MESA, Arizona — Well, that one certainly ranked high on the entertainment meter, anyway.
The Cubs hung on for a 13-12 win over the Royals in front of the largest crowd of the spring at Sloan Park, 12,429. This game included six home runs, including a pair by Patrick Wisdom, two half innings of six or more runs, and it ended on a wacky tag double play down the third base line.
There’s a lot more, so let’s begin at the beginning. Kyle Hendricks served up a pair of solo home runs in the first inning, and then got in trouble with a two-out walk in the third, but overall I thought it was a good outing. So did Kyle [VIDEO].
I agree with Kyle’s analysis here. It wasn’t a long outing — and he might not ready to go more than five innings on Opening Day — but this was much more the Hendricks we’ve seen in the past, despite the home runs. It was another warm, breezy day at Sloan Park, with temperatures in the low 90s, well above normal for this time of year. So I’m not really concerned with a couple of homers in those conditions.
The Cubs went to the bottom of the second trailing 2-0, and after a couple of walks and with two out, took the lead thanks to Wisdom [VIDEO].
Wisdom homered again in the fifth. That tied the game 4-4. [VIDEO].
That tweet says “Patrick Wisdom is good,” and it is correct. This game was similar to some Wisdom had last summer, a couple of home runs. This is who he is — tremendous power, solid defense ... and strikeouts. If Wisdom can hit (say) .240, post an OBP near .300 and hit 30 home runs, that’s a solid everyday player in this league. Here’s wisdom from Wisdom [VIDEO].
Daniel Norris made his Cubs debut and threw two scoreless innings, retiring all six hitters he faced, five by ground out. That’s good! Not so good was Robert Gsellman, also making his Cubs debut. He faced seven batters and six of them reached base, five with hits. All of them scored in a six-run Royals sixth inning, giving them a 10-4 lead.
The Cubs began a comeback in the bottom of the sixth. Willson Contreras walked and was replaced by a pinch runner. Ed Howard doubled, his first hit in a spring MLB game. Robel Garcia drove in both runs to make it 10-6. I don’t have video of the RBI single, but here is Howard’s double:
In the top of the seventh, Pete Crow-Armstrong made a fantastic diving catch:
He also glided back to catch a ball from the next hitter. He looks like he knows what he’s doing in center field. He just turned 20 two days ago. He’s going to be a very, very good MLB player.
Then the Cubs took the lead with a seven-run seventh. Sure, it’s all minor leaguers, but they drew three walks off an actual MLB pitcher, Josh Staumont. The big blows were a single by Howard, a triple by Darius Hill and a home run by Nelson Maldonado.
That gave the Cubs a 13-10 lead, which you’d think would have been enough with Chris Martin coming in to face Royals minor leaguers.
It was not. He issued a one-out walk, then allowed three straight hits to make it 13-12, before getting the last Royals hitter to hit directly to first baseman Jared Young. Young tagged first base for the second out and then threw home, where the Cubs caught a Royals runner in a rundown, tagged for the final out.
Like I said, entertaining, at the very least.
The Cubs will play Monday evening at Goodyear against the Reds. Marcus Stroman is the scheduled starter for the Cubs and Tyler Mahle will go for Cincinnati. Game time is 8:05 p.m. CT and TV coverage will be via Marquee Sports Network.