Spring Training Game Fourteen – Cubs 4 White Sox 3
WP – Ryan Dempster (1-0) LP – Mark Buehrle (0-2) Save – None
Ryan Dempster became the first Cubs’ starter to complete five innings of work this spring. Dempster set the bar Friday afternoon in Glendale for the pitchers that followed. Dempster tossed five innings of shutout ball, surrendered only two hits, walked one, hit a batter and struck out six.
Sean Marshall, Thomas Diamond and Scott Maine kept the shutout intact. The Cubs appeared to be on their way to the first team shutout of the spring. But a misplayed ball by Blake DeWitt opened the door for the White Sox in the ninth. The Sox plated all three runs in the ninth against Jeff Samardzija with the big hit being a two-run homer by Lastings Milledge.
Carlos Pena, Geovany Soto and Jeff Baker led the Cubs offense. Baker started the game with the first of his two doubles on the afternoon and scored the game’s first run on a RBI single by Geovany Soto. Baker finished his afternoon 2-for-3 with two doubles and a run scored.
Carlos Pena entered play Friday 2-for-17 with one RBI this spring … and the Cubs’ first baseman doubled his hit total against the Sox. Pena drove in two of the Cubs’ four runs and led off the second with his first longball in a Cubs’ uniform. Pena added a RBI single in the third.
Brett Jackson added to his spring resume with a RBI double in the top of the ninth. Jackson’s RBI ended up being the difference in the exhibition game.
For as good as the Cubs offense was against many of the Sox top hurlers, Friday was all about the pitching for the Chicago Cubs.
Even in Spring Training it is a good day when the Cubs beat the White Sox … Friday began on a very positive note for the Cubs. Jeff Baker led off the game by ripping Mark Buehrle’s first pitch into the left field corner. Starlin Castro put together a very good at bat and worked a walk. Marlon Byrd struck out looking on a 3-2 pitch for the first out.
Geovany Soto worked the count to 3-2 before knocking a basehit up the middle and into center. Baker scored … 1-0 Cubs.
With runners on first and second with one out, Tyler Colvin flied out to right center … and Alfonso Soriano flied out to the wall in left, he just missed a three-run shot against Buehrle.
Ryan Dempster hit Alejandro De Aza on a 0-1 pitch to start the bottom of the first. Ozzie Guillen called for a hit and run with Gordon Beckham at the plate. Beckham hit back to Dempster but De Aza advanced to second on the play.
Adam Dunn lined out to Jeff Baker. The Cubs were in the shift and De Aza misread the ball. Baker doubled off De Aza to end the inning. Dempster faced the minimum in the first on just seven pitches, four for strikes.
Carlos Pena led off the second with his first home run of the spring. After Pena’s dinger, Marquez Smith singled and advanced to third on Jeff Baker’s second double of the game. With runners on second and third with one out, Starlin Castro tapped out to Buehrle and Marlon Byrd popped out to right to end the inning.
Dempster gave up a hit in the second but no runs and threw just nine pitches, seven for strikes.
The Cubs made it 3-0 in the third. Tyler Colvin reached on a one-out walk and advanced to third on a fielding error by Gordon Beckham. Alfonso Soriano reached on the miscue and advanced to second on Carlos Pena’s RBI single. Colvin scored the Cubs’ third run of the game. Luis Montanez hit into a 1-6-3 double play to end the top of the third.
If not for miscommunication between Marlon Byrd and Alfonso Soriano, Ryan Dempster would have retired the Sox in order in the third. Instead Dempster gave up a double to De Aza. After a wild pitch advanced De Aza to third, Beckham lined out to short to end the inning.
Dempster walked Paul Konerko in the fourth but threw only 14 pitches, nine for strikes. The Cubs Opening Day pitcher struck out the side in the fifth to end his outing. Dempster threw 17 pitches, 10 for strikes in the fifth and ended his day by striking out the last four batters he faced.
Sean Marshall put together another boring inning. Marshall issued a two-out walk to Adam Dunn but did not allow a hit and struck out a batter.
Thomas Diamond had his best outing of the spring. The Sox hit two deep fly balls and Diamond walked a batter and gave up an infield single. But Friday was by far his best effort.
With the injury to John Grabow, Scott Maine’s chances of breaking camp with the big league team have increased. Scott Maine was solid again Friday and retired the Sox in order in the eighth on 13 pitches, eight for strikes.
The Cubs tacked on an important run in the top of the ninth. Blake DeWitt reached on a two-out double and scored on a double to left by Brett Jackson.
The Cubs won their second Cactus League game in a row behind another solid effort by the pitching staff … and just enough offense.
The Cubs play two split squad games over the weekend. Mike Quade will manage the squads in Las Vegas that face the Reds on Saturday and the Dodgers on Sunday. Pat Listach will call the shots in Mesa against the Reds on Saturday and the Diamondbacks on Sunday afternoon.
Carlos Silva will get the start Saturday in Mesa and James Russell will make his first start of the spring Saturday in Las Vegas. Dusty Baker will counter with Mike Leake (Las Vegas) and Homer Bailey (Mesa).