The Cubs made their 2021 Sloan Park debut Tuesday against the Royals after winning 1-0 on the road against the Padres in their Cactus League opener. Adbert Alzolay and a series of relievers kept Kansas City off the scoreboard until the final inning.
Meanwhile, it was another slow start on the offensive end for the Cubs. As is often the case in spring training, an unlikely hero — outfielder Rafael Ortega this time — got the big hit to win it. (Box score)
Why the Cubs Won
They carried a no-hitter to the 7th inning and were able to hang on despite a two-run homer in that last frame.
Ortega laced a triple to right center off of lefty Daniel Lynch in the bottom of the 4th inning. The bases-loaded three-bagger gave the Cubs a 3-0 lead.
Stats That Matter
- Alzolay struck out one and hit a batter in his inning of work.
- Nico Hoerner smoked a single and a double in three at-bats.
- Dillon Maples remains on the 40-man roster and had a 1-2-3 outing with a new short-arm delivery.
Hoerner is making a big push for time at second base this spring. There are opportunities for players like Hoerner or Alzolay to earn roles on the semi-rebuilding Cubs. Here’s hoping they can.
The Cubs welcome the Mariners to Sloan Wednesday for a 2:05pm CT start. The game airs on ESPN, so it will be 9 innings rather than the typical shorter affairs this spring.