Valbuena homers after Hendricks' sharp start
Two-run shot follows RBIs by Rizzo, Ruggiano; young hurler blanks Dodgers
MESA, Ariz. -- Cubs youngster Kyle Hendricks and Dodgers veteran Josh Beckett were each sharp over their three frames on Friday, as neither allowed a hit out of the infield. But it was Beckett, forced into an early exit because of a bruised right thumb, who came out of the 5-4 Cubs victory the worse for his effort.
The game was played before a crowd of 15,191 at Cubs Park -- a Cactus League record. It topped the previous high of 14,840, set Tuesday in a game between the Cubs and Rockies. The fans at Cubs Park saw the home side rally for a four-run sixth inning, in which Anthony Rizzo and Justin Ruggiano each had RBI hits before Luis Valbuena launched a two-run homer to cap the scoring.
Hendricks struck out four over three scoreless frames. The 24-year-old right-hander earned the Cubs' Minor League Pitcher of the Year Award last season, and he has allowed three runs on five hits in eight innings this spring.
Both leadoff men -- Dee Gordon for the Dodgers and Emilio Bonifacio for the Cubs -- reached base on infield hits to start the game, but the offenses couldn't get much else going early.
It was Gordon who drove in the game's first run with a two-out RBI triple in the top of the fifth. In competition for the Dodgers' starting second-base job, Gordon lined a full-count pitch into the right-field corner and motored into third, standing up. He finished 2-for-3.
Alex Guerrero, Gordon's competition at second, also had a solid day, mashing a two-run double to cut the Cubs' lead to two in the top of the seventh. But he was subsequently picked off at second base to end the threat.
Up next: The Cubs will play split-squad games over the next three days. On Saturday, half the team will be in Las Vegas to face the Mets at 3:05 p.m. CT, with left-hander Tsuyoshi Wada scheduled to start and right-hander Carlos Pimentel to follow. The other half will travel to Surprise, Ariz., to face the Royals, and Opening Day starter Jeff Samardzija will get that assignment. Top prospect Javier Baez will make the trip to Las Vegas, and it'll be a homecoming for Kris Bryant, the Cubs' No. 1 Draft pick last year, who is also on the trip. The Cubs' game against the Royals will be broadcast on Gameday Audio and WGN Radio, and the game in Las Vegas will be on MLB.TV and WGN-TV.