Record 2-1. Change on 2013: +1
Let's start over in Mesa, where a new Cactus League record crowd of 14,486 were on hand for the first game to be played in the Cubs' new park. However, there would be no happy victory for them - any more than there was the first time the D-backs played at Salt River - with a three-run fifth inning for Arizona overturning an early deficit. Despite getting our first two batters on in the first, Arizona came up empty, and it was Chicago who scored the opening run in "Mesa's Boner", former D-back Emilio Bonifacio legging out a leadoff triple, then coming in on a groundout.
They doubled their lead in the third, as a passed ball on strike three by Miguel Montero came back to haunt the D-backs: what should have ended the inning, instead scored on a subsequent double, making it 2-0 to the Cubs. Bronson Arroyo escaped the frame without further damage, ending his day with a line of three hits and a walk, plus just that one strikeout - maybe that's why it surprised Miggy! - and two runs allowed, one earned. However, it was another good outing for our bullpen, who followed up yesterday's five scoreless innings with six more zeroes here, holding the opposition to two hits and two walks, with three K's. Joe Paterson and David Hernandez each threw perfect frames.
Meanwhile, the offense took charge, scoring five times in the fifth and sixth innings. The Diamondbacks pulled within one in the fifth, when Martin Prado doubled home Gerardo Parra, and after Paul Goldschmidt and Aaron Hill had struck out, Eric Chavez cranked our first long-ball of 2014, to right-center field, scoring the tying and go-ahead runs. Goldie did come through in the next inning, however. With two outs and the bases loaded - in part because Parra had been hit by a pitch for the second consecutive frame - he drove in a pair with a single, to provide the final margin of victory. Prado ended the day 3-for-4 and A.J. Pollock reached safely twice, on a hit and a walk.
Over on the West side, the B D-Backs [if you see what I mean] went the other way, being unable to hold on to an early two-run lead against the Dodgers. Zack Greinke lasted only one out in that game, leaving with a right calf strain just four pitches in, though the severity of the injury won't be known until tomorrow. Arizona took the lead with a two-run third, though should probably have had more, loading the bases and scoring a run on a Shelley Duncan double before a batter was retired. However, all they could manage to push across in the frame was a Tony Campana groundout.
Los Angeles chipped away, getting a run back immediately, though that was all starter Randall Delgado would allow. He went 3.2 innings, giving up the run on four hits and no walks with two strikeouts. Replacement R.J. Hively couldn't get out of the fourth with the lead, handing Juan Uribe his first home-run of the season. He worked a scoreless fifth, and Charles Brewer did the same in the sixth, but Marcos Mateo and Eury de la Rosa each allowed a run on two hits in their innings. The D-backs made it a one-run game and got the tying run to second in the ninth, when a Danny Dorn double scored Andy Marte, but that was as close as they came. Dorn also had a walk.
It's back to Salt River Fields tomorrow, as we play our housemates, the Rockies. First pitch is at 1:10pm