Spring Game Seventeen – Cubs (SS) 5, White Sox 7 – 10 innings
WP – Simon Castro (1-0, BS 1) LP – Marcos Mateo (0-2) Save – Deunte Heath (1)
Spring Game Eighteen – Cubs (SS) 3, Rangers (SS) 2
WP – Alberto Cabrera (1-1, BS 1) LP – Sean Green (0-1) Save – Rafael Dolis (1)
Thanks to a 25-minute weather delay and extra innings in Mesa, the Cubs were able to end their six-game spring skid in Vegas when the Dale Sveum led Cubs beat the Rangers 3-2 on a solo home run in the top of the ninth by Joe Mather. The other half of the roster with Jamie Quirk calling the shots ended up dropping the game in Mesa in 10 innings after Marcos Mateo gave up two runs in the top of the tenth.
In Mesa, Casey Coleman put together his best outing of the spring. Coleman tossed three innings of shutout ball and was so efficient he ended his day in the bullpen making sure he got his work in. Coleman allowed just two hits without a walk and struck out three.
Kerry Wood (no runs on two hits without a walk or a strikeout) struggled in his inning of work but did not allow any runs. Carlos Marmol retired three of the four batters he faced and issued one free pass.
The Cubs took a 3-0 lead into the sixth and turned the game over to Andy Sonnanstine.
Andy Sonnanstine was horrible and surrendered five runs on six hits with two walks, a hit batsman and one strikeout in two innings. Anthony Rizzo bailed Sonnanstine out of bases loaded, no out, jam in the seventh or it might have been worse.
Marcos Mateo struggled again and took the loss after allowing two runs, one earned, on three hits with two walks and a strikeout in two innings.
Starlin Castro (2-for-3 with a double), Alfredo Amezaga (1-for-4 with a double and two RBI) and Brett Jackson (1-for-2 with a double, a walk and a RBI) had good days at the plate. Josh Vitters (2-for-4 with a double, a walk, a RBI and two runs scored) made up for his poor showing Saturday with a much-improved effort against the White Sox.
Tony Campana ended his 0-for-16 slump with a 2-for-4 afternoon that included a RBI and a stolen base.
In Las Vegas, Chris Volstad had another good start but did not pitch as good as his final line indicates. Volstad allowed one run on four hits without a walk and three strikeouts over four innings. Volstad was strong early but began elevating his pitches as his start wore on. The Rangers missed several of his mistakes up in the zone.
Blake Parker was very good in relief of Volstad. Parker faced the minimum in his two innings with a walk and a strikeout. Lendy Castillo tossed a hitless, scoreless inning Sunday with a walk and a strikeout. Alberto Cabrera gave up the tying run in the bottom of the eighth on two hits. Cabrera struck out one and did not walk a batter. Rafael Dolis got the job done and picked up his first save of the spring. Dolis was shaky but kept the ball down. Dolis hit a batter and uncorked a wild pitch that allowed the tying run to reach third with one out. Dolis made the pitches he needed to and was able to get out of the jam.
The Cubs offense managed only four hits Sunday in Las Vegas. Dave Sappelt (1-for-2 with a double and a run scored) doubled and scored the Cubs first run on a sac fly by Alfonso Soriano (0-for-1 with a sac fly and a RBI). Bobby Scales (1-for-3 with a doduble and a RBI) doubled in the go ahead run in the eighth and Joe Mather (1-for-3 with a home run and a walk) delivered the game winner, a solo shot in the top of the ninth.
Casey Coleman put together a very good start Sunday afternoon against the White Sox. Coleman retired the Sox in order to start the game.
Zach Stewart, not Gavin Floyd, started Sunday’s game against the Cubs. With the uncertain weather, the Sox had Floyd get his work in Sunday morning at the Sox complex in Glendale.
Stewart made quick work of DeJesus and Byrd in the bottom of the first. Starlin Castro reached on a chopper to third (3-1 pitch) that Brent Morel had to backup on to try to make a play. With Castro on first and two down, Anthony Rizzo popped out to left (0-2 pitch) for the third out.
