Spring Game Thirty-Five – Cubs 5, Brewers (SS) 3
WP – Travis Wood (2-2) LP – Kyle Heckathorn (0-1) Save – Shawn Camp (1)
The Cubs long journey through the Cactus League ended rather quickly Tuesday afternoon at HoHoKam Park. The Cubs and a bunch of minor leaguers including Javier Baez and Jeimer Candelario topped Nyjer Morgan, Jonathan Lucroy, Mat Gamel and the Huntsville Stars in an exhibition game that lasted only two hours and 14 minutes, by far the shortest contest of the spring.
The Cubs offense jumped on Double-A pitcher, Kyle Heckathron in the first inning with the big hit coming off the bat of Starlin Castro (1-for-2 with a home run a two RBI). Castro launched a 1-0 offering from Heckathorn that sailed over the wall in left and hit near the top of the scoreboard beyond the left field wall.
The Cubs tacked on two more runs in the second and Alfredo Amezaga hit his first dinger of the spring in fifth that accounted for the Cubs’ fifth and final run of the game.
The Cubs offense managed just eight hits before Dale Sveum went with a minor league lineup over the last four innings of the game. David DeJesus (1-for-1 with a double and a run scored) doubled in his only at bat Tuesday and scored on Castro’s blast. Darwin Barney (1-for-2 with a RBI) drove in his 15th run of the spring and Joe Mather (1-for-2 with a double, a RBI and a run scored) finished his pre-season the way it started, with an extra base hit.
Travis Wood clearly had his best outing of the spring. Wood allowed one run on six hits over six innings of work Wood walked one and struck out four. The only run he allowed came via a solo homer in the second by Andy Gonzalez. Wood threw strikes Tuesday against the watered-down Brewers’ offense.
Rafael Dolis struggled through his one inning of work Tuesday afternoon. Dolis surrendered a run on one hit, two walks and his own error. Dolis struck out the final batter he faced looking in the seventh. The run scored by the Huntsville Stars, a team familiar with Dolis, was the only run allowed by the Cubs’ right hander this spring.
Nate Robertson made his Cubs debut. The veteran lefty spent the day with the big league club up from minor league camp. Robertson allowed a run on three hits with two strikeouts and no walks in the eighth. Shawn Camp closed out the game with a scoreless ninth. Camp surrendered a hit and struck out a batter but pitched from behind in the count throughout the inning.
Dale Sveum finished his first Spring Training as a big league manager with a 17-16-2 record … Not to take anything away from the minor leaguers that played in Tuesday’s Cactus League finale, but the game really ended just after it started. It was a typical end to a long Spring Training.
Dale Sveum removed his regulars after one or two at bats, with the exception of Blake DeWitt, and turned the game over to back-ups and players up for the day from minor league camp. Tuesday’s exhibition featured several of the system’s top prospects: Oliver Zapata (RF – 0-for-1), Javier Baez (2B – 0-for-2), Trey Martin (LF – 0-for-2), Jeimer Candelario (3B – 0-for-2), Wilson Contreras (C – 0-for-1) and Xavier Batista (DH – 0-for-1).
The Cubs scored in the bottom of the first after Travis Wood worked out of a first and second no out jam to start the game without allowing a run.
David DeJesus led off the bottom of the first with a double to the right field corner. Barney grounded out to short, DeJesus advanced to second and trotted home on Starlin Castro’s two-run blast (Keith Moreland is still wondering if the ball landed and Pat Hughes said Castro’s homer was one of the longest he’d ever seen hit at HoHoKam Park).
Alfonso Soriano struck out swinging on three pitches following Castro’s homer. Ian Stewart walked and Geovany Soto smacked the first pitch he saw into center. With runners on first and second with two down, Marlon Byrd looked at strike three to end the inning.
After Travis Wood surrendered the solo homer to Andy Gonzalez in the top of the second, the Cubs went back to work against Kyle Heckathorn in the home half of the second frame.
Blake DeWitt struck out swinging to start the inning. Reed Johnson reached on an infield single off the third baseman’s glove. Joe Mather hit for David DeJesus and ripped a 0-1 pitch down the left field line. Johnson scored all the way from first … 3-1 Cubs. Darwin Barney singled to center on a 0-2 pitch. Mather scored and the Cubs took a 4-1 lead.
With Castro at the plate, Barney stole second and advanced to third when Castro grounded out to short. Alfonso Soriano flied out to center to end the inning.
The exhibition game remained 4-1 until the bottom of the fifth.
Alfredo Amezaga led off the inning by pulling Heckathorn’s first offering over the wall in right and into the Cubs’ pen. Trey Martin and Jeimer Candelario made two quick outs ahead of a double to left center off the bat of Steve Clevenger. Tony Campana grounded out to short to end the inning.
Steve Clevenger’s two-out double was the Cubs’ last hit of the game.
The Brewers (Stars) started chipping away at the Cubs’ four-run lead in the seventh.
Rafael Dolis walked Andy Gonzalez to start the inning. Domnit Bolivar lined out to Javier Baez at second for the first out. Dolis tried to pick Gonzalez off first. The ball got past DeWitt, Gonzalez ended up at second and took third with Lee Haydel grounded out to first. Dolis issued his second free pass of the inning to Michael Reed.
With runners on first and third with two down, Scooter Gennett doubled to right. Gonzalez scored, Reed advanced to third but both runners were strand when Rafael Dolis struck out Anderson De La Rosa looking to end the inning.
The final run of the game came in the eighth against Nate Robertson. After Hunter Morris tapped back to the mound, Jalen Harris singled to right. Robertson struck out Khris Davis swinging but Andy Gonzalez singled to left off Jeimer Candelario’s glove. Harris stopped at second with two down.
Orlando Arcia singled to right and drove in Harris scored, 5-3 Cubs. Robertson struck out Haydel swinging to end the inning.
Michael Reed led off the ninth with a single to center off Shawn Camp. Scooter Gennett grounded into a 6-4-3 double play (Amezaga-to-Baez-to-DeWitt) and Camp struck out De La Rosa swinging … exhibition season over.
The Cubs left for Chicago following Tuesday’s game. Dale Sveum’s has a work out scheduled for 3:00pm at Wrigley on Wednesday afternoon.
The Cubs open the season Thursday afternoon against the Washington Nationals … Ryan Dempster and Stephen Strasburg on Opening Day.
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