Back-to-Back Jacks Lift the Cubs over the Brewers – Cubs 4, Brewers 1

Spring Training Game Thirty – Cubs 4, Brewers 1

WP – Hector Rondon (2-0) LP – Michael Olmsted (0-1) Save – Zach Putnam (1)

wflag-pubThe Cubs were on the winning end of a pitcher’s duel in Maryvale on Friday afternoon, and beat the Ryan Braun-less Brewers after scoring three runs with two outs in the top of the ninth. Darwin Barney (1-for-4 with a home run and two RBI) cranked his second longball of the spring that broke the 1-1 tie and Dioner Navarro followed with his third homer in the Cactus League, a solo shot that put the Cubs up by three.

The Cubs took advantage of two miscues by the Brewers defense that led to a pair of runs … and an excellent outing by Carlos Villanueva.

Carlos Villanueva put together his best outing of the spring. Villanueva tossed six innings of shutout ball, issued only one walk and struck out four. The Brewers notched five hits off Villanueva, but they were all singles and Villanueva was able to wiggle his way out of trouble on a couple of occasions. Milwaukee was 0-for-3 with runners in scoring position and left five on base during Villanueva’s six frames.

Cory Wade gave up the Cubs’ only run. Wade, who is still in the mix for the final spot in the pen, served up a solo homer to Khris Davis in the sixth that tied the game at one. Hector Rondon retired all three batters he faced with a couple of strikeouts. Zach Putnam, who is also in the running for the last spot in the bullpen, struggled with his command but did not allow any runs to cross the plate.

The Cubs offense was pretty non-existent against Yovani Gallardo. The Brewers’ ace allowed one unearned run on four hits with a pair of walks and four strikeouts in his 5 1/3 innings of work. The lone run came on an error in the fifth that allowed Luis Valbuena (0-for-3 with two runs scored) to score.

Starlin Castro (2-for-5) collected a pair of hits while David DeJesus (2-for-3) extended his spring hitting streak to 10 games. Anthony Rizzo (1-for-4) and Welington Castillo (1-for-3) also notched hits. Steve Clevenger (1-for-1) hit for J.C. Boscan with one out in the ninth and singled. Tim Saunders, up for the day from minor league camp, ran for Clevenger and scored on the Barney home run.

On the afternoon, the Cubs scored four runs on 11 hits with two walks … and were 1-for-7 with RISP and left seven on base.

The Cubs put a win on the board on their final Friday in Arizona this spring …

Carlos Villanueva retired the Brewers in order in the first, and was able to work his way out of a jam in the second.

After Aramis Ramirez flied out to deep right center (3-1 pitch) to start the inning, Martin Maldonado and Khris Davis reached on back-to-back singles. Blake Lalli smoked a 0-1 pitch toward second. Darwin Barney made a leaping catch and doubled off Maldonado at second to end the inning.

Yovani Gallardo faced the minimum the first time through the order, he allowed only one hit and one baserunner which was erased on a double play.

The Brewers put two on with two outs in the third. Aoki and Schafer singled to right and right center but Rickie Weeks popped out to Barney for the third out.

The Cubs finally strung together a few hits off Gallardo in the fourth … but they came away empty. David DeJesus singled but was picked off with Castro at the plate. Castro and Rizzo followed with singles and the Cubs loaded the bases with two outs after Nate Schierholtz worked a walk. Welington Castillo struck out swinging to end the inning.

Luis Valbuena walked to start the fifth … and the Cubs ended up pushing across a run without a hit. Barney flied out to right for the first out. Villanueva then bunted Valbuena to second. DeJesus hit a blooper down the left field line that Aramis Ramirez lost in the sun. The ball hit off Donnie Murphy’s glove and Valbuena scored, 1-0 Cubs. Davis made a diving catch in left center to take a hit away from Starlin Castro to end the inning.

The exhibition game remained 1-0 until the bottom of the seventh.

Cory Wade took over for Villanueva to start the seventh … and he gave up the lead to the first batter he faced. Khris Davis cranked a 0-2 pitch over the wall in left. Wade retired the next three batters to end the inning.

The Cubs wasted a chance to untie the game in the top of the eighth. Scott Hairston reached on an infield single, and Zeke DeVoss, up from minor league camp, ran for Hairston. After Mike Gonzalez struck out Brent Lillibridge swinging on a 3-2 pitch, DeVoss advanced to second on a ball in the dirt with Castro at the plate. Castro blooped a single into right and the Cubs had runners on first and third with one out in a tie ballgame. But Rizzo was called out on a check swing (0-2 pitch) for the second out, and Alfonso Soriano popped out to right center to end the inning.

Hector Rondon made quick work of the Brewers in the eighth.

Michael Olmsted started the ninth by retiring Schierholtz on a pop out to center. Steve Clevenger hit for J.C. Boscan, and singled to left on a 3-2 pitch. Tim Saunders took over at first base. Luis Valbuena hit a grounder to second but what should have been an inning ending double play turned into a runner at first with two outs for the Cubs. Brewers shortstop, Yadiel Rivera’s throw to first was low and Blake Lalli could not haul it in.

Darwin Barney then cranked his second homer of the spring, a two-run shot that gave the Cubs a 3-1 lead. Dioner Navarro hit for Rondon and pulled a 1-2 pitch over the wall in right … and just like that, the Cubs had a 4-1 lead. Brent Lillibridge smacked a double, and Ron Roenicke decided that was enough for Olmsted and went to his pen for Josh Stinson. Castro lined out to center to end the inning.

Zach Putnam took over in the ninth … and issued a four-pitch walk to Yadiel Rivera to start the inning. Sean Halton grounded into a 5-4 force out. With Halton at first and one down, Dayton Buller singled to left. Blake Lalli flied out to Alfonso Soriano in deep left center for the second out, Soriano made a nice running catch, and Putnam struck out Caleb Gindl swinging to end the ballgame.

The Cubs host an Angels split squad at HoHoKam Park on Saturday afternoon. Edwin Jackson is scheduled to face Joe Blanton.

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