A five-run fourth inning put the Reds ahead, and rain in the bottom of the fifth put an end to the game. Rob Zastryzny pitched well in relief of Ryan Williams for the Cubs.
Schwarber big and small
Cubs leadoff man Kyle Schwarber led off the game against the Reds with a bunt single against former Cub Scott Feldman. And then in the fifth, his one-out, two-run homer off Feldman cut into the Reds’ 5-0 lead. It was his third homer of the spring.
Jon Lester got six innings of work on the other side of camp against Athletics minor leaguers, looking a little sharper than his previous outing. “It was a lot better,” he said. “I talked about getting my heater back as far as the angle and location. Today was just better all the way around. Better consistency with everything.” He threw 86 pitches and has one start left before opening the season April 2 in St. Louis.
Prospect Ryan Williams pitched three scoreless innings before giving up five runs in the fourth — two on an Adam Duvall homer to right-center and two more on Hernan Iribarren’s double to center.
Lester’s new catcher, Willson Contreras, showed quickly during the minor league game why Lester and the Cubs believe the running game against the yips-prone pitcher won’t be a problem this season. After the game’s first hitter reached on a single, Contreras threw him out trying to steal second. Lester said the two have grown together this spring. “I don’t want to say it’s better because it’s been good with him since Day 1,” Lester said. “But we’re kind of starting to work together really well.
Cubs at Diamondbacks, Scottsdale, 3:10 p.m., cubs.com audio, Jake Arrieta vs. Zack Greinke.