Spring Training Game Nineteen – Cubs 10, White Sox 7
WP – Brian Schlitter (1-1) LP – Matt Albers (0-1) Save – None
Arismendy Alcantara hit one of four Cubs’ home runs on the day, a two-run shot in the seventh that broke a 5-5 tie and gave the Cubs the lead for good. Tommy La Stella collected two hits, including a triple and Albert Almora reached base twice and scored a run as the Cubs beat the White Sox on Friday afternoon in Glendale.
Joe Maddon didn’t exactly run out his everyday lineup Friday against the White Sox, but several of the players that figure to be on the Opening Day roster kept playing the game after being down early.
David Ross (1-for-3 with a home run and two RBI) put the Cubs on the board in the second and cut into the Sox 3-0 lead with a two-run homer to right. Albert Almora (2-for-4 with a run scored) kept the inning with a two-out single.
The Sox tacked on in the third and took a 4-2 lead into the sixth. The Cubs scored three times in the sixth and grabbed a short-lived one run lead.
Tommy La Stella (2-for-4 with a triple and two runs scored) singled to start the sixth. Arismendy Alcantara (1-for-2 with a home run, two walks and two RBI) walked. Ryan Sweeney (0-for-4 with a run scored) rolled into a 4-6 force that should have been a double play, but Micah Johnson bobbled the ball. With runners on the corners and one down, Junior Lake (1-for-4 with a double, two RBI and a run scored) doubled to left center. La Stella and Sweeney scored and tied the game at four. Lake scored from third on a wild pitch by Jairo Asencio and gave the Cubs a brief 5-4 lead.
The Sox tied the game at five in the home half of the sixth, but the Cubs took the lead right back, and for good, in the seventh.
Tommy La Stella led off the seventh with a triple to right. The ball hit off the top of the wall and just missed leaving the yard. Arismendy Alcantara did not miss and blasted a homer to right off Matt Albers that gave the Cubs a 7-5 lead.
The Cubs added three runs in the ninth off former Cubs’ reliever Zach Putnam. Taylor Teagarden (1-for-1 with a home run) went opposite field on Putnam and gave the Cubs an 8-5 lead. Chris Valaika walked and jogged around the bases when Anthony Giansanti (1-for-1 with a home run and two RBI) took Putnam deep to left center. Giansanti spent the day with the big league team up from minor league camp and his two-run shot put the Cubs up by five runs, 10-5.
The Cubs scored 10 runs on nine hits (four home runs) and two walks. Maddon’s men struck out 10 times and finished the game 2-for-3 with RISP and left only two runners on base.
Travis Wood gave up his share of hits and then some to the White Sox every day lineup during his 4 1/3 innings on Friday afternoon. The Sox scored three runs in the first inning on five straight hits, but didn’t really square up Wood during the inning. As Len Kasper said on the radio side, the Sox hit ‘em where they ain’t. Wood appeared to struggle with his mechanics and an inconsistent release point led to several balls being up in the zone. When Wood threw unhittable strikes he did not get the calls and appeared to get squeezed on several pitches.
Wood, as the cliché goes, got his work in but gave up four runs on 11 hits in 4 1/3 innings. The good news, Wood did not walk a batter and he struck out two. The White Sox had plenty of opportunities to put the spring game out of reach but were unable to cash them in (6-for-15 with RISP, eight left on base).
Brian Schlitter took over for Wood with one out and two on in the fifth. Schlitter got the groundball he needed off the bat of Avisail Garcia. The Cubs turned a 6-4-3 double play and the game went to the sixth with the Cubs trailing by two runs. The Cubs scored three runs in the top of the inning and Schlitter stayed on for the sixth.
The Cubs defense let Schlitter down. After a leadoff single by Alexei Ramirez, Conor Gillaspie rolled one to Alcantara at second. Alcantara bobbled, had only one play and that was to first for the out. Ramirez moved to third on a groundout and scored on a Micah Johnson single to left.
Jason Motte pitched a scoreless inning and gave up a walk in the seventh. And Joseph Ortiz pitched a 1-2-3 eighth, but Zac Rosscup struggled again in the ninth. The White Sox scored two runs on two hits and two walks in the ninth off Rosscup as he had trouble throwing strikes. Rosscup eventually picked up the 27th out to end the game.
Lefty Eric Jokisch faces Felix Hernandez and the Mariners on Saturday afternoon at Sloan Park.