MESA, Arizona — The Cubs lost to the Rockies 7-5 Thursday afternoon and the thing I want to show you first is a Rox highlight, and you’ll see why in a moment.
The game was tied 3-3 in the top of the fourth and Jon Lester had retired the first two hitters. I was a bit surprised that he was lifted at that point, but the planned pitch count for Jon had likely been reached. Since the rest of the major league relievers had their scheduled innings, minor leaguer Wyatt Short entered. The first batter he faced was Rockies catcher Tom Murphy, who’s had a few cups of coffee in the big leagues over the last four seasons.
Murphy hit a Short pitch a long, long way.
This is the sixth season of Sloan Park’s existence and that’s the first ball I’ve ever seen clear the left-field berm. It hit the wall where the concession stands and Fergie Jenkins’ signing are located. That has to be at least a 450-foot homer, maybe longer.
Wyatt Short was the Cubs’ 13th-round pick in 2016, and pitched (pretty well, I might add) at Myrtle Beach and Tennessee last year. He’s got a shot at a big-league career. But that hit off him was launched in the general direction of Scottsdale.
Before that, Lester had served up a pair of homers, one by Garrett Hampson and another by David Dahl, two young Rockies players they are really counting on this year. Before that, though, Willson Contreras smashed this two-run double off Rockies starter Antonio Senzatela in the first inning:
And in the second, with two runners on, last year’s No. 1 Cubs pick Nico Hoerner came up for his first at-bat in front of the home fans and drove in a run:
That made it 3-0 Cubs, but it was all Rockies after that, the two homers off Lester and the monster shot off Short, but Colorado didn’t complete the damage until a bad sixth inning by Brandon Kintzler, who got hit pretty hard. Kintzler walked the first man he faced, got a ground out, then allowed three hard hits producing three runs. I don’t know if we can judge Kintzler yet — he’d been good in his other two outings — but this one didn’t help him any.
Junichi Tazawa, Dillon Maples and Dakota Mekkes all threw scoreless innings, Mekkes getting out of his ninth inning on a double play. Cristhian Adames homered in the ninth to make it 7-5, but despite getting the tying run to the plate in that inning with one out, the Cubs could score no further.
In case you didn’t see my tweet from this afternoon, former Cubs reliever Wade Davis (who struck out two Cubs in a scoreless fourth) stopped by the Cubs bullpen when the game started to say hello to some of his former Cubs colleagues before heading to the Rockies pen:
And big news! Clark the Cub was on the berm late in the game... and was wearing pants!
Attendance watch: 11,721 paid to see this game on a warm, semi-overcast afternoon. That puts the Cubs over 100,000 for the spring at 101,552 for eight dates, or 12,694 per date.
Friday is Yu Darvish’s turn in the rotation, but he will stay back in Mesa and throw a sim game while prospect Duncan Robinson gets the start against the Mariners in Peoria. Marco Gonzales will start for Seattle. This game is the Cubs’ first night game of the spring. There will be an audio webcast via cubs.com, and it’s also on TV via the Mariners channel ROOT Sports Northwest. That’s available on MLB.tv — and it’s also being carried live on MLB Network. Game time tomorrow is 7:40 p.m. CT. Friday’s game preview will post at 5:30 p.m. CT.