The Chicago Cubs offense was firing on all cylinders Sunday, but a four-run seventh inning by the Oakland Athletics proved too much to overcome.
Heading into the sixth, the Chicago Cubs enjoyed a comfortable 7-1 advantage over the Oakland Athletics. Kris Bryant, Anthony Rizzo and Kyle Schwarber had all contributed offensively and Jake Arrieta turned in a solid outing on the mound.
But, between the sixth and seventh innings, Oakland (10-4) scored eight runs against the Chicago bullpen to come roaring back for a 9-8 win in front of the home faithful at HoHoKam Stadium in Mesa.
Left-hander Rob Zastryzny got destroyed, failing to even record a single out in the seventh inning. Trailing 8-5, Oakland scored their first two runs via bases-loaded walks. Yairo Nunez then singled to right, tying the game, before a Franklin Barreto delivered the game-winning run via sac fly.
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Bryant opened the scoring in the third, taking Oakland starter Raul Alcantara to right field for a two-run blast, his second home run on the spring.
After the Athletics got one back in the bottom of the frame, Bryant and Rizzo got right back to work in the fourth.
The reigning NL MVP singled to score Miguel Montero. A Rizzo double pushed the Chicago lead to 5-1. Schwarber narrowly missed a long home run to center field, taking a ball off the monstrous center field batter’s eye, plating two more runs.
From that point on, however, the Cubs scored just one run, while surrendering eight.
Chicago (5-8) left the tying and go-ahead runs on base in the ninth against Oakland right-hander Bobby Wahl.
What Stood Out
Schwarber, Bryant and Rizzo combined for five hits and seven RBI on the afternoon. On the mound, Jake Arrieta looked much sharper than in his Cactus League debut.
The right-hander allowed one earned run, but did not allow a base hit. He was his usual self, effectively wild, walking three and striking out five over three innings of work.
John Lackey will take the ball for the Cubs Monday against the San Diego Padres at Peoria Stadium. First pitch is set for 3:10 pm CT.