Cubs closer Craig Kimbrel, starter Tyler Chatwood look sharp against Reds in spring game
Kimbrel used a 96 mph fastball for one strikeout and an impressive curveball for another during a much-anticipated spring debut.
CUBS 6, REDS 6
The Cubs scored twice in the ninth inning, including an unearned run on an infield throwing error, to come from behind and forge a 6-6 Cactus League tie Wednesday with the Reds at Goodyear Ballpark. Three Cubs were hit by pitches in the first two innings by their National League Central rivals. The Cubs are 5-7-1 this spring.
Closer Craig Kimbrel struck out Joey Votto swinging at a curveball and Phillip Ervin swinging at a 96 mph fastball during a much-anticipated inning in his Cactus League debut. His only mistake was a middle-of-the-plate fastball that Derek Dietrich hit over the center-field wall.
‘‘Felt good. Felt like it was a productive inning,’’ said Kimbrel, who dealt with knee and forearm issues late last season after signing with the Cubs. ‘‘I was able to throw the ball, for the most part, where I wanted to. Ball was coming out good. Overall, it felt like it was a good day.”
He’s scheduled to pitch again Sunday against the Diamondbacks.
Presumptive fifth starter Tyler Chatwood struck out five without a walk in three innings, giving up only a home run on a heater to Josh VanMeter.
‘‘Felt good,’’ Chatwood said. ‘‘Today my big thing was making sure I pitched. Last outing, I got in fastball-happy mode. So today I wanted to go throw everything. I was able to do that and get good swings and misses.’’
New leadoff look
The Cubs’ new leadoff hitter, Kris Bryant, opened the game with a double just inside the bag at third, moved up a base on Anthony Rizzo’s grounder to first and scored on Javy Baez’s opposite-field single. Bryant reached again when he was hit by a pitch during a two-run second.
Rangers at Cubs, Mesa, 2:05 p.m. Thursday, MSN, Jonathan Hernandez vs. Yu Darvish.