Spring Game Twelve – Cubs (SS) 2, Diamondbacks 12
WP – Ian Kennedy (1-2) LP – Ryan Dempster (1-1) Save – None
Spring Game Thirteen – Cubs (SS) 5, Rockies 7
WP – Christian Friedrich (1-0) LP – Alberto Cabrera (0-1) Save – Rex Brothers (1)
There were positives from both Cubs losses Thursday in the Cactus League but all in all it was a rough day for the Chicago Cubs … and as the spring cliché goes, they got their work in.
In Mesa, Ryan Dempster had a rough outing before Kerry Wood and Jeff Beliveau forgot how to throw strikes. While the pitching staff, with the exception of Carlos Marmol, had a bad day, the offense was non-existent.
Ryan Dempster allowed three runs on eight hits with a walk and three strikeouts in 3 2/3 innings. Kerry Wood and Jeff Beliveau imploded in the seventh and allowed a combined seven runs on five hits with three walks. Beliveau served up a grand slam to Paul Goldschmidt that put the exhibition game out of reach.
The offense hit the ball (11 hits) but scored only two runs … and both of those came in the seventh and eighth inning. The Cubs were 1-for-12 with RISP and left 10 on base against Arizona’s staff. Geovany Soto (2-for-3 with a double) ended his 0-for spring with a good day at the dish and Starlin Castro was 2-for-2. Michael Brenly hit a solo homer in the eighth.
In Scottsdale, Rodrigo Lopez struggled in his second start (third appearance) of the spring. Lopez gave up two runs on six hits without a walk and two strikeouts in three innings. After the Cubs took the lead in the sixth, Alberto Cabrera gave up three runs in the home half on three hits.
The offense pounded out nine hits and was led by Bryan LaHair (3-for-5 with a double, a stolen base and a run scored), Junior Lake (1-for-3 with a home run, three RBI, a stolen base and a walk) and Brett Jackson (1-for-4 with a triple). Lake’s first homer of the spring came with two on and two out in the sixth and gave the Cubs a brief 4-3 lead.
Blake DeWitt left the game against the Rockies in the fifth after he was hit on the hand. DeWitt was taken back to Mesa for X-rays and as of this writing, his status had not been updated.
Darwin Barney and Ian Stewart were scratched from the starting lineups Thursday and both are listed as day-to-day. Stewart has a sore quad and Barney felt tightness in his left side after taking a swing in batting practice prior to Thursday’s game against the D-Backs. Spring Game Twelve – Cubs (SS) 2, Diamondbacks 12
Ryan Dempster began Thursday’s start by retiring Gerardo Parra (strikeout) and Aaron Hill (fly out to a diving Reed Johnson in right) but gave up a double to Justin Upton. Dempster retired Jason Kubel on a grounder to Jeff Baker at first for the third out.
The Cubs came out swinging against Ian Kennedy. After Johnson flied out to start the inning, Marlon Byrd and Starlin Castro reached on back-to-back singles. Soriano flied out to left. Byrd advanced to third and Jeff Baker walked to load the bases.
Geovany Soto flied out to the track in left to end the inning.
Lyle Overbay reached on a one-out single to center in the second. Henry Blanco (Hank White) blooped a single into center. Overbay rounded second and tried to advance to third. Byrd threw toward Castro, who cut the ball off. Blanco tried to advance to second, Castro saw him and the Cubs eventually tagged Blanco out (8-6-3-4) for the second out.
John McDonald drove in the first run of the game with a single to left (2-0 pitch). Dempster struck out Kennedy to end the inning.
The Cubs did nothing in the second … and after two, Arizona led 1-0.
Gerardo Parra led off the third with a single to left (3-2 pitch). Hill followed with a single to left off the glove of Josh Vitters. What should have been a double play turned into second and third with no outs after Soriano threw to Castro covering third. The ball got away and Hill advanced on the mishap.
Justin Upton ripped a 1-0 pitch into right. Parra scored, 2-0 Arizona. With runners on first and third with no outs, Jason Kubel lined out to Scales at second. Scaled flipped the ball to Baker to double off Upton. Geoff Blum grounded out to first to end the inning.
Other than a two-out single to center by Castro in the second, the Cubs did nothing against Ian Kennedy in the home half.
