MESA, Ariz. –Ian Happ, taking another turn at the top of the lineup as part of manager Joe Maddon’s spring leadoff “auditions,” led off the first with a home run to center off Carson Fulmer, then led off the second with a hard double to right on the way to a 6-5 Cactus League win over the White Sox at Sloan Park.
That made it four straight hits over two starts for Happ, for 11 total bases (including another leadoff homer in the first Sunday).
Happ struck out in his third (and final) at-bat Tuesday, making him 4-for-7 in three games this spring.
“He’s in a good place right now mentally,” Maddon said.
A few hours after being named the opening-day starter for the Cubs, Jon Lester made his spring debut and pitched into the second until running out of allotted pitches.
He walked the leadoff man in both innings, costing him a run the second time when a single after he left the game drove home the runner. Lester struck out three.
The only hit he allowed was a two-out single to center by Nicky Delmonico, the last batter he faced.
Opportunity knocks, Bote answers
Infield prospect David Bote – who didn’t play a game at third base last season at Class AA Tennessee – started at third in place of the ailing Kris Bryant and delivered two more hits.
The first was a run-scoring triple to the wall in left-center during the Cubs’ four-run first.
Bote, who hit .272 with 14 homers for the Smokies last year, has played in all five spring games, going is 5-for-12 (.417) with a walk.
Catcher Willson Contreras, apparently in midseason form, slammed his bat in frustration after lining out to short in the first.
He lined out again in the second, with less spectacle, then doubled home a run in the fifth in his final at-bat.
On deck: Athletics at Cubs, Mesa, cubs.com audio, 2:05 p.m. Wednesday, Daniel Mengden vs. Kyle Hendricks.
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