Pitching, Longballs, and More Pitching – Cubs 5, White Sox 1

Spring Game Six – Cubs 5, White Sox 1
WP – Travis Wood (1-0) LP – Chris Sale (0-1) Save – None

wflag.jpgWhile the three home runs the Cubs hit against White Sox pitching Friday will make the headlines, the outings from Travis Wood, Randy Wells and the pitching staff were encouraging.

Travis Wood and Randy Wells held what will likely be the White Sox’s Opening Day lineup to one run on four hits over five innings. Rodrigo Lopez put together another good outing while Dae-Eun Rhee and Lendy Castillo were very good against the Sox’s reserves.

Travis Wood became the third starter in as many days to pitch into the third inning. Wood ran into trouble in the third, hit his pitch count and turned the game over to Randy Wells with the bases loaded and one out. Wells was able to get out of the jam by inducing an inning ending double play off the bat of Paul Konerko.

Travis Wood became the first Cubs’ starter to issue a walk in Cactus League action and finished the day allowing one run on three hits with two walks and a strikeout in 2 1/3 innings. Randy Wells pitched 2 2/3 innings of shutout ball and allowed just one hit and struck out one.

The Sox did not manage a hit off Cubs pitching after the fourth inning … and managed just one run on four hits with two walks in nine exhibition innings Friday afternoon.

Rodrigo Lopez pitched two perfect innings with a strikeout, Dae-Eun Rhee struck out all three batters he faced in the eighth and Lendy Castillo finished the game by retiring the three batters he faced with a strikeout.

The Cubs offense did just enough Friday in Glendale. Four of the Cubs’ five runs scored on three home runs … solo shots by Marlon Byrd and Steve Clevenger (2-for-3 with a home run) and a two-run dinger by Edgar Gonzalez in the second that broke a 1-1 tie. Darwin Barney (1-for-3 with a RBI) drove in the Cubs other run with a RBI single in the first that plated Alfonso Soriano (1-for-3 with a double and a run scored), who led off the game with a double.

Even in the spring, it is a good day when the Cubs beat the White Sox …

Alfonso Soriano hit leadoff for Dale Sveum again Friday and started the game with a double to left. Darwin Barney quickly fell behind Chris Sale, 1-2, before hitting a single to center that plated Soriano. Barney advanced to second on the throw to the plate.

Jeff Baker struck out swinging on three pitches and Bryan LaHair grounded out to first. Barney advanced on the play but was stranded when Marlon Byrd grounded out to short to end the inning.

Travis Wood struggled in the first and it was his error that helped the Sox tie the game.

Alejandro De Aza bunted back to Wood. The southpaw fielded the ball but threw it into right field. De Aza took second on the error and advanced to third on A.J. Pierzynski’s single to left.

Alex Rios hit a deep fly to center. De Aza tagged and scored the tying run.

Wood focused and retired Paul Konerko (fly out to left) and Adam Dunn (fly out to left) to end the inning.

After one, the game was tied at one.

Chris Sale made quick work of Joe Mather (pop out to short) and Steve Clevenger (struck out looking) to start the second. Junior Lake worked a two-out walk and swiped second on a delayed steal and trotted home when Edgar Gonzalez hit his first homer of the spring (left field). Soriano struck out looking to end the inning.

Travis Wood sat down the White Sox in order in the second (Alexei Ramirez, Dayan Viciedo and Brent Morel). At that point, Wood had retired six in a row.

The Cubs did nothing against Chris Sale in the third.

Travis Wood started the third but was not able to finish the inning. Gordon Beckham reached on an infield single off Wood. De Aza walked (first walk issued by a Cubs’ starter in six spring games) and Pierzynski sacrificed both runners ninety feet.

With runners on second and third with one out, Wood walked Rios to load the bases.

Dale Sveum made the slow walk and went to his pen for Randy Wells.

Paul Konerko hit a 2-1 pitch from Wells to Edgar Gonzalez at third. Gonzalez stepped on the bag and threw across the diamond to complete the 5-3 inning ending double play.

Jesse Crain took over in the fourth. After Marlon Byrd flied out to right center, Joe Mather walked and advanced to second on a single to center off the bat of Steve Clevenger. Crain uncorked a wild pitch with Junior Lake at the plate. Mather advanced to third but Lake hit into a 6-4-3 inning ending double play.

Randy Wells stayed in and retired three of the four batters he faced in the fourth. Wells’ only mistake was a two-out single to left center by Dayan Viciedo … the Sox’s last hit of the day.

The Cubs did nothing against Matt Thornton in the fifth.

Adrian Cardenas took over at third in the bottom of the fifth … and Randy Wells ended his day by retiring all three batters he faced (Beckham, De Aza and Pierzynski).

Nathan Jones replaced Thornton in the sixth and retired both Jeff Baker (fly out to left center) and Bryan LaHair (struck out looking).

Marlon Byrd made it a 4-1 game with his first homer of the spring … a deep drive to left. Mather grounded out to third to end the inning.

Dale Sveum made wholesale changes in the bottom of the sixth. Josh Vitters (1B), Alfredo Amezaga (2B), Dave Sappelt (LF), Tony Campana (CF) and Brett Jackson (RF) replaced the starters … and Rodrigo Lopez took over on the mound.

Lopez made quick work of the Sox in the sixth and retired Rios (ground out to short), Konerko (struck out swinging) and Dunn (fly out to wall in left center) in order.

The Cubs scored their final run of the game in the seventh against Nathan Jones … and it was on their third longball of the day. Steve Clevenger led off the inning with a home run to center, his first dinger in the Cactus League.

Bobby Scales hit for Junior Lake and walked. Robin Ventura went to his pen and brought in former Cubs’ farmhand, Donald Veal.

Adrian Cardenas struck out swinging for the first out of the inning. Welington Castillo hit for Soriano and blooped a single to center. Scales had stolen second earlier in the at bat, advanced to third on the play … but Alfredo Amezaga grounded into a 4-6-3 double play to end the inning.

Rodrigo Lopez retired the Sox in order in the seventh … and the Cubs went down in order against Nestor Molina in the top of the eighth.

Dae-Eun Rhee replaced Lopez … and struck out Beckham, Jordan Danks and Michael Blanke swinging in order in the eighth.

Dave Sappelt singled in the ninth but that was all for the Cubs and Dale Sveum’s team took a 5-1 lead into the ninth.

Lendy Castillo retired Kosuke Fukudome (ground out to second), Dan Johnson (struck out swinging) and Dallas McPherson (ground out to first base) to end the game.

Box Score from Yahoo Sports

The Cubs travel to Maryvale to take on a Brewers split squad team Saturday afternoon. Ryan Dempster will square off against Chris Narveson. Geovany Soto is expected to be in the lineup and at least one former Cub will be in the Brewers’ starting lineup (Corey Patterson).

Len Kasper and Bob Brenly will have the game on WGN TV … and Pat Hughes will call the game with Keith Moreland on WGN Radio.

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Quote of the Day

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