After two hitless starts, right-hander allows five runs over four innings
GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- Nate Schierholtz had two hits, including a home run, and Emilio Bonifacio added two RBIs as the Cubs cruised to a 9-0 victory over the Reds on Saturday at Goodyear Ballpark.
In his first Cactus League start, Cubs starter Jason Hammel pitched three scoreless innings with two hits, three walks and four strikeouts. Hammel, who last pitched in a "B" game on Monday after his debut was washed out by rain, walked three batters in the first inning but was able to escape with the bases loaded.
"To be honest, I was battling a little bit of butterflies," said Hammel, who signed a one-year, $6 million contract with the Cubs. "It's exciting because it's the first time of the year to get out there on the mound in front of a crowd. I was able to battle through it."
The right-hander admitted some of his pitches were not in the location he preferred but there were definitely some "swing-attable pitches" in the mix. Why the nerves?
"I was out there, warming up, and maybe it was because of the long delay in the offseason for signing, but I just wasn't comfortable," Hammel said. "I feel comfortable. I don't know what it was. It was funny."
Competing for a rotation spot in case Mat Latos (left knee) isn't ready for the start of the season, Alfredo Simon gave up five earned runs and five hits with two walks and one strikeout.
Simon gave up a one-out walk before Schierholtz connected on an 0-1 pitch for a two-run homer to right field. It was the first hit Simon allowed this spring after five hitless innings in two starts.
The Chicago second inning started with a Ryan Kalish walk and he later scored on a fielder's choice by Logan Watkins. Emilio Bonifacio's two-out RBI triple through the gap in right-center field made it 4-0. Schierholtz led off the third with a single, and scored on Mike Olt's groundout to the shortstop.
"He was real lateral," Reds manager Bryan Price said of Simon. "He was off the top of the ball. The movement was so side to side. You can icemake an adjustment if the ball is on the plate and you're missing up and down. But when you're missing off the sides of the plate, it's a much more difficult adjustment to make."
In the eighth, Reds reliever Logan Ondrusek walked four straight batters before allowing a two-run single to Christian Villanueva to make it 9-0. Ondrusek retired just one of the six batters he faced.
One bright spot for the Reds: Joey Votto reached safely in all three of his plate appearances, going 2-for-2 with two doubles and a walk.
"It wasn't a pretty ballgame," Price said. "We weren't sharp. It just wasn't a good game. There's nothing really about it, no redeeming pieces."
Up next:Ryan Ludwick has one home run and three RBIs this spring, and has shown no issues with the surgically repaired right shoulder that cost him four months of last season. Ludwick and the Reds will travel to Tempe on Sunday for a 4:05 p.m. ET game against the Angels. Johnny Cueto, who gave up six runs and seven hits in his last 2 2/3 inning outing, will start for Cincinnati.