Rizzo, Negron help Cubs out-rally Reds

Rizzo, Negron help Cubs out-rally Reds

GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- In an exhibition game that had no shortage of rallies, Devin Mesoraco slugged a home run for the Reds while Anthony Rizzo crushed one of his own for the Cubs. In the end, it was Chicago that emerged with the 9-6 victory on Tuesday at Goodyear Ballpark.

Former Red Kristopher Negron provided the go-ahead run for the Cubs with an RBI single in the eighth against Blake Wood. Tim Federowicz then added a two-run homer to left field off Wood, who allowed four runs on five hits in 1 2/3 innings, including a wild pitch that scored Jorge Soler in the seventh.

Facing reliever Brandon Gomes, the Reds mounted a four-run sixth inning to take a 6-5 lead. Eugenio Suarez hit a two-run double down the left-field line -- tying him for the team lead with five doubles -- and Mesoraco followed with a two-run homer to left-center field for the lead. In his three games since returning from 2015 hip surgery, he is 3-for-6 with two homers.

Reds manager Bryan Price enjoyed getting another solid day from both Mesoraco and Zack Cozart, who was 2-for-3, including an RBI double in the fourth inning. Cozart has been working his way back from left knee surgery in June.

"It's good to see," Price said. "They went down to Minor League camp yesterday and got into the neighborhood of seven or eight at-bats. We're trying to get them up to speed with how many pitches they're seeing and at-bats they're getting. They both came out of the game feeling really good."

Reds starter Alfredo Simon, who signed as a free agent with his former club on Thursday, pitched three perfect innings in his spring debut. Cubs starter Jason Hammel completed five innings with two runs (one earned), three hits, one walk and three strikeouts.

Welcome back: Simon impressive in return

Hammel said now he just needs to fine-tune some elements of his game.

"I feel pretty crisp, I feel good, I feel like everything I worked on and the things I was focusing on this spring have really started to translate," Hammel said. "My arm felt real good today."

Hammel, Schwarber battery works well for Cubs

Chicago scored three runs in the fourth inning against lefty reliever Tony Cingrani -- the first runs he's allowed this spring. Two were unearned, but Cingrani did not help himself with back-to-back walks.

Reds Rule 5 pitcher and lefty bullpen candidate Chris O'Grady was pitching in the sixth when Rizzo beat an infield shift by punishing a 1-1 pitch with a homer to right-center field. It's worth noting that Rizzo hit six of his 31 homers off lefties last season.

Up next for the Reds: Following their only off-day of Spring Training on Wednesday, the Reds resume Cactus League play at 4:05 p.m. ET on Thursday vs. the Rangers in Surprise, live on Gameday Audio. Anthony DeSclafani will be the starting pitcher, and he is coming off of an outing vs. Milwaukee in which he gave up four earned runs and six hits over 4 2/3 innings while striking out seven.

Up next for the Cubs: Kyle Hendricks will make his fourth start and fifth appearance this spring when the Cubs travel to Surprise on Wednesday to face the Rangers at 3:05 p.m. CT, and fans can watch live on MLB.TV or listen to an exclusive webcast. The right-hander, expected to be slotted in as the fifth starter, has struck out 14 over 14 innings and given up two earned runs. The Cubs and Rangers will play in the second annual spring Futures Game after the Cactus League game is completed.

Mark Sheldon is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Mark My Word, follow him on Twitter @m_sheldon and Facebook and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.