Cubs Scratch Out a Spring Training Win Over the Angels – Cubs 7, Angels 6

Spring Training Game Thirty-One – Cubs 7, Angels (ss) 6

WP – Carlos Marmol (1-0, BS 1) LP – Ernesto Frieri (1-1) Save – Rafael Dolis (1)

wflag-pubThe Cubs battled back from an early deficit and topped the Angels for the third time this spring on Saturday afternoon. Shawon Dunston Jr., up for the day from minor league camp, pinch-ran for Steve Clevenger in the eighth and scored the eventual winning run.

Edwin Jackson had a rough day against an Angels’ travel team that featured only two of their regulars, Chris Iannetta and Joe Blanton. After breezing through the first two innings and basically picking up where he left off against the Padres, Jackson started elevating his fastball and the Angels took advantage. Jackson pitched into the sixth inning before handing the ball over to Hisanori Takahashi. Jackson gave up five runs on eight hits with no walks and two strikeouts in five-plus innings … and the first five Angels’ runs on the afternoon scored on doubles.

Edwin Jackson (2-for-2 with a RBI) did contribute at the plate. Jackson notched the Cubs’ first hit in the third and singled in the Cubs’ first run in the fifth.

Hisanori Takahashi allowed an inherited runner to score in the sixth, but pitched a scoreless seventh. Takahashi surrendered two hits and no walks with a pair of strikeouts in his two innings of work.

Carlos Marmol pitched the eighth inning again … and was not good. Marmol was extremely wild. Marmol walked two and hit a batter in his inning of work. The Angels tied the game at six in the eighth without a hit. Steve Clevenger was charged with a passed ball that allowed the tying run to score.

Rafael Dolis was shaky at best in the ninth. Dolis gave up a pair of hits and pitched from behind in the count. But he picked off a runner from first which kept the Angels from putting the tying run into scoring position.

The Cubs offense was non-existent through the first 4 2/3 innings against Joe Blanton. Darwin Barney (1-for-2 with a double and a run scored) reached on a two-out double in the fifth and scored on Edwin Jackson’s second hit of the game.

Scott Hairston (1-for-4 with a home run and two runs scored) crossed the plate with the Cubs’ second run in the sixth on a Nate Schierholtz (1-for-4 with a double) double then gave the Cubs a brief one-run lead in the seventh with his third official home run of the spring.

Brent Lillibridge (1-for-2 with a triple and a run scored) stayed hot while David DeJesus (2-for-5 with a RBI) extended his spring hitting streak to 11 games. Alberto Gonzalez (1-for-1 with a double and two RBI) doubled in the tying runs in the seventh but erased his solid at bat when he was thrown out at third trying to stretch the double into a triple … Gonzalez did not look up and find his third base coach.

Anthony Rizzo (1-for-4) and Starlin Castro (1-for-3) also collected hits.

With Saturday’s victory the Cubs evened their Cactus League record at 15-15 with seven games left on the pre-season schedule …

Edwin Jackson and Joe Blanton both made quick work of the opposition in the first two innings. While Blanton gave up only one hit over his first three innings (a single by Edwin Jackson), the Angels got on the board against Edwin Jackson in the third and tacked on in the fourth.

Efren Navarro led off the third with a single to left. After Romine flied out to center, Joe Blanton bunted Navarro into scoring position. J.B. Shuck then ripped a single into right. Navarro scored, 1-0 Angels. Jackson retired Luis Rodriguez on a grounder to Rizzo to end the inning.

The Angels’ travel squad hit Jackson pretty hard in the fourth. Chris Iannetta singled to center (1-1 pitch) with one out in the fourth. Jackson kept elevating his fastball, and the Angels did not miss his mistakes. Brendan Harris lined a single into left. With runners on first and second with one down, a 0-1 pitch to Scott Cousins got under the legs of Dioner Navarro. Both runners advanced ninety feet. Scott Cousins pulled the next pitch into right. The ball ended up sticking in the padding of the fence, Iannetta and Harris scored on the ground rule double and the Angels’ took a 3-0 lead. Jackson retired Navarro (flyout to right) and Romine (flyout to left) to end the inning.

Starlin Castro led off the fourth with a single to center … but did not advance off first base as Joe Blanton continued his spring dominance over the Cubs’ offense.

