Cubs End the Spring with a Win – Cubs 9, Diamondbacks 8

Spring Training Game Thirty-Four – Cubs 9, Diamondbacks 8

WP – Blake Parker (1-0) LP – Enrique Burgos (0-1) Save – Lendy Castillo (1)

wflag-pub2014The Cubs went to the ninth in the final exhibition game of the spring trailing 8-6 after leading by a 6-0 score as late as the sixth inning. The Cubs scored three runs in the ninth on a two-run single by Christian Villanueva and a sacrifice fly by Rubi Silva and ended Spring Training with a win over the Diamondbacks.

Several of the players, including Jason Hammel, that will be with the team on Opening Day played well on Saturday and got their work in without any problems.

Jason Hammel was sharp during his four innings of work. Hammel hit his spots and faced the minimum the first time through the lineup. Hammel did not allow a run during his outing and gave up two hits with no walks and five strikeouts. Hammel threw 48 pitches, 31 for strikes.

Neil Ramirez struck out the side in the fifth. Wesley Wright limited the damage caused by Jonathan Sanchez while Brian Schlitter could not wiggle out of the jam Marcus Hatley and the Cubs defense caused in the seventh. Blake Parker surrendered a hit while striking out three batters in the eighth. Arizona scored seven of their eight runs against Jonathan Sanchez and Marcus Hatley. Neither one of the relievers had much on Saturday and was hit pretty hard. Lendy Castillo picked up the save with a 1-2-3 ninth inning.

Ryan Kalish (3-for-3 with a RBI) drove in one of the Cubs first two runs and collected three hits on the afternoon. Darwin Barney (1-for-2 with a RBI) drove in the Cubs’ first run with a single in the second inning. Ryan Sweeney (1-for-2 with a run scored) and Anthony Rizzo (1-for-2) also collected hits.

Arismendy Alcantara (1-for-2 with a home run and two RBI) hit a two-run homer in the sixth and Dan Vogelbach (0-for-0 with two walks and a run scored) walked twice and scored the Cubs’ third run of the game.

Starlin Castro (0-for-2 with a walk) played in his first big league Spring Training game since March 2 and while he did not collect a hit, he made the plays at short and did not appear to be favoring his right hamstring when he down the line.

There were three different reviews on Saturday and the Cubs lost all three. Two calls were upheld and one was overturned.

The first five innings took only an hour and a half to play but once the starters left the game, it slowed to a snail’s pace and it took three hours and 17 minutes to play the last practice game of the spring. The two teams scored a combined 17 runs on 25 hits and were charged with three errors. There were three reviews, two in the seventh inning and 15 different pitchers were used. It was not a well-played game by either team after the fifth inning.

The Cubs finished the exhibition season with a 15-18-1 record.

The Cubs got on the board in the second inning. Ryan Sweeney led off with a single to right. After Welington Castillo (flyout to right) and Luis Valbuena (strikeout) made two quick outs, Ryan Kalish worked a full count then bounced Bronson Arroyo’s next pitch up the middle. Aaron Hill fielded the ball behind the second base bag but couldn’t get anything on his throw. Kalish beat it out for an infield single. Darwin Barney pulled a 0-2 pitch into left. Gary Jones waived Sweeney around third. Mark Trumbo’s throw hit Sweeney in the back, he scored … 1-0 Cubs. Both runners advanced on the play but were stranded when Emilio Bonifacio grounded out to second base.

The game remained 1-0 Cubs until the fifth.

Ryan Kalish singled to left center (1-2 pitch) to start the fifth. Barney popped out to short. Bronson Arroyo got the groundball he wanted off the bat of Matt Szczur but the D-Backs could not turn a 5-4-3 double play. Kalish was forced at second and the speedy Szczur took over at first with two out. Starlin Castro walked. With runners on first and second with two down, Chris Valaika singled to center (1-2 pitch). Javier Baez ran for Castro and advanced to third on the play as Szczur scored, 2-0 Cubs. Chris Coghlan grounded out to third (3-2 pitch) to end the inning … after replay verified a close call at first base.

