Cubs set single-season Cactus League attendance record in final game in Mesa
MESA, Ariz. -- Ryan Sweeney hit his first spring home run to lift the Cubs to a 4-3 victory on Thursday over the White Sox in front of 15,170 at Cubs Park, setting a single-season Cactus League record.
The Cubs drew 213,815 at the new ballpark, breaking the old mark of 203,105, which the team set in 2009 at HoHoKam Stadium.
In 15 home games, the Cubs averaged 14,254 fans, tops in the Cactus League, and Cubs Park now has the top 11 single game Cactus League attendance marks.
Travis Wood, who will start the second game of the regular season for the Cubs on Wednesday in Pittsburgh, gave up two hits over three scoreless innings. The lefty is ready to play games that count.
"I think that's unanimous around the clubhouse -- everybody is ready to get away from here and get things rolling," Wood said.
Wood is coming off his first 200-inning season, and took the same approach this offseason.
"I took the same approach as I did the offseason before last," Wood said. "It seemed to work for me last year and I didn't want to change anything and keep everything in stride and keep it rolling."
Emilio Bonifacio singled to lead off the Cubs first against Felipe Paulino, stole second, moved up on a groundout and scored on Anthony Rizzo's groundout. Sweeney made it 2-0 with a leadoff home run in the second, the 36th home run by the Cubs this spring, tops in the Majors.
With two outs in the fourth, Welington Castillo singled and scored on Justin Ruggiano's double. The Cubs loaded the bases with two outs in the sixth and added a run on Darwin Barney's RBI single.
Adam Dunn and Alejandro De Aza hit back-to-back homers in the ninth inning for the White Sox.
The White Sox finished 0-for-3 in Cactus League replay challenges, after a seventh-inning out call on an Alexei Ramirez slow roller to third was confirmed.
Up next: The Cubs close the exhibition season with games Friday and Saturday at Chase Field against the D-backs. Edwin Jackson will start Friday for Chicago. Shortstop Starlin Castro, injured in the third Cactus League game March 2, hopes to play both games in his final tune up for the regular season. The game will be available for free on MLB.TV and broadcast on Comcast SportsNet and Cubs.com.