Cubs Rally in the Ninth and Top the Angels in Tempe – Cubs 3, Angels 2

Spring Training Game Nine – Cubs (ss) 3, Angels (ss) 2

WP – Brian Schlitter (1-0) LP – Josh Wall (0-1, BS 1) Save – Jonathan Sanchez (1)

wflag-pub2014With Brandon Hyde calling the shots, the exhibition between the Cubs and Angels in Tempe on Friday afternoon was a low scoring game until the ninth inning. The Cubs scored two runs in the ninth and held on for a Spring Training victory.

Albert Almora (1-for-1 with a run scored) sparked the comeback with a one-out single. Almora advanced to second and scored on a Chris Valaika (2-for-4 with a double, a run scored and two RBI) double. With the game tied at two, Jorge Soler (1-for-1 with a triple and a RBI) tripled to center and plated Valaika with the eventual game winning run.

The Cubs offense was rather quiet until the ninth inning. The Cubs managed only one hit over the first six innings. Luis Valbuena (1-for-3 with a double) doubled in the seventh and scored on a Chris Valaika single that tied the game at one. Junior Lake (1-for-3) and Christian Villanueva (1-for-3) also collected hits.

James McDonald put together a very good outing on the same mound that he struggled mightily on a week ago. McDonald limited a majority of the Angels’ everyday lineup to one hit over two shutout innings. McDonald did not walk or strikeout a batter.

Dallas Beeler surrendered the first run of the game in the fourth inning. Beeler allowed one run on three hits with two walks and no strikeouts in two innings. Casey Coleman, up for the day from minor league camp, tossed an inning of shutout ball.

Tsuyoshi Wada worked out of a big jam in the sixth inning and ended up completing two innings without allowing a run. Wada surrendered three hits with a walk and three strikeouts. Brian Schlitter gave up a run in the eighth on two hits. Jonathan Sanchez put together his first scoreless outing of the spring. Sanchez walked one and struck out a batter in the ninth inning.

The game in Tempe ended just before the one in Mesa, but due to the listing on the schedule, the Cubs ended their Cactus League losing streak and improved to 3-6 this spring with the victory over the Halos.

Scoring Plays

Kole Calhoun led off the fourth inning with a single to right off of Dallas Beeler. Mike Trout followed with a single to left. Albert Pujols advanced Calhoun to third with a flyout to Junior Lake in center. Raul Ibanez grounded out to Josh Vitters at first. Calhoun scored, 1-0 Angels. Beeler then walked David Freese. With two on and two down, Howie Kendrick reached on an infield single to third. J.B. Shuck stepped in with the bags loaded and grounded out to Josh Vitters (first base) to end the inning.

With the way the Cubs were not hitting the ball, it looked like the Cubs would drop their second game in as many days by a score of 1-0 … until the seventh inning.

Matt Shoemaker replaced Buddy Boshers in the seventh inning with the Angels up 1-0. Luis Valbuena greeted Shoemaker with a double to right. Junior Lake and Mike Olt struck out swinging. But Chris Valaika singled to center. Valbuena scored and tied the game at one. Casper Wells flied out to left to end the inning.

The game remained tied at one until the bottom of the eighth.

Brian Schlitter took over for Tsuyoshi Wada and Shawn O’Malley reached on a bunt toward first. Ranyelmy Mendoza bunted O’Malley to second with one out. Carlos Pena hit for Kyle Hudson and grounded out to Logan Watkins at second base. O’Malley advanced to third and scored when C.J. Cron singled to center. John McDonald grounded out to Christian Villanueva to end the inning.

Josh Wall replaced Shoemaker in the ninth inning. Wall was trying to nail down the spring save. With the Angels up 2-1, Wall retired Logan Watkins on a grounder to second. Albert Almora singled to right with one out. Then advanced to second when Mike Olt bunted back to the mound. Chris Valaika doubled to center. Almora scored, game tied at two. Jorge Soler tripled to center. Valaika scored, 3-2 Cubs. Dustin Geiger, up for the day from minor league camp, grounded out to short to end the inning.

The Cubs make their second trip in three days to Goodyear on Saturday afternoon. The Cubs will face the Reds for the first time this spring. Jason Hammel is scheduled to make his second spring start against Alfredo Simon.

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Quote of the Day

"You can’t sit on a lead and kill the clock. You’ve got to give the other man his chance. That’s why baseball is the greatest game." - Earl Weaver