The White Sox did nothing against Casey Coleman in the second … and the Cubs took an early lead in the home half.
After Geovany Soto started the second with a swinging strikeout, Jeff Baker singled to right (2-2 pitch). Josh Vitters followed with a single to right. Alfredo Amezaga doubled to left on a 2-0 pitch. Baker scored easily from third and Vitters all the way from first … 2-0 Cubs. Tony Campana ended his 0-for-spring with a single to left.
With runners on first and third with one out, David DeJesus popped out to short. Campana stole second with Byrd and the plate. Marlon Byrd, who could not buy a hit last season with runners in scoring position, grounded out to third (with runners on second and third) to end the inning.
The White Sox put two on in the third against Casey Coleman. Tyler Flowers reached on a one-out single to center. Gordon Beckham struck out looking but Alejandro De Aza singled to left on a 3-2 pitch. With runners on first and second with two down, Brent Morel popped out to right … inning over.
Starlin Castro led off the bottom of the third with a double off the batter’s eye in center. Rizzo grounded out to second but his productive out advanced Castro to third with one down. Geovany Soto and Jeff Baker both struck out swinging to end the inning.
Kerry Wood replaced Coleman in the fourth and struggled again. Wood retired Alex Rios on a pop out to first but fell behind Paul Konerko 3-1. Konerko hit a flare into right for a single and Kosuke Fukudome followed with a single to left center. Jim Gallagher ran for Konerko at first and advanced to third on Fukudome’s single. Alexei Ramirez hit into a 6-4-3 double play to end the inning.
The Cubs added to their lead against Will Ohman in the fourth.
Josh Vitters led off with a double to left center. Amezaga flied out to center, Vitters advanced to third and scored when Tony Campana dragged a bunt up the first base line. Campana beat out the throw but ended up getting doubled off to end the inning. DeJesus hit a high fly to center that Campana misread.
Carlos Marmol put together his second straight scoreless outing in the fifth. Marmol issued a one-out walk to Tyler Flowers … but that was all.
The Cubs offense was non-existent against Dylan Axelrod for three innings Sunday. Axelrod retired the Cubs in order in the fifth.
Matt Szczur (LF), Brett Jackson (CF), Logan Watkins (SS) and Micah Gibbs (C) replaced the starters … and Andy Sonnanstine took over on the hill.
Andy Sonnanstine likely punched his ticket to Iowa and off the Cubs’ 40-man roster Sunday. After a mediocre start to the spring, Sonnanstine was horrible.
Dallas McPherson led off the inning with a single to center … and Dan Johnson lined a 0-1 pitch over the wall in right and into the Cubs’ pen. With the Cubs up 3-2, Sonnanstine retired Gallagher on a tapper back to the mound. Sonnanstine then plunked Jordan Danks on a 0-1 pitch. Ray Olmedo flied out to center for the second out.
Jose Martinez extended the inning with a single to center. Danks advanced to third and trotted home with the tying run when Tyler Flowers ripped a 3-1 pitch into the left field corner for a double.
Gordon Beckham gave the Sox a 5-3 lead with a single to left. Beckham advanced to second with Szczur’s throw hit Flowers as he slid into home. Sonnanstine struck out Trayce Thompson swinging to end the inning.
The Cubs did nothing in the bottom of the sixth.
Sonnanstine stayed in and pitched out of a bases loaded jam with help from Anthony Rizzo. Dallas McPherson led off the seventh with a single to center. McPherson took second on a passed ball. Sonnanstine walked Dan Johnson and Gallagher to load the bases with no outs.
Jordan Danks hit a liner to Anthony Rizzo. Rizzo grabbed the liner and touched first for the unassisted double play. Ray Olmedo grounded out to second for the third out.
The Cubs did nothing against Axelrod in the seventh.
Marcus Hatley made his way up from minor league camp and retired the Sox in order in the top of the eighth.
