Cubs Can’t Slow Down the Big Red Hitting Machine – Reds 8, Cubs 3

Cubs Can’t Slow Down the Big Red Hitting Machine – Reds 8, Cubs 3

Spring Training Game Twenty-Six – Cubs 3, Reds 8

WP – Tony Cingrani (2-1) LP – Edwin Jackson (1-3) Save – None

Anthony Rizzo drove in two of the Cubs three runs but the Cubs pitching staff could not keep the Reds off the bases. The Reds scored eight times on Saturday afternoon in front of another large crowd at Cubs Park on 17 hits and handed the Cubs a spring loss.

Edwin Jackson struggled with his command during his five inning outing. At times Jackson looked good and at other times he had issues with his release point. Once again, it was the one bad inning that cost Jackson on Saturday. Jackson gave up three runs in the first inning on one swing of the bat. Roger Bernadina hit a three-run homer off Jackson in the first inning and drove in a run in the third inning with a broken bat, bloop single to left. Jackson allowed four runs on eight hits with one walk and seven strikeouts in five innings of work. Jackson will be backed down in his last Cactus League outing in five days.

The Reds scored four runs on nine hits off the Cubs’ pen in the last four innings of the game.

Jose Veras wiggled his way out of a jam in his inning of work on Saturday afternoon. Veras gave up two hits, including a leadoff double, but was able to keep the Reds off the board with a strike ‘em out, throw ‘em out double play to end the inning.

Hector Rondon gave up a leadoff triple to Billy Hamilton in the seventh that Kristopher Negron turned into a run. Rondon struck out a batter in his inning of work.

Pedro Strop’s line looks much worse than the way he pitched. Pedro Strop was charged with two runs on four hits in one inning but only one of the four hits was squared up. The other three were bloop hits.

Justin Grimm served up a solo home run to Brandon Phillips in the ninth. Grimm set down the other three batters he faced in his inning of work.

Anthony Rizzo (3-for-3 with a double and two RBI) was the Cubs offense on Saturday. Rizzo recorded nearly half of the Cubs hits and drove in two of the three runs with hits off of lefty Tony Cingrani. The top of the Cubs’ lineup, before Rick Renteria emptied his bench, put together good at bats against Cingrani.

Darwin Barney (0-for-1 with two walks and two runs scored) walked twice and scored two runs. Nate Schierholtz (0-for-2 with a walk, sac fly, RBI) drove in the Cubs’ third run with a sacrifice fly in the first inning. Justin Ruggiano (1-for-3 with a triple and a run scored) tripled in the fifth and scored on Rizzo’s second run scoring hit of the day. Mike Olt (0-for-2 with a walk) started at third and managed a walk in three trips to the plate. The Cubs managed only six hits and four walks in the first eight innings. Minor Leaguer, Shawon Dunston Jr. notched the Cubs’ seventh hit in the ninth inning.

With Saturday’s loss, the Cubs slipped to 11-15 in the Cactus League.

Scoring Plays

Edwin Jackson was missing up in the first inning and it cost him three runs. After striking out Billy Hamilton swinging, Kristopher Negron singled to left. Jackson issued a four-pitch walk to Brandon Phillips. With runners on first and second, Jackson stuck out Ryan Ludwick swinging. But Roger Bernadina hit a deep fly to right that sailed onto the berm … 3-0 Reds. Brayan Pena worked a full count before grounding out to Donnie Murphy at short to end the inning.

The Cubs got a run back in the bottom of the first. Tony Cingrani jumped ahead of Darwin Barney 0-2. Barney worked the count full before walking to start the inning. Justin Ruggiano flied out to center (2-2 pitch). Anthony Rizzo put together a good at bat against the lefty that ended with a single to right center through the shift (1-2 pitch). Mike Olt walked (3-1 pitch) to load the bases. Nate Schierholtz lifted a 0-2 pitch into left center. Barney tagged and scored, 3-1 Cubs. Welington Castillo flied out to left center for the third out.

The game remained 3-1 Reds until the third inning.

Edwin Jackson retired Hamilton on a flyout to left center for the first out in the third. Kristopher Negron dropped down a perfect bunt up the third base line. With Negron at first on the bunt single, Jackson caught Phillips looking at a 2-2 pitch for the second out. Jackson got away with a couple of hanging breaking balls against Phillips. Ryan Ludwick lashed a 3-2 pitch into left. With runners on first and second with two down, Roger Bernadina broke his bat on a flare to left. Negron scored, 4-1 Reds. Pena reached on an infield single to the hole at short. With the bags juiced and two out, Zack Cozart flied out to deep left to end the inning.

Darwin Barney led off the third with his second walk of the game. Cingrani got the call on a 2-2 pitch to Ruggiano for the first out of the inning. Anthony Rizzo pulled a 2-2 pitch down the right field line. The ball hopped past Bernadina, and Barney scored on Rizzo’s double … 4-2 Reds. Olt grounded out to third and Schierholtz lined out to right to end the inning.

Tony Cingrani took the hill for the bottom of the fifth with a 4-2 lead. Barney rolled out to third for the first out. Justin Ruggiano lifted a 2-0 pitch out to right that hit off the wall. Ruggiano ended up at third with a standing triple. Anthony Rizzo pulled an inside pitch (1-0) into right. Ruggiano trotted in, 4-3 Reds. Mike Olt struck out swinging for the second out. Nate Schierholtz worked a walk. And with two on and two down, Bryan Price went to his pen for Jumbo Diaz. Welington Castillo struck out swinging to end the inning.

The Reds added onto their lead in the seventh against Hector Rondon. Billy Hamilton led off the inning with a triple to right. With the infield in, Kristopher Negron singled to center. Hamilton scored, 5-3 Reds. Brandon Phillips popped out to right. Negron stole second with Ludwick at the plate. But Rondon struck out Ludwick swinging and Bernadina popped out to short to end the inning.

Pedro Strop allowed the Reds to tack on in the eighth.  Zack Cozart reached on a one out single in the eighth. Chris Nelson blooped a single into right. With runners on first and second with one out, Ruben Gotay launched a double over Nate Schierholtz’s head in right. Cozart scored, 6-3 Reds. Jason Bourgeois hit for Hamilton and blooped a single into right. Nelson scored, 7-3 Reds. With runners on the corners and one down, Negron rapped into a 6-3 double play to end the inning.

Brandon Phillips made it 8-3 in the ninth inning with a long homer off of Justin Grimm. Grimm retired the next three batters he faced to end the inning.

The Cubs make their last trip to Phoenix Municipal Stadium on Sunday afternoon to take on the Athletics. Jason Hammel is scheduled to face Jesse Chavez.

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