Starlin goes 2-for-2 in debut of Cubs Park
Samardzija turns in two scoreless innings in front of record crowd
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.
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.
On deck: Lefty Chris Rusin, who is competing for a spot in the rotation, faces the Angels and Jered Weaver in Tempe in the Cubs' first road game this spring. Rusin was 2-6 in 13 starts last season with a 3.93 ERA. James McDonald is scheduled to follow Rusin in his first game action since Sept. 1. McDonald appeared in 16 games last season, six with the Pirates, as he struggled with shoulder problems. Top prospect Javier Baez will start at shortstop for Chicago.
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.