Spring Training Game Thirty-Six – Cubs 4, Mariners 6
WP – Lucas Luetge (1-0) LP – Hisanori Takahashi (1-2) Save – Tyler Burgoon (1)
The Cubs wrapped up the Cactus League part of their Spring Training schedule with a loss to the Seattle Mariners on Thursday afternoon in the final home game at HoHoKam Park.
The Cubs took a 4-3 lead into the eighth inning after Brett Jackson (0-for-1 with a walk and a run scored) manufactured the go ahead run in the sixth. Hisanori Takahashi was solid over his first two innings before running out of gas in his third inning of work … and the minor leaguers could not mount a comeback.
Carlos Villanueva was very good in his last Cactus League start. Villanueva took advantage of getaway day in Arizona and made quick work of the Mariners in two of his five-plus innings. Villanueva gave up a long home run to Michael Morse in the second then was a victim of poor defense in the fifth. Villanueva was charged with three runs, one earned, on four hits with two walks and three strikeouts in five-plus innings of work.
Hisanori Takahashi replaced Villanueva with one on and no outs in the sixth. Takahashi picked off Jason Bay from first base before retiring the next two batters to close out the inning. After a spotless seventh inning, the Mariners scored three runs off Takahashi in the eighth and put the game out of reach. Shawn Camp struck out two while surrendering a hit in his inning of work.
Dale Sveum’s started a majority of his regulars on Thursday, but they were long gone by the fourth inning. Alfonso Soriano (1-for-2 with a home run and two RBI) broke a 1-1 tie in the third with his fifth longball of the spring, a two-run shot off Hisashi Iwakuma. Darwin Barney (1-for-1) notched a hit in his only at bat and Luis Valbuena (1-for-1) reached in his only plate appearance.
Arismendy Alcantara (1-for-3 with a triple, a walk and a run scored) spent the day with the big league team and started at shortstop. Alcantara and Zeke DeVoss (1-for-3 with a RBI and a run scored) teamed up for the Cubs’ first run and DeVoss was on board for Soriano’s homer.
Three of the more well known names in the Cubs’ system saw action in Thursday’s game … Tim Saunders (1-for-2), Gioskar Amaya (0-for-1) and Jae-Hoon Ha (0-for-1).
The Chicago Cubs finished with a 132-119-13 record as the home team at HoHoKam Park.
With Thursday’s spring loss, the Cubs ended with a 16-18-1 record in Arizona this spring …
Carlos Villanueva retired the Mariners in order quickly in the first. Michael Morse led off the second with a long, opposite field home run. Villanueva refocused and struck out two of the next three batters he faced to end the second inning.
Carlos Villanueva pitched his way in and out of trouble in the top of the third. Robert Andino led off the third with a double over DeJesus’ head in centerfield. Ryan walked to put runners on first and second with no outs. Michael Saunders rapped into a 4-6-3 double play. With Andino at third, Villanueva walked Kyle Seager but Kendrys Morales grounded out to second (0-2 pitch) to end the inning.
Arismendy Alcantara led off the Cubs’ third with a triple to center. Zeke DeVoss pinch-hit for DeJesus and singled to right. Alcantara scored and tied the game at one. Tim Saunders hit for Barney and flied out to right center. DeVoss swiped second with Clevenger at the plate. Steve Clevenger hit for Rizzo and ended up striking out. Alfonso Soriano cranked his fifth homer of the spring. Soriano’s two-run shot to left put the Cubs up 3-1. Ty Wright, hitting for Nate Schierholtz, grounded out to second to end the inning.
Villanueva made quick work of the Mariners in the fourth before he ran into trouble in the fifth.
The Mariners tied the game in the fifth after Robert Andino reached on a one-out single to right center. Brendan Ryan followed and hit a grounder to Saunders at second base that should have been a double play. Saunders threw the ball away. Instead out of the inning, the Mariners had runners on second and third with one down. Michael Saunders grounded out to Tim Saunders for the second out … but Kyle Seager blooped a double down the left field line that tied the game at three. Morales flied out to center to end the inning.
Brett Jackson walked to start the sixth. Ty Wright flied out to deep center. Jackson tagged and advanced to second. Dioner Navarro then hit a grounder to third. Brad Miller fielded the ball and threw to first. Jackson took off for third and scored the go ahead run on a throwing error by first baseman Nate Tenbrink. Jackson’s aggressive baserunning forced the throw from first and he ended up putting a run on the board for his team without a hit.
The game remained 4-3 until the eighth inning.
Hisanori Takahashi retired Brad Miller on a pop out to Clevenger at first. Jesus Sucre hit for Kendrys Morales and singled to center. Jason Bay followed with a single to center. With two on and one down, Endy Chavez flied out to center for the second out. Nate Tenbrink singled to center and tied the game at four as Sucre scored. Kelly Shoppach ripped a double into left that ended up being the difference in the game. Bay and Tenbrink scored, 6-4 Mariners. Takahashi retired Andino on a grounder to second for the third out.
The Cubs broke camp following Thursday’s game and flew to Houston for a pair of exhibition games with the Astros to wrap up their spring slate. Edwin Jackson is scheduled to face Alex White on Friday night at Minute Maid Park.