SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- The anticipated pitching matchup between Cubs right-hander Jake Arrieta, the National League's reigning Cy Young Award winner, and Giants lefty Madison Bumgarner, who rewrote the postseason record book in 2014, never materialized Thursday. It was replaced by a typically hitting-laden, error-filled Cactus League affair in which Chicago
SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- The anticipated pitching matchup between Cubs right-hander Jake Arrieta, the National League's reigning Cy Young Award winner, and Giants lefty Madison Bumgarner, who rewrote the postseason record book in 2014, never materialized Thursday. It was replaced by a typically hitting-laden, error-filled Cactus League affair in which Chicago amassed eight runs in the fifth inning to prevail, 16-14.
The Cubs sent 13 batters to the plate in their big fifth. Dexter Fowler's two-run single and Kris Bryant's two-run triple did the most to fuel the uprising.
Chicago's outburst erased San Francisco's 11-5 edge that featured more productive hitting from Hunter Pence, who hit his sixth home run in nine games and contributed a single to a five-run first inning. He went 2-for-3, hoisting his exhibition batting average to .500.
Pence's first-inning single was the last of four consecutive hits allowed by Arrieta, who left the game after working one-third of an inning due to a blister on his right thumb. Arrieta was "frustrated" that he couldn't go longer in what was a marquee spring confrontation between pitching aces.
"You have to view them as one of the top contenders as well as some other teams around the league, along with a couple in the National League West," Arrieta said of the Giants. "We'll play a lot of great teams this year. It's frustrating to not be more involved tonight because I was looking forward to this. It was a fun game to be part of. I'm more excited about not allowing this to get past a point of uncertainty as far as having to deal with an open blister, so that's a benefit there for me. I think we're fine."
Cubs manager Joe Maddon said he was not overly concerned about his Opening Day starter.
"He said it's not hurting at all," Maddon said. "He had a coating on [the blister] that was preventing him from gripping the ball right."
Bumgarner, who didn't pitch more than three innings in any of his previous three starts, barely exceeded that figure as he yielded five runs and eight hits in 3 2/3 innings. He owns an 11.12 ERA, roughly on par with the combined 9.97 ERA of San Francisco's five projected starting pitchers.
Nevertheless, Bumgarner believed he made progress.
"I felt pretty solid today," he said, characterizing his performance as "a good little workout."
Bumgarner and Cubs right fielder Jason Heyward briefly exchanged words in the fourth inning after Bumgarner thought Heyward had said something to him following a called third strike, but Heyward explained he was asking Fowler, who was at second base, about the pitch location. Bumgarner later implied that Heyward was trying to coordinate with Fowler to alert him about which pitches were coming.
"You might want to be a little more discreet about that if you want to do that kind of thing," Bumgarner said.
Cubs Up Next:Jon Lester will make his third spring start Friday when the Cubs play host to the Brewers at Sloan Park in Mesa. So far, Lester has given up four earned runs on 12 hits over seven innings while striking out seven. First pitch is scheduled for 3:05 p.m. CT, and the game will be broadcast on MLB.TV.
Giants Up Next:Johnny Cueto, who appeared in a Minor League game in his previous start, will resume facing big leaguers when he confronts Kansas City, the team with which he won a World Series title last season. Friday's 1:05 p.m. PT split-squad encounter at Scottsdale can be seen and heard via exclusive live webcasts. Buster Posey will be among the more prominent Giants participating in the other split-squad game, which pits them against the Los Angeles Dodgers in Glendale starting at 7:05 p.m. PT, live on MLB.TV.
Chris Haft is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Haft-Baked Ideas, follow him on Twitter at @sfgiantsbeat and listen to his podcast.