Cubs lost 8-6 to the Giants today in front of a Hohokam single game record crowd of 13,024. Despite the outcome, this was a pretty well-played game for the Cubs until Jose Ascanio gave up 5 runs in the 9th.
Alfonso Soriano got things started quickly on the first pitch as he launched a Tim Lincecum offering into the left field berm. The Cubs would score two more in the first as Micah Hoffpauir legged out a triple off the centerfield wall. The Cubs would score another run in both the 4th and 5th inning, holding a 5-0 lead by the time most of the starters left. The Cubs staged a rally of their own in the bottom of the 9th, but left bags loaded as minor league call-up Dylan Johnston struck out to end the game. The Cubs left 13 runners on base today.
As Cy Young winner Tim Lincecum labored, Cubs Ryan Dempster pitched as if he was on cruise control, going 5 innings allowing 4 hits, no runs while striking out 4 Giants. The only nitpick with Dempster today was the fact that he came up to bat two times with Joey Gathright on first base and failed to get the sacrifice bunt down each time. This is the type of thing that will hopefully be worked on enough and corrected by the end of spring. The Cubs relievers didn’t fair nearly as well as Dempster except for Kevin Hart who pitched a scoreless 8th, striking out 2 of the 3 he faced. Chad Gaudin gave up 2 runs in the 6th, and Luis Vizcaino struck out three of the four batters he faced in the 7th but unfortunately the 4th batter, Jesus Guzman, hit a home run.
The real pitching debacle came as Jose Ascanio gave up 5 runs on 4 hits, including a grand slam by Giants minor league call-up Nick Noonan. Not good when a #82 without a name on his jersey pounds a game winning grand salami off you.
Defensively, Joey Gathright as we’ve been getting accustomed to seeing this spring made a sensational running somersaulting catch in the 5th inning. Micah Hoffpauir made a good pick up at 1st base on a hot grounder in the 9th. Giants 3rd baseman Pablo Sandoval got a nasty bad hop taking a hard grounder somewhere around his mouth and was down for quite a while before leaving the game. Mike Fontenot nearly took off Lincecum’s head with a rocket comebacker to the mound, Lincecum had to snap his head away quickly, or it would have been very ugly.
I saw ESPN’s Peter Gammon, Cubs Chairman Crane Kenney, writer George Will, and Lou Piniella kibitzing around the batting cage during BP. The Cubs are going to retire #31 for Ferguson Jenkins and Greg Maddux and Fergie was on hand to mark the news with a ceremonial first pitch today. We had a moment of silence before the start of the game as longtime Arizona resident, and former Cubs manager Whitey Lockman passed away yesterday at the age of 82. Lockman played 16 years in the Majors, 14 of them with the NY and SF Giants.
The Cubs will travel to Peoria tomorrow to take on the Mariners, and then back to Hohokam on Friday to play San Diego Padres. The game on Friday is also our annual food drive, so if you’re headed to the game bring non perishable food items to donate. Another note on Friday’s game, it starts at 1:05, apparently a published schedule had erroneously listed it as being a night game.
Fergie Jenkins being interviewed at Hohokam today