Spring Training Game Twenty – Cubs 5, Royals 2
WP – Jon Lester (1-0) LP – Ian Kennedy (0-1) Save – Manny Parra (1)
Jon Lester got his work in with a good start, but Sunday was all about the Cubs’ offense. A majority of Joe Maddon’s every day lineup made Ian Kennedy work early and broke through with a four-run fifth inning that was the difference in the practice game.
The Cubs scored two runs on sacrifice flies and two on a homer from Jorge Soler. Offensively, the Cubs played fundamental baseball Sunday afternoon.
Dexter Fowler (1-for-2 with a triple, a walk, a HBP and two runs scored) and Jason Heyward (1-for-3 with a sac fly, two RBI and a run scored) gave the Cubs a 1-0 lead in the third. Fowler tripled to right and scored when Heyward hit a deep fly to right center that Reymond Fuentes tracked down.
The Royals scored single runs off Jon Lester in the fourth and fifth innings. Ian Kennedy took a 2-1 lead in the bottom of the fifth that disappeared before the Royals could record three outs.
Juan Perez (1-for-2 with a run scored) batted for Lester and singled to right. Kennedy hit Fowler and put runners on first and second with no outs. Ned Yost thought that was enough for Kennedy and went to his pen for lefty David Huff with Heyward due up.
Jason Heyward ripped a single into right. Perez scored and tied the game at two.
Fowler went to third on the play. With runners on the corners and no outs, Kris Bryant (0-for-3 with a walk) fouled out to first.
Anthony Rizzo (1-for-2 with a SF RBI and a walk) just missed a three-run homer to center field. Rizzo settled for a 400-foot sac fly that gave the Cubs the lead. Fowler tagged and scored, 3-2 Cubs. On the play, Heyward tagged and moved up 90 feet.
Jorge Soler (1-for-3 with a home run and two RBI) has four hits this spring, three home runs and a double. Soler hit a two-run shot to left. His third longball was a rocket and got out of Sloan Park in a hurry. Soler gave the Cubs a 5-2 lead.
Addison Russell went 1-for-3 and Heyward finished his afternoon in center field … the first action in center field for Heyward in a Cactus League game.
The Cubs scored five runs on seven hits with two sac flies and three walks.
Jon Lester had a good outing in his second Cactus League start. Lester completed five innings and allowed two runs, one earned, on five hits with a walk and four strikeouts. Lester committed another throwing error and let Rizzo handle a bunt he should have made the play on in the fifth inning. The Cubs were charged with two errors that gave the Royals their second run in the fifth.
Jon Lester had a better rhythm than in his first Cactus League start but showed once again he has work to do with his defense.
Pedro Strop and Hector Rondon pitched two perfect innings in relief of Jon Lester. Strop retired the side in order in the sixth. Rondon struck out two of the three batters he faced in the seventh. Rondon was extremely happy with his outing.
Clayton Richard surrendered two hits in the eighth, but that was all off the lefty.
Maddon used Spencer Patton and Manny Parra in the ninth to close it out. Patton walked one of the two batters he faced. Parra gave up a hit before striking out Dusty Coleman swinging to end the game.
With Sunday’s win, the Cubs improved to 6-13-1 in the Cactus League.
• Box Score from Yahoo Sports
Monday is an off-day for the Cubs in the Cactus League. John Lackey will get his work in on the backfields in a minor league game.
The Cubs travel to Goodyear on Tuesday afternoon (3:05pm CDT) to take on the Reds. Jason Hammel is scheduled to face Alfredo Simon.