Olt and Baez Hit Big, Big Flies … Cubs Lose to the Mariners in Extras – Mariners 8, Cubs 7

Spring Training Game Fourteen – Cubs 7, Mariners 8 – 10 innings

WP – Lucas Luetge (1-0) LP – Marcus Hatley (1-1) Save – None

The Cubs took a 7-4 lead into the ninth inning but Tsuyoshi Wada and Frank Batista could not hold the lead and the Mariners won the game in the bottom of the tenth on a single by Ty Kelly off of Marcus Hatley.

Mike Olt (3-for-4 with two home runs and three RBI) hit a pair of long home runs on Wednesday night. Olt’s first blast off of Randy Wolf traveled an estimated 430 feet. And his second home run ended up just short of the scoreboard in left. Both of Olt’s home runs tied the game at the time.

Javier Baez (1-for-3 with a home run) hit a mammoth home run off of Randy Wolf in the fourth inning that appeared to hit off the scoreboard in left. The ball traveled an estimated 460 feet.

The Cubs offense had a good game. The Cubs scored seven runs on 12 hits with four walks.

Ryan Kalish (1-for-3 with a run scored and a stolen base) scored a run and swiped his third bag of the spring. Albert Almora (1-for-2 with a run scored) continued his impressive Spring Training on the day he was assigned to minor league camp and John Baker (2-for-3 with a double and three RBI) gave the Cubs a 6-3 lead with a bases clearing double in the sixth inning. Emilio Bonifacio (1-for-4), Junior Lake (1-for-3), Chris Valaika (1-for-3 with a run scored) and Chris Coghlan (1-for-2 with a double) also collected hits.

James McDonald had a rough night. McDonald was all over the place in his 2 2/3 innings of work. McDonald struggled with his command and mechanics and if not for two double plays his line would look worse than it does. McDonald allowed two runs on two hits with five walks and no strikeouts. McDonald hit a batter and threw 64 pitches, only 26 for strikes.

James Russell made his spring debut and served up a solo home run to Brad Miller in his inning of work.

Rick Renteria used the new replay system for the first time Wednesday night. Renteria challenged a close play on a ball hit to the hole at short by Ryan Kalish in the fourth inning. The call was upheld and Kalish was out.

With Wednesday’s loss, the Cubs slipped to 6-8 in the Cactus League.

Scoring Plays

The Mariners took an early lead in the first inning against a wild James McDonald. After Abraham Almonte grounded out to Baez at short, McDonald issued a four-pitch walk to Kyle Seager. Seager swiped second with Robinson Cano at the plate. Cano doubled to right center on a 2-2 pitch. Seager scored, 1-0 Mariners. Justin Smoak flied out to right and Logan Morrison grounded out to second to end the inning.

Mike Olt tied the game in the top of the second on the first pitch of the inning from Randy Wolf. Olt crushed Wolf’s first offering. The ball ended up just to the left of straight away center … approximately 430 feet. Javier Baez grounded out to short. Ryan Kalish reached on an infield single to short. Chris Valaika followed with a single to left. Christian Villanueva stepped in with runners on first and second with one out. Kalish stole third but Villanueva rolled into a 4-6-3 double play to end the inning.

The Mariners took the lead right back in the bottom of the second. McDonald walked Dustin Ackley (3-2 pitch) to start the inning. Michael Saunders grounded out to first. Ackley advanced to second on the play. McDonald hit Mike Zunino. With two on and one out, Brad Miller singled to left. Ackley scored, 2-1 Mariners. McDonald walked Almonte to load the bases with one out. Kyle Seager smoked a 3-2 pitch back up the middle that found Javier Baez … 6-4-3 double play, inning over.

The game remained 2-1 Seattle until the fourth inning.

Randy Wolf took the hill for the fourth and retired Mike Olt on a pop out to left (3-2 pitch). Javier Baez stepped in and Wolf started him out with two breaking balls. Baez worked the count back to even then mutilated Wolf’s next pitch. The ball appeared to hit the scoreboard in left and traveled an estimated 460 feet … game tied at two. Ryan Kalish grounded out to short. The throw from Brad Miller to Justin Smoak was very close and Rick Renteria challenged the play. The call was upheld and Valaika popped out to short to end the inning.

