Spring Game Twenty – Cubs (SS) 5, A’s 5 – 10 innings
WP – None LP – None Save – None
Spring Game Twenty-One – Cubs (SS) 2, Rangers 6
WP – Michael Kirkman (1-1) LP – Lendy Castillo (0-1) Save – None
Teams win games, teams lose games and in the Cactus League games can end in a tie … and that is exactly what happened in Phoenix on Tuesday afternoon.
For the third time in four days, the Cubs split their time in two different cities and while there were positives to come out of both games Tuesday, the best thing that can be said is they got their work in.
The biggest development from Tuesday’s games was Carlos Marmol being lifted with two outs in the seventh with what turned out to be a cramp in his right hand. Marmol said after the game that he is fine and in fact he wanted to stay in the game. Marmol made wise cracks about a former teammate and his cramping problems and will undergo a MRI just to make sure nothing more is wrong.
In Phoenix, the Cubs took a 5-2 lead into the ninth after another solid outing from Rodrigo Lopez (one run on three hits with a walk and four strikeouts in five innings) and just enough offense from Tony Campana (4-for-5 with a double, a sac bunt, a run scored and a stolen base), Joe Mather (1-for-3 with a RBI), Steve Clevenger (0-for-2 with a RBI), and Alfredo Amezaga (2-for-3 with a RBI and two walks).
Blake Parker (three runs on four hits, a home run, a walk and a wild pitch without a strikeout) had his first bad outing of the spring and gave up three runs on four hits in the bottom of the ninth that allowed Oakland to tie the game at five. Neither the Cubs nor the A’s could push across a run in the tenth and the game was called.
In Mesa, Ryan Dempster became the first Cubs’ pitcher to complete six innings this spring. Dempster allowed two runs on four hits, one home run, with a pair of walks and three strikeouts. Dempster made just one big mistake, a two-run shot by Dusty Brown in the second. Geovany Soto threw out two runners trying to swipe second which helped Dempster’s final line.
The Cubs offense was pretty much non-existent. They managed only six hits and two of those came off the bat of Starlin Castro (2-for-4 with a double and a triple). Despite two extra basehits Castro did not score a single run and as a team, the Cubs were 1-for-9 with runners in scoring position and left eight on base.
Blake DeWitt (2-for-4 with a triple, a RBI and a run scored) and Anthony Rizzo (2-for-4) accounted for the Cubs other four hits.
Carlos Marmol’s early departure forced Lendy Castillo into the game earlier than he expected. Castillo struggled with his command and walked three batters in 2/3 of an inning. Castillo was charged with two runs on two hits with a strikeout. Alberto Cabrera had a rough ninth after bailing Castillo out of his jam in the eighth and allowed two more runs. Spring Game Twenty – Cubs (SS) 5, A’s 5 – 10 innings
The Cubs jumped on Brandon McCarthy in the first inning and gave Rodrigo Lopez a 2-0 lead before he threw a pitch.
Tony Campana led off the game with a double to left. Darwin Barney grounded out to second (Barney ended up 0-for-2 Tuesday ending his spring hitting streak at eight games), Campana advanced to third. Ian Stewart made his return to the lineup and walked.
Joe Mather singled to center. Campana scored easily and Stewart stopped at second. Bryan LaHair blooped a single into right to load the bases with one out.
Steve Clevenger hit a fly to left. Stewart tagged and scored … 2-0 Cubs. Dave Sappelt struck out swinging to end the inning.
Other than a two-out walk by Seth Smith, Oakland did nothing against Rodrigo Lopez in the bottom of the first.
Brett Jackson grounded out to second to begin the second. Amezaga walked and advanced to second on a sac bunt by Tony Campana. Barney grounded out to second in his last at bat of the day for the third out.
Oakland got on the board in the second. Lopez retired Josh Reddick on a fly out to right. Kurt Suzuki singled but held at first when Daric Barton fouled out to LaHair.
Former Cub farmhand, Josh Donaldson doubled in Suzuki with the A’s first run. Cliff Pennington ended the inning with a swinging strikeout.
At the end of two, the Cubs had a 2-1 lead.
The Cubs did nothing against Brandon McCarthy in the third … and Rodrigo Lopez sat Oakland down in order in the home half.
After Steve Clevenger reached on an error by Jemile Weeks (Rickie’s little brother) to start the fourth, Dave Sappelt hit into a 5-4 fielder’s choice. Brett Jackson walked. With runners on first and second with one out, Alfredo Amezaga singled to left. Sappelt scored and Jackson held at second with one down.
