Facing off against their National League Central division rivals – the Milwaukee Brewers – on Monday afternoon, the Cubs’ pitching staff performed well and a clutch, opposite-field home run by Javier Baez helped lead the club to its first win of the spring.
A two-run single off the bat of Cubs’ prospect Walter Ibarra, who hit .276 in 58 games in the New York Yankees’ system last year, proved to be the deciding blow in the top of the seventh inning, breaking a 2-2 tie and giving Chicago its first win of the year.
Chicago (1-3) took an early lead on the Baez home run in the top of the second, but Milwaukee (3-3) answered back in the bottom of the fourth on a Juan Francisco double that plated Ryan Braun, tying the game 1-1.
Young left-hander Eric Jokisch, making his first start of the spring, tossed three hitless, scoreless frames for the Cubs, notching one strikeout and walking two in what many considered to be a very impressive debut.
A double to center off the bat of Luis Valbuena in the fifth pushed Chicago back ahead, 2-1, scoring Ryan Roberts. In the bottom of the frame, Brewers’ standout Carlos Gomez laced a double of his own to tie the game once again.
Arodys Vizcaino pitched a scoreless eighth inning for the Cubs in his first appearance of the spring, as he continues to recover from Tommy John surgery. He last appeared in a big league game in 2011, as a member of the Atlanta Braves.
The Cubs return to action tomorrow afternoon at Cubs Park, taking on the Oakland Athletics at 2:05 p.m. CST.