3/24/2013 5:55 P.M. ET
Soriano cranks RBI double as Cubs beat Tribe
By Barry M. Bloom / MLB.com
GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- Indians right-hander Ubaldo Jimenez looked like he was sharp enough on Sunday to open the season. But the Cubs beat him anyway, 4-3, at Goodyear Ballpark.
Jimenez pitched into the eighth, departing with runners on and no outs as the Cubs led 1-0. The Cubs notched three insurance runs off reliever Cody Allen, including an RBI double from Steve Clevenger.
Before that, the Indians right-hander only ran into trouble in the fourth when he was touched for back-to-back, one-out doubles by Anthony Rizzo and Alfonso Soriano, Rizzo scoring the first run of the game. Despite the consecutive hits, Jimenez pitched out of the inning by getting a pair of groundouts.
Jimenez is ticketed to start the second game of the season on April 3 at Toronto. He should have one more Cactus League start on Friday against the Royals at Surprise Stadium. Jimenez came into the game with a 2-0 record and 4.92 ERA to show for his five spring appearances, four of them starts.
He allowed his only walk and a single to open the eighth before being removed from the game. In all, he gave up three runs on four hits, and was in the strike zone all game, walking the one and whiffing three.
Meanwhile, Cubs left-hander Chris Rusin, already ticketed for Triple-A, kept the Indians offense at bay and allowed only singles to Mike Aviles and Nick Swisher when he left after recording the first out of the sixth inning. He walked three and whiffed three, but the Indians never moved a runner against past first base against him.
Rusin was being considered for the Cubs bullpen but was told he's more valuable as a starter. He'll be in Triple-A Iowa's rotation this year.
"I'll go down and work on all the stuff I need to work on and be ready for when they call on me," Rusin said.
It helped him that his was his second big league Spring Training camp. When he walked into the clubhouse, he felt comfortable from Day 1.
"This year, I obviously had a couple more starts than last year," he said. "Getting my feet wet last year was a big help. If this was my first Spring Training, I probably wouldn't be this way. Since I had experience last year, I knew what to expect. I've got to keep throwing strikes."
Up next: Lefty Travis Wood will tune up for the regular season on Monday at 3:05 p.m. CT when he faces the Giants at HoHoKam Stadium. Wood will start the third game of the regular season April 4 against the Pirates. Chicago has hit 44 home runs this spring, second-most in the Majors. The countdown is on: After Monday, there are only two games remaining at HoHoKam for the Cubs, who will move to west Mesa next year. The game will be available on MLB.TV.
Barry M. Bloom is a national reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog, Boomskie on Baseball. Follow@boomskie on Twitter. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.