Spring Training Game Twenty – Cubs 12, Mariners 10
WP – Eric Jokisch (1-0) LP – Felix Hernandez (0-1) Save – Hector Rondon (1)
Kris Bryant hit two home runs, one off Felix Hernandez, and drove in five runs. Addison Russell collected two more spring hits, one a two-run homer off Felix Hernandez and Welington Castillo hit the Cubs’ fourth dinger of the day as the Cubs beat the Mariners on Saturday afternoon at Sloan Park.
The Cubs jumped on Felix Hernandez early in the Spring Training game and knocked the Mariners’ ace out before he could complete three innings. Hernandez was charged with six runs, all earned, on six hits with a walk and two strikeouts in 2 2/3 innings. Four of those six runs scored on two swings … a Kris Bryant two-run blast in the second and an Addison Russell two-run homer in the third.
The Cubs hit the ball all over the yard Saturday afternoon and scored 12 runs on 16 hits, eight for extra bases, with four walks and nine strikeouts.
Defensively, the Cubs were shaky at times and that continues to be an area Joe Maddon and his staff must clean up soon or the extra outs the players are giving the opposition in the spring are going to cost the team games when the season starts.
While Kris Bryant was busy at the plate putting on a show with the two blasts, Bryant returned to third base and made the plays on all of the balls that were hit to him. And Bryant even started an around the horn double play that bailed out Eric Jokisch. Bryant played five innings and had four chances at third base.
Javier Baez (1-for-4 with a stolen base, a run scored and two strikeouts) led off the first with a single to left and swiped second with Dexter Fowler (0-for-3 with a walk and a run scored) at the plate. Fowler grounded out to second, Baez advanced to third on the play and trotted home when Kris Bryant (2-for-2 with two home runs, a walk and five RBI) launched a 2-2 pitch from Hernandez over the wall in left. Bryant’s seventh Cactus League homer gave the Cubs a 2-0 lead.
The Cubs added on in the second after Chris Coghlan (2-for-3 with a RBI and a run scored) reached on an infield single. Welington Castillo (2-for-3 with a double, a home run and two RBI) worked a 3-2 count before dumping Hernandez’s next pitch into center. Austin Jackson misplayed the ball before it bounced away from him. Coghlan scored and Castillo ended up at second. Eric Jokisch grounded out to Hernandez, Castillo advanced to third but was stranded when Baez struck out swinging to end the inning.
The Mariners tied the game in the top of the third on three unearned runs, and the Cubs went back to work against Hernandez in the home half.
Kris Bryant walked with one out (3-2 pitch) and was forced at second when Jorge Soler (0-for-3 with a run scored) grounded back to the mound. Anthony Rizzo (1-for-2 with a double, a walk, a RBI and two runs scored) ripped a 2-2 pitch into left center. Soler scored and Rizzo jogged home when Addison Russell (2-for-3 with a home run and two RBI) pulled a 1-1 pitch from Hernandez over the wall in left. The Cubs went up 6-3 and knocked Hernandez out of the game.
The Cubs poured it on the fourth, scored five times and seemingly put the exhibition game out of reach.
Veteran right hander Kevin Correia started the fourth and Welington Castillo greeted him with a solo homer to right. Minor leaguer Pin-Chieh Chen hit for Blake Parker and collected a hustle double to left. After Baez flied out to the track in right, Fowler worked a walk and put runners on the corners for Bryant.
Kris Bryant recorded his third multi-homer game of the spring when he crushed a 2-2 pitch from Correia. The ball cleared the wall in left center and his three-run shot gave the Cubs a 10-5 lead. Anthony Rizzo worked a walk and knocked Correia out of the game.
Addison Russell singled to center (3-2 pitch) off new Mariners’ pitcher Kody Kerski. Rizzo stopped at third. Chris Coghlan singled to center and plated Rizzo to cap the Cubs’ five-run fourth inning.
The Cubs last run of the afternoon came in the eighth and gave Hector Rondon a little spring breathing room for the ninth inning. Mike Olt (2-for-2 with a run scored) singled and scored on a Kyle Schwarber (1-for-2 with a double) to right.
Eric Jokisch had a mixed outing Saturday. Jokisch struggled with his command in the first inning after striking out Austin Jackson to start the game. Jokisch allowed Seattle to load the bases on a walk (Rickie Weeks), a single (Robinson Cano) and a hit by pitch (Nelson Cruz). But after a visit from Chris Bosio, Jokisch got the groundball he needed from Carlos Rivero … 5-4-3 inning ending double play.
Jokisch retired the side in order in the second but could not pitch around Dexter Fowler losing a ball in the sun and an error by Jorge Soler in the third. The M’s scored three times and tied the game on a long homer to center off the bat of Nelson Cruz.
Eric Jokisch gave up three runs, all unearned, on three hits with a walk, a HBP and two strikeouts in three innings.
Blake Parker didn’t improve his situation. Parker had another rough outing and allowed two runs on three hits in the fourth.
Phil Coke completed another scoreless inning. But Neil Ramirez ran into trouble in the sixth and could only record one out before he hit his pitch count limit. Ramirez allowed two runs on two hits and a walk. Minor leaguer Fernando Cruz picked up the final two outs.
Pedro Strop was lights out in the seventh, three up and three down with a pair of strikeouts.
The Mariners scored three runs on a standup, inside the park homer off the bat of Austin Wilson in the eighth and cut the Cubs lead to 11-10. Junior Lake tried to make a diving catch, didn’t get a glove on the ball, it rolled all the way to the center field wall and Wilson circled the bases. All three runs were charged to minor leaguer Andres Santiago.
Hector Rondon was not sharp in the ninth. Rondon gave up a hit and walked a batter before recording the 27th out of the game.
The Cubs host the Padres at Sloan Park on Sunday afternoon. Jason Hammel is scheduled to face James Shields.