The Cubs tied the game in the bottom of the eighth thanks to bases loaded walks by Brett Jackson and Josh Vitters.
Micah Gibbs reached on an error to start the eighth. Logan Watkins, up from minor league camp for the day, then walked. Anthony Rizzo loaded the bases with an infield single.
Brett Jackson walked on a 3-2 pitch to force in Gibbs with the Cubs’ fourth run. After Matt Szczur fouled out to first on a 3-1 pitch, Josh Vitters walked … game tied at five.
With the bases loaded and one down. Amezaga struck out swinging and Tony Campana grounded out to short for the third out.
Marcos Mateo’s rough outing started in the ninth. Mateo did not give up any runs in his first inning but it was anything but a quality relief appearance. Mateo struck out Thompson to start the ninth. Mateo then hit McPherson on a 3-2 pitch after being ahead in the count 0-2. Dan Johnson walked but Gallagher grounded into a 4-6-3 inning ending double play.
The exhibition game went to the bottom of the ninth tied at five.
The Cubs went down in order in the ninth.
Jordan Danks led off the tenth with a home run over the right field wall … and just like that, the Cubs trailed 6-5. Olmedo followed the homer with a bunt single. Martinez then hit a liner off Mateo that was turned into a 1-3 force out. Olmedo advanced to second and scored on a two-out infield single off the bat of Tyler Saladino. Watkins fielded the ball behind the second base bag in the outfield grass but he airmailed his throw, Olmedo scored … 7-5 White Sox. Thompson lined out to third for the final out.
Anthony Rizzo popped out on the first pitch from Deunte Heath in the bottom of the tenth. Brett Jackson ripped a 2-1 pitch into right for a double but Matt Szczur grounded out to short for the second out. Jackson advanced and was stranded when Vitters popped to short on the first pitch he saw to end the game.
Spring Game Eighteen – Cubs (SS) 3, Rangers (SS) 2
Matt Harrison made quick work of the Cubs’ offense to start the game. Dave Sappelt (struck out swinging), Blake DeWitt (ground out to short, 2-1 pitch) and Alfonso Soriano (struck out swinging, 1-2 pitch) went down in order.
Chris Volstad looked good in the bottom of the first. Volstad struck out Elvis Andrus swinging to start the inning (2-2 pitch). Julio Borbon grounded out to second but Josh Hamilton lined a 3-2 pitch into right for the first hit of the game. Volstad threw two straight in the zone to Adrian Beltre. The Rangers’ third baseman tapped a 1-2 pitch out in front of the plate. Steve Clevenger popped up, showed good foot work, picked up the ball and threw a strike to LaHair to end the inning.
The Cubs did nothing against Matt Harrison in the second. Harrison’s first six outs: three groundball outs, three strikeouts.
Chris Volstad started the second by striking out Nelson Cruz looking on a excellent curveball (2-2 pitch). Mitch Moreland struck out swinging (1-2 pitch) but Martinez singled to center with two down, the second two-out hit surrendered by Volstad in as many innings. Martin popped out to short for the third out.
The Cubs went down in order against Matt Harrison (again) in the third.
Leury Garcia led off the bottom of the third with a double to left (0-2 pitch). DeWitt tried to make a play on the ball but he is an infielder, not an outfielder. The ball sailed just out of his reach into the left field corner. Elvis Andrus grounded out to third (3-2 pitch), Garcia held at second.
Julio Borbon gave the Rangers a 1-0 lead with a single to left (0-1 pitch). Garcia scored. Volstad retired Josh Hamilton (fly out to left) and Adrian Beltre (groundout to third) to end the inning.
Volstad starting opening up in the third and elevated his pitches … and got away with more than a few mistakes.
The Cubs came right back in the top of the fourth and got on the board.
Dave Sappelt lined the first pitch he saw down the left field line. Sappelt ended up at second and advanced to third on a groundout to first off the bat of Blake DeWitt. DeWitt’s productive out led to a run.
