Game Thirty-Two – Cubs 6 Rockies 10
WP – Jason Grilli (1-0) LP – Randy Wells (0-1, BS 1) Save – None
The Rockies have consistently put an above average offensive team on the field year after year…and on Saturday afternoon their everyday lineup beat up Cubs’ pitching to the tune of 10 runs on 15 hits, six for extra bases.
Ryan Dempster left the game after six innings with a 6-4 lead despite struggling with his command. Dempster retired the Rockies in order only once and gave up four runs on eight hits with three walks and four strikeouts in six innings. Dempster helped his own cause in the fifth with a one-out standing triple to left center…he scored the Cubs last run on a single to center by Aaron Miles through a drawn-in infield.
Jeff Samardzija pitched a perfect seventh but Randy Wells and Kevin Hart probably punched their ticket to Iowa to start the season. Wells threw strikes, that was not his problem but he could not throw the out pitch he needed.
Seth Smith led off the eighth with a triple on a 1-2 pitch and scored on a single by Christian Colonel on a 0-2 pitch. The big hit of the inning came from Chris Iannetta, a 3-run shot to left on a 3-2 pitch after Wells was ahead 1-2 earlier in the at bat.
Randy Wells gave up five runs on five hits in 2/3 of an inning.
Kevin Hart replaced Wells and gave up a 2-run triple to Ryan Spilborghs. Wells and Hart surrendered six runs on seven hits without a strikeout in the eighth…five of the six runs was scored with two outs.
The Cubs received another big day at the plate from Micah Hoffpauir. He hit his fifth home run of the spring and drove in three more runs to run his Major League leading RBI total to 22. Hoffpauir doubled and hit a 3-run homer off Ubaldo Jimenez.
The Cubs had a big scare in the first inning. Ubaldo Jimenez hit Reed Johnson on his wrist. Johnson was knocked off his feet but stayed in the game and played a sensational right field that included two assists. Johnson threw out Todd Helton at second in the first and Ian Stewart at third in the sixth.
Aaron Miles (3-for-5 with two runs scored and a RBI) and Geovany Soto (2-for-4 with a double) had the other multi-hit games for Alan Trammell, who was filling in for a sick Lou Piniella. Ryan Dempster struggled with his command all afternoon…especially in the first inning. Dempster could not find a rhythm and missed his spots badly. He gave up three runs, all earned, in the first that included a solo home run by Garrett Atkins. Dempster threw 35 pitches, 18 for strikes.
In the second, Dempster worked around an infield single by Clint Barmes and a stolen base…the Rockies ran all afternoon on Dempster and were successful three times. Dempster did not allow the Rockies to tack onto their lead and threw eight pitches, six for strikes.
Reed Johnson’s assist in the third helped Dempster face the minimum. Todd Helton just missed a home run to right, Johnson played it perfectly off the wall and nailed Helton at second. Dempster threw 15 pitches, nine for strikes.
The Rockies broke through again in the fourth. Dempster issued a four-pitch walk to Ian Stewart to start the inning. Stewart stole second and advanced to third on a sacrifice bunt by Troy Tulowitzki. Mike Fontenot turned in a fine defensive play from the third base position to throw out Tulowitzki…who was bunting for a hit.
Chris Iannetta followed with a single to right on the first pitch from Dempster. Clint Hurdle played hit and run with Clint Barmes. Geovany Soto threw out Iannetta for the second out of the inning. Barmes reached and after Dempster issued his second walk of the inning, Ryan Spilborghs was called out on a check swing. Dempster threw 18 pitches in the fourth, nine for strikes.
Dempster retired the Rockies in order for the first time in the fifth. Dempster looked a lot more confident and finally found a rhythm. He threw only 12 pitches, eight for strikes.
With help once again from Reed Johnson, Dempster faced the minimum in the sixth on just 10 pitches, seven for strikes. Ian Stewart led off the inning with a double to left center. Tulowitzki flied out to right, Stewart tried to tag and advance to third but did not slide and Fontenot tagged him out…a good strong throw from Reed Johnson.
Jeff Samardzija retired the Rockies in order in the seventh on 15 pitches, 10 for strikes…and looked like the Shark from 2008, not the one that has pitched in Arizona this spring.
Ted Lilly will make his second spring start for the Cubs on Sunday against Mark DeRosa, Kerry Wood and the Cleveland Indians at HoHoKam. Lilly last started a game for the Cubs on February 27 in Surprise against the Rangers. Fausto Carmona is slated to make the start for the Tribe. Pat and Ron will broadcast the game on WGN Radio.