Gonzalez pitches three strong innings

Gonzalez hurls three strong innings

A's 2, CUBS 1
at Phoenix
Thursday, March 6

Cubs at the plate: Daryle Ward doubled home the game's first run with one out in the fourth inning off A's left-handed reliever Greg Smith. Matt Murton had a leadoff double in the seventh, as the Cubs had five hits.

A's at the plate: Non-roster invitee Mike Sweeney just keeps on keeping on. His first-inning single was his eighth hit of the spring. He went 1-for-2 with a walk and maintained his .500 pace (8-for-16). Dan Johnson, his chief competition as a backup first baseman and DH, went 0-for-3, and is hitting .158 (3-for-19).

Cubs on the mound: Right-hander Jason Marquis, still vying for a slot in the starting rotation, worked three innings of four-hit ball with a walk and a strikeout. He worked out of a huge third-inning jam when Johnson grounded into a bases-loaded double play to end the threat. Bobby Howry and Kerry Wood followed him with one inning each of scoreless relief.

A's on the mound: Starting left-hander Gio Gonzalez buzzed through his three innings, allowing no runs, an infield hit and a walk, while striking out two. He picked off Geovany Soto from second to wiggle out of a little trouble in the third. Greg Smith followed with three innings of two-hit, one-run pitching.

Cactus League records: Cubs 2-6; A's 6-2.

Up next: The A's play the Giants at Scottsdale Stadium in their second cross-Bay clash of the Cactus League season. It'll be A's left-hander Dave Eveland against right-hander Kevin Correia.

Barry M. Bloom is a national reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.