The Lake Show Powers the Cubs Over the A’s in Phoenix – Cubs 10, Athletics 6

Spring Training Game Twenty-Seven – Cubs 10, Athletics 6

WP – James Russell (1-0) LP – Jesse Chavez (4-1) Save – None

wflag-pub2014The Cubs hit six home runs on Sunday afternoon during the team’s last Spring Training game at Phoenix Municipal Stadium and topped the Athletics in the Cactus League.

Junior Lake (3-for-5 with three home runs and six RBI) and Luis Valbuena (2-for-5 with two home runs) hit back-to-back jacks in the sixth and ninth innings. Mike Olt (1-for-4 with a home run) hit a solo homer in the eighth. The Cubs hit six longballs on the day and now lead the majors with 33 homers this spring.

After not doing anything in the first five innings, the Cubs offense exploded from the sixth inning on. The Cubs scored five runs in the sixth highlighted by a three-run home run from Junior Lake, two in the seventh, one in the eighth and two more in the ninth. The Cubs scored 10 runs on 14 hits with six of those leaving the big yard in Phoenix.

Chris Coghlan (2-for-4 with a double, a RBI and a run scored) doubled in Darwin Barney (1-for-3 with a run scored) with the Cubs’ first run in the fifth and Ryan Roberts (2-for-4) collected two hits.

Jason Hammel really struggled Sunday afternoon. Hammel was not good as the Athletics squared him up rather well. Hammel appeared to struggle with his mechanics, had very little command and even the outs were hit rather hard. Oakland had runners on base throughout his entire outing. The A’s were 2-for-8 with RISP and left nine runners on base in five innings.

Jason Hammel allowed two runs on eight hits with three walks, a hit batsman and two strikeouts in 4 2/3 innings.

James Russell walked a batter in relief of Hammel before picking up the last out in the fifth. Alberto Cabrera was impressive again with a 1-2-3 sixth inning.

Wesley Wright was the victim of poor defense. Mike Olt committed two errors in the seventh (one fielding and one throwing) and Darnell McDonald fell down on the warning track that prolonged the inning. The A’s scored three unearned runs off Wright in the seventh on three hits.

Arodys Vizcaino struck out a batter and gave up a hit in his inning of work. Blake Parker gave up another run on two hits in the ninth.

With Sunday’s victory, the Cubs improved to 12-15 in the Cactus League.

Scoring Plays

The Athletics jumped on Jason Hammel in the first inning and if not for a double play, the A’s would have scored more than two runs in the first inning. Coco Crisp ripped Hammel’s first pitch of the game into center for a single.  John Jaso rapped into a 3-6-3 double play (3-1 pitch). Jed Lowrie crushed a 2-1 pitch. The ball split the gap in right center and Lowrie ended up at third with a two-out triple. Hammel hit Brandon Moss and put runners on the corners with two outs. Josh Reddick lashed the first pitch from Hammel back up the middle and into center. Lowrie scored, 1-0 Oakland. With runners on first and second, Alberto Callaspo blooped a 1-0 pitch into left. Moss scored, 2-0 A’s. Eric Sogard grounded a 2-1 pitch to Roberts at first base to end the inning. The A’s scored two runs on four hits with a HBP off of Hammel in the first inning.

Despite the fact the Athletics had runners on base throughout the first five innings of the game (A’s were 2-for-8 with RISP and left nine on base in five innings), the game remained 2-0 until the sixth inning.

Darwin Barney put together an excellent at bat to start the sixth inning that ended with a single to left off of the third baseman’s glove. Chris Coghlan followed with a double to left center. The ball split Crisp and Fuld which allowed Barney to score all the way from first base … 2-1 Oakland. Emilio Bonifacio blooped a single to left. Coghlan took a chance and advanced to third on the play. Junior Lake stepped in and crushed a 0-1 pitch from Jesse Chavez. The ball hit off the top of the wall in left, bounced straight up then landed behind the wall … 4-2 Cubs on Lake’s first dinger of the spring. Luis Valbuena followed and launched his fifth homer of the spring over the wall in right … 5-2 Cubs. Chavez retired Mike Olt (grounder to first) and Ryan Kalish (strikeout) before being replaced by Drew Pomeranz. Ryan Roberts singled to left but George Kottaras struck out swinging to end the inning.

Junior Lake gave the Cubs a 7-2 lead with a line drive, two-run shot in the seventh. After Darwin Barney reached on an error and Wes Darvill ran for him to start the inning, Drew Pomeranz struck out Coghlan swinging for the first out. Darvill took second when Darnell McDonald could not check his swing (3-2 pitch). Junior Lake crushed a 1-1 pitch from Pomeranz that got of the park in a hurry … 7-2 Cubs. Valbuena struck out swinging to end the inning.

Wesley Wright was the victim of awful defense in the bottom of the seventh. Jed Lowrie hit a roller toward third that Mike Olt fielded cleanly. But he airmailed his throw to first. Ryan Roberts made an excellent leaping catch and appeared to touch first before Lowrie. Brandon Moss singled to left. Chris Gimenez hit into a 6-4-3 double play. Lowrie advanced to third and scored on Olt’s second error of the inning. Olt tried to backhand the short-hop off the bat of Hiroyuki Nakajima and was not able to field the ball. Tyler Ladendorf followed and hit a routine fly to left center. McDonald appeared to camp under the ball but then stumbled and fell to the ground as he backed up. The ball hit on the warning track and hopped over the wall for a ground rule double. With runners on second and third with two down, Nate Freiman singled to center off of a diving Wes Darvill’s glove. Lowrie and Ladenorf scored, 7-5 Cubs. After a visit from Chris Bosio, Wright retired Billy McKinney on a tap back to the mound.

Mike Olt made it 8-5 Cubs with his fifth homer of the spring off of lefty Drew Pomeranz to start the eighth. Olt hit a towering blast over the wall in left on a 3-2 pitch.

Junior Lake and Luis Valbuena went back-to-back again in the ninth inning. Lake worked a 3-2 count against Fernando Nieve before launching a 3-2 pitch off the batter’s eye in centerfield. The ball traveled around 430 feet before it hit the wall. Valbuena followed with a solo homer to right … 10-5 Cubs.

The A’s made it a 10-6 game in the ninth against Blake Parker. Chris Gimenez lined out to short for the first out. Daniel Robertson singled to center and scored on a two-out double to right off the bat of Anthony Aliotti. Parker struck out Billy McKinney swinging to end the game.

The Cubs host the Padres under the lights at Cubs Park on Monday night (9:05pm CDT). Carlos Villanueva is scheduled to face lefty Eric Stults.

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Quote of the Day

"People who write about Spring Training not being necessary have never tried to throw a baseball." – Sandy Koufax