Tony Campana loaded the bases with a single to left. Edgar Gonzalez hit for Darwin Barney and grounded out to first. Brett Jackson scored on the play, 4-1 Cubs. Stewart made the third out (ground out to short) to end the fourth.
Yoenis Cespedes (2-for-5 with a double and a run scored) led off the bottom of the fourth with a single. Lopez struck out Reddick and Suzuki flied out to center. Lopez punched out Barton to end the inning.
Steve Clevenger reached on another error by Jemile Weeks with two outs in the fifth but that was all for the Cubs against Fautino De Los Santos.
Rodrigo Lopez started the fifth and Josh Vitters (3B) replaced Ian Stewart.
Lopez ended his day by retiring the A’s in order in the fifth.
Pedro Figueroa gave up a single to Amezaga in the sixth but that was all for the Cubs. Brett Jackson (struck out swinging), Tony Campana (bunted back to the mound) and Edgar Gonzalez (grounded out back to the mound) did not get the ball out of the infield.
Michael Brenly took over behind the plate to start the bottom of the sixth … and Manny Corpas made his way in from the pen. Corpas sat Oakland down in order, 1-2-3 in the sixth.
The Cubs did nothing in the seventh against Ryan Cook.
Scott Maine retired Josh Reddick (flied out to center) and Anthony Recker (flied out to right) to begin the seventh … and sat down Adam Rosales for the third out.
With the Cubs up 5-1, Michael Brenly led off the eighth with a single to right. Sappelt popped out and Jackson flied out to left but Amezaga worked a two-out walk. Campana reached on a bunt single to load the bases with two outs. Gonzalez grounded out to third to end the inning.
The A’s started chipping away in the eighth and scored a run off Esmailin Caridad.
Kila Ka’aihue led off the inning with a solo shot to center … 5-2 Cubs. Caridad retired Pennington, Weeks and Crisp to end the inning.
The Cubs took a 5-2 lead into the ninth and despite a lead-off single by Josh Vitters and a wild pitch that put Vitters into scoring position, the Cubs could not add to their lead. Adduci and LaHair struck out. Brenly reached on Oakland’s third error of the game but Dave Sappelt field out to a diving Yoenis Cespedes to end the inning.
Blake Parker might have pitched his way to Iowa on Tuesday.
Jonny Gomes hit for Seth Smith and made it a 5-3 exhibition game with one swing of the bat. Cespedes followed Gomes’ solo homer with a double to right. Cedric Hunter singled to center, Cespedes scored. Recker hit into a 4-6-3 double play. Parker then issued a two out walk to Rosales that prolonged the inning for Ka’aihue.
Kila Ka’aihue doubled to center, Rosales scored … game tied at five. Sogard ran for Ka’aihue and a wild pitch advanced him to third but Cliff Pennington lined out to left to end the inning.
Tony Campana reached for the fourth time Tuesday with two outs in the tenth … and stole second but Edgar Gonzalez struck out swinging for the third out.
Matt Loosen, up for the day from minor league camp, did not allow a run in the tenth after issuing back-to-back one out walks to Wes Timmons and Jonny Gomes … Yoenis Cespedes grounded into a 5-4-3 double play to end the game.
Spring Game Twenty-One – Cubs (SS) 2, Rangers 6
Ryan Dempster began his day by retiring the top of the Rangers’ travel team in order.
Neftali Feliz struck out David DeJesus to start the bottom of the first. Marlon Byrd flied out to right but Starlin Castro tripled to center. Feliz uncorked a wild pitch with Baker at the plate. Castro could not score and was stranded when Jeff Baker grounded out to second for the third out.
Ryan Dempster walked Mike Napoli (3-2 pitch) to start the second … and like most regular season games, the free pass cost Dempster. Conor Jackson flied out to center on a 2-2 pitch for the first out. Dempster jumped ahead of the Rangers’ backup catcher 0-2 before Dusty Brown hit a homer to right (opposite field) and gave the Rangers a two run lead. Mike Olt flied out to deep center and Greg Miclat grounded out to short to end the inning.
Geovany Soto led off the second with a long at bat against Feliz that resulted in a walk. Blake DeWitt hit a liner to right center and the Cubs had runners on first and second with no outs. Miclat took a hit away from Reed Johnson with a diving stop in the hole at second. Both runners advanced ninety feet but Anthony Rizzo (struck out on a foul tip) and Ryan Dempster (tapped back to the mound) could not deliver and the Cubs came away empty in the second.
