Cubs Drop 5-3 Decision to Brewers in Mesa
The Cubs left the bases loaded in the bottom of the 7th and in the bottom of the 8th, as a split squad of Milwaukee Brewers hung-on for a 5-3 Cactus League victory in front of a sparse crowd at Dwight Patterson Field at HoHoKam Park in cool & sunny Mesa, AZ, this afternoon.
Randy Wells got the start for the Cubs, and he pitched well, throwing two shutout innings (23 pitches - 14 strikes 3/2 GO/FO). He struck out one while allowing just two harmless singles, with one of the runners being erased when Wells induced Ryan Braun to rap into an inning-ending DP.
Competing with several others for a job in the starting rotation, Andrew Cashner followed Wells to the hill and struggled with his command, allowing two runs on three hits and a walk in 2.0 IP (42 pitches - 25 strikes). Cashner did not rack up any strikeouts today, but he did throw one wild pitch, and he also commited a throwing error on an errant pick-off attempt at 1st base.
Jay Jackson had an easy 1-2-3-4 inning (he had to get four outs thanks to a Jeff Baker dropped infield pop-up that prolonged the inning).
Kerry Wood had a poor outing, allowing two runs on three hits (a single, a double, and a triple) in one inning (19 pitches - 13 strikes). Wood's control was a bit out of whack in his "live" BP session at Fitch Park last week, and he just didn't look comfortable on the mound today, either.
Both John Gaub and (especially) Chris Carpenter had control issues. Gaub allowed a run on two hits, a walk, and a WP in the 6th, and while Carpenter did pitch a shutout inning in the top of the 7th, he walked two and threw 22 pitches (but only nine for strikes).
Sean Marshall had a 1-2-3 9th that featured outstandng defensive plays by SS Augie Ojeda (ranging behind 2nd base to corral a grounder seemingly headed for CF before making a strong throw to 1st to cut down the batter-runner) and CF Fernando Perez (a diving catch in right-center).
There wasn't a whole lot of Cub offense today. Tyler Colvin ripped a triple into the RF corner to score Reed Johnson (who had led-off the bottom of the 1st with a single) with the Cubs first run, Alfonso Soriano doubled and scored on a two-out line-drive RBI single by Scott Moore in the 6th, and pinch-hitter Bobby Scales walked with the bases loaded to force-in a run in the bottom of the 7th. (Bryan Lahair followed Scales to the plate and had a chance to perhaps tie the game or maybe even give the Cubs the lead, but he struck out swinging on a 3-2 pitch to close the inning and leave the bases loaded).
The Cubs loaded the bases again in the bottom of the 8th. Scott Moore and Welington Castillo lined singles to the outfield (both Moore and W. Castillo had two hits today), and after Fernando Perez walked with two outs, Augie Ojeda was robbed of what would have been a bases-clearing extra-base hit when Brewers speedy CF D'Vontrey Richardson made a fine running catch in right-center to close out the inning. The Cubs then went down quietly in the bottom of the 9th.
The Cubs play the San Francisco Giants at Scottsdale Stadium tomorrow.