Homer Happy Cubs Top Reds in the Cactus League – Cubs 8, Reds 6

Spring Game Nine – Cubs 8, Reds 6
WP – Carlos Marmol (1-1, BS 2) LP – Carlos Fisher (1-1, BS 1) Save – Marcos Mateo (1)

wflag.jpgA day after being shutout in Glendale by the Dodgers, the Cubs offense came out swinging Monday. The Cubs pounded three more home runs and ran their spring total to 13 longballs. Alfonso Soriano (2-for-3 with a home run and two RBI) hit his fourth dinger in five games and helped the Cubs build an early lead against Bronson Arroyo and the Reds.

The Cubs took an early 4-1 lead but Jeff Samardzija (two runs on two hits, hit a batter, struck out three in three innings) had a rough appearance in relief of Paul Maholm and Carlos Marmol imploded in the seventh.

Carlos Marmol had his second bad outing in a row. Marmol gave up three runs on two hits with two walks, a HBP and a strikeout in an inning of work.

Joe Mather, who is making a case to be with the Cubs on Opening Day, hit the Cubs second home run of the game. Mather’s three-run shot gave the Cubs the lead for good in the seventh and Blake Lalli added a solo shot in the eighth.

The Cubs offense tallied nine hits Monday, five for extra bases and six of their eight runs scored via the longball. The Cubs scored four of their runs against Bronson Arroyo in his second spring start.

Paul Maholm made his spring debut and put together a decent performance for his first game action. Maholm gave up a run on two hits with a strikeout and no walks. The only run off Maholm was a long solo homer by Todd Frazier. Maholm threw from behind in the count for a majority of his two innings.

Kerry Wood (one hit, no runs and a strikeout), Lendy Castillo (no runs or hits with a pair of strikeouts) and Marcos Mateo (no runs or hits with a strikeout) put together scoreless one-inning performances.

Paul Maholm gave up a single to Brandon Phillips to start the game but ended up facing the minimum in the first after Zack Cozart hit into a 3-6-3 double play. Miguel Cairo grounded out to short (3-2 pitch) to end the inning.

Brett Jackson (1-for-2 with a walk) led off the bottom of the first with a single to right. Jackson tried to stretch the single into a double and was thrown out at second. Marlon Byrd followed with a single and scored the first run of the game on a double by Ian Stewart.

Stewart ended up at third and trotted home when Alfonso Soriano launched a Bronson Arroyo offering off the scoreboard beyond the left field wall.

Bryan LaHair followed with a single to right, the Cubs fifth straight hit. But Geovany Soto hit into a 6-4-3 inning ending double play.

Todd Frazier led off the second with a long home run (hit off the bottom of the scoreboard) that cut the Cubs lead to 3-1. Maholm focused and struck out Juan Francisco looking. Ryan Ludwick hit a comebacker to Maholm and Valdez grounded out to short to end the inning.

The Cubs got the run right back in the bottom of the second.

Darwin Barney started the second with the Cubs’ sixth hit of the game, a double down the left field line. Steve Clevenger walked but Junior Lake struck out looking. Brett Jackson walked to load the bases with one out.

Marlon Byrd hit a sac fly to center. Barney tagged and scored the Cubs’ fourth run … and Clevenger also tagged from second and advanced to third on the play. With runners on first and third with two down, Stewart grounded out to first to end the inning.

After two, the Cubs led 4-1.

Jeff Samardzija did not pick up where he left off against the Royals. Samardzija struggled with his command in his first inning of work Monday and allowed two runs.

Ryan Hanigan reached to start the third. Samardzija plunked him on a 2-2 pitch. Daryl Jones followed with a single to right.

The Cubs’ defense failed to turn a double play that could have changed the inning. Phillips hit a grounder to second. Barney flipped to Lake but LaHair could not keep his foot on the first base bag. Phillips reached and scored when Cozart lined a double down the left field line … and just like that, the Cubs had a 4-3 lead.

Samardzija retired Cairo on a grounder to third. Cozart held at second and was stranded when Frazier struck out swinging to end the inning.

The Cubs did nothing against Josh Judy in the third.

Jeff Samardzija sat down the Reds in order in the fourth.

Sean Marshall made his first appearance against his old team in the bottom of the fourth. Marshall ended up facing the minimum. After Barney reached on an error by Phillips, Marshall made quick work of Clevenger and Lake (both swinging strikeouts) then picked off Barney from second (1-3-6) to end the inning.

Samardzija ended his day by retiring the Reds in order in the fifth.

The Cubs did nothing against Chad Reineke in the fifth.

Dale Sveum began making changes in the sixth. Lendy Castillo replaced Samardzija and Blake DeWitt (3B), Joe Mather (CF) and James Adduci (RF) took over in the field.

Lendy Castillo sat the Reds down in order in the sixth … at the time, the third straight 1-2-3 inning for Cubs’ pitching.

Alfonso Soriano reached on an infield single to start the sixth (the Cubs’ first hit since Barney’s double in the second). Bryan LaHair flied out to center. Geovany Soto had a rough day at the plate. Soto hit into a 6-4-3 double play to end the inning. In three at bats Monday, Soto made five outs.

Sveum made more changes and inserted Tony Campana (LF), Blake Lalli (C), Alfredo Amezaga (SS), Jeff Baker (1B) and Bobby Scales (2B) prior to the top of the seventh.

Carlos Marmol took the mound in the seventh with a 4-3 lead and the one-run lead quickly disappeared.

Marmol could not find the strike zone and quickly fell behind Paul Janish 3-0 before eventually walking him (3-1 pitch) to start the inning. Ryan Ludwick launched a 0-1 pitch into right center. The double put runners on second and third with no outs.

Marmol struck out Denis Phipps for the first out before hitting Corky Miller to load the bases with one out.

Donald Lutz hit a broken bat, bloop single into left center. Janish and Ludwick scored … 5-4 Reds. Marmol jumped ahead of Chris Valaika 0-2 before eventually walking him to reload the bases.

Didi Gregorius hit a sac fly to left that allowed Miller to tag and score the Reds’ sixth run. Daniel Dorn flied out to left to end the inning.

With the Cubs down 6-4, Jeff Baker struck out swinging to start the seventh. Dave Sappelt hit for Clevenger and walked. Carlos Fisher induced a grounder off the bat of Amezaga that was turned into a 5-4 fielder’s choice. James Adduci worked a two-out walk.

Joe Mather stepped in and launched the first pitch from Fisher over the wall in left center. The Cubs took the lead at 7-6.

Blake DeWitt walked and took second on a delayed steal but was stranded when Campana struck out to end the inning.

Kerry Wood gave up a leadoff single to Kristopher Negron in the eighth. A wild pitch allowed Negron to advance to second. Janish bunted him to third with one out. Bobby Scales made a diving catch to take a hit away from Ludwick and preserve the Cubs’ one-run lead. Wood struck out Phipps swinging to end the inning.

Andrew Brackman replaced Fisher in the bottom of the eighth … and gave up the Cubs’ third home run of the day. Blake Lalli hit a one-out homer over the right field wall. Jeff Baker and Dave Sappelt worked back-to-back walks but Amezaga hit into a 6-3 inning ending double play.

Marcos Mateo retired the Reds in order in the ninth to end the game.

Box Score from Yahoo Sports

The Cubs will travel to Scottsdale on Tuesday to face the San Francisco Giants for the first time this spring. Chris Volstad is scheduled to face Madison Bumgarner.

Follow ChicagoCubsOnline on Twitter: @TheCCO

Quote of the Day

"Logic will get you from A to B. Imagination will take you everywhere." - Albert Einstein