Olt and Baez Hit Back-to-Back Jacks, Cubs Fall to Rangers in Ten Innings – Rangers 7, Cubs 6

Spring Training Game Twenty-Two – Cubs 6, Rangers (ss) 7 – 10 innings

WP – Ryne Slack (1-0) LP – Marcus Hatley (1-2) Save – None

For the second time this spring, Mike Olt and Javier Baez hit back-to-back home runs. And for the second time this spring, the Cubs lost a night game in extra innings to a team from the AL West.

Mike Olt (1-for-2 with a home run, a sac fly, a walk and three RBI) and Javier Baez (2-for-5 with a home run, a double and a stolen base) showed off their power in the third inning with a pair of big flies off of Alexi Ogando. Olt hit a two-run homer just to the right of straight away center and Baez followed him with a long home run to right. The Cubs built up a 6-0 lead by the fourth inning that Jason Hammel and the bullpen could not hold.

Jason Hammel completed five innings Tuesday night with mixed results. Hammel wiggled his way out of early jams that finally caught up to him in the fourth and fifth innings. Hammel appeared to run out of gas in the fifth. Hammel gave up four runs on seven hits with two walks and two strikeouts. Hammel threw 78 pitches, 45 for strikes.

Alberto Cabrera was very good in his two scoreless innings. Cabrera threw strikes and retired all six batters he faced. Armando Rivero gave up a two-run homer to Jim Adduci in the eighth that tied the game at six. After Brian Schlitter worked his way out of a jam in the ninth to send the game to extras, Marcus Hatley could not pitch around a leadoff walk or the Cubs’ defense and was hung with the spring loss.

The Cubs scored five of their six runs with two outs in the third inning. Mike Olt and Javier Baez provided the highlights. But Brett Jackson (1-for-4 with a triple and a RBI) delivered a run scoring triple and Darnell McDonald (1-for-4 with a double and a RBI) doubled in a run.

Ryan Kalish (2-for-5 with a double and a run scored) had another good game at the plate and in the field. Kalish is making his case to break camp on the Cubs’ 25-man roster. Chris Coghlan (1-for-4 with a walk and a run scored) scored the Cubs’ sixth run on a sacrifice fly from Mike Olt.

Javier Baez played second base Tuesday night and committed his first error in two days. Baez made several plays in the field before and after the miscue.

With Tuesday’s extra innings spring loss, the Cubs slipped to 10-12 in the Cactus League.

Scoring Plays

After the Cubs loaded the bases with one out in the first inning and could not push across any runs, the game went to the third scoreless. Alexi Ogando struck out Chris Coghlan swinging and retired Donnie Murphy on a grounder to short. Ogando appeared to retire Kalish on a grounder to third. But Kevin Kouzmanoff could not handle the grounder that appeared to be tailing toward the third base line. Plus, Kouzmanoff knew he had to hurry with Ryan Kalish hustling down the line.

Mike Olt followed the error with a blast just to the right of straight away centerfield. Olt’s fourth home run of the spring put the Cubs up 2-0. Javier Baez made it 3-0 Cubs with a blast of his own. Baez went oppo (right field) for his fourth home run of the spring. Alexi Ogando gave up a single to Rafael Lopez. Darnell McDonald ripped a double over Michael Choice’s head in center. Lopez scored, 4-0 Cubs. Brett Jackson followed with a standup triple to the right field corner (1-2 pitch). McDonald scored, 5-0 Cubs. Jeimer Candelario popped out to right for the third out.

Alexi Ogando warmed up for the fourth inning. But he left the game after a visit from the trainer with an apparent arm injury. The Rangers announced later in the game that Ogando was fine, he just hit his pitch count after the 35-pitch third inning. Neftali Feliz replaced Ogando. Chris Coghlan led off the fourth with a single to right. Murphy flied out to right for the first out. Ryan Kalish singled to right. Rios’ throw to third got past Kouzmanoff. Coghlan held at third but Kalish advanced to second on the play. Mike Olt stepped in and drove a 1-2 pitch out to right center. Choice caught the ball. Coghlan and Kalish tagged. Coghlan scored, 6-0 Cubs. Baez popped out to center for the third out.

