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Rockies 7, Cubs 5: Cubs first-rounder Nico Hoerner has big day in guest start

Nico Hoerner's first-inning RBI single Thursday. (John Antonoff photo)

MESA, Ariz. — Infielder Nico Hoerner, a Stanford star who was the 24th overall draft pick last year, got his first Cactus League start and delivered three hits, then reached base a fourth time after being hit by a pitch in the ninth.

Hoerner, who is on loan from minor-league camp, lined a single to left off Rockies big-leaguer Antonio Senzatela for an RBI in the second. Against ex-Cubs closer Wade Davis, Hoerner hit a nubber past the mound for an infield hit. And leading off the seventh against Seunghwan Oh, he tripled to right.

Security guard saves run

Jon Lester gave up two home runs in the third inning when he lost his arm angle and got “around” his cut fastball. But the outing could have been worse if not for an accidental assist in the first by a security guard seated down the right-field line who scooped up a fair ball with two on and two out.

It created a ground-rule double that took away a sure run, and Lester retired the next batter to escape. Right fielder Jason Heyward gave the guard a fist bump after the inning.


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“I don’t think anyone’s running on J-Hey, but that definitely makes that play a lot less interesting with [the guard] fielding that ball,” Lester said.

Command performance

Veteran reliever Brian Duensing, who’s coming off a rough season, pitched another scoreless inning, giving up only an opposite-field bloop single. It was his second hit allowed in four scoreless outings this spring. He has zero walks. “He looks like he’s gotten his command back, and the ball’s going where he wants it to go,” manager Joe Maddon said.

On deck

Cubs at Mariners, Peoria, 7:40 p.m. Friday, radio, Duncan Robinson vs. Marco Gonzalez.