3/7/2014 6:00 P.M. ET
Valaika, Soler spark ninth-inning rally vs. Angels
Cubs tally pair of runs on double, triple with two outs in final at-bat
By Alden Gonzalez / MLB.com
TEMPE, Ariz. -- Angels starter Hector Santiago breezed through his required four innings -- working so efficiently that he had to throw an additional 15 pitches in the bullpen to get enough work in -- and second baseman Howie Kendrick had the only multihit game in a 3-2 loss to the Cubs at Tempe Diablo Stadium on Friday.
Santiago gave up only one hit, walked none and struck out five in his 42-pitch outing. The opposing lineup was made up mostly of Cubs Minor Leaguers, with most of the starters hosting the Indians in Mesa, but it was nonetheless a positive sign for the 26-year-old left-hander, who has always had a high walk rate.
"Obviously, I'm going to be facing better hitters [during the regular season], but they're still professional players and they're in there swinging the bat," Santiago said. "I didn't even think about who I'm facing. I don't know who's in there, and I never do. I block everybody out and just try to attack the zone. If I make my pitches, I feel like no matter who it is, I'm going to get them out."
James McDonald, who's competing for the fifth spot in the Cubs' rotation and coming back from shoulder problems last season, shut out a pretty loaded Angels lineup in his spring debut, giving up only a David Freese single in two innings.
The Angels got on the board off Dallas Beeler in the fourth. Kole Calhoun led off with a single, moved to second on a single by Mike Trout, tagged up on an Albert Pujols fly ball and scored on Raul Ibanez's groundout to first base.
The Cubs tied it in the seventh, when second baseman Luis Valbuena hit a leadoff double against Matt Shoemaker and, two batters later, shortstop Chris Valaika sent him home with an RBI single.
Mike Olt, who could be a candidate at third base, started at designated hitter because he has some tenderness in his right shoulder and went 0-for-3 with two strikeouts. Kendrick went 2-for-3 and is now batting .462 this spring.
The Angels took the lead in the eighth when power-hitting prospect C.J. Cron hit a two-out single up the middle, one day after tying the score with a ninth-inning three-run homer, but the Cubs took the lead for good in the top of the ninth against reliever Josh Wall. With two outs, Valaika doubled in one run and Jorge Soler tripled home the go-ahead tally.
Up next: Jason Hammel will make his first Cactus League start on Saturday when the Cubs travel to Goodyear to face the Reds. Hammel's only spring outing was in a "B" game last Monday. Emilio Bonifacio will lead off and start at shortstop for the Cubs with one of the top prospects, Soler, the designated hitter. The game will be broadcast at 2:05 p.m. CT via a free, exclusive cubs.com audio webcast.
Alden Gonzalez is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his columns and his blog, Gonzo and "The Show", and follow him on Twitter @Alden_Gonzalez. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.