Game Twenty-One: Cubs 12 Padres 6
The Cubs took the field on Wednesday night in Peoria for their first night game in 2006….let there be lights. The Padres added Mike Piazza in the off-season and that was the only mistake Greg Maddux made all night. Maddux was….well Maddux. Good defense and he just keeps nibbling around the plate. Maddux pitched 5 strong innings and while the box score will show 3 runs on 3 hits, he was much better than that. Maddux missed on a 1-2 count in the bottom of the 1st. After an infield single to Mike Cameron and a 4-pitch walk to Brian Giles, Maddux made a mistake with a high fastball and Piazza drilled it to left for a three-run homer.
Maddux has had a good spring and at one point on Wednesday night, he retired 9 in a row and 12 of the last 13 he faced and struck out 4. The third hit he allowed was a single to Woody Williams with 2 outs and then quickly retired Dave Roberts. More from the game…. The offense got off to an impressive beginning. Juan Pierre started the game with a bloop single, while that might not make the highlight reel….he made Woody Williams throw 6 pitches to start the game. He made a difference and made Williams work. Pierre stole second base and scored on a single by Todd Walker. Ramirez singled and Jones hit a sac fly to score Walker….manufactured runs….2-0 Cubs. John Mabry hit into a double play to end the inning. Pierre finished the night 1 for 4, Ramirez 2 for 2 and was hit by a pitch. Walker added an RBI in the 5th with a sac fly to score Greg Maddux after he led off the inning with a double.
The Cubs played well on Wednesday night. Good pitching, good defense and good execution. They never quit. Juan Pierre played well on defense; he robbed Bellhorn of extra bases when he crashed into the center field wall to make the catch. Pierre is really coming on as of late.
Dylan Johnston broke the tie game with a solo home run against Trevor Hoffman. Johnston is 18 years old and played in the Rookie League last season (here are Johnston’s stats from the Baseball Cube). Once the substitutions started the game was broken wide open. The Cubs scored 7 runs in the 8th inning with RBI’s from Dopirak, Ojeda, Chris Walker and Casey McGehee. Angel Pagan added a 2 for 2 night including a solo home run in the 9th inning….this guy might have a shot. The Cubs finished the night with 15 hits.
Ryan Dempster pitched the 6th inning and did well, but the most surprising switch of the inning was Ryan Theriot playing at first base. Dempster retired the Padres in order. Scott Williamson gave up a hit and struck out 2 in the 7th and was helped by an excellent diving catch in right field by Jacque Jones, again robbing Mark Bellhorn of at least a single. The only hit Williamson gave up was a single to Vinny Castilla.
Jae Kuk Ryu pitched the 8th inning and had his first trouble of the spring. Ryu faced the heart of the Padres order; all of their starters were still in the ballgame with the exceptions of Mike Piazza and Vinny Castilla. Ryu allowed 3 runs on 3 hits, including an infield single to Mike Cameron and a triple by Brian Giles, struck out one and walked one. Ryu came back in the 9th and retired the Padres in order with a strike out to end the game.
The Cubs did not commit an error on Wednesday night.
Here is the box score from Cubs.com
Thursday – The Seattle Mariners at HoHoKam, 2:05pm C.S.T.
The Cubs make the trip back to back to Mesa on Thursday to face the Mariners. Derrek Lee is scheduled to return to the lineup for the first time since the WBC. Glendon Rusch needs a good outing on Thursday to show the Cubs he deserves the start in the second game of the season. Rusch needs to work on his location and keep himself out of 1st inning trouble.
Will update if any news from Mesa becomes available….