Spring Training Game Twenty-Three – Cubs 2, Mariners 3
WP – Taijuan Walker (3-0) LP – Travis Wood (1-2) Save – Dominic Leone (2)
Travis Wood kept his team in the spring game. Wood allowed three runs over five innings but the offense did nothing against Taijuan Walker during his six innings on the mound as the Cubs dropped their third straight Cactus League game Wednesday night.
The Cubs put the tying and go ahead runs on base in the ninth inning after managing just four total baserunners over the first eight innings.
Arismendy Alcantara (2-for-3 with a run scored) singled to start the ninth and scored on a Matt Szczur (1-for-1 with a triple and a RBI) triple. Albert Almora (0-for-1 with a RBI) plated Szczur and made it a 3-2 game with a grounder up the middle. Mariners’ shortstop Chris Mariscal booted the ball, Almora reached and advanced to second when Mike Baxter singled with one out. But Jonathan Herrera flied out to left and Chris Valaika struck out swinging to end the game.
Taijuan Walker shutdown the Cubs for six innings Wednesday night with arguably the best pitching performance Maddon’s Men have seen this spring. Walker dominated a Cubs’ offense without Anthony Rizzo, Jorge Soler and Kris Bryant for six innings. Walker faced just one over the minimum. Walker gave up two hits, one an infield single in the second inning by Starlin Castro (1-for-3) and a walk while striking out six.
Miguel Montero (1-for-4 with a double) caught the entire game and collected a double in four trips to the plate. Travis Wood (0-for-1 with a walk) hitting eighth in Maddon’s lineup worked the Cubs only free pass in the game.
Travis Wood lasted five innings Wednesday night after limiting the damage in the first inning to one run. The Mariners loaded the bases with one out and scored only one run on a sacrifice fly by Kyle Seager. Wood retired the Mariners in order in the second and fourth before giving up two runs in the fifth.
Mike Zunino led off the fifth with a solo home run to right center. And Robinson Cano doubled in Austin Jackson.
Travis Wood allowed three runs on five hits with two walks and three strikeouts. Wood threw 81 pitches, 53 for strikes, in five innings.
The Cubs pen of Pedro Strop, Phil Coke and Hector Rondon kept the Mariners off the board over the last three innings. Strop walked a batter but struck out two of the four batters he faced. Coke gave up a hit and faced the minimum thanks to a slick double play turned by Arismendy Alcantara and Tommy La Stella on a ball hit by former Cubs catcher and pitcher John Baker.
Hector Rondon struck out two of the four batters he faced in the ninth. Rondon struggled with his command and issued another free pass.
Joe Maddon moved players around late in the game and inserted Junior Lake at third base in the seventh inning.
Arismendy Alcantara started the game at second and moved to shortstop in the seventh. Alcantara saw his first action at short in the Cactus League and looked rather comfortable back at the position. Tommy La Stella played the last two innings at second base after starting the game at third base.
The Cubs host the Angels at Sloan Park on Thursday night (6:05pm CDT). Eric Jokisch is scheduled to face Jered Weaver. ESPN is broadcasting the game that is expected to feature Kris Bryant in left field and both Mike Trout and Albert Pujols in Mike Scioscia’s lineup.