Big hitting, spectacular error give Cubs 7-7 tie against Brewers
MESA, Ariz. — The Cubs led 6-2 early on the strength of big hitting by Kris Bryant, Addison Russell and Willson Contreras. But the division-rival Brewers came back to stick the Cubs with their fourth tie of the spring, 7-7 on Tuesday at Sloan Park in Mesa.
The Brewers scored a go-ahead run after a pair of two-out walks in the ninth, on the error of the year in the Cactus League – left-fielder Eloy Jimenez launching a throw allegedly intended for home plate that instead sailed on a high arc well up the seating section behind the third-base dugout.
The Cubs tied it on Chris Dominguez’ leadoff homer in the bottom of the inning.
The Cubs scored four in the third on consecutive two-out hits by Russell (two-run double), Jason Heyward (double) and Contreras (single).
Taking the fifth
Fifth-starter tandem Brett Anderson and Mike Montgomery each pitched three innings, each allowing two earned runs and combining for five strikeouts and two walks.
“Today was the best my stuff has felt all together,” said Anderson, who ran into trouble with one out in the second, including a shot by No. 9 hitter Isan Diaz off Anderson’s butt for a run-scoring infield hit.
“There were some crappy ground-ball hits, which is what I usually give up when I’m going right,” he said. “As long as the ball’s on the ground and not too hard contract, which was the case today, and I can get my left ass cheek out of the way, I’ll be all right.”
Reigning National League MVP Kris Bryant homered to straightaway center field in the first inning, his second homer in three spring at-bats and third overall this spring (tied for team lead).
He walked in his next trip to the plate, then had a streak of four straight PAs reaching base snapped when he grounded to short in the fourth inning.
Second-year catcher Willson Contreras continues to stay a few degrees ahead of the Arizona heat this spring, going 2-for-3 with an opposite-field homer in the second and a two-out, run-scoring single to left in the Cubs’ four-run third.
He’s 9-for-25 (.360) this spring with three homers and two doubles.
Ground ball with eyes
Jason Heyward and his renovated swing snapped a 0-for-10 skid with a seeing-eye single up the middle leading off the third, then added an impressive line-drive double to the opposite gap in left in the third inning for an RBI.
It was only the second game (in 12 starts) Heyward has had a hit.
He’s 4-for-29 (.138) this spring with three of his four hits going for extra bases. He also has walked three times and been hit by a pitch.
Diamondbacks at Cubs, Mesa, Ariz., 9:05 p.m. (CT), CSN, cubs.com audio, Patrick Corbin vs. Kyle Hendricks.