo left the game in the sixth inning with an apparent arm injury. After his second pitch to Luis Martinez, Dale Sveum and Mark O’Neal trotted out to the mound after Welington Castillo signaled there was something wrong. After a brief conversation and Mateo pointing at his right forearm, Mateo left the game.

The Cubs defense was charged with three more errors Thursday afternoon to run their spring total to 18 charged errors in 22 games.

Darwin Barney had a rough game at shortstop and his two errors in the fourth led to three runs. Barney also misplayed what should have been an ending inning double play into a hit and his second error, a low throw to first on the backend of what should have been an inning ending double play, allowed the Rangers to tie the game. Bryan LaHair was charged with the other miscue in the fifth.

On the flip side, Ian Stewart made a tremendous diving stop to take away a hit from Craig Gentry for the third out in the sixth. Stewart dove toward the line and threw out Gentry from his knees.

The game began with the Cubs going down in order against Colby LewisMatt Garza returned the favor and retired Ian Kinsler, Elvis Andrus, and Josh Hamilton in order in the home half.

Bryan LaHair (ground out to first on first pitch) and Geovany Soto (ground out to third) went down quickly to start the second. Ian Stewart kept the inning going with a single to center on a 2-1 pitch.

Joe Mather followed Stewart and launched his third homer of the spring. Mather’s two-run shot over the left field wall gave the Cubs an early lead. Steve Clevenger grounded out to first for the third out.

After Adrian Beltre grounded out to short (first pitch) to start the second, Garza walked Michael Young. Garza struck out Mike Napoli swinging (3-2 pitch) and Brad Hawpe tapped back to the mound to end the inning.

After two, the Cubs had a 2-0 lead.

The Cubs third inning started with a double to left off the bat of Dave Sappelt. With Barney at the plate, Sappelt stole third. Barney ended up working his first walk of the spring and the Cubs had runners on first and third with no outs.

Lewis jammed DeWitt on a 0-2 pitch. DeWitt fought it off and hit a weak chopper toward third. Sappelt broke and scored the Cubs’ third run. Barney advanced to second as Beltre threw out DeWitt at first. Soriano popped out to short and LaHair grounded out to first to end the inning.

The Cubs ran themselves out of a possible run scoring fourth inning.

Geovany Soto led off with a single to left (2-0 pitch). Ian Stewart hit a deep fly to left center (3-1 pitch). Craig Gentry caught the ball and threw back to second base and nailed Soto, who went back to first and tried to tag and advance. After the double play, Joe Mather reached on a single to Ian Kinsler. Kinsler ranged into the hole at second, fielded the ball but Mather made it before the ball sailed over his head. Mather was thrown out at second to end the inning (tried a delayed steal on a 0-2 pitch to Steve Clevenger).

The Cubs defense, namely Darwin Barney, really let Garza down in the fourth and the Rangers ended up tying the game.

Elvis Andrus hit Garza’s first pitch to short. Barney fielded the ball but threw up the line. LaHair caught it but was not able to tag Andrus as he ran by. Josh Hamilton singled to right (1-1 pitch) for the Rangers first hit.

With runners on first and third with no outs, Adrian Beltre hit a medium-depth fly to center. Mather backed up, caught the ball and made a strong throw to the plate … but it was a little late and Andrus scored the Rangers’ first run.

Michael Young hit a 2-2 pitch back up the middle. Barney ranged toward the bag but took a bad route. The ball went off his glove and into center. Instead of an inning ending double play, the Rangers had runners on first and third with one down. Napoli walked (3-2 pitch) to load the bases.

Brad Hawpe hit a 2-0 pitch to Blake DeWitt at second. DeWitt fielded, spun and threw a strike to Barney that forced Napoli but Barney’s throw was low and skipped past Bryan LaHair. Hamilton and Young scored, game tied at three.

Conor Jackson popped out to first for the third out in the fourth.

At the end of four … Cubs 3, Rangers 3

Steve Clevenger led off the fifth with a single to right off Colby Lewis. Dave Sappelt hit a 2-2 pitch to third. Beltre fielded, threw to second, Kinsler threw to first, the throw was low, and the ball was dropped by Michael Young.

Darwin Barney launched a 1-0 pitch from Lewis into deep left center. The ball one hopped the wall and Sappelt scored the Cubs’ fourth run. Blake DeWitt struck out swinging for the second out.

