Chicago Cubs

Houston ends spring with win over Cubs

The Cubs' Travis Wood pitches against the Houston Astros in the third inning of an exhibition  game Saturday in Houston.
The Cubs' Travis Wood pitches against the Houston Astros in the third inning of an exhibition game Saturday in Houston.

HOUSTON – Houston's prospects got the best of the Chicago Cubs on Saturday.

Playing a lineup of mostly minor leaguers in their last exhibition game, the Astros beat the Cubs 6-3. The Cubs began the game with most of their regular starters.

Chicago second baseman Darwin Barney was shaken up after taking a tumble into some railing chasing a foul ball in the third inning. Barney fell to the ground before crashing into the railing near Houston's dugout. He got up quickly and walked off the field, but was taken out of the game.

Cubs manager Dale Sveum said Barney received five stitches on his left knee from the spill, and that he definitely wouldn't play in Chicago's opener Monday. The cut is on his knee cap, and Barney said it was so deep he could "pretty much see my bone."

"I was going full speed," Barney said of the collision. "I kind of put my head down to get to the spot, and I overran it, so thinking I was going to protect myself, I slid and went down. Unfortunately for me, for some reason there is a concrete slab right there on the edge of the field. I hit that and didn't think anything of it. I stood up and walked and felt fine. The rest is history."

He's wearing a brace that doesn't allow his knee to bend so the cut can heal quicker.

Astros shortstop, 18-year-old Carlos Correa, the top overall pick in the 2012 draft, went 3 for 4 with a sacrifice fly.

"This is what you work for every single day of your life, and I felt prepared for the opportunity," Correa said before packing up to head back to the minors. "It's amazing playing with these players and our new manager Bo Porter. It was really exciting."

Houston right fielder Domingo Santana was a home run shy of the cycle and drove in two runs.

"It was a good experience and I never knew that this would come so fast," said Santana, who will start the season at Double-A. "Everything just went well. It gives me a little bit of confidence and it will make me work even harder so I can stay here."

Cubs starter Travis Wood yielded five hits and two runs with a spring-best seven strikeouts in 4 1-3 innings. It was an improvement from his last start when he allowed seven hits and four runs in four innings.

Chicago began taking out its starters in the third inning.

Houston starter Brad Peacock allowed two hits and no runs in three innings. He posted a 2.78 ERA this spring to nab the fourth spot in the Astros rotation after spending the 2012 season at Oakland's Triple-A affiliate.

Cubs closer Carlos Marmol allowed two hits and a run in 2-3 innings to leave his ERA this spring at 6.10. He yielded four hits and six runs without getting an out in his last start.

"He actually threw the ball pretty good today," Sveum said. "His slider was really good. Weak contact and have to make the plays."

Correa's first hit came when the normally sure-handed Barney grabbed the grounder, but dropped it before he could throw it to first base earlier in the third inning. He added another single when a fly ball dropped in front of diving right fielder Jae-Hoon Ha in the seventh and a third single in the eighth.

Santana hit a ground-rule double which bounced off the hill in center field and over the wall to score a run for Houston in the second inning.

Santana singled in the fifth and scored on a sacrifice fly by Correa. He added an RBI triple in the sixth inning.

Chicago's Dave Sappelt had a nice defensive play when he climbed up the wall in center field to rob J.D. Martinez of a hit in the fourth inning.

The Cubs didn't score until the eighth inning when Steve Clevenger hit a two-run double and scored on a single by Nate Schierholtz.

NOTES: The Astros open the season on Sunday when they host the Texas Rangers. ... Chicago has a day off Sunday before opening the season at Pittsburgh on Monday. ... Houston placed long reliever Alex White on the 60-day disabled list with a right elbow strain and recalled reliever Edgar Gonzalez from Triple-A Oklahoma City. ... Houston OF Fernando Martinez was placed on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to March 27 with an oblique strain. The Astros recalled OF J.D. Martinez from Oklahoma City to take his spot on the roster.

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