Kevin Kouzmanoff doubled to right with one out in the fourth. Jim Adduci followed with a triple to right center. Kouzmanoff scored, 6-1 Cubs. J.P. Arencibia blooped a single into right. Adduci scored, 6-2 Cubs. Bryan Petersen hit a tailor made double play ball to Baez at second. The ball rolled between his legs and into right field. With runners on the corners and one out, Hanser Alberto lined out to Candelario at third and Jurickson Profar grounded out to Coghlan at first to end the inning.

The Rangers kept chipping away at the Cubs lead in the fifth. Jason Hammel stayed in for his fifth inning of work and Texas made solid contact on him throughout the inning. Michael Choice led off with a single to right. Prince Fielder followed with a double to left center. With runners on second and third with no outs, Alex Rios hit a sac fly into center that plated Choice, 6-3 Cubs. Fielder advanced to third on the play and scored when Kouzmanoff lined a double to left. With the Cubs up 6-4, Adduci grounded out to second (3-1 pitch). Kouzmanoff advanced to third and was stranded when Arencibia lined out to right.

The game remained 6-4 Cubs until the eighth inning.

Armando Rivero took over for Alberto Cabrera in the eighth and gave up a leadoff single to Kevin Kouzmanoff. Jim Adduci stepped in as the tying run. Rivero kept throwing fastballs to Adduci and he finally timed one up. Adduci launched the tenth pitch of the at bat over the wall in right center … game tied at six. Rivero struck out Arencibia swinging. Rick Renteria went to his pen for minor leaguer Frank Del Valle. Josh Vitters did not catch a ball three feet into foul ground that gave Bryan Petersen an extended at bat. Del Valle caught Petersen looking for the out, so another misplayed ball by Vitters in left field did not cost his team. Del Valle retired Alberto on a flyout to right center to end the inning.

Marcus Hatley issued a leadoff walk to Jim Adduci in the tenth. J.P. Arencibia hit a smash toward short that Jeudy Valdez got a glove on but could not haul in. It was ruled a hit and the Rangers had two on with no outs. Bryan Petersen bunted both runners up ninety feet. Hatley intentionally walked Hanser Alberto. With the bases loaded, one out and the infield in, Profar hit a roller toward first. Chris Coghlan fielded the ball cleanly and threw to the plate to force Adduci. Luis Flores put the ball in his pocket. With the bases loaded and two out, Michael Choice hit a grounder toward third. Jeimer Candelario tried to tag the runner on his way to third. Candelario missed and threw late to first. Pinch runner Jose Cardona scored … exhibition game over.

Pitching

The Rangers had runners on base in the first three innings before breaking through in the fourth inning. Jason Hammel needed 43 pitches, 23 for strikes, to complete his first three innings of work. Hammel was missing his spots but was able to keep the Rangers off the board until the fourth inning. Hammel ended up going five innings with mixed results. Hammel allowed four runs on seven hits with two walks and two strikeouts on 78 pitches, 45 for strikes.

Alberto Cabrera was very good in his two innings of work. Cabrera’s mechanics have been a lot better this spring. Cabrera threw strikes with a consistent release point and retired all six batters he faced Tuesday night.

Armando Rivero has a big arm and can really light up a radar gun. Rivero consistently threw his fastball in the mid-90s on Tuesday … but Jim Adduci caught up to one and tied the game in the eighth inning.

Brian Schlitter and Marcus Hatley could see Wrigley Field before the season is over. Both relievers have good stuff. The results are not always there and that was the case for Hatley on Tuesday night.

The Cubs make the short trip to Scottsdale on Wednesday night to face the Rockies at Salt River Fields at Talking Stick. Carlos Villanueva is scheduled to face Franklin Morales.

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