Chris Valaika leads Chicago Cubs to late win over Angels, 3-2


Mar 7, 2014; Tempe, AZ, USA; Chicago Cubs shortstop

Chris Valaika

(60) hits an RBI single against the Los Angeles Angels in the seventh inning at Tempe Diablo Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

Infielder Chris Valaika led the Cubs with two hits, including a ninth-inning double that was followed by a Jorge Soler triple that gave a split-squad Chicago team a come-from-behind 3-2 win over a potent Los Angeles Angels lineup on Friday afternoon.

Valaika drove in two of the team’s three runs in the game to pace the club’s offense. Cubs’ starting pitcher James McDonald tossed two scoreless frames, and the bullpen was solid throughout the afternoon. Offseason signing Tsuyoshi Wada – a former member of the Baltimore Orioles – made his Cubs debut, tossing two innings of hitless, scoreless baseball and notching a trio of strikeouts.

Right-hander Brian Schlitter earned his first win of the spring and left-hander Jonathan Sanchez, who briefly appeared with Pittsburgh last season, earned a save in today’s game.

Angels’ starter Hector Santiago, who was acquired in a trade with the Cubs’ crosstown rival, the Chicago White Sox, this winter, tossed four innings, compiling five strikeouts. The Cubs offense tallied only seven hits on the afternoon, with two of them coming off the bat of Valaika.

Former top talent Josh Vitters struggled again on Friday, striking out three times in three at-bats. The Cubs hitters racked up 11 punchouts on the afternoon, which stood in stark contrast to the Angels’ four.

The Angels’ lone run came off a fourth inning ground ball out from longtime MLB veteran Raul Ibanez, who signed with the club in the offseason at 42 years old.