(Editor's Note: This is one of our Spring Training Auditions, with community members trying their hands at recapping games. Feel free to post any polite, constructive feedback/criticism in the comments section, and if you really really like the recap then find the green button at the bottom that says "Rec" to show it some extra love. Click here to revisit today's Game Thread preview.)
Play by play was brought to you by Donny Baarns, voice of the Visalia Rawhide, who had the casual delivery of an 83° Arizona afternoon. Spring broadcasts are as charming as an old girlfriend, with occasional coughs on the other side of the mic and shouts from the crowd chorusing in the background. Coco was a late scratch, Billy Burns took his place while Coco dealt with minor elbow soreness. Nobody's worried.
The game started out ominously, the Cubs opening with a single and a walk, Pomeranz looked shaky, carrying multiple three-ball counts while facing six batters and loading the bases in the first. Pom held the Cubs to one run on the frame while making a bunch of pitches, that on a Soler single up the middle, the ball ticking just off the glove of a diving Semien.
But if you like A's offense, this was a game for you. All of the starting 9 reached base, most of them multiple times. In the bottom half against one Blake Parker, subbing for an inning because scheduled Cub starter Edwin Jackson got stuck in traffic, Zobrist singled and "Country Breakfast" Butler hit a country mile homer.
Vince Cotroneo made an appearance for a few innings to do color, giving our aching baseball ears a taste of regular season radio.
Pomeranz walked two in the second, radio implied that Drew's curveball lacked the bite that he usually has. Perhaps that's the Arizona air, or maybe he was working on throwing Mr. Bendy at different speeds. Whatever the case, Drew got out of the inning unscathed. He complained of some hip tightness after his performance.
Edwin Jackson finally made it onto the mound for the bottom of the second, and went from traffic jams to jammed up basepaths. Jeremy Koo posted this in the gamethread:
Edwin Jackson said he put A's complex into Google Maps and it directed him to old Oakland complex at Phoenix Municipal Stadium.— Patrick Mooney (@CSNMooney) March 24, 2015
Vogt greeted Jackson by roping a double into the corner. Ladendorf followed with a ground rule double of his own to score Vogt. Nice to have Stephen cruise around the bases easy after all the foot troubles last year. Burns advanced the runners and Jackson wild-pitched Ladendorf in. After two innings: Cubs 1, A's 4.
Kris Bryant answered by pounding a homer off Pomeranz. After two outs, Melvin grabbed Pomeranz and had littleDoo (Ryan Doolittle) finish the inning.
In the bottom of the third, the A's went: Zobrist out, Butler out, "I wanna be like" Ike Davis doubled, Semien hit a run-scoring double. Vogt, not content with his earlier double, hit the ball over the right field fence. After a Ladendorf single, Sogard doubled, Burns singled, Fuld singled, and Joe Maddon came out to pull his pitcher. New Cubs pitcher Fernando Cruz got a pitch by the catcher and Billy Burns cruised home from third to complete the six runs of scoring for the inning. After three: Cubs 2, A's 10.
Enter the Big Z with his Uncle Charlie, the last of the big three...here for the second time. Zito didn't allow a run, his line included three walks and a hit in four innings, with the big curve looking vintage.
The Cubs would do nothing on offense for the rest of the game. A's scoring in the fourth started with a Butler walk. Davis laced a single through the teeth of the shift, and Fernando Cruz uncorked his second wild pitch to advance the runners. Vogt hit a sac fly to score Butler.
Sogard and Burns singled to start the bottom of the 5th. It was one of those days where seemingly every ball found a gap, and when they didn't, as when Fuld bounced a liner over third, Bryant snagged it but didn't have a play. Zobrist then hit another ground rule double to score two with the bases loaded.
The sixth was one of only two innings in which the A's didn't score (not counting the 9th, when they didn't bat), and the mass substitutions started. Stop the presses! There was a Ryan Sweeney sighting! Remember how you felt when Ryan and Andrew Bailey went to the BoSox for an unproven kid named Reddick and some minor leaguers? Rank that with your mass-exchange of 2014, or the playoff-run swaps for Jermaine Dye. Ahhh, life as an A's fan.
R. J. Alvarez pitched a scoreless frame, for those of you keeping track of the bullpen battle.
And the utility infielder tug-of-war? Sogard and Ladendorf put up identical 2-for-4 lines, each with two runs, one RBI and two left on base. Pretty soon Ladendorf will be the face of the MLB and Sogard will be...an elf. Every time I hear Ladendorf, I think of Chris Denorfia for some reason. Tyler Ladenorfia. Too obscure? Let's move on.
Cubs stagger out of their old home like drunken bears, 2 runs, 5 hits, 2 errors.
A's win with Athleticism, 14 runs, 18 hits, nobody got hurt. Yay!
Thus concludes this community audition. Thanks for reading, everyone. And thanks to the staff for hosting.