Alfonso Soriano launched a 1-0 pitch deep to right center. Sappelt tagged and scored from third … game tied at one. LaHair struck out swinging (1-2 pitch) to end the inning.
Chris Volstad ended his day by retiring the Rangers in order in the fourth. Cruz grounded out to short (3-2 pitch) after he missed a floater earlier in the at bat. Moreland (foul out to third) and Martinez (groundout to second) went down quickly to end the inning.
Matt Harrison sat down Joe Mather and Steve Clevenger to begin the fifth. Edgar Gonzalez walked and advanced to second on a ball in the dirt with Lake at the plate … Lake flied out to right center to end the inning.
Blake Parker was rather impressive in his two innings of work Sunday afternoon. Parker retired the Rangers in order in the fifth.
Mark Hamburger replaced Harrison in the sixth … and the Cubs went down in order, 1-2-3.
Blake Parker started the sixth and Adrian Cardenas (LF) and James Adduci (CF) took over in the field. Julio Borbon led off the sixth with a walk but was erased when Ryan Strausborger grounded into a 6-4-3 double play. Renny Osuna hit a 2-2 pitch back through the box. Parker knocked down and threw to LaHair to end the inning.
Joe Mather worked a two-out in the seventh, but that was it for the Cubs against Mark Hamburger.
Lendy Castillo took over for Blake Parker in the bottom of the seventh … and Michael Brenly (C) replaced Steve Clevenger behind the plate. Castillo was shaky at first. Castillo walked Joey Butler (3-2 pitch) to start the inning but Michael Bianucci hit a soft liner to second. Elio Sarmiento hit into a 5-4 fielder’s choice and Castillo struck out Jared Prince to end the inning.
At the end of seven, the exhibition game was tied at one.
Edgar Gonzalez ripped the first pitch of the eighth inning into left field. Gonzalez ended up at second and advanced to third on a sac bunt by Junior Lake. Bobby Scales lined a 2-1 pitch into right center, Gonzalez scored and the Cubs took a 2-1 lead. Adduci flied out to left center and Adrian Cardenas walked on four pitches.
With two on and two down, Reed Johnson flied out to left center for the final out in the top of the eighth.
Alberto Cabrera made his way in from the pen in the bottom of the eighth. Cabrera retired Kata on a grounder to first. Guilder Rodriguez followed with a double to left. Cabrera hit Chris Robinson and the Rangers had runners on first and second with one out.
Ryan Strausborger singled to right on a 2-2 pitch, Rodriguez scored and Robinson stopped at second. Osuna grounded out to first, both runners advanced (second and third). Cabrera struck out Joey Butler swinging (3-2 pitch) for the final out.
The Rangers tied the game in the eighth and at the end of eight, the score was 2-2.
Sean Green retired LaHair on a flyout to left for the first out in the ninth. Green fell behind Joe Mather 2-0. The veteran deposited Green’s next pitch over the wall in left … and the Cubs took a 3-2 lead.
Michael Brenly struck out swinging. Edgar Gonzalez reached on an infield single before Junior Lake flied out to left to end the inning.
Rafael Dolis took the hill in the ninth. Dolis struggled with his command but for the most part when he missed, he missed down. That is a good sign for Dolis, when he elevates is when he struggles. Dolis hit Michael Bianucci on a 0-1 pitch to start the ninth.
Bianucci advanced to second on wild pitch (ball in the dirt). Sarimento bunted back to Dolis, Bianucci advanced to third with one down. Jared Prince grounded out to third (2-0 pitch) for the second out. Matt Kata popped up Dolis’ first pitch to Joe Mather in shallow right … exhibition game over.
The Cubs have only one Cactus League game Monday and will travel to Peoria to take on the Seattle Mariners. Travis Wood will face Jason Vargas. The Cubs created a game with the Indians in order for Randy Wells to make a start Monday. The Cubs and Tribe will play a B Game in Goodyear.
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