Cubs fans got an exciting finish to their 2009 Cactus League Season as Reed Johnson scored on an Andres Blanco hit in the bottom of the 9th giving the Cubs a 9-8 victory over the Cleveland Indians. 7,933 came out on another beautiful Arizona day to boost the Cubs record setting Hohokam season attendance to 203,105 in 19 games.
Neither team had their full compliment of starters in the today’s lineup, which for the Cubs meant not facing Mark DeRosa again. Of course, many of the Cubs big guns didn’t play either, including D-Lee, A-Ram, Geo, and The Game (Milton). That didn’t stop the Cubs from scoring 7 runs in the first two innings, highlighted by an Alfonso Soriano HR in the 1st, and a bases clearing triple from Koyie Hill in the 2nd. Joey Gathright was 2 for 4 and walked, stole 2nd, and scored on Mike Fontenot’s base hit in the 4th. Koyie Hill was 2 for 3 and leaves the Cactus League with a .392 BA.
Ryan Dempster got the start went 4 innings giving up 3 runs on 5 hits, two of them HR’s, but also struck out 7 Indians with no walks. Chad Gaudin was not real sharp giving up 3 runs on 6 hits in 2 innings. Carlos Marmol, Chad Fox and David Patton all worked an inning with Patton having the least success, blowing the save by giving up run on 3 hits in the 9th.
Ryan Dempster got a hit in the Cubs’ big 2nd by basically flinging his bat at the ball dumping it into right field. Joey Gathright is showing that he has more than just speed to offer, however his wheels are what make him a valuable commodity as the Cubs strengths don’t include great team speed. Gathright made several running catches covering alot of ground and had a stolen base where he easily beat the throw. Koyie Hill made a good throw nailing Wilson Valdez trying to steal 2nd. Reed Johnson has had a number of late inning pinch hit opportunities this spring and came through for the Cubs today. Either Lou is testing Reed in that capacity, or really just wanted to get the win today and get some momentum heading to the regular season.
The Mesa Hohokam organization rookies sang the 7th inning stretch aided by Mesa Mayor Scott Smith who mentioned before starting the song that he hopes the Cubs will be in Mesa for a very long time to come. An inside source close to the negotiations between the Cubs and Mesa tells me that things are going very well in spite of what you might read in the papers and not to worry about the Cubs leaving their spring home here in AZ.
It’s been a longer than normal spring but I think the Cubs have accomplished most of what they needed to in order to prepare for the regular season. Like everyone, I am ready for the regular season to start and can hardly wait until Monday. Just a reminder, to help you celebrate opening day we will have a CubsAZ video show that will be posted in our media/TV viewer on the morning of the 6th. Go Cubs!
Boys of Spring photos of today’s game once again provided by Garrett Craig.
Soriano gets things started going yard in first inning
Koyie Hill legs out a bases full triple
Joey G runs down another one
Scales about to tag out runner at third
Reed Johnson pinch hit single in bottom 9
Johnson beats throw after Blanco’s single for Cubs win
A little celebration for the victory