The Cubs Let Their Sticks Do the Talking – Cubs 8, Diamondbacks 3

Spring Game Thirty-Four – Cubs 8, Diamondbacks 3
WP – Kerry Wood (1-0) LP – Patrick Corbin (1-1) Save – None

wflag.jpgThe Cubs offense stayed hot in the team’s penultimate game in the Cactus League. After jumping out to an early 2-0 lead against Patrick Corbin, the sixth best pitching prospect in Arizona’s system, the Cubs found themselves looking up at a one-run deficit going into the top of the sixth. Jay Jackson, up from minor league camp for the day, served up back-to-back homers to Chris Young and Lyle Overbay in the fourth.

The Cubs scored five runs in the sixth on three doubles and a home run … five of the nine that hit in the sixth scored.

Darwin Barney (2-for-4 with a double and two runs scored), Reed Johnson (2-for-3 with a RBI, two runs scored and a walk), Starlin Castro (2-for-3 with two doubles, a run scored, a sac fly and a RBI), Alfonso Soriano (0-for-3 with two RBI), Jeff Baker (1-for-3 with two RBI and a run scored) and Geovany Soto (1-for-3 with a home run and two RBI) helped lead the Cubs’ offense Monday afternoon at Salt River Fields at Talking Stick.

Jay Jackson gave up all three runs the Diamondbacks scored on Monday. Jackson allowed three runs on five hits (two home runs) with a walk and a strikeout in four innings.

Dale Sveum’s pen allowed just two hits over the last five innings and both came in the ninth off Lendy Castillo.

Kerry Wood picked up the spring win after he retired Arizona in order in the fifth on 11 pitches. Esmailin Caridad and Blake Parker spent the day with the big league team and each contributed a perfect inning. Manny Corpas struck out two of the three batters he faced in the eighth. Lendy Castillo gave up two hits but the Cubs’ young infield turned a double play in between the singles and kept Castillo from getting into trouble.

Several of the Cubs’ up and coming prospects spent Monday in a big league Spring Training park. Oliver Zapata (LF), Daniel Lockhart (SS), Gioskar Amaya (2B) and Trey Martin (RF) helped the Cubs lock down the spring victory.

With one game left on the Cactus League schedule, the Cubs improved to 16-16-2 on the exhibition season.

Darwin Barney started Monday’s game with a ground out to short on a 2-0 pitch. Reed Johnson followed with a long at bat (several foul balls on 3-2 pitch) that resulted in a walk. Starlin Castro ripped Patrick Corbin’s first pitch off the top of the wall in right center. Johnson held at third with one down.

With runners on second and third, Alfonso Soriano hit a 2-0 pitch into shallow right. Aaron Hill caught the ball and Pat Listach sent Johnson from third. Johnson scored as Lyle Overbay cut the ball off trying to throw Castro out at second. Jeff Baker singled to center off the lefty Corbin, Castro scored and the Cubs took a 2-0 lead. Soto hit into a 5-4 fielder’s choice to end the inning.

Jay Jackson issued a one-out walk to Aaron Hill in the bottom of the first … but that was all. Jackson retired Upton on a pop out to Castro and Kubel flied out to left for the third out.

The Cubs did nothing against Patrick Corbin in the second.

Arizona cut the Cubs lead in half in the second after a one-out double by Lyle Overbay (right field line). Jackson struggled with his command at that point and fell behind Geoff Blum. Blum ended up flying out to Reed Johnson for the second out (2-2 pitch). Hank White (Henry Blanco) stepped in and blooped a single into center. Overbay scored, 2-1 Cubs. Jackson retired Corbin on a grounder to second for the final out in the second.

At the end of two, the Cubs led 2-1.

Patrick Corbin sat down the Cubs in order in the third.

