Spring Training Game Six – Cubs 5, Athletics 3
WP – Travis Wood (2-0) LP – Bartolo Colon (0-1, BS 1) Save – Jensen Lewis (1)
A lineup full of mostly bench players and minor leaguers pounded out 12 hits while working only one walk and striking out 12 times against an A’s pitching staff that included Brett Anderson and Bartolo Colon.
Dave Sappelt (1-for-3 with a double and a RBI) and Darnell McDonald (2-for-3 with a double, a RBI and a run scored) are batting for the Cubs fifth outfielder’s job … and both players had a good game. Sappelt doubled and drove in one of the Cubs’ five runs while McDonald notched two hits in three at bats, doubled, scored a run and drove in another. Junior Lake (2-for-3 with a RBI) and Javier Baez (1-for-3 with a run scored) also contributed in the exhibition win. Lake gave the Cubs a glimpse of the future by driving in Baez in the fourth inning.
Cubs’ pitching rebounded nicely from the Dodgers’ game and unlike Wednesday they pitched from ahead in the count most of the afternoon. The Cubs issued three walks to the A’s, two by starter Scott Feldman. Feldman was solid in his debut and allowed one run on two hits with two strikeouts and two walks in two innings of work. Jorge Soler helped bail Feldman out of trouble in the first when he gunned down Josh Reddick trying to go from first to third on a single to right.
Travis Wood surrendered a run on a pair of hits with a strikeout and no walks in his second appearance of the spring. Wood threw strikes and was effective … the only mistake, a solo homer by Derek Norris in the fourth inning.
As for the relievers, Carlos Marmol issued his required one free pass, but other than that he was solid. Kyuji Fujikawa was excellent again and allowed just one hit with a strikeout in his inning of work. Hector Rondon had another impressive outing. Rondon sat down the A’s in order in the seventh with a very efficient inning. Zach Putnam continued making his case for a bullpen spot with another scoreless outing. Jensen Lewis struggled with his command in the ninth. Lewis gave up three straight hits and allowed the tying runs to get into scoring position with no outs. Lewis found the strike zone, and retired the next three batters, two via strikeouts, to end the game.
The Cubs improved to 4-2 in the Cactus League with Thursday’s win and other than the two games against the Dodgers, they have played good ball over the first week of Spring Training games.
Scott Feldman made his Cubs’ debut on Thursday afternoon and disposed of Coco Crisp and Scott Sizemore rather quickly to start the game. Feldman then issued a four-pitch walk with two outs to Josh Riddick. Brandon Moss spanked a 1-1 pitch into right. Riddick tried to advance to third, but Jorge Soler gunned him down to end the inning.
Feldman issued another two out walk in the second inning … and that one ended up scoring. Feldman retired Josh Donaldson on a flyout to left center then struck out Hiroyuki Nakajima before walking Derek Norris (3-1 pitch). Michael Choice followed with a triple to right center that plated Norris with the game’s first run. Feldman ended his day by retiring Miles Head on a swinging bunt up the third baseline.
Travis Wood entered the game in the third, and gave up a single to Coco Crisp. Scott Sizemore ripped a 3-2 pitch back up the middle that Wood was able to get a glove on and deflect to Barney in the air. Barney flipped to Javier Baez for the force at second but Sizemore beat Baez’s throw to first. Riddick followed with a flyout to center (1-2 pitch) and Wood retired Brandon Moss on a deep fly to left center (3-2 pitch) to end the inning.
The Cubs finally strung together a few hits in the bottom of the third. Bartolo Colon replaced Anderson and was greeted by a single to center off the bat of Brent Lillibridge. After Junior Lake struck out swinging, Dave Sappelt smacked a double into right center that allowed Lillibridge to score all the way from first. Darwin Barney flied out to right (first pitch), Sappelt tagged and advanced to third but was stranded when Scott Hairston struck out swinging.
Other than the solo shot to Derek Norris on a 3-1 pitch in the fourth, Travis Wood was sharp.
The Cubs jumped on Colon in the bottom of the fourth. Darnell McDonald led off with a single to center. After Jorge Soler struck out on three pitches, Colon struck out Dioner Navarro swinging for the second out. Javier Baez ripped a single into center, McDonald held at third with two down. The Cubs then caught a break when Brent Lillibridge hit a routine grounder to second. Sizemore fielded the ball and flipped to Nakajima, who dropped it. McDonald scored and tied the game at two. Baez advanced to second on the play and scored when Junior Lake singled to left … 3-2 Cubs. Sappelt grounded out to end the inning.
The Cubs tacked on to their lead against Jordan Norberto in the fifth. Darwin Barney led off with a single to left. Scott Hairston struck out swinging for the first out. Darnell McDonald ripped a 3-2 pitch into left, Barney scored all the way from first and McDonald advanced to third on the throw to the plate. Soler struck out looking and Navarro struck out swinging to end the inning.
The game remained 4-2 until the bottom of the eighth.
Pedro Figueroa replaced Hideki Okajima in the eighth. Edwin Maysonet led off the inning with a double to left. Brad Nelson grounded out to second, Maysonet advanced to third and scored on a sac fly to center off the bat of Christian Villanueva … get ‘em on, get ‘em over and get ‘em in. Matt Szczur reached on an infield single but Logan Watkins grounded out to short to end the inning.
The Cubs took a 5-2 lead into the ninth … and Dale Sveum gave the ball to Jensen Lewis.
The A’s teed off on Lewis. Grant Green hit a ground-rule double to right center and scored on a single to right center by former Cub, Scott Moore. Michael Choice followed with another ground-rule double, this one to left center … and just like that Oakland had the tying runs in scoring position with no outs.
Jensen Lewis stuck out Miles Head and Darwin Perez swinging then induced a grounder to first off the bat of Eric Sogard to end the game.
The Cubs host the Diamondbacks on Friday afternoon … Jeff Samardzija against Trevor Cahill.