Cubs Hang On for the Spring ‘W’ – Cubs 7, Reds 4

Spring Game Twenty-Eight – Cubs 7, Reds 4
WP – Lendy Castillo (1-1, BS 1) LP – Clayton Tanner (0-1) Save – None

wflag.jpgThe Cubs did not trail in Tuesday’s spring game against the Reds after they put up three runs over the first five innings against Mat Latos.

Darwin Barney (3-for-4 with two doubles, a RBI and a run scored), Bryan LaHair (3-for-5 with two doubles and a RBI) and Alfonso Soriano (1-for-3 with a RBI) knocked Latos around early before the Reds’ new right-hander was lifted in the fifth with a strained left calf.

Matt Garza put together a better outing than his final line indicates. Garza was charged with two runs on seven hits with three walks and a spring-high six strikeouts in four-plus innings. What was likely the Reds’ Opening Day lineup only squared up two of the seven hits the Garza allowed. Garza departed with two on and no outs in the fifth with the Cubs up 3-0. Newly signed Shawn Camp allowed two inherited runners to score in the fifth and the Reds tied the game in the seventh on a balk by Lendy Castillo.

Welington Castillo (2-for-4 with a home run and two runs scored) broke the 3-3 tie in the top of the ninth with his second longball of the spring. Dave Sappelt hit a three-run shot off the batter’s eye three hitters later and his first dinger of the spring ended up being the difference in the game.

The Cubs’ pen was not sharp on Tuesday in Goodyear. Shawn Camp pitched two scoreless but allowed two inherited runners to cross the plate in his Cubs’ debut. Lendy Castillo allowed the tying run to score in the seventh on a balk and Blake Parker was all over the place in the ninth. Parker surrendered only one run, on a passed ball, but walked two and went deep in the count to every batter he faced.

With the bases clogged and two down in the ninth, Blake Parker retired Brandon Phillips (groundout to first) to end the game.

The two division rivals totaled a combined 11 runs on 26 hits and left 23 runners on base in an exhibition game that took three hours and thirty-three minutes to play.

The Cubs jumped out to an early lead against Mat Latos in the first inning. After David DeJesus struck out swinging, Darwin Barney singled to center on a 2-2 pitch. Alfonso Soriano flied out to left. With two down, Bryan LaHair squared up a 0-1 pitch and hit the ball off the wall in center. Barney scored all the way from first on LaHair’s double. With Joe Mather at the plate, LaHair broke for third on a 0-1 pitch … and was thrown out to end the inning.

Matt Garza made quick work of Brandon Phillips (ground out to second) and Zack Cozart (struck out looking on a 1-2 pitch) to start the first. Joey Votto and Scott Rolen worked two out walks but Jay Bruce popped out to center for the third out.

Other than a two-out walk by Alfredo Amezaga, the Cubs did nothing against Mat Latos in the second.

The Reds kept clogging the bases in the second … and Garza kept getting out jams. Chris Heisey hit Garza’s first pitch to Marlon Byrd in center to start the second. Drew Stubbs reached on an infield single to the hole at short (2-2 pitch) and Dioner Navarro blooped a 1-1 pitch into right. With runners on first and second with one out, Latos fouled his third bunt attempt (2-2 pitch). Brandon Phillips hit a 1-2 pitch to the hole at short. Amezaga knocked the ball down and kept Stubbs from scoring. With the bases loaded and two down, Cozart struck out swinging (1-2 pitch) to end the inning. The Reds left five on base in the first two innings against Matt Garza.

The Cubs tacked on a run in top of the third. Matt Garza reached on an error by Joey Votto. After DeJesus flied out to left, Darwin Barney put an excellent at bat together and ended up crushing a 3-2 pitch from Latos into left center. Garza scored from first on Barney’s double. Soriano grounded out to third and with Barney on third, LaHair lined out to left for the third out.

Dale Sveum put the shift on for Joey Votto when he led off the third. Votto ended up hitting over the shift and reached on a single to right (bad hop over Barney’s head). Scott Rolen was called out when he tried to check his swing on a 1-2 pitch. Garza then struck out Bruce swinging (1-2 pitch) and retired Heisey (3-2 pitch) on a fly ball to center … inning over.

At the end of three, the Cubs led 2-0.

The Cubs did nothing against Latos in the fourth.

Matt Garza struck out Drew Stubbs swinging to start the fourth. Navarro singled again. Latos tried to bunt Navarro to second. Garza fielded the bunt and threw to second but it was off the mark and Amezaga could not double up Latos at first. Brandon Phillips stepped in and ripped Garza’s first pitch off the wall in right. The first hard hit ball by the Reds put runners on second and third with two down. Cozart tried to check his swing and tapped back to Garza to end the fourth.

Welington Castillo led off the fifth with a bloop single to right. Garza tried to bunt four times but Latos would not throw him a strike. After the four-pitch walk to Garza, the Cubs had runners on first and second with no outs.

