Spring Game Seven – Cubs 6, Brewers 1
WP – Ryan Dempster (1-0) LP – Chris Narveson (0-1) Save – None
Ryan Dempster made his second start of the spring and tossed three innings of shutout ball. Dempster surrendered only two hits but issued two free passes and did not strikeout a batter. Dempster struggled with his command in the first before finishing his day with two solid innings.
Dempster ‘greeted‘ his former teammate, Aramis Ramirez, with a first pitch fastball that sailed over Ramirez’s head. Ramirez hit into an inning ending double play in the first and finished the day 0-for-3 with a strikeout against his old team.
James Russell was impressive in his inning of work. Russell struggled in his first appearance of the spring. Russell sat down the Brewers in order in the fourth and struck out Aramis Ramirez looking on a 3-2 pitch for the second out of the inning.
Blake Parker pitched two innings of scoreless ball with a strikeout. After six innings, the Brewers had managed only six hits.
Marcos Mateo had a rough day and allowed the only run of the afternoon, a solo home run by Alex Gonzalez in the seventh. Mateo did not appear to be fooling the Brewers’ hitters. Manny Corpas allowed one hit in his inning of work and Casey Coleman closed out the spring game with a perfect ninth.
The Cubs offense did just enough early on against Chris Narveson … and the reserves pulled away late.
Starlin Castro (1-for-3 with a home run) hit his first homer of the spring, a line drive over the wall in left against Narveson in the fourth. Darwin Barney (1-for-3 with a triple and a RBI) tripled in Ian Stewart (2-for-3 with a run scored) in the fifth and gave the Cubs a 2-1 lead.
Geovany Soto made his spring debut and finished the game 0-for-2 at the plate with a strikeout. Soto threw out the speedy Logan Schafer at second base to end the second inning.
Joe Mather is making a case to break camp with the team and added a RBI double in the eighth.
The Cubs improved baserunning was on display again Saturday. The Cubs took the extra base several times and it made a difference in the Spring Training game.
Dale Sveum ‘beat‘ his old team for the first time … and the Cubs have won four of their last five practice games. Chris Narveson was in mid-season form against the Cubs in the first inning. Davis DeJesus did not take the bat off his shoulder and struck out looking on three pitches. Reed Johnson grounded out to short (2-2 pitch) and Starlin Castro flied out to Corey Patterson in center on the first pitch.
Ryan Dempster gave up a double to Rickie Weeks (right center) on his second pitch of the afternoon. One of the newest Brewers, Norichika Aoki, grounded out to Castro on a 0-1 pitch. Weeks advanced to third. Dempster quickly got ahead of Travis Ishikawa 0-2 before eventually walking him ahead of Aramis Ramirez.
Dempster greeted his former teammate by throwing his first pitch over Ramirez’s head. Ramirez grinned and got back in the box. Dempster fell behind 2-0 before working the count back to 2-2. Ramirez hit a grounder to Castro that turned into a 6-4-3 inning ending double play.
Bryan LaHair grounded out to short to start the second. Geovany Soto made his spring debut and hit the first pitch to the hole at short. Soto was out easily.
Ian Stewart notched the Cubs’ first hit, a single to right center (2-2 pitch) but Darwin Barney flied out to right to end the inning.
Ryan Dempster was a lot better in the second and if not for a fielding error by Bryan LaHair that allowed Logan Schafer to reach with two outs, Dempster would have sat down the Brewers in order in the second. Instead, Geovany Soto threw a perfect strike to Castro at second to nail Schafer to end the inning.
The Cubs did nothing in the third against Chris Narveson.
Ryan Dempster showed more improvement in the third. Dempster retired Mike Rivera (groundout to second) and Corey Patterson (fly out to right on the first pitch) to start the inning. Dempster appeared to catch Rickie Weeks looking on a 2-2 pitch but did not get the call. Dempster ended up walking Weeks two pitches later. Dempster ended his day by retiring Aoki on a grounder to second.
Chris Narveson started the fourth and struck out Reed Johnson swinging (2-2 pitch). Narveson fell behind Castro 2-0 and the Cubs’ shortstop made him pay.
Starlin Castro lined Narveson’s next pitch over the wall in left. Castro’s first longball of the spring gave the Cubs a 1-0 lead. Narveson retired LaHair on a lineout to right (2-1 pitch) to end his day.
Kameron Loe took over and struck out Soto swinging (1-2 pitch) to end the inning.
