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Hammel throws four scoreless in exhibition finale

Right-hander allows two hits with five strikeouts; Castro returns with a walk

PHOENIX -- Jason Hammel, who is slated to start Thursday against the Pirates, looked sharp in tossing four shutout innings as the Cubs rallied for a 9-8 victory over the D-backs on Saturday at Chase Field in the final spring game for both teams.

After the D-backs scored six runs in the seventh to take an 8-6 lead, the Cubs got three in the ninth to secure the victory. Christian Villanueva tied the game at 8-8 with a two-run single, then Rubi Silva put the Cubs ahead with a sacrifice fly.

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The D-backs' wild seventh inning featured not only six runs, but also a pair of plays that allowed the umpires to utilize the replay system.

The first came when Mike Jacobs hit a grounder to Chris Valaika at first. He threw to Javier Baez at second for what they thought would be a force on Pennington, and Baez's throw back to first sailed wide of the bag as both Owings and Tony Campana scored.

The umpires ruled Pennington safe at second because Baez did not touch the base. After Cubs manager Rick Renteria challenged -- his second of the game -- the umpires upheld the call upon review.

Later in the inning, Mike Jacobs was ruled out at home on a close play. D-backs manager Kirk Gibson challenged hat play, and it was overturned after umpires looked at the replay.

As for the runs, Owings and Pennington each had RBI singles and Rudy Flores drove home two with a single of his own.

Hammel allowed a pair of hits over his four innings and did not walk a batter while striking out five.

It was not all bad news for the D-backs, though, as starter Bronson Arroyo seemed to get through 4 2/3 innings and 77 pitches without his back acting up. That would put him on target to start Thursday against the Giants.

The Cubs took a 1-0 lead in the second on Darwin Barney's RBI single.

They added another run in the fifth when Anthony Rizzo singled home Matt Szczur and that spelled the end of the day for Arroyo.

Lefty Joe Thatcher came on with runners on first and third to face Valaika and got him to ground out to third.

Eric Chavez's throw across the diamond short hopped Paul Goldschmidt at first and Renteria challenged the call under the new instant replay rules.

After a brief delay, the ruling was upheld and the D-backs were out of the inning.

Chicago roughed up D-backs reliever Brad Ziegler for four runs in the sixth to go up 6-0.

The big blow of the inning was Arismendy Alcantara's two-run home run to right.

The D-backs finally got on the scoreboard in their half of the sixth when they scored a pair of runs on RBI singles by Cliff Pennington and Henry Blanco to pull to within 6-2.

Up next: The Cubs broke camp and headed to Pittsburgh, where they open the season on Monday with a 12:05 p.m. CT start. Jeff Samardzija will get his second consecutive Opening Day assignment. The Cubs are 75-61-2 all-time on Opening Day, including a 46-38 record on the road. The game will be available on MLB.TV

Steve Gilbert is a reporter for Follow him on Twitter @SteveGilbertMLB.

Chicago Cubs, Arismendy Alcantara, Starlin Castro, Jason Hammel, Jeff Samardzija