Sean Jamieson and Max Stassi rapped RBI triples to highlight a three-run 1st inning and RBI singles to key a four-run 2nd, and Jordan Tripp and A. J. Kirby-Jones slugged solo home runs to provide the eventual margin of victory, as the Athletics withstood a late rally to edge the Cubs 10-9 in AZ Instructional League action at Connie Mack Field at the Papago Park Baseball Complex in Phoenix this morning.
The Cubs took a brief 1-0 lead in the top of the 1st inning, as lead-off man Rubi Silva lined a single over the shortstop's head, advanced to second on a sac bunt, and scored when the catcher threw the ball into the LF corner on a delayed steal where the third-baseman forgot to cover 3rd.
But Cubs starter Amaury Paulino was battered in the bottom of the 1st, as four of the first five men he faced ripped hits (two singles and two triples) before the young Dominican right-hander settled-down and struck out the last two A’s hitters to strand a runner at 3rd.
Tarlandus Mitchell made his first mound appearance in about five months, taking the hill for the Cubs in the bottom of the 2nd inning. Mitchell induced the first A’s batter he faced to hit a routine two-hopper to 3rd, but third-baseman Jeimer Candelario fumbled the ball for an error. Then after the next two batters were retired (a 5-4 FC and a K), Mitchell fell apart and surrendered four unearned runs on two hits, a walk, and a HBP, while also throwing two wild pitches that moved runners up into scoring position.
LHP Zac Rosscup (on the Daytona Cubs DL since June) pitched the third inning and two outs into the 4th, allowing two runs, including a Jordan Tripp solo HR. Rosscup also pulled the bonehead play of the day, allowing a run to score from 3rd base on a foul pop up out to the first-baseman. The ball came down near the Cubs on deck circle (first-base side) as both 1st baseman Dan Vogelbach and catcher Yaniel Cabezas chased the pop up, but Rosscup forgot to cover home as Sean Jamieson scored easily from 3B. Rosscup was then immediately pulled from the game.
Down 9-3 (with a Micah Gibbs double and a Shawon Dunston, Jr RBI single in the 2nd having plated the Cubs second run, and a Gibbs RBI single following consecutive singles by Yaniel Cabezas and Dan Vogelbach having knocked-in the third run in the 4th), the Cubs mounted a comeback with a five-run 6th off RHP Ryan Doolittle.
Rubi Silva (who had three hits today) roped a single through the box and into CF to lead off the inning, stole 2nd base (his second SB of the day), and, after Yaniel Cabezas walked, scored on a Dan Vogelbach RBI ground single to right. Taiwan Easterling then lined a one-out two-run triple over the centerfielder’s head to drive-in Cabezas and Vogelbach, before scoring on a Micah Gibbs sacrifice fly. Jeimer Candelario kept the inning alive with a two-out opposite-field hump-back single to left, and scored on a line-drive RBI single to right-center by Jeffrey Baez (in what was his U. S. debut). Down 10-8 after A. J. Kirby-Jones took Frank Del Valle deep in the bottom of the 7th, the Cubs scored what would be their final run of the day in the 8th to narrow the deficit to 10-9.
Javier Baez sliced an opposite field double into the RF corner to lead-off the inning, and took third when the A’s second-baseman fumbled the relay throw for an error. After Justin Marra (making his pro debut) struck out swinging (and looked over-matched doing it), Baez raced home on a Carlos Penalver 1-3 ground out (high chopper fielded by the pitcher, with the only play at 1st base). The Cubs then went down 1-2-3 in the 9th.
The defensive gem of the day for the Cubs was a sliding run-saving catch in short left-center (in traffic) by LF Taiwan Easterling. I've seen him make catches like this before, and it's the type of move a punt returner will make when fair-catching a short punt. It's probably fairly easy and comfortable for Easterling to make catches this way, since he did return punts when he played football at Florida State.
Here is today’s abridged box score (Cubs players only):
1. Rubi Silva, 2B: 3-4 (1B, K, 1B, 1B, 2 R, 2 SB, PO)
2. Javier Baez, DH #1: 1-3 (2-3 SH, K, K, 2B, R)
3a. Yaniel Cabezas, C: 1-1 (BB, 1B, BB, 2 R)
3b. Justin Marra, C: 0-1 (K)
4a. Dan Vogelbach, 1B: 2-3 (K, 1B, 1B, R, RBI)
4b. Carlos Penalver, SS: 0-1 (1-3, RBI)
5. Taiwan Easterling, LF: 1-4 (6-3, K, 3B, 2-3, R, 2 RBI)
6. Micah Gibbs, DH #2: 2-3 (2B, 1B, F-9 SF, 1-3, R, 2 RBI)
7. Jeimer Candelario, 3B-1B: 1-4 (3-1, 6-4-3 DP, 1B, P-6, R)
8a. SLOT WAS SKIPPED 1st TWO TIMES THRU BATTING ORDER
8b. Jeffrey Baez, DH-RF: 1-2 (1B, F-9, RBI)
9. Shawon Dunston, Jr, CF-DH: 1-3 (1B, 3-1, K, RBI, PO)
10. Eliecer Bonne, RF-CF: 0-3 (K, F-9, F-9)
11. Danny Lockhart, SS-3B: 0-3 (4-3, 4-3, 5-3)
1. Amaury Paulino: 1.0 IP, 4 H, 3 R (3 ER), 0 BB, 2 K, 25 pitches (17 strikes), 1/0 GO/FO
2. Tarlandus Mitchell: 1.0 IP, 2 H, 4 R (0 ER), 1 BB, 1 K, 1 HBP, 2 WP, 29 pitches (17 strikes), 2/0 GO/FO
3. Zac Rosscup: 1.2 IP, 3 H, 2 R (2 ER), 1 BB, 1 K, 1 HR, 1 GIDP, 30 pitches (17 strikes), 2/2 GO/FO
4. Jose Arias: 1.1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 2 K, 19 pitches (15 strikes), 1/1 GO/FO
5. Frank Del Valle: 2.0 IP, 2 H, 1 R (1 ER), 0 BB, 3 K, 1 HR, 26 pitches (18 strikes), 3/0 GO/FO
6. Andrew McKirahan: 1.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 0 K, 17 pitches (12 strikes), 0/3 GO/FO
1. 3B Jeimer Candelario - E5 (fielding error allowed batter to reach base safely)
2. 2B Rubi Silva - E4 (fielding error allowed batter to reach base safely)
Yaniel Cabezas 0-2 CS
ATTENDANCE: 19 (including Shawon Dunston, Sr)
WEATHER: Partly cloudy & breezy, with temperatures in the 90’s