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Cubs split spring doubleheader as Jon Lester, Willson Contreras shine

Infield prospect Trent Giambrone had two hits in the 11-2 loss to the Dodgers.

MESA, Ariz. — Willson Contreras homered to propel the Cubs to a 6-4 victory over the big-spending San Diego Padres at Sloan Park in Mesa during the home half of a split-squad spring doubleheader.

But a parade of young Cubs pitchers didn’t fare as well against the Dodgers across the Phoenix valley, losing 11-2 in Glendale.

Lester starts strong

Cubs ace Jon Lester pitched two scoreless innings in his spring debut, navigating around a leadoff walk in the first to strand speedy Travis Jankowski – who stole second on the first pitch after the walk and third with one out.

A popup and strikeout ended the threat. Lester then finished his outing with a 1-2-3 second that included two strikeouts.

“It’s kind of nice to get that first one out of the way,” said the 2018 All-Star and presumptive Opening Day starter.


Catcher Willson Contreras, who said his struggles last year after making the All-Star team were caused by pressing, launched his spring with a two-out, three-run home run off right-hander Brett Kennedy way out to left field to put the Cubs ahead of the Padres in the fourth.


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First baseman/outfielder Jared Young, who was added from minor-league camp for the day, added a two-run shot off Padres righty Gerardo Reyes in the seventh. Young hit 16 homers combined at two Class A stops last year.

Highlight pen

Right-hander Brandon Kintzler and lefty Brian Duensing, both looking for rebound seasons off of 2018 struggles, each pitched a scoreless inning in relief of Lester.

Each gave up a single but combined for three strikeouts without a walk.

Bryant gets down with OBP

Kris Bryant followed his big homer-single spring debut Saturday with a pair of walks in his two plate appearances Monday in the home half.

It makes his spring on-base percentage 1.000 and OPS 3.500. Just saying.

Meanwhile, in Glendale . . .

Never mind.

On deck

Diamondbacks at Cubs, Mesa, 2:05 p.m. Tuesday, radio, Zack Godley vs. Yu Darvish.