Chavez homers to back Arroyo's D-backs debut
Right-hander allows Cubs two runs on three hits; Goldschmidt drives in two
MESA, Ariz. -- Eric Chavez hit the first home run at Cubs Park, a two-run shot in the fifth, and Paul Goldschmidt added a two-run single in the sixth to lift the D-backs to a 5-2 win over the Cubs on Thursday, spoiling the North Siders' Cactus League opener at their new stadium.
The game drew a Cactus League-record crowd of 14,486, breaking the mark of 13,721 set last March 23 between the Dodgers and White Sox in Glendale.
Bronson Arroyo, making his first start for Arizona, gave up two runs (one earned) on three hits over three innings.
"I think anybody who's a new guy on a ballclub wants to produce at least a little bit just to let people know you're not over the hill or whatever it may be," Arroyo said.
This was not only the first game at Cubs Park, but Rick Renteria's first as a Major League manager.
"It feels just like another game," the Cubs' new skipper said. "We're getting ready for the season and today's the first day of basically a test to see how everybody's doing. We're going to use [Spring Training] to see what aspects of the game we need to improve on and basically see where everybody's at."
So no butterflies?
"No," Renteria said, smiling.
Cubs starter Jeff Samardzija may have had a few. He walked leadoff batter Gerardo Parra but settled down and did not give up a run over two innings. The Cubs' Opening Day starter last season, Samardzija was up for the test.
"It was good to come out and face these guys," Samardzija said of the D-backs. "I've faced them a lot the last few years. I know they make me work. They see pitches and make you throw in the zone -- they don't get themselves out. They have a nice lineup one through nine."
Emilio Bonifacio tripled to lead off the Chicago first and scored on Luis Valbuena's groundout. With two outs in the third, Valbuena reached on a passed ball by catcher Miguel Montero on strike three, then scored on Starlin Castro's double.
Up next: Ace Patrick Corbin will make his first start of the spring at 1:05 p.m. MT on Friday when the D-backs host the Rockies at Salt River Fields. If the D-backs stay in a five-man rotation the rest of the spring, Corbin lines up to start the regular-season opener on March 22 against the Dodgers in Sydney, Australia. Arizona manager Kirk Gibson, however, said the team has not made a decision.
Carrie Muskat is a reporter for MLB.com. She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings, and you can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.