Cubs split spring doubleheader as Jon Lester, Willson Contreras shine

SHARE 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.

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