Cubs launch 5 homers as Schwarber hits 1st

Cubs launch 5 homers as Schwarber hits 1st

MESA, Ariz. -- Jake Arrieta said he's ready for Opening Night.

The right-hander tuned up by throwing 102 pitches over five innings, and got plenty of help as Kyle Schwarber, Addison Russell, Matt Szczur, David Ross and Munenori Kawasaki homered for the Cubs in 9-5 win over the Athletics on Tuesday.

Arrieta, who came out of his last start after two-thirds of an inning to avoid breaking open a blister on his right thumb, was charged with one run on two hits and struck out five. His next start will be on Monday against the Angels in the season opener.

Arrieta on final spring start

"The blister's good," Arrieta said. "It was nice to get the pitch count up that high. Today, I got to throw all my stuff, got to pitch through some struggles a little bit with command. I was off a little bit timing-wise, but was able to make some good adjustments after a couple to get back on track. ... I like where I'm at going into our first game."

Arrieta has been able to do his normal side work, and said the blister is a "non issue."

Sonny Gray, the A's Opening Day starter, scattered eight hits over five innings and struck out three in front of the sellout crowd of 15,469 at Sloan Park.

"I didn't have a great fastball today, but I was able to throw strikes with it and make some good pitches," Gray said. "Just to get back out there one more time before the season was good. I wanted to treat it like a real game as much as possible."

Szczur, told earlier in the day that he had made the Opening Day roster for the second straight year, was a triple shy of the cycle. He doubled in the second, hit a bunt single in the fourth, and belted a two-run homer in the sixth.

"I knew they had faith in me and knew they trusted me," Szczur said. "It's a great feeling to be on the squad."

Chris Coghlan, traded from the Cubs to the A's earlier this spring, walked with two out in the first and then scored on Billy Butler's double. Schwarber tied it quickly with a leadoff homer in the Cubs' half of the inning.

Miguel Montero doubled with one out in the Chicago fourth and Russell followed with his fifth spring homer to open a 3-1 lead. Coghlan made it 3-2 with his third spring home run with one out in the sixth, and Josh Phegley added a solo shot in the seventh for the A's.

Phegley's solo home run

Ross and Kawasaki each connected in the eighth, the latter a three-run shot.

Up next for A's: Left-hander Rich Hill, who has made each of his last two spring starts in Minor League games, returns to the mound at Hohokam Stadium on Wednesday at 12:05 p.m. PT to face the D-backs in the Cactus League finale. Hill, penciled in as the A's No. 2 starter, struggled to a 15.26 ERA in his first three outings. Listen to the live action for free with an exclusive webcast.

Up next for Cubs: Left-hander Jon Lester will make his final spring outing on Wednesday at 3:05 p.m. CT when the Cubs wrap up the Cactus League season against the Rockies at Sloan Park. Lester wasn't happy with his last start against the Brewers, even though he gave up two hits over five scoreless innings. Listen to the live action for free with an exclusive webcast.

Carrie Muskat is a reporter for She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings. You can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat and listen to her podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.