Rusin, Baez steal spotlight in strong start vs. Tribe
Left-hander throws three scoreless innings; shortstop prospect hits two-run homer
MESA, Ariz. -- Cedric Hunter hit a three-run home run, Jason Kipnis added a solo shot, and Michael Bourn hit an RBI single to power the Indians to a 9-2 victory Saturday over the Cubs and Javier Baez, who smacked a two-run homer in the first.
David DeJesus doubled to lead off the first for the Cubs against Indians starter David Huff, and Baez followed with his second spring home run. Huff, who spent the majority of last season at Triple-A Columbus, gave up two runs on four hits over three innings. Huff said his goal is to throw 72 to 75 percent first-pitch strikes, but admitted he was below that number on Saturday.
"I'll take it," Huff said.
Huff, who was 3-1 with a 3.38 ERA in six appearances in September with the Indians, is competing for a spot on the Opening Day roster.
"I know I can pitch at the Major League level," Huff said.
Baez's home run was the third off the lefty in 10 innings, and the shortstop is now tied with Dioner Navarro for the team lead in spring RBIs with six.
Projected No. 4 starter Zach McAllister relieved Huff in the fourth, and the right-hander struck out three Cubs in four scoreless innings.
Kipnis made it 2-1 with his first spring homer leading off the Indians fourth off Brooks Raley. The Tribe rallied in the fifth when Lou Marson walked, advanced on a passed ball and scored one out later on Juan Diaz's single to tie the game. Hunter and Bourn each singled, with Diaz scoring on the latter.
Lonnie Chisenhall added a sacrifice fly in the Indians sixth, and another run scored on an error by Baez, who couldn't get his glove on a relay throw from pitcher Alberto Cabrera. Hunter connected with two on and two outs in the sixth to chase Cabrera.
The game featured three pitchers projected for the Triple-A Iowa rotation in Chris Rusin, Raley and Cabrera. Rusin started and threw three shutout innings, giving up three hits, while Raley served up three runs on four hits and one walk over 1 1/3 innings. Cabrera was charged with five runs on three hits over 1 1/3 innings.
Cubs up next: The Cubs will play host to the Padres at HoHoKam Stadium on Sunday at 3:05 p.m. CT, sending right-hander Scott Feldman against former Cubs pitcher Jason Marquis. This will be Feldman's third spring start. He's given up eight hits and walked three over four innings. The game will be broadcast on Cubs.com.
Carrie Muskat is a reporter for MLB.com. She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings, and you can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.