Edwin Jackson jumped ahead of Joe Blanton 0-2 to start the fifth. Jackson could not get one past Blanton. The Angels’ pitcher worked a full count then blooped a single into center. Darwin Barney robbed J.B. Shuck with an excellent play on a grounder to the hole at second. Blanton advanced to second on the play. Rodriguez flied out to right (3-1 pitch) for the second out. With Blanton at second and two down, Kole Calhoun hit a deep drive to left. Scott Hairston misplayed it into a double, the ball hit off his glove. Blanton scored, 4-0 Angels. Jackson caught Iannetta looking at a 1-2 pitch to end the inning.

The Cubs finally got on the board in the fifth. Darwin Barney pulled a 0-1 pitch into left and ended up at second with a two-out double. Edwin Jackson blooped Blanton’s first pitch into center. Barney scored, 4-1 Angels. David DeJesus extended his spring hitting streak to 11 games with a single to center. With runners on first and second with two down, Castro flied out to left center to end the inning.

Brendan Harris led off the sixth with a double to right center (2-1 pitch) off of Edwin Jackson. At that point, Dale Sveum decided that was enough and went to his pen for Hisanori Takahashi. Takahashi retired Cousins on a flyout to center (2-0 pitch). Navarro followed, worked a full count then drove a double down the left field line. Harris scored, 5-1 Angels … and all five Angels’ runs scored on doubles. Takahashi struck out Blanton swinging (1-2 pitch) to end the inning.

Anthony Rizzo led off the Cubs’ sixth with a bloop single to left center (0-1 pitch). Hairston then hit a pop fly down the left field line. The ball was misplayed, landed on the line and Rizzo was forced at second for the first out. Nate Schierholtz drove a 1-1 pitch into the gap in left center. Hairston scored all the way from first, 5-2 Angels. Navarro flied out to left center and Valbuena struck out swinging to end the inning.

Hisanori Takahashi stayed in for the seventh and retired the side in order.

Joe Blanton started the seventh and Brent Lillibridge ripped a triple into the right field corner (2-2 pitch). Blanton was lifted for Nick Maronde … and the Cubs went to work against the southpaw. Dave Sappelt walked. David DeJesus singled to center on a 0-2 pitch and plated Lillibridge with the Cubs’ third run. Sappelt advanced all the way to third and DeJesus advanced to second on the throw. Alberto Gonzalez ripped a double into left center and tied the game at five … but he was thrown out at third trying to stretch a double into a triple. Rizzo grounded out to short for the second out.

Scott Hairston then launched a 0-1 pitch over the wall in left and gave the Cubs a 6-5 lead. Schierholtz flied out to left to end the inning.

Carlos Marmol gave the run right back in the eighth. Marmol kept Steve Clevenger hopping behind the plate. Marmol issued a four-pitch walk to Chris Snyder to start the inning … then hit Brendan Harris with his first pitch. Scott Cousins grounded into a 3-6 force. With runners on first and third with one down, Cousins swiped second with Navarro at the plate … Marmol never paid attention to him. Navarro then hit a grounder to first. Rizzo made a nice pick, then a smooth, accurate throw to the plate. Clevenger was waiting on Snyder and applied the tag for the second out.

Clevenger got crossed up on and he misplayed a Marmol slider into a passed ball. Cousins scampered in and tied the game at six. Marmol ending up walking Romine … at that point, Marmol had thrown 19 pitches, only seven strikes. Alex Yarborough grounded out to short to end the inning.

Ernesto Frieri took over for the Angels in the eighth and Steve Clevenger greeted him with a double to left center. Shawon Dunston Jr. ran for Clevenger. Valbuena popped out to first but Dunston Jr. advanced to third on a check-swing grounder to second off the bat of Lillibridge. Welington Castillo hit for Marmol. Frieri’s first pitch to Castillo got past Snyder and Dunston Jr. streaked to the plate with the go ahead run. Castillo walked before DeJesus popped out to first to end the inning.

Rafael Dolis took the hill in the ninth … and was shaky at best. Dolis gave up a hit to Shuck to start the inning, but picked him off first base. Rodriguez followed with a singled to left. Matt Young flied out to left and Chris Snyder grounded out to third (3-1 pitch) to end the game.

The Cubs make the trip to Goodyear to take on the Indians on Sunday afternoon. Chris Rusin is scheduled to face Ubaldo Jimenez.

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Quote of the Day

"People who write about Spring Training not being necessary have never tried to throw a baseball." – Sandy Koufax