Dempster started the fourth but could not finish the inning. Dempster retired Overbay (ground out to first) before serving up a home run to Henry Blanco. Dempster then struck out John McDonald swinging. Dempster jumped ahead of Ian Kennedy 1-2 before eventually walking him … and ending his day.
James Russell was summoned from the pen on a double-switch (Amezaga replaced Castro at short) and retired Parra (3-2 pitch) on a grounder to first to end the inning.
With the Cubs down 3-0, Baker popped out to right to start the fourth. Geovany Soto ended his 0-for-8 spring skid with a single to left. Bobby Scales followed with a single to right center (3-2 pitch) but Josh Vitters (fly out to left) and Alfredo Amezaga (struck out swinging) made two quick outs to end the inning.
The D-Backs tacked on a run in the fifth off James Russell … with a little help from Marlon Byrd and the sun.
Aaron Hill reached on a sun-aided double to start the inning that Byrd simply lost. Upton flied out to right, Hill advanced to third and scored a fly out to the track in center off the bat of Jason Kubel. Russell struck out Blum swinging to end his outing.
The Cubs did nothing in the fifth against Barry Enright.
Dale Sveum made more changes prior to the sixth. Dave Sappelt (LF) and Matt Szczur (CF) replaced the starters and Carlos Marmol took the hill.
Marmol walked Lyle Overbay on five pitches to start the inning. But struck out Adam Eaton before retiring Cody Ransom on a fly out to left.
Matt Davidson singled to left, Overbay advanced to second but Parra grounded out to short to end the inning … a better outing for Carlos Marmol.
Jeff Baker grounded out to second on Enright’s first pitch to start the sixth. Geovany Soto ripped a 1-0 pitch into right center. The ball hit the track and hopped over the wall for a ground rule double … but Bobby Scales (ground out to first) and Josh Vitters (struck out looking) could not plate Soto with the Cubs’ first run.
After six, Arizona led 4-0.
Kerry Wood and Anthony Rizzo (1B) entered in the top of the seventh.
Wood labored through 1/3 of an inning and the exhibition game got out of hand.
A.J. Pollock led off the inning with a single to left (2-2 pitch). Craig Tatum then doubled to right. Pollock was running with the pitch and scored easily. Rusty Ryal reached on a single off Amezaga’s glove. With runners on first and second with no outs, Enright blooped a single to center to load the bases. Wood received a visit from Chris Bosio.
Wood struck out David Winfree looking for the first out … and hit his pitch count. Dale Sveum brought in Jeff Beliveau with one out and the bases loaded.
After showing a lot of promise in his last outing, Beliveau could not throw strikes Thursday afternoon. Beliveau issued back-to-back walks to Eaton and Ransom that forced in two runs. Beliveau struck out Davidson for the second out … but with the bases loaded and two down, Beliveau had to face Paul Goldschmidt.
Paul Goldschmidt made it 11-0 in a hurry with a grand slam over the wall in left. Beliveau walked Pollack after the slam. Tatum struck out looking (2-2 pitch) to end the inning.
Amezaga and Johnson reached on back-to-back singles to start the bottom of the seventh. Sappelt flied out to right, Amezaga advanced to third and scored on a single to left by Matt Szczur. With the Cubs trailing by a touchdown, an extra point and a field goal, Rizzo struck out swinging and Jae-Hoon Ha (hitting for Beliveau) lined out to left to end the inning.
Oswaldo Martinez made his way up the street from minor league camp and gave up a run in the eighth.
Michael Brenly hit his first homer of the spring in the bottom of the eighth … 12-2 Arizona after eight.
Dan Berlind also spent the day with the big league club and faced the minimum in the ninth.
The Cubs did nothing in the bottom of the ninth … exhibition game over.
Spring Game Thirteen – Cubs (SS) 5, Rockies 7
Jhoulys Chacin retired the Cubs in order to begin the game in Scottsdale.
Eric Young, Jr. led off the bottom of the first with an infield single. Young stole second with Scutaro at the plate. Marco Scutaro lined out to right and Troy Tulowitzki grounded out to third. Young advanced to third but was stranded when Todd Helton grounded out to Adrian Cardenas at third to end the inning.
Bryan LaHair led off the second with the Cubs’ first hit, a double to right. Joe Mather struck out swinging and Brett Jackson flied out to Tyler Colvin in center. LaHair swiped third with Castillo at the plate. Welington Castillo walked but Junior Lake tapped back to Chacin for the third out.
