Cubs smack three homers in win over A's

Cubs smack three homers in win over A's

by - Senior Writer -

We are getting to the point in Spring Training where you want to be peaking at the right time. Things continue to be a work in progress for the Chicago Cubs (13-10-1), although there have been some signs of life in recent games.

Looking to keep things rolling against the Oakland A's (10-13) on Wednesday, the Cubs played longball and used a trio of homers to double up the Athletics 4-2. The long ball is an essential part of today's game, but ideally, you would like to score without relying on the homer as much as the Cubs did.

Earlier in the day, David Ross announced that Marcus Stroman would be taking the ball for opening day, meaning the Cubs rotation is starting to take shape. Ross went away from that plan on Wednesday and elected to start Adbert Alzolay in what turned out to be a bullpen game.

Alzolay gave the Cubs a scoreless inning, allowing one hit with a punchout as the Cubs went through nine pitchers, all throwing an inning. Conversely, Mark Kotsay stuck with his starter James Kaprielian for five innings as the right-hander had to gut things out. Sure, he allowed one run off a solo homer, but with four walks and four punchouts, his command was an issue, which he would like to fix.

The lone run Kaprielian allowed came in the first inning, with Cody Bellinger going deep for the second time in Cactus League play and third time overall this spring.

It was also the first of three homers by the Cubs as they raced out to the 1-0 lead. Looking to add to their lead in the second, Miles Mastrobuoni picked up a one-out walk and then advanced to second on the Ben DeLuzio single. Nothing came from that, unfortunately, but the Cubs still led 1-0.

Despite the offensive struggles at times for the Cubs, you can't say the same about their pitching, as that continues to be the one constant this spring. Brad Boxberger took over in the second inning, followed by Michael Fulmer in the third, as both tossed scoreless frames to keep the Cubs in front.

With Rowan Wick, the next man up to pitch in the fourth, Jesus Aguilar played long ball as his solo shot brought things back to even 1-1. Wick bounced back from some mid-inning struggles, but got through it without further damage. Now that Oakland pulled even it was up to the Cubs and their offense to go to work again.

That started with a one-out Zach McKinstry walk in the fifth inning before advancing to second on a Nick Madrigal single. Once again, it was the offense that sputtered as they were unable to cash in. Another scoreless frame of relief from Anthony Kay sent the game to the sixth, where Sam Moll entered the game for Oakland.

With Bellinger working a leadoff walk, another former Dodger, Edwin Rios, picked up the massive hit later. Facing a one-on and one-out situation, Rios greeted Moll rudely and only needed one pitch to deliver the game-winning hit as his fourth homer put the Cubs in front 3-1.

Still holding that lead in the seventh, it was time for Michael Rucker to take the mound as he continued to battle for one of the remaining bullpen spots. Shea Langeliers started the seventh off in a big way as his leadoff double set the Oakland offense up. Two batters later saw Esteury Ruiz come through with an RBI single to pull the Athletics within one again, 3-2.

The Cubs continued to play long ball in the eighth inning, with Christopher Morel homering for the second time in as many nights as he is tied with Rios for the team lead with four.

That was the game's final run for either side as Ryan Borucki and Eric Stout took care of the last two innings to close out the 4-2 Cubs win.

Despite being outhit 8-6, the Cubs made those hits count as three left the yard, resulting in all four runs. Aguilar led the way for Oakland, going 3-3 with a homer in the loss. The Cubs will be back on the field Thursday as they will host the Arizona Diamondbacks at Sloan Park.

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