David DeJesus swung at the first pitch and flied out to right center. Darwin Barney then launched a 1-0 pitch to left center. Stubbs tracked the ball down for the second out.

After the first offering to Alfonso Soriano, Dusty Baker and Bryan Price went to the mound to check on Mat Latos. Latos was lifted with what was later diagnosed as a strained left calf.

Justin Freeman replaced Latos and served up a 2-1 pitch to Alfonso Soriano that he dumped in right field. Castillo scored, 3-0 Cubs. LaHair struck out swinging to end the inning.

Joey Votto crushed Garza’s first pitch of the fifth into left for a double (second hard hit ball off Garza). Scott Rolen then worked a walk and ended Garza’s afternoon.

Dale Sveum went to the pen and brought in the newest Cub, Shawn Camp, to face Jay Bruce.

Bruce hit Camp’s first pitch right back to him. Camp threw to second but the Cubs could not turn the double play. With runners on first and third with one out, Chris Heisey hit a 1-2 pitch to left. Soriano caught the ball and tried to throw out Votto at the plate. Soriano missed the cut off man, Votto scored and Bruce ended up at second. Drew Stubbs hit a broken bat single into left. Bruce scored and cut the Cubs lead to 3-2. Camp picked Stubbs off first to end the fifth.

Sean Marshall took over for the Reds in the sixth and gave up a single to Joe Mather. After Byrd popped out, Mather stole second with Amezaga at the plate … and advanced to third on a wild pitch with Castillo at the plate. Marshall struck out Castillo looking (2-2 pitch) for the third out.

Dave Sappelt replaced Soriano in left to start the sixth … and Shawn Camp stayed in for his second inning of work. Camp retired Miller and Francisco for the first two outs. Brandon Phillips reached on a single to right (1-1 pitch) and Cozart walked (3-1 pitch). With two on, two down and the Cubs up by one, Shawn Camp struck out Joey Votto looking to end the inning.

Other than a two-out double by Darwin Barney (ended up at third on an error by Stubbs), the Cubs did nothing against Kanekoa Texeira in the seventh.

Lendy Castillo took over for Camp in the seventh and Matt Tolbert stayed in the game at second base (pinch-hit in the top of the inning).

Scott Rolen and Jay Bruce reached on a back-to-back singles off Lendy Castillo. Chris Heisey gave up an out and bunted both runners up ninety feet. With the tying run on third, the go ahead run on second and one out, Castillo struck out Drew Stubbs. The Reds tied the game when Castillo balked prior to the first pitch to Corky Miller. Rolen scored and Bruce advanced to third on the mistake. Miller grounded out to short (0-2 pitch) for the third out.

The exhibition game was tied at three after seven.

Bryan LaHair led off the eighth with a single to center … but that was it. Mather (struck out swinging), Byrd (flied out to left) and Amezaga (ground out to first) could not advance him.

Lendy Castillo took the hill in the eighth for his second inning of work. Brandon Phillips blooped a double into right with one out. Castillo retired Cozart on a grounder to third and with Phillips at third, Votto popped out to left for the third out.

The Cubs lit up Clayton Tanner in the ninth.

Welington Castillo broke the 3-3 tie with his second homer of the spring, a solo shot to center. Matt Tolbert followed with a single to left and DeJesus walked. Edgar Gonzalez hit a grounder to the hole at short. Cozart fielded the ball and threw out Tolbert at third.

Dave Sappelt stepped in and crushed the first pitch from Tanner. Sappelt hit a three-run shot did not leave the park. The ball hit off the batter’s eye and well above the yellow line … and just like that the Cubs were up 7-3. Bryan LaHair followed Sappelt’s homer with a double to right center and Dusty Baker went to his pen for Mark Serrano.

Mather and Byrd went down in order and the game went to the bottom of the ninth with the Cubs up 7-3.

Blake Parker labored through the ninth and escaped a bases-clogged jam.

Scott Rolen tapped back to Parker to start the ninth. Jay Bruce broke his bat and singled to left. Chris Heisey followed with a broken bat double down the left field line. Parker struck out Stubbs with runners on second and third. Parker then walked Miller to load the bases with two out.

Todd Frazier hit for Serrano. Castillo let a 1-0 offering get past him (passed ball), Bruce scored, 7-4 Cubs. Parker ended up walking Frazier to load the bases for Brandon Phillips.

With the Cubs up 7-4 and the bases clogged, Phillips grounded out to first (2-2 pitch) … exhibition game over.

Box Score from Yahoo Sports

The Cubs host the Cleveland Indians at HoHoKam Park on Wednesday afternoon … Jeff Samardzija against Josh Tomlin.

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Quote of the Day

"People who write about Spring Training not being necessary have never tried to throw a baseball." – Sandy Koufax