Ward shines, but Cubs fall late

Ward shines, but Cubs fall late

A's 7, CUBS 6
at Phoenix
Saturday, March 8

Cubs at the plate: Daryle Ward, Jake Fox and Josh Kroeger had successive first-inning doubles. Fox's shot knocked in two runs and Kroeger's plated Fox in the three-run inning. Ward opened the third with a homer, his second of the spring, and singled to lead off the fifth. Kroeger added his second double of the game in the third.

A's at the plate: Todd Linden hit a two-out, two-run single in the ninth to lift the A's to the win. Travis Buck is starting to pick it up, and hit his third spring double with two out in the third. Jack Cust was hit in the head by Cubs starter Sean Marshall to lead off the fourth and had to leave the game. The A's scored twice in the inning on a wild pitch and infield grounder. In the fifth, Jack Hannahan had an RBI double, driving in two overall, and Jeff Baisley had a run-scoring single.

Cubs on the mound: Marshall, after three smooth innings, toiled in the fourth. He was removed with one out in the inning, having allowed two runs on four hits, with two strikeouts and a pair of wild pitches. Shingo Takatsu was charged with a blown save and the loss, allowing two runs on two hits in the ninth.

A's on the mound: Rich Harden, making his second spring start after missing most of last season, was roughed up for three runs on four hits and a walk in the first inning. Harden ultimately allowed seven hits -- five of them for extra bases -- four runs, two walks and a home run, while whiffing two in his three innings.

Cactus League records: Cubs 4-7; A's 8-3

Up next: The Cubs play the Royals at Surprise on Sunday. Ryan Dempster, still shooting for the Chicago rotation, will face Brett Tomko in a battle of right-handers. The A's host the Brewers at Phoenix Muni. It's their third meeting of the spring, with the clubs splitting the first two games. Right-hander Joe Blanton will make his third start of the spring against left-hander Chris Narveson.

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.