Spring Training Game Twenty-Six – Cubs (ss) 18, Rockies 4
WP – Jake Arrieta (3-1) LP – Jonathan Gray (0-2) Save – None
Jake Arrieta shut the Rockies out for four innings and drove in four runs with a three-run homer and a double. The Cubs scored seven runs against Jonathan Grey and knocked him out of the game in the first inning. The offense kept hitting while the pitching staff held Colorado in check as the Cubs pounded the Rockies on Saturday afternoon in Mesa.
The Cubs scored 18 runs on 21 hits and put multiple runs on the board in five of their eight at bats.
Kris Bryant collected four hits in his first four at bats. Matt Szczur reached base three times and scored three runs. Addison Russell drove in two runs. Chris Coghlan was on base three times, scored twice and also drove in a run. David Ross had three hits in his six at bats. And two of the Cubs’ seven runs in the first inning scored on bunts.
Due to the long innings, Jake Arrieta had to finish building up his pitch count in the bullpen after he left the game.
Jake Arrieta survived a shaky first inning with help from the Cubs defense. Arrieta gave up back-to-back singles to Daniel Descalso and Corey Dickerson to start the game. Jonathan Herrera reportedly made a very nice pick on a grounder of the bat of Nolan Arenado and started a 4-6-3 double play. Arrieta retired Justin Morneau on a tapper back to the mound to end the inning.
Arrieta went on cruise control after the first inning and ended up completing four scoreless innings. Arrieta allowed just one hit over his last three frames with no walks and five strikeouts. Arrieta was lifted after four innings and threw 30 pitches in the bullpen before calling it a day. Arrieta’s final line on the afternoon: 0 runs, 3 hits, 0 walks, 5 strikeouts in 4 innings.
The Cubs pounded Jonathan Gray in the first inning after several Rockies’ miscues extended the inning. And the game plan in the first inning of hit ‘em off the wall, then bunt ‘em worked.
Anthony Rizzo (1-for-4 with a run scored) reached on an error by second baseman Charlie Culberson to start the first. After Matt Szczur (1-for-4 with a walk, a HBP and three runs scored) struck out swinging, Kris Bryant (4-for-5 with a double and three runs scored) just missed a home run to right.
The ball hit off the wall, Rizzo advanced to third and scored when Michael McKenry tried to pick him off third base. The ball hit Rizzo, he scored and Bryant moved up ninety feet on the poor decision by the Rockies’ catcher.
With the infield in, Chris Coghlan (1-for-2 with two walks, a RBI and two runs scored) walked. Addison Russell (1-for-5 with two RBI and a run scored) dropped down what was described as a safety squeeze. Russell bunted toward the mound. Gray bobbled the ball as Bryant ran in from third and scored.
Ryan Sweeney (1-for-3 with two RBI and a run scored) singled to right and plated Coghlan, 3-0 Cubs.
With Russell on third and one out, Joe Maddon called for a bunt. David Ross (3-for-6 with two RBI and two runs scored) got the bunt down as Russell scored from third on a suicide squeeze, 4-0 Cubs. And Jake Arrieta delivered the knockout blow. Arrieta worked a full count after failing to get the bunt down and smacked a three-run homer onto the berm in left center, 7-0 Cubs.
Jonathan Gray stayed in and struck out Jonathan Herrera before Walt Weiss went and got his future ace.
The Cubs scored three more runs in the second after Bryant led off the inning with a single to left. Coghlan singled to right. Bryant went to third on the play. With Russell at the plate, Coghlan stole second. Russell struck out swinging but Ryan Sweeney put the ball in play. Sweeney grounded out to second, Bryant scored and Coghlan moved up to third. David Ross singled in Coghlan and Arrieta hit a deep drive to center. The ball hit off the wall, Arrieta ended up at second as Ross scored, 10-0 Cubs.
The hits just kept on coming in the third. Matt Szczur walked and moved to third on a Bryant single to left. Coghlan grounded out to first, but Daniel Descalso dropped the throw from Justin Morneau. Everyone was safe, Szczur scored, 11-0 Cubs. Russell singled to right and plated Bryant, 12-0 Cubs.
The Cubs went up by two touchdowns and two extra points in the sixth.
Matt Szczur was plunked to start the inning. After Bryant struck out, minor leaguer Kevin Brown walked. Brown entered the game in the fourth as a pinch-runner for Chris Coghlan. Addison Russell lined out to left, but minor leaguer Jacob Hannemann singled to center, Szczur scored, 13-0 Cubs. Rex Brothers uncorked a wild pitch that allowed Brown to score from third before Ross struck out swinging to end the inning.
Drake Britton surrendered a hit in relief of Arrieta and picked up a strikeout in the fifth. Pedro Strop recorded the first two outs in the sixth, one strikeout, before Maddon went to the pen for Hector Rondon. The Cubs’ closer retired the only batter he faced, Justin Morneau, on a fly out to left.
The Rockies broke up the shutout in the seventh against Jason Motte. The veteran reliever struggled again and ran up his pitch count before turning the game over to a minor leaguer. Motte was charged with three runs on one hit with two walks. And the Rockies first run of the game scored on a towering homer by Matt McBride to left center off Motte.
The Cubs got the four runs Jason Motte and P.J. Francescon allowed in the top of the seventh back in the home half on run scoring hits by several minor leaguers.
Dan Vogelbach grounded into a 4-3 double play that allowed Carlos Penalver to score. Kevin Brown singled in Matt Szczur. And Willson Contreras doubled in Jeimer Candelario and Brown.
The Cubs make the trip to Surprise on Sunday afternoon to take on the Royals. As long as there are no delays, Edwin Jackson is scheduled to start and face Edinson Volquez.