Alfonso Soriano hit a towering blast over the left field wall on a 1-2 pitch. Soriano’s fifth longball of the spring gave the Cubs a 6-3 lead.

Bryan LaHair reached on a bloop double down the left field line but Soto looked at strike three (2-2 pitch) for the third out in the fifth.

Matt Garza started the home half of the fifth and worked around defensive mistakes from his infield.

After Garza retired Gentry on a grounder to short, Ian Kinsler walked (3-2 pitch). Garza struck out Andrus looking (3-2 pitch). Josh Hamilton stepped in and hit Garza’s first offering under Bryan LaHair’s glove and down the right field line. LaHair’s error put runners on second and third with two outs for Adrian Beltre.

Matt Garza ended his day by striking out Adrian Beltre swinging (2-2 pitch).

Mark Lowe took over for Colby Lewis in the sixth and Ian Stewart greeted him by launching a 1-2 pitch over the wall in right … 7-3 Cubs on Stewart’s first longball of the spring.

Joe Mather reached on a hustle double to left but could not advance to third when Clevenger grounded out to third for the first out. Dave Sappelt grounded out to short (3-2 pitch), Mather advanced to third but was stranded when Alfredo Amezaga (hitting for Barney) popped out to center to end the inning.

Dave Sveum made wholesale changes in the sixth. Tony Campana (LF), Brett Jackson (CF), James Adduci (RF), Anthony Rizzo (1B), Welington Castillo (C), Adrian Cardenas (2B) and Alfredo Amezaga (SS) replaced the starters and Marcos Mateo took over on the hill.

Marcos Mateo walked Michael Young on five pitches. After the second pitch to Luis Martinez, Dale Sveum and Mark O’Neal jogged out and took a look at Mateo. After a short conversation, Mateo left the game. The Cubs’ reliever was pointing at his right forearm before he left the mound.

Frankie De La Cruz made his spring debut with the Cubs and struggled throwing strikes. Martinez reached on a bloop single than De La Cruz issued a four-pitch walk to Brad Hawpe that loaded the bases with no outs.

Conor Jackson bailed out De La Cruz when he swung at a 3-1 pitch and grounded into a 6-4-3 double play. Young scored, 7-4 Cubs.

Ian Stewart took an extra base hit away from Craig Gentry to end the sixth. Gentry ripped a 1-2 pitch down the third base line. Stewart dove toward the line, caught the ball and threw out the speedy Gentry from his knees to end the inning.

Koji Uehara took over for the Rangers in the seventh. Adrian Cardenas singled to right on his first pitch of the inning. Tony Campana grounded out to first, Cardenas advanced to second with one down. Anthony Rizzo walked on four pitches.

On the first pitch to Welington Castillo, the Cubs pulled off a double steal … Cardenas to third and Rizzo to second. Castillo singled to right, Cardenas scored … 8-4 Cubs. Matt Tolbert hit for Stewart and grounded out to short. Rizzo scored and Castillo advanced to second.

With the Cubs up 9-4, Brett Jackson made his way to the plate for the first time … and deposited a 0-1 pitch from Uehara over the wall in right center. Jackson’s second longball of the spring gave the Cubs an 11-4 advantage in the exhibition game.

Frankie De La Cruz started the bottom of the seventh and retired Kinsler on a grounder to short (2-1 pitch). Elvis Andrus walked on four pitches, and Dale Sveum decided he’d seen enough and went to his pen for James Russell.

James Russell retired Josh Hamilton (ground out to first on 1-2 pitch) and Adrian Beltre (ground out to third on a 1-0 pitch) to end the seventh.

Other than a two-out triple by Adrian Cardenas, the Cubs did nothing against Yoshinori Tateyama in the eighth.

The Rangers did nothing against James Russell in the bottom of the eighth. Russell struck out two of the three batters he faced.

Joe Nathan sat down the Cubs in order in the ninth.

The exhibition game ended with Rafael Dolis retiring the Rangers in order in the ninth.

Box Score from Yahoo Sports

The Cubs travel to Scottsdale to take on the Rockies on Friday afternoon … Jeff Samardzija against Tyler Chatwood at Salt River Fields at Talking Stick.

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Quote of the Day

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