Cubs’ Pitching Sox’d Again – Cubs 3, White Sox 8

Spring Training Game Fourteen – Cubs 3, White Sox 8

WP – Jose Quintana (2-0) LP – Carlos Villanueva (0-1) Save – None

The Cubs dropped their fourth spring game in a row on Thursday afternoon at HoHoKam Park. The Cubs actually had the lead for the first two innings before the White Sox started hitting the ball out of the park.

Carlos Villanueva was solid over his four innings of work. Villanueva made his third start of the spring and allowed two runs on six hits. Villanueva did not issue a free pass and struck out three batters. Villanueva made only one big mistake, he served up a solo shot to Paul Konerko in the fourth inning. Villanueva pitched his way out of jam in the second inning, and left the game with the Cubs down 2-1.

After retiring the White Sox in order in the fifth, Barret Loux recorded only one out in the sixth before he was lifted for Zach Putnam. Adam Dunn and Paul Konerko hit back-to-back homers off Loux in the sixth. The Sox put a five-spot on the board before Cubs’ pitching could record three outs in the sixth and blew the spring game open. Zach Putnam was not charged with any runs on Thursday, but allowed an inherited run to score after he entered the game in the sixth with a runner on second and one down.

Carlos Marmol did not help his trade value on Thursday. Marmol labored through a 25-pitch outing and was able to record only two outs. Marmol made a bad decision that went as an error against Christian Villanueva and opened the door for the Sox. Marmol allowed one unearned run on one hit with two walks and a strikeout in two-thirds of an inning. Dale Sveum had to go to his pen for Frank Batista, up for the day from minor league camp, to get the last out in the seventh.

Robert Whitenack struggled with his command again (no runs on one hit with two walks and a strikeout in 1 1/3 innings) and Jensen Lewis retired both batters he faced in the ninth.

Cubs’ pitching allowed eight runs on 14 hits with four walks and seven strikeouts.

The Cubs offense was rather quiet, and managed only one run on three hits over the first eight innings of the game. David DeJesus (1-for-3 with a double and a run scored) scored the Cubs first run on a triple by Nate Schierholtz (1-for-3 with a triple and a RBI) in the opening frame. Christian Villanueva (1-for-2 with a home run and two RBI) continued his all or nothing spring on Thursday. Villanueva hit his second longball, a two-run shot in the ninth. Villanueva has two hits in the Cactus League, and both of them have left the park.

Jorge Soler (walk in only plate appearance) and Javier Baez (2-for-2 with a double) reached in the ninth, Baez just missed hitting his second dinger of the spring … but Steve Clevenger grounded out to first with runners on second and third to end the game.

The Cubs offense managed three runs on six hits with three walks and struck out seven times.

Dale Sveum chose not to use a DH on Thursday, opting to get at bats for his pitchers instead. The Cubs allowed the Sox to use a designated hitter.

While it is still very early in the spring and the Cubs are without both Anthony Rizzo and Starlin Castro, it is time for the Cubs to put together a complete performance.

Carlos Villanueva faced the minimum in the first inning after giving up a leadoff single to Dewayne Wise. Villanueva caught Wise leaning with Gordon Beckham at the plate, and picked him off.

David DeJesus doubled to center off lefty Jose Quintana in the bottom of the first inning. Barney grounded out to short. With DeJesus at second and one down, Quintana uncorked a wild pitch that allowed DeJesus to move up ninety feet. Nate Schierholtz launched a 1-2 pitch over Wise’s head in center. DeJesus scored easily and Schierholtz ended up a third with one down. Alfonso Soriano was caught looking and Luis Valbuena struck out swinging to end the inning.

The Cubs took a rare lead into the second inning. Paul Konerko and Adam Dunn reached on back-to-back singles to start the second. Villanueva then struck out Dayan Viciedo, retired Alexei Ramirez on a pop out to short and struck out Tyler Flowers swinging to end the inning.

The Sox tied the game in the third. Jared Mitchell reached on a bunt single up the third baseline. Dewayne Wise followed and grounded out to short. Mitchell advanced to second and scored on Gordon Beckham’s ground-rule double to right. Keppinger grounded out to third (3-1 pitch), Beckham held at second and was stranded when Adam Dunn popped out to right center.

The Sox took the lead for good in the fourth inning. Paul Konerko led off the fourth with a solo homer to left. Villanueva then retired the next three batters he faced to end the inning … and his outing.

Barret Loux retired the Sox in order in the fifth, but could not record three outs in the sixth inning. Jeff Keppinger led off the six with a double to right center. Connor Gillaspie ran for Keppinger and jogged home. Adam Dunn hit a two-run homer, what was described as a monster shot, down the right field line … and just like that it was 4-1 White Sox.

Paul Konerko followed Dunn’s homer with his second longball of the game. Loux recovered and struck out Viciedo for the first out. Ramirez singled, Steve Tolleson ran for him and scored on a double to center off the bat of Tyler Flowers. At that point the Sox were up 6-1 and Sveum went to his pen.

Zach Putnam took over and gave up an infield single to Jared Mitchell. With runners on first and third with one down, Blake Tekotte flied out to right. Flowers scored, 7-1 White Sox. Angel Sanchez tapped back to the mound to end the inning.

Carlos Marmol took over in the seventh and really struggled. Connor Gillaspie reached on a ground-rule double to left center. Brent Morel then hit a tapper back to the mound. With his team down 7-1, Marmol decided to throw to third instead of just getting the sure out. Christian Villanueva was late breaking for the bag … and dropped the ball. With runners on first and third with no outs, Seth Lowman grounded out to second and plated Gillaspie with the Sox eighth run. Marmol struck out Trayce Thompson but uncorked a wild pitch with Tolleson at the plate. Morel advanced to third. Marmol ended up walking Tolleson … and Byran Anderson to load the bases with two down. Sveum had seen enough and went to his pen for Frank Batista. Jordan Danks flied out to deep center to end the inning.

Jorge Soler led off the ninth with a walk but was erased when Brian Bogusevic grounded into a force out. Christian Villanueva made it 8-3 with a two run homer … but that was as close as the Cubs would get. Brad Nelson walked and advanced to third on a double by Javier Baez. Baez just missed a home run … the ball hit off the top of the wall. Steve Clevenger grounded out to first to end the game.

Weather permitting … the Cubs make the trip to Goodyear on Friday night to take on the Reds. Nick Struck is scheduled to face Tony Cingrani. Rain is in the forecast for Friday but the Cubs are hoping they can get in their first night game of the spring.

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