Spring Training Game Five – Cubs 6, Athletics (SS) 4
WP – Zac Rosscup (1-0) LP – Michael Ynoa (0-1) Save – Brian Schlitter (1)
With the game tied at three and one out in the eighth, Matt Szczur was hit by a pitch, stole second and scored on a single to center by Albert Almora (1-for-1 with a RBI and a run scored). Almora was along for the ride when Mike Olt, hitting for Nate Schierholtz, drilled a two-run home run over the Cubs’ pen beyond the left field wall. Olt’s first longball of the spring ended up being the difference in the game.
Anthony Rizzo (2-for-3 with a double and two runs scored) and Justin Ruggiano (2-for-2 with a double, a home run, a walk and three RBI) were the Cubs offense prior to the eighth inning. Rizzo doubled and scored on Ruggiano’s double in the first inning then was on first base, after reaching with a two-out single, when Ruggiano went yard against lefty Tommy Milone.
Nate Schierholtz (2-for-3 with a double) and Casper Wells (1-for-3) collected the Cubs other hits on the afternoon.
The Cubs scored six runs on nine hits, five for extra bases, two walks and one hit by pitch.
Kyle Hendricks struggled with his command in his first Cactus League start. Hendricks typically has very good command, but not on Tuesday. Hendricks walked three batters with two strikeouts in his two innings of work. The A’s managed only one run against Hendricks on one hit.
Carlos Pimentel tossed two innings of scoreless ball despite walking two batters. But it was Jonathan Sanchez that gave up the Cubs’ two-run lead in his two innings on Tuesday. Sanchez continued to struggle and gave up two runs on four hits with a walk and a strikeout in two innings. Neil Ramirez and Zac Rosscup were very good and kept the A’s off the board. Brian Schlitter allowed Oakland’s fourth run to score after his throwing error allowed Billy Burns to reach in the ninth.
The Cubs staff issued six walks and uncorked a wild pitch with seven strikeouts Tuesday.
Rick Renteria picked up his second win of the spring and the Cubs improved to 2-3 in the exhibition season.
Kyle Hendricks walked Billy Burns to start the game. The speedster stole second with Nick Punto at the plate. Hendricks struck out Punto swinging for the first out of the game. Josh Donaldson walked and Hendricks was in a jam with runners on first and second with one down. With Brandon Moss at the plate, Burns stole third and scored when Moss singled to center (1-2 pitch). Hendricks struck out Josh Reddick and Derek Norris flied out to Casper Wells in right to end the inning.
With the A’s up 1-0, Anthony Rizzo reached on a two-out bloop double to left off of Tommy Milone. Justin Ruggiano followed with a ground rule double to right center on a 1-1 pitch. Rizzo scored and tied the game at one. Ryan Sweeney worked a 3-1 count then was robbed of an extra base hit and a RBI when Sam Fuld made a diving catch in left field for the third out.
The game remained tied at one until the bottom of the third.
Anthony Rizzo reached on a single to right with two outs off Milone then jogged around the bases when Justin Ruggiano cranked a home run over the wall in left center … 3-1 Cubs. Sweeney flied out to right to end the third.
Jonathan Sanchez took the hill in the fifth with the Cubs up 3-1. Sanchez walked Billy Burns to start the inning. Sanchez struck out Nick Punto and retired Donaldson on a fly out to left. But Moss reached on a bloop single to left. Burns raced around second and ended up at third with two down. Josh Reddick blooped a 3-2 pitch into center. Burns scored, 3-2 Cubs. Sanchez retired Norris on a flyout to right to end the inning.
The A’s tied the game in the sixth after Sam Fuld led off the inning with a double to right over Casper Wells’ head. Sanchez retired Stephen Vogt on a fly out to right. Fuld tagged and advanced to third on the play. Eric Sogard ripped the first pitch from Sanchez back up the middle, through the drawn-in infield and into centerfield. Fuld scored, game tied at three. Kris Bryant made a good stop toward the line on a ball hit by Billy Burns. Sogard was forced at second but the Cubs had no chance at Burns. Sanchez uncorked a wild pitch with Punto at the plate, Burns advanced to second but was stranded when Punto popped out to Sweeney to end the inning.
The game remained knotted at three until the eighth inning.
Josh Vitters walked on four pitches to start the eighth. But Michael Ynoa picked him off first for the first out of a tie game in the eighth inning. Ynoa plunked Matt Szczur with a 2-2 pitch. Albert Almora stepped in for his only plate appearance in the game. Szczur swiped second on a 0-1 pitch to Almora then raced home when Almora singled to center … 4-3 Cubs. Jorge Soler put the ball in play on a hit and run and advanced Almora to second base with two down. Mike Olt then gave the Cubs a little breathing room. Olt crushed his first longball of the spring over the Cubs’ pen in left … 6-3 Cubs. Andrew Warner replaced Ynoa and retired Arismendy Alcantara on a flyout to right to end the inning.
Brian Schlitter made things difficult on himself in the ninth inning. Billy Burns chopped a ball off the plate that Schlitter tried to make a play on. Schlitter threw the ball away and Burns reached second on an infield single and the Cubs’ first charged error of the spring. Daniel Robertson singled to left. Burns held at third as Szczur missed the cutoff man. The Cubs’ second error in two batters put runners on second and third with no outs and brought the tying run to the plate. Schlitter struck out Shane Peterson swinging (3-2 pitch). Jose Martinez grounded out to short. As Jeudy Valdez was throwing out Martinez, Burns scored … 6-4 Cubs. Anthony Aliotti tapped back to Schlitter to end the inning … and the ballgame.
Kyle Hendricks did not have a good first outing of the spring. Hendricks struggled with his command and the three walks not only led to a run, they likely cut his outing short. Like Eric Jokisch, Hendricks threw in the Intrasquad game and should have gone another inning Tuesday. Hendricks allowed one run on one hit with three walks and two strikeouts in two innings.
Outside of the two free passes, Carlos Pimentel had a good outing. Pimentel kept Oakland off the board for two innings while striking out two batters.
So far the spring has not been kind to Jonathan Sanchez. After struggling in his first appearance, Sanchez surrendered two runs on four hits with a walk, a wild pitch and a strikeout in two innings.
Neil Ramirez and Zac Rosscup were very good. Ramirez gave up a single to the four batters he faced and picked up a strikeout. Rosscup had a very efficient 1-2-3 eighth inning.
Brian Schlitter settled down somewhat after the first two batters he faced reached base. And held on for the spring save.
The Cubs host the Rockies on Wednesday afternoon … Jeff Samardzija against Tyler Chatwood in Cactus League action.