Spring Training Game Eleven – Cubs (ss) 9, White Sox 2
WP – Jason Hammel (1-0) LP – Erik Johnson (0-1) Save – None
Anthony Rizzo drove in two with a bases loaded single in the first inning. Dexter Fowler homered. Jeimer Candelario and John Andreoli combined on six of the Cubs’ 15 hits. Jason Heyward scored a pair of runs. And Jason Hammel completed four scoreless innings as the Cubs beat the White Sox on Saturday afternoon in Mesa.
The Cubs broke out the bats against the White Sox pitching staff and scored nine runs on 16 hits. Jason Hammel’s performance is actually what stood out from Saturday’s split squad game against the White Sox.
Jason Hammel allowed just two hits over four scoreless innings and he struck out four of the 11 batters he faced in his second outing of the spring.
The Cubs offense would not allow Erik Johnson to settle in. Johnson made 27 pitches in the first inning as the Cubs sent eight to the plate. Johnson needed 24 pitches to record three outs in the second. Fowler, Heyward, Candelario and Rizzo just made him work.
The Cubs scored at least one run in the first five innings. And each starter had at least one hit by the end of the fifth inning.
The Cubs loaded the bases in the first inning after Dexter Fowler (2-for-3 with a home run and two runs scored) and Jason Heyward (1-for-3 with two runs scored) singled and Jeimer Candelario (2-for-3 with a double, a walk and a run scored) walked.
Anthony Rizzo (1-for-3 with two RBI) ripped a single into right that easily plated Fowler and Heyward. With runners on the corners and no outs, John Andreoli (4-for-4 with a triple, a RBI and a run scored) bunted toward first and the perfectly placed squeeze allowed Candelario to scamper in from third.
Dexter Fowler launched a solo homer in the second inning.
And the Cubs added a run in the third on a balk. Andreoli led off with a triple and with one down, Erik Johnson was called for a balk. Andreoli trotted in with the Cubs’ fifth run.
The Cubs scored another run in the fourth without a hit, thanks to excellent baserunning from Heyward with two outs.
Jason Heyward worked a walk with two outs and went to third on a single to left center by Jeimer Candelario, his second hit of the game. Candelario collected hits from both sides of the plate on Saturday afternoon. Lefty Dan Jennings uncorked a wild pitch that allowed Heyward to score with Rizzo at the plate.
The Cubs put the exhibition game away in the fifth on back-to-back doubles by Kris Negron (1-for-4 with a double and a RBI) and Munenori Kawasaki (2-for-4 with a double and two RBI) that scored three runs and made it a 9-1 game at the time.
Jason Hammel was really good Saturday. Consistent mechanics, appeared to repeat delivery well, he hit his spots and threw low strikes with good movement. Hammel had really good rhythm Saturday which was a key to his success in the first half a year ago.
Hammel completed four innings of shutout ball. Hammel gave up two hits, one was of the infield variety, and did not walk a batter. Hammel struck out four of the 14 batters he faced. Hammel made 13 pitches in the first inning, 15 pitches in the second and 11 in the third inning. Hammel finished his day by setting the White Sox down in order in the fourth inning.
Aaron Brooks replaced Hammel for the fifth inning. Brooks was charged with one unearned run on two hits with a walk and two strikeouts over two innings.
Jean Machi served up a long homer to Avisail Garcia in the seventh that accounted for the White Sox second run.
Felix Pena labored through a long eighth inning but did not give up any runs.
Brandon Gomes closed out the game with a scoreless ninth inning.
With Saturday afternoon’s win, the Cubs improved to 3-8 in the Cactus League.
The Cubs have another game on Saturday. Joe Maddon and the other half of his spring roster make the trip to Glendale to take on the Dodgers under the lights (8:05pm CST). Trevor Cahill is now scheduled to face Brandon Beachy.