3/23 Cubs 10, A’s 6
Junior Lake and Luis Valbuena hit back to back home runs in the sixth and ninth innings, while Lake added a two-run blast in the seventh Sunday to power the Cubs to a 10-5 victory over the Athletics’ split-squad team.
The Cubs trailed 2-0 in the sixth against Jesse Chavez when Darwin Barney singled and scored on Chris Coghlan’s double. Emilio Bonifacio blooped a single to left and Lake followed with his first home run. Valbuena then hit his fifth this spring to go ahead, 5-2.
Barney reached on a throwing error by shortstop Jed Lowrie to open the seventh, and two outs later, Lake smacked his second home run.
The Athletics took advantage of two errors by third baseman Mike Olt in the seventh to add three more runs. Olt led off the eighth with his fifth home run.
After Lake smashed his third of the game with two outs in the ninth, Valbuena followed with his second. Chicago now has hit 32 home runs, which leads the Major Leagues this spring.
* Jason Hammel, making his third Cactus League start, was roughed up in the first. Jed Lowrie tripled with two outs in the Oakland first and scored one batter later on Josh Reddick’s single to center. Alberto Callaspo followed with a RBI single to make it 2-0.
“I’m not too happy with it,” Hammel said of the first inning. “Sometimes you’re not going to have your best stuff and you have to find a way. We did that today. It definitely wasn’t pretty.”
Cubs pitching coach Chris Bosio told Hammel he was trying to do too much, a little tentative and needed to keep the ball down.
“Strike one has to be the most important thing for me and I’m learning that as guys know I’m a sinkerballer, they’re seeing it down and leaving it down,” he said. “I’m making adjustments.”
* Carlos Villanueva, who could fill the fifth starter spot at the beginning of the season, will make his second Cactus League start Monday night when the Cubs play host to the Padres at Cubs Park. It will be the first night game at the Cubs’ new facility, which is averaging 14,020 fans. The game will be broadcast on WGN Radio.
– Carrie Muskat