Dempster retired Hernandez and Borbon quickly to start the third. Craig Gentry reached on an infield single to DeWitt … he beat out the throw. Gentry took off for second on the first pitch to Mitch Moreland. Geovany Soto threw out Gentry at second to end the inning.
The Cubs did nothing in the third against Neftali Feliz.
Ryan Dempster got into trouble in the fourth but was able to work his way out of it. Moreland led off with a single to right (1-2 pitch). Napoli walked for the second time in as many at bats. Conor Jackson flied out to right and Dusty Brown hit into a 6-4-3 double play, inning over.
Neal Cotts took over in the fourth after Neftali Feliz had to leave with stiffness in his right shoulder. And the Cubs tied the game against the former Northsider.
Jeff Baker walked to start the fourth and advanced to second on a ball in the dirt. Soto ended up striking out but Blake DeWitt tripled to right center (Cotts did not pitch to his defense, the Rangers were not playing DeWitt to pull the ball off the southpaw). Baker scored and DeWitt scored on a fly out to center off the bat of Reed Johnson. Anthony Rizzo singled but Ryan Dempster struck out to end the inning.
Dempster struck out Olt on a check swing (1-2 pitch) to start the fifth. Greg Miclat reached on a single to right (2-0 pitch). Luis Hernandez lined out to second and Soto threw out Miclat at second to end the inning (a 1-0 pitch to Julio Borbon that was taken for a strike).
Neal Cotts retired the Cubs in order in the fifth.
Matt Szczur (RF) and Jae-Hoon Ha (CF) took over for DeJesus and Byrd and Ryan Dempster started the sixth.
Ryan Dempster ended his outing the same way it began. Dempster retired the Rangers in order in the sixth.
The Cubs did nothing against Koji Uehara in the sixth … at the time Rangers’ pitching had retired seven in a row.
Welington Castillo replaced Soto behind the plate and Adrian Cardenas took over at second base prior to the top of the seventh.
Carlos Marmol started the seventh and retired Napoli on a grounder to third (3-1 pitch). Marmol struck out Conor Jackson on a foul tip (3-2 pitch) then hit former Cub farmhand, Chris Robinson, on a 1-1 pitch. Marmol threw two pitches to Mike Olt …
Dale Sveum and Ed Halburtrotted out to take a look at Marmol after the first pitch to Olt. Marmol ended up leaving and turning the game over to Lendy Castillo.
The Rule 5 pick struggled for really the first time this spring. Castillo walked Olt before retiring Miclat on a grounder to first to end the inning.
The Cubs could not take advantage of Reed Johnson getting plunked on a 1-2 pitch to start the bottom of the seventh. Conor Jackson made a diving catch in left center to take a hit away from Anthony Rizzo and Michael Kirkman struck out Welington Castillo. With Matt Szczur at the plate, Johnson was thrown out trying to steal second for the third out.
Blake DeWitt moved to left in the top of the eighth and Greg Rohan, up for the day from minor league camp, replaced DeWitt at third.
Lendy Castillo struck out Hernandez swinging to start the eighth. Leonys Martin singled to center and stole second with Gentry at the plate. Castillo walked Gentry and the Rangers had runners on first and second with one out. Castillo hit Snyder to load bases … then walked Engel Beltre on a 3-2 pitch to force in Martin with the go ahead run.
Conor Jackson blooped a single into right, Gentry scored … 4-2 Rangers. And Dale Sveum decided he’d seen enough.
Alberto Cabrera replaced Castillo with the bases loaded and one out. Chris Robinson hit a 0-1 offering to Adrian Cardenas … 4-6-3 inning ending double play.
Starlin Castro reached second on a ground rule double to right with two down in the eighth … and advanced to third when the Rangers’ second baseman misplayed a ball off the bat of Cardenas. With runners on first and third with two down, Junior Lake flied out to shallow left (2-0 pitch) for the third out.
Alberto Cabrera gave up two runs in the ninth on one swing of the bat. Leonys Martin launched a two-run shot over both pens in right … 6-2 Rangers.
After Anthony Rizzo reached on a two-out single in the bottom of the ninth and Welington Castillo walked, Blake Lalli ended the game by striking out swinging.
The Cubs only break of the spring is Wednesday and while there is not a Cactus League game, Paul Maholm is starting in a minor league game at Fitch Park. The exhibition schedule resumes Thursday with a trip to Surprise. Matt Garza is scheduled to face the Rangers.
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