Pederson's power paces LA, while McCarthy struggles

Prospect goes 3-for-3 with three-run homer; competitor Ethier adds RBI double

Pederson's power paces LA, while McCarthy struggles

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Chris Coghlan slugged a two-run homer and Albert Almora doubled twice as the Cubs roughed up Brandon McCarthy on Wednesday for a 7-5 win over the Dodgers, despite three hits and three RBIs from rookie Joc Pederson.

David Ross added a pair of hits for the Cubs, while Dodgers second baseman Howie Kendrick had two more hits to raise his spring average to .400.

MOMENTS THAT MATTERED

K-K-K-K: Sergio Santos had a seventh inning to remember. He struck out four and was also charged with a run. He struck out Coghlan, then fanned Arismendy Alcantara, who reached first safely when the pitch deflected off catcher A.J. Ellis back to Santos and he threw it past first base. Alcantara took second base on Santos' wild pitch. Anthony Rizzo struck out for the second out before Jorge Soler singled home Alcantara, Tommy La Stella singled Soler to second and Ross struck out on a pitch in the dirt.

Santos K's four in the 7th

Old friends: Both Coghlan and hitting coach John Mallee were ecstatic about the chance to work together again. Mallee was the Marlins' Minor League hitting coordinator when Coghlan won the National League Rookie of the Year in 2009. Their work paid off in the second, when Coghlan hit his first spring home run, a two-run shot. In '09, Coghlan hit nine home runs; he matched that number last season in his first year with the Cubs.

Kiddie corps: Almora is one of the Cubs' "core four" along with Javier Baez, Jorge Soler and Kris Bryant. But the 20-year-old outfielder, drafted in the first round in 2012 out of Mater Academy Charter School in Hialeah, Fla., hasn't progressed as quickly in the Cubs' system. On Wednesday, he started in center field in place of Matt Szczur and hit two doubles, including a two-run knock in the second. Szczur was scratched to give him a day to heal after crashing into the left-field wall on Tuesday while chasing a fly ball.

Almora's two-run double

McCarthy struggles: McCarthy was hit hard and often in this start. In four innings, he was charged with six runs on eight hits, five of those for extra bases. He struck out two.

McCarthy fans Coghlan

Start me up: In his first two spring starts combined, Jake Arrieta gave up one earned run on five hits over six innings. The Dodgers collected five runs on seven hits over four innings.

"I just got into a couple situations there, a couple at-bats where I got behind in the count and served something up that was a little too hittable," Arrieta said. "They were able to get the ball in the air and strung some hits together."

The right-hander was able to settle down in the third and fourth innings, and minimized the damage in the latter as he struck out three in a row to strand a runner at third.

What's next?

"I just need to be a little more precise with things earlier in counts so I'm not in hitter-friendly counts in big situations, and moving forward, that's something I'll put emphasis on," Arrieta said.

Arrieta fans Crawford

Just compete: While Pederson homered, doubled and singled, Andre Ethier made some noise with a double and run scored after manager Don Mattingly said Ethier's at-bats have been more impressive than the box scores show this spring. If Pederson wins the center-field job, Ethier seems headed to the bench, if not traded.

Ethier's RBI double

On the comeback: Reliever Mike Adams showed a flashback of his San Diego setup days with a lights-out perfect inning of relief in his second spring appearance after signing late. Adams has an outside shot at a bullpen job with injuries to Kenley Jansen and Brandon League.

QUOTABLE

"I needed this today, because when I got home after the last one, my little boy told me I wasn't a very good pitcher. He was legitimately mad at me. And I thought I had it rough in Philly." -- Adams

"We have a lot of really high-end potential defenders. Now we have to get the work out of them and understand the importance of where work plays in this game. The offense isn't going to show up every night. We have to show up with our gloves every night. I keep trying to pound that component home." -- Cubs manager Joe Maddon, on how his players need to work on defense as much as offense

SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS

Coghlan's homer was the Cubs' 20th this spring, most in the Major Leagues. Kris Bryant leads MLB with six this spring, including a pair of two-homer games.

WHAT'S NEXT

The Cubs will play two on Thursday, beginning with a "B" game at 3:05 p.m. CT at Sloan Park against the Angels. Kyle Hendricks is scheduled to start, and the game is open to the public. In the regularly scheduled game, Edwin Jackson will make his third spring start when the Cubs face the D-backs in Scottsdale, Ariz. It's a late start, with first pitch scheduled for 8:40 p.m. CT. Jackson has not given up an earned run over five innings in his two previous starts as he battles for the fifth starter's spot in the rotation. The game will be broadcast live on MLB.TV.

Brett Anderson will start for the Dodgers on Thursday against the Angels, live on MLB.TV at 1:05 p.m. PT. The Dodgers will suit up a limited roster, with a chunk of the club headed to San Antonio for the weekend pair of split-squad games against the Rangers. The only regulars in Thursday's lineup will be Carl Crawford (batting leadoff), Adrian Gonzalez and Yasmani Grandal. Chris Hatcher and Joel Peralta are among the relievers expected to follow Anderson.

Ken Gurnick is a reporter for MLB.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.