Spring Training Game Twenty-One – Cubs (ss) 7, Team Japan 5
WP – Jensen Lewis (1-0) LP – Tekeru Imamura (0-1) Save – None
Javier Baez (3-for-4 with two home runs, three RBI and three runs scored) had a huge day at the plate that included a walk-off two-run homer in the ninth. Baez made it a 5-4 game in the seventh with a tape measure shot off Kenji Otonari. Dan Vogelbach (1-for-4 with a RBI) singled in the tying run in the eighth and set it up for Baez’s dramatics in the ninth. Baez called his walk-off home run, he told Welington Castillo, who was in the on deck circle, that he would not be hitting.
The Cubs jumped out to a 3-0 lead on a sac fly RBI off the bat of Alfonso Soriano (0-for-2 with a RBI), a run scoring double by Dave Sappelt (3-for-4 with a double, a RBI and three runs scored) and a RBI single by Josh Vitters (1-for-3 with a RBI) in the first inning.
Travis Wood could not hold the lead and gave up five runs, four earned, on seven hits with no walks and four strikeouts in 4 2/3 innings. But the Cubs’ pen did not allow a run over the last 4 1/3 innings. Cory Wade, Rafael Dolis, Casey Coleman and Jensen Lewis put up zeros and gave the offense a chance in the exhibition game.
Christian Villanueva (1-for-2 with a double) led off the ninth with his first non-home run hit of the spring. Villanueva was on board for Baez’s second home run.
Saturday is another split squad day for the Cubs. Half of the Cubs’ roster will face the Rangers at Cashman Field in Las Vegas, Jeff Samardzija against Nick Tepesch, while the other half will host the Royals at HoHoKam Park, Hisanori Takahashi against Bruce Chen.