Spring Training Game Thirty-One – Cubs 4, Diamondbacks 14
WP – Brandon McCarthy (2-0) LP – Chris Rusin (3-3, BS 1) Save – None
Jeff Samardzija made his last spring start Wednesday afternoon in Scottsdale and handed the game over to Chris Rusin in the fourth with the Cubs up 2-1. Chris Rusin could not keep the ball in the yard on a day the wind was blowing out and the Diamondbacks hit four of their six home runs off Rusin and pummeled the Cubs in their return to Cactus League play.
Jeff Samardzija threw strikes in his scheduled three innings of work. Samardzija allowed one run on four hits with no walks and two strikeouts on 50 pitches, 34 for strikes. The Diamondbacks’ offense went to work against Chris Rusin and the bullpen, with seemingly every ball hit in the air either leaving the park or going for an extra basehit. Arizona scored in all but two innings while recording 20 hits, 10 for extra bases.
After not allowing a single run, or walk, in his last three Cactus League appearances, Chris Rusin was shelled Wednesday. Rusin was charged with nine runs on 10 hits, four home runs, without a walk or a strikeout in 2 2/3 innings. Marcos Mateo tried to close out the sixth, but Arizona scored another run on two hits before the third out could be recorded. For the second day in a row, the opposition sent 11 batters to the plate in the same inning against Cubs’ pitching.
Like Chris Rusin, Alberto Cabrera did not help his cause to make the Opening Day roster. Pitching on back-to-back days for the first time this spring, Cabrera served up the D-Backs’ fifth homer of the game and allowed two runs on two hits without a walk and one strikeout.
Justin Grimm gave up the sixth longball of the game to Aaron Cunningham in the eighth inning. Grimm surrendered one run on two hits without a walk and one strikeout.
Cubs pitching gave up 14 runs on 20 hits with one walk and five strikeouts.
Mike Olt (1-for-4 with a double and two RBI) and Chris Coghlan (2-for-4 with a home run, a double and two runs scored) continued making their case to break camp on the Cubs’ active roster. Olt doubled and drove in two of the Cubs’ four runs while Coghlan homered in the eighth and scored two of the Cubs’ four runs. Nate Schierholtz (3-for-4 with a double and two runs scored) had a good game at the plate in front of the scouts in attendance. And Welington Castillo (1-for-3 with a RBI and a walk) plated Schierholtz with a single in the fourth inning that gave the Cubs a brief 2-1 lead.
Mike Olt had one ball hit his way at third base on Wednesday and made the play seamlessly.
With Wednesday’s loss, the Cubs slipped to 12-18-1 in the Cactus League with three games left to play.
The Diamondbacks jumped out to an early lead in the second inning. Martin Prado led off the inning with a single to center after Samardzija did not get the call on a 2-2 pitch. Miguel Montero followed with a double to left. Samardzija struck out Mark Trumbo. But with runners on second and third with one out, A.J. Pollock hit a fly ball into right. Schierholtz caught the ball as Prado tagged and scored from third, 1-0 D-Backs. Junior Lake made an over-the-shoulder catch on a ball hit to deep center by Didi Gregorius to end the inning.
The Cubs took a brief lead in the top of the fourth inning against Brandon McCarthy. Chris Coghlan led off the inning with a double to right center. Nate Schierholtz singled to center. Coghlan held at third but scored when Mike Olt hit a grounder to the hole at short. Prado cut the ball off, threw out Olt at first as Schierholtz advanced to second. Welington Castillo singled to right, Schierholtz scored … 2-1 Cubs. Javier Baez rolled into a 5-4-3 double play to end the inning.
Arizona took the lead back in the bottom of the fourth … and never looked back. After Prado tapped back to Rusin for the first out, Miguel Montero singled to right. Mark Trumbo took Chris Rusin to the opposite field. Trumbo’s two-run shot gave the D-Backs a 3-2 lead. Pollock grounded out to Olt and Roberts made a diving stop behind the second base bag to take a hit away from Gregorius to end the inning.
The D-Backs hit parade continued in the fifth. Rusin retired McCarthy and Parra quickly to start the inning. Aaron Hill doubled off the left centerfield wall and scored on a double to left by Paul Goldschmidt … 4-2 Arizona. Martin Prado followed with a single to left. Goldschmidt scored, 5-2 Arizona. Rusin retired Montero on a flyout to left to end the inning.
The Cubs made it a 5-3 game in the sixth. Nate Schierholtz doubled to right and scored on a double to left by Mike Olt (off of Brandon McCarthy). After Welington Castillo walked, Javier Baez grounded out to short to end the inning.
The Diamondbacks put the exhibition game away in the bottom of the sixth. Former Cubs’ outfielder, Aaron Cunningham led off the inning with a single. Chad Pennington singled to right and Chris Owings cleared the bases with a three-run homer to left … 8-3 Arizona. Rusin retired pinch-hitter Tyler Bortnick on a flyout to right. Jordan Parraz smacked a home run to left, 9-3 Arizona. After Andy Marte grounded out to Lars Anderson at first base, Brandon Jacobs launched a solo home run over the wall in center … 10-3 Arizona. Rick Renteria decided that was enough for Rusin and went to his pen for Marcos Mateo. Tony Campana singled to left and scored on a double to left off the bat of Henry Blanco. Hank White’s double made it 11-3 Arizona. Mateo walked Cunningham before striking out Cliff Pennington swinging to end the inning.
Chris Owings led off the seventh with a double to right. Rudy Flores hit for Will Harris and smacked another home run, a two-run shot off of Alberto Cabrera that made it 13-3 Arizona. Cabrera retired the next three batters he faced to end the inning.
Chris Coghlan made it 13-4 Arizona with a solo home run off of David Hernandez in the eighth inning.
Aaron Cunningham ended his big spring day with a solo shot off of Justin Grimm in the eighth that capped the scoring for the Diamondbacks.
The Cubs host the White Sox on Thursday afternoon with an earlier start time (2:05pm CDT). Travis Wood is scheduled to face Felipe Paulino in the fianl game of the spring at Cubs Park.