Chicago starting pitcher Jason Hammel danced out of early trouble, eventually pitching three scoreless frames in his Cubs debut, and Nate Schierholtz added two hits – including a two-run home run in the first inning – to help lead the club to a 9-0 rout of the Cincinnati Reds Saturday afternoon in Cactus League play.
After Donnie Murphy drew a one out walk, the veteran outfielder Schierholtz followed with his first home run of the year – to right field – giving Chicago a 2-0 lead before it even took the field. From there, the team only added to it, roughing up Cincinnati pitching for nine runs on nine hits on the afternoon.
Hammel’s final line pays homage to his control issues that led to three walks, but he worked around them to keep the Reds off the scoreboard. He allowed just two hits and struck out three before being replaced.
Left-hander Eric Jokisch, who turned in an impressive start earlier this spring, worked three scoreless frames in relief for Chicago, allowing three hits and striking out four, continuing his strong work early on this spring.
Chicago (4-6) added two more runs in the second after Ryan Kalish scored as Logan Watkins reached on a fielder’s choice before Watkins came around to score on a triple off the bat of Emilio Bonifacio. A ground out off the bat of Mike Olt in the top of the third pushed the Chicago lead to 5-0. A Bonifacio sacrifice fly in the top of the sixth pushed across the team’s sixth run of the afternoon before they added another three in the top of the eighth, capped off by a two-run single by Christian Villanueva.