Hoff-POWER Twice Just Good Enough for Tie
Micah Hoffpauir slugged two home runs to help rally the Cubs from an 8-4 deficit, but then grounded out with the winning run on third with two outs in the bottom of the 10th, leaving the Cubs and Brewers tied at 10 in what was the final Spring Training game for the Cubs in Arizona.
Knowing they will be facing each other next week in Chicago, both the Cubs and Brewers opted to use mostly a gaggle of minor league pitchers today (Ted Lilly probably threw in a minor league game versus the Giants AAA squad at Fitch Park), with the exception of LHP Sean Marshall and RHP Tim Lahey, both being "on the bubble" as far as gaining a spot on the Cubs Opening Day 25-man roster is concerned. And neither pitcher did much to help his cause this afternoon,
Marshall gave up one run on an RBI double, plus three walks and a wild pitch and no strikeouts in two innings of work, while Lahey went one inning-plus, throwing a 1-2-3 6th (3-1, 4-3, 1-3) before allowing a run on a walk and a single without retiring a batter in the 7th.
The Cubs scored first, plating a run in the bottom of the 1st on a two-out RBI single hammered to RF by Kosuke Fukudome, following a bloop single to right by Alfonso Soriano and a walk to Aramis Ramirez.
But the Brewers came back with a six-spot in the top of the 2nd off veteran RHP Cory Bailey (ex-BOS, ex-STL, ex-SF, ex-KC, ex-Tokyo Giants), on a walk, two singles, a double, a triple by Rickie Weeks, and a home run by Mike Cameron.
The Cubs got a bit closer in the bottom of the second, as Alfonso Soriano hit a towering two-out three-run HR completely out of the stadium in left-field, following a single by Mark DeRosa and a walk to Henry Blanco.
With the Cubs trailing 8-4, Hoffpauir (who had entered the game in relief of Fukudome in RF in the 5th) hit his first home run of the game leading off the bottom of the sixth, a high-ranging moonshot over the right-field fence off the canvas bullpen cover. Ronny Cedeno then clubbed a two-out solo home run off the scoreboard beyond the left-field fence to cut the Brew Crew lead to 8-6.
The Brewers scored a run in the top of the 7th off Lahey to go on top 9-6, but soon to be ex-Cub Matt Murton led off the bottom of the 7th with a double into the left-center field alley, and scored on a one-out double lined into the left-field corner by Aramis Ramirez. Hoffpauir then hit his second home run in two innings (and 4th this Spring Training) into the upper (visitors) bullpen beyond the RF fence, tying the score at 9.
Felix Pie made a possible game-saving catch in the top of the 9th with one out and a runner at second, sliding effortlessly between Mike Fontenot and Reed Johnson to nab a blooper and hold the potential lead-run at second.
The Brewers did take a 10-9 lead in top of the 10th off Cubs LHP Edward Campusano (walk, stolen base plus throwing error, and wild pitch), before the Cubs mounted their last-ditch rally in the bottom of the 10th.
With one out, Andres Blanco fisted an opposite field single down the left-field line. Reed Johnson then roped a single back through the box sending A. Blanco to 2nd. Murton flied out to deep center for the second out, but then Felix Pie and Casey McGehee worked two-out walks to force in the tying run and set the stage for Micah Hoffpauir to be the hero again.
But the Hoff-POWER mojo was gone, as the slugging Texan grounded weakly into a 4-6 FC to end the game with the score tied 10-10,
As we speak, the Cubs are probably at Sky Harbor Airport, preparing to embark on their annual End of Spring Training weekend trip to Las Vegas, where they will face the Seattle Mariners in their final two Spring Training games on Friday night and Saturday afternoon at cozy Cashman Field.
Then it's Opening Day 2008 at Wrigley Field Monday afternoon versus the Milwaukee Brewers.