James Russell started the bottom of the fourth and was incredibly sharp. Russell sat down the Brewers in order … and struck out Aramis Ramirez looking on a 3-2 pitch for the second out.
Ian Stewart led off the fifth with his second hit of the game, a single to right. Darwin Barney stepped in and ripped a 1-2 pitch from Loe into the gap in left center. Stewart scored easily on Barney’s standing triple.
Tony Campana hit a weak grounder to short on a 0-2 pitch. Barney had to hold as Gonzalez threw out Campana at first. Adrian Cardenas hit for Russell and hit a weak grounder to first. Ishikawa threw home … and Barney was out by a mile (no slide). DeJesus grounded out to second (2-2 pitch) to end the inning.
Blake Parker retired George Kottaras on a fly out to center to start the fifth. Logan Schafer ripped a double down the right field line. Mike Rivera stepped in and crushed a 1-1 offering into right center. David DeJesus made an excellent running to take away a hit and a run. Parker struck out Corey Patterson swinging (high fastball on a 2-2 pitch) to end the inning.
The Cubs did nothing against John Axford in the sixth.
Dale Sveum started making substitutions in the bottom of the sixth. Anthony Rizzo (1B), Welington Castillo (C), Edgar Gonzalez (SS), Blake DeWitt (LF) and Matt Szczur (RF) took over for the starters.
Blake Parker stayed in to start the sixth and sat down the Brewers in order (Weeks, Aiko and Ishikawa).
The Cubs did nothing against Mark Rogers in the seventh.
Marcos Mateo entered the game in the bottom of the seventh, along with Matt Tolbert (3B) and Alfredo Amezaga (2B).
Matt Tolbert helped retire Aramis Ramirez for the third time on the afternoon. Ramirez crushed a 2-2 pitch from Mateo toward the hole at short. Tolbert made an excellent diving stop, got to his feet quickly and threw out the lumbering Ramirez at first.
Alex Gonzalez broke up the Cubs’ shutout and made it a ‘game’ rather quickly. Gonzalez smoked Mateo’s first pitch over the wall in left … 2-1 Cubs
Mateo struck out Kottaras for the second out. Logan Schafer launched a 1-0 pitch to center. Tony Campana had a play but turned the wrong way near the wall. The ball hit off Campana’s glove and Schafer ended at third with two outs. Mateo struck out Rivera swinging to end the inning.
The Cubs tacked on two runs in the eighth against Jed Bradley.
Campana tried to bunt his way on to start the inning but bunted the ball too hard to Bradley. Amezaga singled to right (1-2 pitch). Blake DeWitt reached on an error by the Brewers’ second baseman.
With runners on first and third with one out, Matt Szczur singled to right … 3-1 Cubs. Anthony Rizzo struck out swinging against the Brewers’ southpaw. Bradley’s first wild pitch of the inning advanced runners ninety feet. Bradley then uncorked his second wild pitch on a 1-1 offering to Edgar Gonzalez. DeWitt scored from third … 4-1 Cubs. Szczur advanced to third. Gonzalez ended up walking. Welington Castillo struck out looking (on three pitches, did not take the bat off his shoulder) to end the inning.
Manny Corpas made his second appearance of the spring and Joe Mather took over for Campana in center. Corpas put together a better outing and retired the first two hitters he faced. Zelous Wheeler reached on a two-out double to left but was stranded when Nick Ramirez flied out to right to end the inning.
The Cubs put the exhibition game out of reach in the ninth.
Tim Dillard walked Matt Tolbert to start the inning, then ‘retired‘ Blake Lalli on a grounder to second. Joe Mather crushed a 0-1 pitch into left center. Tolbert scored easily from second … 5-1 Cubs. Amezaga followed with a double of his own (right field) and drove in Mather with the Cubs’ sixth run.
Blake DeWitt ripped a single into center. Amezaga held at third as the throw from center missed the cut off man. DeWitt saw the mistake and took second on the play. Matt Szczur hit a bullet back to the mound. Dillard fielded the smash and threw out Szczur at first.
Anthony Rizzo flied out to deep right to end the ninth.
Casey Coleman made quick work of the Brewers in the ninth to close it out.
The Cubs make their second trip to Glendale in three days Sunday to face Ted Lilly and the Dodgers. Matt Garza is scheduled to make his second start of the spring.
The game starts at 2:05 CDT, even with the time change, and will be on WGN TV.
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