The Mariners took the lead right back in the home half of the fourth. James Russell made his spring debut and picked up two quick outs. Saunders flied out to left center and Zunino struck out swinging. Brad Miller launched a 2-2 pitch over the wall in right center … 3-2 Mariners. Russell retired Almonte on a grounder to third to end the inning.

The Mariners took the 3-2 lead into the sixth inning.

Charlie Furbush replaced Fernando Rodney for the sixth inning and retired Jorge Soler on a flyout to right. Mike Olt launched his second home run of the game, a solo shot that tied the game at three. Baez was caught looking at a 1-2 pitch for the second out. The Mariners then forgot how to catch the baseball. Ryan Kalish reached on an error by Jesus Montero at first base. Chris Valaika then appeared to pop out to second. But Ty Kelly whiffed on the pop up at second. Kalish advanced to third and Villanueva walked to load the bases with two outs. John Baker doubled to right. Kalish, Valaika and Villanueva scored, 6-3 Cubs. Bonifacio grounded out to second to end the inning.

The Mariners got one of the runs back in the bottom of the sixth against Dallas Beeler. Dustin Ackley led off the sixth with a single to right. Michael Saunders doubled to right center. Ackley scored, 6-4 Cubs. Beeler retired John Buck on a flyout to right. After Brad Miller reached on catcher’s interference (Eli Whiteside), Almonte grounded into a 6-4 fielder’s choice and Willie Bloomquist fouled out to first to end the inning.

Mike Olt wrapped up his big night in the seventh inning. Albert Almora led off the seventh with an infield single to the hole at short off of Ramon Ramirez. Jorge Soler walked. With runners on first and second with one out, Mike Olt ripped a 3-1 pitch through the hole at short and into left field. Almora scored, 7-4 Cubs. Josh Vitters ran for Olt at first base. Lloyd McClendon went to his pen for Logan Kensing. Logan Watkins rolled into a 4-6-3 double play and with Soler at third, Eli Whiteside popped out to second for the third out.

The game remained 7-4 Cubs until the bottom of the ninth.

Tsuyoshi Wada took the hill in the ninth for this second inning of work. Wada retired Bloomquist on a flyout to center for the first out. Ty Kelly walked. Jesus Montero doubled to left. Kelly held at third with one out. Xavier Avery hit for Logan Morrison and struck out swinging (foul tip). Stefen Romero walked to load the bases. James Jones went the other way (left field) with Wada’s first pitch. Kelly scored, 7-5 Cubs. With the bases loaded and two down, Renteria went to his pen for minor leaguer Frank Batista. John Buck blooped a single into center. Montero and Romero scored and tied the game at seven. With two on and two down, Batista struck out Chris Taylor swinging to end the inning.

Marcus Hatley gave up a leadoff single to Abraham Almonte in the tenth inning. McClendon called for a hit and run with Bloomquist at the plate. Willie Bloomquist chopped the ball in the vacated spot at second. Almonte ended up at third and scored on a single to left off the bat of Ty Kelly.

Pitching

James McDonald had another bad outing. McDonald struggled with his command and mechanics throughout his long 2 2/3 inning start. McDonald missed high at the beginning of his outing then low as his outing progressed. To put it simply, McDonald was all over the place. McDonald gave up two runs on two hits with five walks, no strikeouts and he hit a batter. McDonald threw 64 pitches only 26 for strikes.

James Russell made his spring debut and threw strikes. Russell surrendered a solo home run to Brad Miller. Russell threw 18 pitches, 15 for strikes.

Dallas Beeler was solid again. Beeler gave up one run on four hits with a walk and no strikeouts in three innings of work. Beeler had good command, hit his spots and threw 43 pitches, 28 for strikes.

Tsuyoshi Wada was very good in his first inning of work in the eighth. Wada retired all three batters he faced. Wada struggled with his command in the ninth and was lifted before he could record three outs. Wada ended up being charged with three runs on two hits with two walks and three strikeouts in 1 2/3 innings.

Thursday is the Cubs only day off in the Cactus League. The games resume Friday afternoon when the Dodgers travel to Mesa. Kyle Hendricks is scheduled to face Josh Beckett.

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