Lake hits 3 HRs, Olt makes 2 errors in win
March, 23, 2014
By Jesse Rogers
PHOENIX -- Junior Lake and Luis Valbuena hit back-to-back home runs on two separate occasions as Lake went deep a total of three times in the Cubs' 10-6 win over the Oakland Athletics on Sunday.
Mike Olt made two errors but also homered. The Cubs hit six long balls in the game.
The good: Lake hit no-doubters in his final three at-bats, amassing six RBIs along the way. It was a needed day as he has struggled most of the spring, but his batting average jumped to .250 with the three hits. Valbuena has been hot lately, hitting his fifth and sixth home runs to take over the team lead. Olt slugged another one as well -- his fifth -- as the Cubs took over the major league lead in that category with 33.
The bad: Olt made two errors in one inning playing third base for just the third time this spring. He hasn’t had many chances, so when he threw high to first and then bobbled a ground ball trying to backhand it, those plays stood out. As long as his shoulder is healthy, though, it’s hard to imagine a couple of spring errors having a major effect on his roster status. That’s why he needs the games: to get the rust off, unless the Cubs feel he needs even more in the minors.
Jason Hammel struggled mightily through 4.2 innings but gave up only two runs on eight hits and three walks. He also hit a batter and threw a wild pitch.
"Not good," Hammel said afterward. "Not too happy with it. Pitching coach [Chris] Bosio said, 'You’re trying to do too much. Let’s work from the middle out instead [of] out[side] in.'"
McDonald falls: One highlight sure to make the rounds is outfielder Darnell McDonald falling down as he backpedaled to catch a fly ball in left field off the bat of Tyler Ladendorf in the seventh inning. The ball dropped for a double, helping the A’s score three unearned runs in the inning.
What’s next: Carlos Villanueva takes the mound for the first night game at new Cubs Park on Monday as the Cubs begin the final week of spring training.