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Baez homers twice for Cubs in victory

Published: Saturday, March 16, 2013 12:40 a.m. CDT • Updated: Saturday, March 16, 2013 12:40 a.m. CDT
(Chris Carlson)
Cubs catcher Welington Castillo tags Japan's Sho Nakata at the plate Friday in the ninth inning of an exhibition spring training game in Mesa, Ariz.

MESA, Ariz. – Javier Baez homered twice, including a two-run shot in the bottom of the ninth that gave the Cubs a 7-5 win over Japan on Friday.

The shortstop prospect who played in the high Class A Florida State League last season finished 2 for 4 with a walk and three runs. He homered in the seventh and then followed up with the winning hit off Takeru Imamura.

Sho Nakata, who had three hits, and Hayato Sakamoto each hit two-run home runs as the two-time World Baseball Classic champions prepared for the event’s semifinals in San Francisco.

Cubs left-hander Travis Wood allowed five runs, 4 earned, and seven hits in his 4 2/3 innings. He struck out four.

The Cubs jumped out to an early lead in the first when Alfonso Soriano hit a sacrifice fly, Dave Sappelt had an RBI double and third baseman Josh Vitter had an RBI single.

Cub prospect Dan Vogelbach singled in the tying run in the eighth inning before Baez’s heroics in the ninth after third baseman Christian Villanueva doubled to start the inning. Shinnosuke Abe had two doubles and a RBI for Japan to join Sakamoto with two hits each.

Notes: Cubs third baseman Ian Stewart (quad) saw his first action Thursday in a B game. He said felt tight later that night but felt great Friday, which was a rest day. He was unsure when he’d appear in Cactus League game but still feels he can be ready by Opening Day. . . . Cubs first baseman Anthony Rizzo is expected back in the lineup today after returning from World Baseball Classic action with Italy.

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