With only one more no-consequence game left, this was as close to a regular season game as you’re going to get. Lineups on both sides were stacked, including Ben Zobrist leading off against a righty.
Cole Hamels took the mound, throwing better than he has in his most recent outings, giving up only one home run to Andrew Benintendi in the 3rd. Hamels also kicked off the Cubs offense in the 3rd with a solo home run, which was followed by a heads-up baserunning play by Kris Bryant as the outfield struggled to catch an Anthony Rizzo pop-up.
The Cubs bullpen was able to keep the momentum going, allowing only one run in the back four innings. The infield caught Boston in a double play with bases loaded to escape a dangerous 7th inning. David Bote came in as a pinch hitter and pounded a solo homer later in the inning to pull Chicago back into the lead with the eventual final score of 3-2. (Box score)
Why the Cubs Won
Chicago came out to win tonight and Hamels set the tone with a much more polished outing. The Cubs offense wasn’t able to string together runs, but their big hitting was enough to keep them ahead in a fairly even matchup.
Bote came to the plate as a pinch hitter and hammered a solo homer to deep center to score the game-winning run.
Stats That Matter
- Hamels needed only 64 pitches to go 5 innings, giving up only one run on three hits, notching two strikeouts and going 1-for-2 with the homer.
- Willson Contreras went 2-for-2 with a walk.
- Pedro Strop threw eight strikes in nine pitches to close down the 6th inning.
Chicago’s outfield was stronger than Boston’s. With both teams bringing it at the plate, the Cubs were able to tie up more loose ends and keep the score low.
The Cubs go for the sweep against the Red Sox tomorrow at 2:05pm CT at Sloan Park for the last spring training game before Thursday’s Opening Day.