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Thursday, March 7, 2013
Rapid Reaction: White Sox 8, Cubs 3

By Jesse Rogers

MESA, Ariz. -- The Chicago Cubs lost 8-3 to the Chicago White Sox on Thursday in the first of two Cactus League games between the teams. Here's a quick look:

The good: Carlos Villanueva got hit around in four innings but only gave up two runs. It helped that he didn't walk anyone while working his way out of jams. Reliever Barret Loux threw a solid first inning in relief and added a single at the plate. Nate Schierholtz had two good at-bats against left-handed pitching, tripling in his first one. Christian Villanueva hit a two-run home run in the ninth.

The bad: Villanueva wasn't fooling anyone as the six hits he gave up and the outs he earned were nearly all hard-hit balls. He gave up a home run to Paul Konerko and none of his four innings were smooth. Loux's second inning of work wasn't smooth either. He gave up a hard-hit single to Jeff Keppinger and then back-to-back home runs to Adam Dunn and Konerko. Carlos Marmol couldn't get three outs and was pulled with the bases loaded in the seventh and a run in. He walked two and threw a wild pitch. The Cubs gave up 14 hits.

Castillo's catch: Welington Castillo had the play of the day near the Sox dugout, catching a foul ball backhanded up against the railing.

What we learned: Cubs pitchers got hit hard and Marmol could not have been impressive to any scouts in attendance. His wild pitch and two walks is exactly what no one from any team -- including the Cubs -- wants to see. His spring ERA is 4.91. The Cubs haven't won a game since a split squad affair on Sunday.