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Valbuena launches two homers to sink White Sox

Rusin impressive, allowing just two hits over five scoreless frames

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Rick Renteria will have to wait until May 5-8 to experience the intensity of the Cubs-White Sox rivalry at the regular-season level, with two games at Wrigley Field followed by two at U.S. Cellular Field.

The new Cubs manager got a small taste of the Interleague crosstown battle Friday before a sellout crowd of 13,038 at Camelback Ranch, with his squad claiming a 7-0 victory over the White Sox.

"I'm not really up on the White Sox-Cubbie history, even though I've heard it's pretty intense, which is pretty cool," Renteria said before the Cubs improved to 11-14 this spring.

This first 2014 Cactus League matchup between the two teams featured well-pitched games from White Sox starter John Danks and Cubs starter Chris Rusin. The only blip for either one came in the Cubs fourth, when Danks allowed four runs on four hits.

Luis Valbuena delivered the inning's knockout punch, when he crushed the first pitch of his at-bat into the right-field stands for a three-run homer. Valbuena has five homers and 17 RBIs lifetime against the White Sox, which represents single-team career-highs in both categories for the infielder. Valbuena added another homer, a solo shot, in the seventh inning.

Ryan Kalish kept that inning alive for Valbuena with a two-out single off of Danks that scored Mike Olt, who had two hits.

Danks yielded the four runs on six hits over five innings, striking out two and not issuing a walk. Rusin, meanwhile, limited the White Sox to singles from Avisail Garcia and Jose Abreu over five scoreless innings, while striking out three and not issuing a walk in his continued quest for the rotation's fifth starter slot.

Cubs top prospect Javier Baez finished 1-for-3 with an infield single against Matt Lindstrom in the sixth in what was Lindstrom's first Cactus League appearance following a left oblique strain. But Baez left the game after beating out that grounder at first. It was later diagnosed as a right heel contusion. White Sox catcher Tyler Flowers left the game in the bottom of the frame with leg cramps after swinging through a 1-1 pitch from Cubs reliever Alberto Cabrera.

Up Next: Edwin Jackson will make his fourth Cactus League start on Saturday when the Cubs play host to the Reds at Cubs Park in Mesa at 3:05 p.m. CT. Jackson, slotted into the No. 3 spot in the rotation, has given up four runs on 10 hits and one walk over nine innings this spring. Olt is scheduled to make his second start at third base. The game will be broadcast live on MLB.TV and Gameday Audio.

Scott Merkin is a reporter for Read his blog, Merk's Works, and follow him on Twitter @scottmerkin.
Read More: Chicago Cubs, Luis Valbuena, Chris Rusin