The young players with the team for the day put a four-spot on the board in the sixth against Brad Zeigler. Dan Vogelbach worked a walk to start the sixth. Eli Whiteside doubled to left and put runners on second and third with no outs. Luis Valbuena lifted the first pitch he saw into center. Vogelbach tagged and scored, 3-0 Cubs. Whiteside advanced to third on the play. With the infield in, Ryan Kalish chopped a single into center. Whiteside scored, 4-0 Cubs. Arismendy Alcantara stepped in and launched Zeigler’s first pitch beyond the wall in right. Alcantara’s second homer of the spring gave the Cubs a 6-0 lead. Matt Szczur walked and Alan Trammell, subbing for the sidelined Kirk Gibson, made the slow walk and went to his pen for Willy Paredes. Javier Baez popped out to right and Chris Valaika flied out to center to end the inning.

Jonathan Sanchez took the hill for the sixth inning and struggled again. Sanchez issued a leadoff walk to Chris Owings then a single to Tony Campana. With a lot of speed on the bases, Cliff Pennington singled to right. Owings scored, 6-1 Cubs. With runners on first and third with no outs, Rick Renteria went to his pen for lefty Wesley Wright. Mike Jacobs lined out to short for the first out. Henry Blanco singled to left. Campana scored, 6-2 Cubs. With runners on first and second with one out, Wright struck out Jake Lamb and Rudy Flores to end the inning.

Arizona took the lead in what ended up being a very long seventh inning … an inning that included two reviews.

Marcus Hatley started the seventh and gave up a double to Jordan Parraz. Breland Almadova followed with a single to right. Parraz held at third with no outs. Chris Owings singled to left. Parraz scored, 6-3 Cubs. Almadova went to second on the play. Tony Campana reached on a bunt single to third and loaded the bases with no outs. Cliff Pennington singled to left. Almadova scored, 6-4 Cubs. And with the bases loaded and still no outs, Rick Renteria went to his pen for Brian Schlitter. Mike Jacobs hit a grounder toward the hole at second. Chris Valaika made a nice pick and throw to Baez at second. Baez fired to first but the ball skipped past Schlitter covering first. Owings scored and Campana scored on Baez’s throwing error … game tied at six. But under further review, Baez was straddling the bag at second and did not touch the base with his foot. After the review verified the call, the D-Backs had runners on first and second with no outs. Blanco bunted both runners into scoring position. Jake Lamb was intentionally walked to load the bases. Rudy Flores singled to center. Pennington scored and it was ruled the Cubs threw out Jacobs at the plate for the second out. But under further review, the call was overturned because Jacobs touched the plate before Whiteside was able to apply the tab. Jacobs scored and the D-Backs went up 8-6. Jordan Parraz grounded into a 6-3 double play to finally end the inning.

Enrique Burgos replaced Addison Reed in the ninth with the Diamondbacks leading 8-6. Brett Jackson led off with a single to center. Wes Darvill hit for Dan Vogelbach and walked. Chadd Krist stepped to the plate with two on and no outs and was hit. With the bases loaded and no outs, Alan Trammell went to his pen for Josh Collmenter. Christian Villanueva worked a full count before ripping a single into right center. Jackson and Darvill scored, game tied at eight. Krist advanced to third on the play and scored on a sac fly to left by Rubi Silva … 9-8 Cubs. Alcantara lined into a 8-4 double play to end the inning.

The Cubs fly to Pittsburgh on Saturday night and will spend Sunday in the Steel City preparing for Opening Day. Jeff Samardzija is scheduled to face Francisco Liriano in game one of the 2014 season on Monday afternoon (12:05pm CDT).

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Quote of the Day

"Don’t ever permit the pressure to exceed the pleasure." - Joe Maddon