The Cubs are starting to make a spring habit of walk-off HR wins, this time in the bottom of the 10th inning. Today’s game winner came courtesy of a Ronny Cedeno 3-run blast off the left field scoreboard, leading the Cubs to a 13-10 victory at Hohokam over the KC Royals. The announced attendance was 10,886, but because of the length of the game, (3:33) it appeared only about 2/3rds of that crowd stuck around for the extra inning excitement.
The Good. The Cubs bats continue to dominate Cactus League opponents, as today they pounded out 12 hits, 8 of those going for extra bases. Matt Murton leading the hit parade, going 3 for 5 with 2 doubles. Aramis Ramirez went 2 for 3 with a double, a homerun, and 3 RBI’s. Derrek Lee also had an RBI double, going 1 for 3. The Cubs’ offense continues to exercise great patience this spring, drawing 7 bases on balls today, including 2 walks in the 10th before Cedeno’s winning HR.
The Bad. All the 10th inning drama wouldn’t have been needed had Ryne Dempster been able to hold the Royals in the 9th . Dempster, who was trying to record the save with the Cubs holding a 10-8 lead, gave up 2 runs on 3 hits, forcing the extra frame as the Cubs couldn’t score in the bottom of the 9th. Starting pitcher Rich Hill wasn’t necessarily bad, but not particularly good either, giving up 8 hits, 6 runs, but only 4 earned in 4 and 2/3rds innings. Hill didn’t walk anyone, and struck out 4 Royals. Michael Wuertz gave up 2 runs on 2 hits and a walk in his 1 inning pitched.
Other notes. I had a feeling it was going to be one of those long, offensive games because of the predicted wind gusts in the 20-30 mph range, and from seeing a Rich Hill warm-up pitch almost take off the head of an unsuspecting photographer as the ball flew over Michael Barrett’s head and outstretched arm. The East Valley Little League Cubs did a terrific job of singing ‘Take Me Out To the Ballgame’ during the 7th inning stretch, especially considering they are only 5 years old. I noticed a familiar face sitting next to GM Jim Hendry, in his usual spot just off the Cubs dugout. Now I don’t want this to upset any Bears fans, but that face belonged to none other than Indianapolis Colts Head Coach Tony Dungy. Perhaps Hendry’s trying to get some of that championship mojo goin.
Tomorrow the Cubs host the Colorado Rockies at Hohokam. Mark Prior is scheduled to start the game, although Wade Miller has been officially named to the starting rotation, taking the final spot. It should be interesting to see how Prior does under the circumstances.
I spy Super Bowl guy