Playing in split-squad Cactus League action for the second time in as many days, the Chicago Cubs dropped a lopsided contest to the defending American League West champion Oakland Athletics on the road, by a 6-2 margin.
Only one Cubs player, outfielder Ryan Kalish, managed more than one hit in the ballgame, and both of the veteran’s knocks were singles on a day when the Chicago offense managed seven hits total – none of which were of the extra base variety – until the top of the ninth inning.
Prospect Jonathan Mota clubbed a two-run homer in the top of the ninth off Frank Gailey to break up the shutout, but that was the only substantive offense Rick Renteria’s club put forth on Monday afternoon. It was a different story altogether for the Athletics’ hitters.
Oakland had a pair of two-run innings, as well as another duo of one-run frames, but wasted no time in getting things started against Chicago pitching, roughing a pair of Chicago relievers up for a pair of runs in the bottom of the second when a Nick Punto single and a sacrifice bunt by Eric Sogard led to Athletics runs.
McDonald left the game after throwing just two pitches due to right shoulder soreness, which is a major concern for him as a player given he was working to shake the injuries he’s dealt with in recent years.
An RBI single by Coco Crisp in the bottom of the fifth plated Sogard, making it a 3-0 ballgame. One inning later, Brandon Moss lined a double to center, scoring Yoenis Cespedes. Moss later came around to score himself on a ground ball to left off the bat of Punto to push things to 5-0 in favor of the A’s. One more run would score in the seventh to make it a 6-0 contest.
Javier Baez made his second base debut in the contest, where he played errorless defense and tallied one base knock. Left-hander Joe Savery (1-0) picked up the win for Oakland and Yao-Lin Wang, who entered following the injury to McDonald, was saddled with the loss for the Cubs.