Jay Jackson retired Willie Bloomquist on a grounder to second (3-2 pitch) for the first out in the third … but Aaron Hill blooped a 3-2 pitch down the left field line for a double. Jackson struck out Justin Upton swinging (1-2 pitch) and induced a grounder to second off the bat of Jason Kubel to end the inning.

The Cubs went down in order in the fourth … for the third inning in a row.

The Diamondbacks took the lead in the bottom of the fourth. Chris Young led off the inning with his fifth longball of the spring. Young’s blast tied the game at two. Lyle Overbay launched a 2-1 pitch over the wall in left and gave Arizona a one-run lead. To Jay Jackson’s credit, he retired Blum, Blanco and Corbin in order on three groundouts to end the fourth.

Patrick Corbin continued his domination of the Cubs’ offense in the fifth. The young lefty retired the Cubs in order for the fourth straight inning.

Kerry Wood made his way in from the pen in the bottom of the fifth. Wood retired Arizona in order on 11 pitches.

The Cubs finally got to Patrick Corbin in the sixth.

Darwin Barney led off the sixth with a double to center … and he advanced to third on a wild pitch with Johnson at the plate. Reed Johnson singled to left, Barney scored and tied the game at three.

Starlin Castro notched his second double of the game to right field, this one of the ground-rule variety. Johnson held at third but scored when Alfonso Soriano grounded out to short. Castro advanced to third on the play and the Cubs took a 4-3 lead.

Jeff Baker drove in Castro with a sac fly to left and reached second when Pollock dropped the ball. Baker trotted home on Geovany Soto’s third homer of the spring at Talking Stick. Soto’s two-run shot, his fourth in the Cactus League, gave the Cubs a 7-3 advantage.

Kirk Gibson went to his pen and brought in another one of Arizona’s top pitching prospects, Wade Miley.

After Marlon Byrd flied out to center, Joe Mather doubled to left. Tony Campana hit for Kerry Wood and grounded out to second for the last out in the sixth.

Esmailin Caridad retired Arizona in order in the sixth … and after six, the Cubs had a 7-3 lead.

The Cubs tacked on to their four-run lead in the seventh.

Darwin Barney jump started the offense for the second inning in a row. Barney singled to left and advanced to third on a single to left by Reed Johnson … the ball went off Cody Ransom at third and ended up in the outfield.

Starlin Castro hit the first pitch from Miley into left field. Barney tagged and scored … 8-3 Cubs. Soriano reached on an error by Jason McDonald at short but Jeff Baker grounded into a 6-4-3 inning ending double play.

Dale Sveum sent the kids out in the bottom of the seventh. Blake Parker took over on the hill and Steve Clevenger (C), Oliver Zapata (LF), Daniel Lockhart (SS), Gioskar Amaya (2B) and Blake DeWitt (RF) replaced the starters.

Blake Parker retired the D-Backs in order in the bottom of the seventh.

The Cubs were not able to tack on in the eighth after Marlon Byrd reached on a one-out double. A wild pitch advanced Byrd to third but Joe Mather (ground out to first) and Blake DeWitt (struck out looking) could not drive him in from third.

Trey Martin (CF) entered the game in the eighth, along with Manny Corpas and Joe Mather moved to center with DeWitt taking over at third.

Manny Corpas struck out two of the three batters he faced in the eighth.

Oliver Zapata popped out to right center to start the ninth. Daniel Lockhart singled to center but was erased when Gioskar Amaya hit into a 6-4-3 double play.

Lendy Castillo started the ninth with an 8-3 lead. Castillo gave up a single to Gerardo Parra on a 2-1 pitch (left center) but induced a 4-6-3 double play off the bat of A.J. Pollock. Jimmy Comerota singled to right center on a 2-1 pitch … but Jason McDonald grounded out to short on a 3-2 pitch to end the exhibition game.

Box Score from Yahoo Sports

The Cubs play their final spring game Tuesday afternoon at HoHoKam Park. Travis Wood will face a Brewers’ split squad team in the Cactus League finale.

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