The Rockies took the lead in the home half of the second after Chris Nelson led off the inning with a double. Lopez struck out Blackmon looking before serving up a two-run homer to Wilin Rosario. Colvin followed the homer with a single to left.
Chacin singled to right, Colvin advanced to third and was thrown out at the plate trying to score on a grounder to LaHair. Castillo threw to Cardenas who tagged out Colvin. Chacin advanced to second on the play. Scutaro flied out to center to end the second.
After two, the Rockies led 2-0.
The Cubs did nothing in the top of the third.
Troy Tulowitzki hit a comeback off Lopez’s leg to start the bottom of the third. Tulowitzki reached and Lopez stayed in the game. Helton popped out to third and Lopez struck out Nelson swinging. Tulowitzki was running with the pitch and Castillo threw him out at second to end the inning.
The Cubs finally got on the board in the fourth after Jhoulys Chacin had to leave due to a blister on his finger.
Christian Friedrich took over and gave up a lead-off double to Adrian Cardenas. A wild pitch allowed Cardenas to advance to third. LaHair was called out on strikes.
Joe Mather plated the Cubs’ first run with a ground out to second. Cardenas scored … 2-1 Rockies.
Brett Jackson followed Mather with a triple to right but Castillo grounded out to third to end the inning.
The Rockies got the run right back in the home half of the fourth. Scott Maine walked Charlie Blackmon to start the inning. Blackmon stole second with Rosario at the plate. Maine retired Rosario on a lineout to third. Blackmon swiped third and scored on a fly out to left by Tyler Colvin.
Maine struck out Friedrich looking to end the inning.
After Junior Lake and Reggie Golden (hit for Scott Maine) struck out swinging to start the fifth, David DeJesus doubled to right. Friedrich hit Blake DeWitt, Edgar Gonzalez ran for him but both runners were stranded when Cardenas flied out to left.
Alberto Cabrera started his outing by hitting Eric Young, Jr. Scutaro fouled out to LaHair. With Tulowitzki at the plate, Young stole second and advanced to third on a throwing error by Castillo. Cabrera struck out Tulowitzki and Helton swinging to end the inning.
The Cubs took the lead in the sixth after Bryan LaHair led off with a single to center. Joe Mather followed with a single but Brett Jackson struck out swinging and Welington Castillo popped out to first.
Junior Lake stepped in and hit a line drive over the wall in left … and just like that the Cubs led 4-3. Jamie Quirk left Cabrera in and he struck out for the third out.
Jamie Quirk made more substitutions. James Adduci (CF) and Tony Campana (RF) replaced Mather and DeJesus.
Chris Nelson led off the bottom of the sixth with a single to left. Blackmon popped out to short but Rosario singled and both runners advanced ninety feet when Cabrera uncorked a wild pitch with Colvin at the plate.
A rejuvenated Tyler Colvin hit another sac fly … Nelson scored to tie the game at four.
Jordan Pacheco hit for Friedrich and cranked a two-run shot over the wall in left center. The Rockies took the lead for good. Brown grounded out to short to end the inning … and after six, the Rockies led 6-4.
An error by D.J. LeMahieu at short led to the Cubs fifth and final run of the game in the seventh. Edgar Gonzalez reached on a one-out single to center. After Cardenas flied out to center, LaHair singled to right off Tracy’s glove. Gonzalez advanced to third and scored on LeMahieu’s fielding error. With runners on first and second with two down, Brett Jackson grounded out to second to end the inning.
Steve Clevenger took over behind the plate in the bottom of the seventh and Blake Parker replaced Alberto Cabrera.
Brendan Harris doubled to right to start the inning and ended up at third on James Adduci’s throwing error. Parker hit LeMahieu and Chad Tracy (Jim Tracy’s son, not the one-time Cub) popped a ball out into center that allowed Harris to tag and score the Rockies final run … 7-5 Rockies. Parker retired Castillo (ground out to first) and Wheeler (fly out to left) to end the inning.
Junior Lake walked and stole second in the eighth but Clevenger (line out), Blake Lalli (struck out swinging) and Campana (ground out to second) could not help Lake out.
Marcos Mateo retired the Rockies in order in the eighth with two strikeouts … and the Cubs did nothing against Rex Brothers in the ninth. Exhibition game over.
The Cubs host the Giants Friday afternoon. Matt Garza is scheduled to face lefty Eric Surkamp.
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