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Giants 4, Cubs 3: Spring training, almost complete

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Jose Quintana tuned up for the season.

Rick Scuteri-USA TODAY Sports

SCOTTSDALE, Arizona — Thursday night’s 4-3 Cubs loss to the Giants accomplished exactly what a spring training game is supposed to accomplish.

The Cubs’ everyday players got their reps in and several of them hit when they needed to hit.

Jose Quintana, despite serving up a three-run homer to Buster Posey (no shame in that, lots of pitchers have), looked strong in a six-inning outing in which he allowed seven hits with four strikeouts. Quintana should have one more start before the regular season, likely Tuesday in Fort Myers against the Red Sox.

And, all the Cubs who played in the game ended it healthy, always an important factor in a spring game.

The Cubs pounced on Giants starter Chris Stratton early. With two out in the first inning, Anthony Rizzo doubled (I think he thought he had homered; the ball didn’t miss leaving the yard by much) and after Willson Contreras walked, Addison Russell drove Rizzo in with a single [VIDEO].

Contreras took third, where he scored on a wild pitch to make it 2-0.

That’s where the score stayed until the bottom of the third, when Posey’s home run gave the Giants a 3-2 lead. The Cubs tied the game in the sixth when Rizzo singled and was replaced by pinch-runner Peter Bourjos. Bourjos went to third on a Contreras single and Jason Heyward scored him on a sac fly. A note that Heyward’s sac fly was to left field; J-Hey has done well this spring going the other way.

In the bottom of the sixth, Quintana executed this perfect pickoff [VIDEO].

Pedro Strop threw a 1-2-3 seventh in his first outing of the spring and looked exactly like you remember “good Pedro.” So that’s a good sign. I’d expect him to get one or two more outings before the season begins next Thursday in Miami.

Anthony Bass, another candidate for the last spot in the bullpen, allowed two singles in the eighth, but got out of the inning on a double-play ball.

Randy Rosario, who is also potentially on the list for that bullpen spot, or at least to be on the “Iowa shuttle,” was the Cubs’ pitcher in the ninth when the Giants posted their winning rally. A leadoff single by Gorkys Hernandez probably should have been handled by Ryan Court at third base, but it went off his glove into left field. Josh Rutledge then singled and Rosario wild-pitched the runners up one base.

Jerry Sands, who was once a top prospect of the Dodgers and who pounded 109 minor-league home runs between 2009-12 but has had only a little over 400 major-league at-bats and is now 30 years old, was the next hitter.

I was a bit surprised the Cubs didn’t just put him on base and work on that situation (force at any base); instead they pulled the infield in, and on a 3-2 pitch Sands bounced a ball past a diving Mike Freeman to win the game for the Giants.

So that’s what you missed if you didn’t stay up late to catch this one. As for me, I didn’t attend this game, largely due to very high prices at Scottsdale Stadium (up to $45 for lawn tickets). That didn’t stop the game from selling out, though, and based on what I could hear on the Giants TV broadcast, the park had at least a third Cubs fans, maybe more.

If this seems like a rather dull recap, it was a rather dull game. I’m ready for the season, and I’m sure the players are too.

The Cubs return to Sloan Park Friday afternoon to face the Brewers. Tyler Chatwood goes for the Cubs and Brandon Woodruff for Milwaukee. Game time is 3:05 p.m. CT, and this one’s radio-only on 670 The Score.