Spring Training Game Nine – Cubs (ss) 4, Angels 2
WP – Chris Rusin (1-0) LP – Brandon Sisk (0-1) Save – Jensen Lewis (2)
The Cubs ended their two-game spring losing streak on Sunday afternoon in Tempe. Cubs’ pitching held an Angels lineup that included Mike Trout, Josh Hamilton and Mark Trumbo early on to two runs on seven hits while not issuing a single free pass.
Brian Bogusevic led the way offensively for the Cubs in Tempe. Bogusevic is in the mix for a job on the Cubs’ bench and continued his hot spring. Bogusevic put the Cubs on the board with a long home run off Joe Blanton in the first inning. Bogusevic then reached on two opposite field doubles in his other two plate appearances. Bogusevic ended up 3-for-3 with a home run, two doubles and a RBI for the day.
Alberto Gonzalez (0-for-2 with a RBI) plated Johermyn Chavez (1-for-4 with a double and a run scored) with the go ahead run in the seventh … and Brad Nelson (2-for-4 with a home run) hit a solo homer in the eighth.
Nick Struck made the start in Tempe, and was very good against the big league hitters he faced. Struck kept the Angels off the board for the first three innings while allowing only two hits. Struck did not walk a batter and struck out one in his second appearance of the spring.
Carlos Marmol had his issues again, but was able to induce a double-play after loading the bases with no outs in the fourth that limited the damage. Marmol was charged with one run on two hits without a walk or a strikeout. Marmol hit a batter, the only freebie for Cubs’ pitching in Tempe.
Chris Rusin tossed three very good innings on Sunday afternoon. Rusin allowed a run on three hits without a walk and one strikeout. Hector Rondon was excellent in his third outing of the spring. Rondon pitched another scoreless inning. Jensen Lewis picked up his second save of the spring with a scoreless ninth.
The Cubs pitching showed a lot of improvement in Tempe. At one point, they retired nine in a row with seven of those outs coming on the ground.
Albert Almora (0-for-1), Elliot Soto (0-for-2) and Dustin Geiger (0-for-1) spent the day with the big league team up from minor league camp.
Brian Bogusevic gave the Cubs an early lead in Tempe. After Joe Blanton made quick work of David DeJesus (groundout to second) and Dave Sappelt (pop out to short), Bogusevic cranked a long home run over the wall in right. Brad Nelson struck out swinging to end the inning.
Nick Struck retired the Angels in order (Trout, Bourjos and Hamilton) on seven pitches to start his afternoon.
Nick Struck surrendered a one-out single to Chris Iannetta in the second, but that was all. Struck looked very good in his first two innings. Struck kept the ball down, but more importantly, he threw strikes. Struck stayed in for the third inning, and continued pounding the strike zone. Struck gave up a one out double to Navarro, but that was all for the Angels in the third.
The Cubs tacked on in the fourth inning, and it was Brian Bogusevic again. Bogusevic reached on a double to left with one out then scored when Mark Trumbo broke late on a single to right off the bat of Dioner Navarro. Trumbo tried to make a diving catch on the soft-sinking liner but came up empty and Bogusevic scored. Alberto Gonzalez struck out swinging to end the inning.
Carlos Marmol took over for Nick Struck in the fourth. Marmol once again had issues throwing strikes. Marmol jumped ahead of Josh Hamilton 0-2 before eventually surrendering a single to right on a 3-2 offering. Trumbo ripped the first pitch he saw into center. Marmol then plunked Iannetta on a 0-1 pitch to load the bases with no outs. Andrew Romine grounded into a 4-6-3 double play, Hamilton scored … 2-1 Cubs. With Trumbo at third, Cowart lined out to second for the third out.
Chris Rusin replaced Marmol for the fifth inning. Rusin was sharp, and actually recorded four outs in the fifth. Rusin made Trout look bad on a 0-2 pitch. Trout struck out swinging, but the ball got away from Navarro. Navarro took his time getting to the ball and Trout reached first. Bourjos grounded out to short for the third out.
Brian Bogusevic stayed hot and reached on a one-out double to left, his second opposite field double of the game. Brad Nelson singled to right. The ball was hit very hard, Bogusevic had to hold at third. The throw to the plate got away from Iannetta, Nelson advanced to second with one out. The Angels brought the infield in with runners on second and third with one out. Dioner Navarro hit a weak grounder to second and Christian Villanueva popped out to first for the third out.
The Angels tied the game in the sixth against Chris Rusin. Brendan Harris tripled to the right field corner to start the inning, then scored on a ground out to second off the bat of Alex Yarbrough. Rusin retired Iannetta and Jimenez to end the inning.
Brandon Sisk took over for the Angels in the seventh inning, and Johermyn Chavez greeted him with a double to the gap in left center. Elliot Soto, up for the day from minor league camp, grounded out to second (3-1 pitch). Chavez advanced to third and scored on a sac fly to left center off the bat of Alberto Gonzalez.
Albert Almora, up for the day from minor league camp, popped out to left center on a 2-0 pitch to end the inning.
Chris Rusin retired the Angels in order in the seventh.
The Cubs added a run in the eighth against Hiroyuki Kobayashi. Brad Nelson hit a long, solo homer to right.
Hector Rondon was impressive again on Sunday afternoon. Rondon set down the side in order in the bottom of the eighth.
Jensen Lewis closed it out for the Cubs in the ninth.
The Cubs host the Indians on Monday afternoon in the Cactus League. Alberto Cabrera is scheduled to face Carlos Carrasco.