Athletics 12, Cubs 11: Jon Lester struggles; four Cubs homer in loss
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MESA, Ariz. — Cubs Opening Day starter Jon Lester said he had little command of any of his pitches and consequently got just two outs – and eight batters – deep into the second inning of a 12-11 loss to the Athletics that was eventually decided on a walkoff two-run double by A’s minor-leaguer Sean Murphy.
Lester gave up seven runs in all on two walks and seven hits, including a Nick Hundley home run, Matt Chapman triple and doubles by Chapman and Khris Davis.
“The cutter was bad in the bullpen, bad when I took it out to the mound,” he said. “So when you go out there handcuffed with your best pitch, it’s going to be a grind from pitch one.”
Granted, it’s just a spring game.
“But nobody wants to go out there and suck,” Lester said.
Jonny on the back field
Lester’s next start is expected to come Monday in a simulated game or in a minor-league game.
He’ll have one more Cactus League start after that before the March 28 opener.
Five days after being hit on the hand by a pitch, outfielder Mark Zagunis returned to the lineup and delivered a pair of singles and scored twice.
He’s 10-for-27 (.370) this spring with 19 total bases.
Infielder Daniel Descalso hasn’t played since starting at third base on Saturday against the Angels because of a sore shoulder. His playing status is day-to-day.
“He’s fine,” Maddon said. “Just holding him back a little with his shoulder, but he’s fine.”
Four Cubs homered on the blustery day, accounting for six of their runs: Cristhian Adames, Anthony Rizzo, Johnny Field and David Bote.
Nico Hoerner, last year’s first-round draft pick, continues to make a strong impression on loan from minor-league camp
He came off the bench in the ninth and doubled to the right-center gap.
That makes him 6-for-9 with a homer, triple and two doubles. He’s also walked once and twice been hit by pitches.
On deck: Rangers at Cubs, Mesa, Arizona, 3:05 p.m. Thursday, cubs.com radio, Adrian Sampson vs. Yu Darvish.