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Cubs Blast A's Relievers For 7-Run Seventh Inning, Win 10-3

No longballs for our side today -- instead, the Cubs pounded out 12 hits and drew eight walks off nine (!) Athletics pitchers and defeated the A's at Phoenix 10-3, running their spring record to 3-1.

That's right, I said NINE pitchers -- the Oakland starter, Brett Anderson, didn't even make the usual two innings that most starters take in their first spring start. A's manager Bob Geren had to yank him with two out in the second inning after he had given up a hit and a pair of walks. He must have reached a prearranged pitch limit.

A few of the other A's relievers did OK, but the Cubs teed off on Faustino de los Santos; he allowed six runs without getting anyone out in the seventh. He gave up a single and a double, wild-pitched in a run, then allowed a walk and another single. Tyler Colvin then hit what could have been a double-play ball, but instead reached on an error. After one more walk de los Santos was done. Bobby Cassevah (yeah, I know: who are these guys?) got out of the inning, but not before allowing three more runs.

Meanwhile, the Cubs pitchers who threw today did reasonably well. Ryan Dempster retired all six batters he faced; Jeff Samardzija threw two scoreless frames and Esmailin Caridad finished up with a 1-2-3 ninth. I really like Caridad and think he might do a good job in taking over the 8th inning role from the injured Angel Guzman.

All three of the A's runs came as a result of homers -- Kurt Suzuki's solo shot off Sean Marshall, and a two-run job off Tom Gorzelanny by former Cubs farmhand Josh Donaldson. Two other former Cubs -- Eric Patterson and Jake Fox -- also played for the A's today, but didn't do much.

Attendance on a day when it wasn't much warmer in Phoenix (53 degrees at gametime) than it is right now outside my window in Chicago (48) was 4,301. Meanwhile, for the three games so far at HoHoKam Park, the Cubs are averaging 10,661 in attendance, pretty close to what they did a year ago, with better weather to come.

About the only news today was that Mike Fontenot (who went 2-for-3) played half the game at shortstop; Lou appears to want to at least see if he can handle it as a backup, with Andres Blanco out for a while. Fontenot had one uneventful chance in the field, so it's way too early to tell.

I haven't seen anything official yet, but it should be Randy Wells starting in Mesa tomorrow against the Brewers, if the rotation so far holds.