Chicago Cubs fall short in 5-3 loss to the Kansas City Royals


Feb 28, 2014; Tempe, AZ, USA; Chicago Cubs second baseman Darwin Barney (15) throws out a Los Angeles Angels runner at first base during the fourth inning at Tempe Diablo Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

The Chicago Cubs dropped their third game straight game to start off 2014 Cactus League play. It was a beautiful day today in Chandler/Mesa, Arizona. It was about 63 degrees, which happens to be comfortable baseball weather.

But it didn’t seem like that during the first couple innings of the game. Right-handed starting pitcher Edwin Jackson took the mound for the Cubs today against Kansas City. Jackson is coming into spring needing to prove that he has what it takes to lock up at least the number four or five spot in the starting rotation.

One of the biggest moments took place early in the game, when starting shortstop Starlin Castro was pulled from the game and replaced by Javier Baez after attempting to steal in the bottom of the first. Castro was grazed during his at-bat and attempted to pick up a free base but was thrown out after sliding head first.

The Chicago Sun-Times is saying that Castro suffered a mild hamstring strain.

Jackson was able to get through the first inning without suffering any damage, but gave up a home run to Kansas City’s Mike Moustakas. Moustakas came through for the Royals today, as he was able to launch his second home run of the game off Carlos Villanueva in the third inning. He would finish the game 2 for 3 with three RBIs on two home runs, which came in consecutive innings.

Villanueva would later allow Royals center fielder Norichika Aoki to record a sacrifice fly to left field, plating Lorenzo Cain to make it 4-0 early on.

Dallas Beeler would come into the game and replace Villanuea, who completed two innings of work and was charged with three earned runs. Beeler allowed the Royals to extend their lead to 5-0 off a Carlos Peguero RBI single to left fielder Justin Ruggiano.

Cubs second baseman Darwin Barney was finally able to put his team on the board with an RBI double to left field, driving in Donnie Murphy. First baseman Anthony Rizzo was able to help his team inch closer with an RBI double off a soft fly ball to left field, scoring Baez.

Ruggiano followed that up with a sharp line drive to center, allowing Rizzo to come around from second to make it 5-3 in the bottom of the sixth inning.

But that was all the Royals would allow Chicago to plate. Pitchers Francisley Bueno, P.J. Walters and Michael Mariot were able to close the door on the Cubs in the final three innings of the game. All three men were able to hold the Cubs to just one hit while recording four strike outs.

Former Kansas City Royal Emilio Bonifacio led off for the Cubs again but started in center. He went 0 for 3 today and was later replaced by Brett Jackson. Baez finished the game with two hits and a run, but struck out swinging on three straight low and inside pitches in one at-bat.

Kris Bryant made a pinch hit appearance for Ryan Sweeney, but struck out in his only at-bat of the game.

Be sure to come back again tomorrow for another Cubbies Crib Cactus League recap as the Chicago Cubs take on the Milwaukee Brewers, the first NL Central matchup of the young spring.