Former Douglas star has a rough second outing in Chicago's loss to Arizona

MESA, Ariz. -- It probably wasn't the type of outing that would bring a smile to Shawn Estes' face in the regular season. But for a game in early March, the former Douglas High star didn't think it was that bad.

"I got to throw 50 pitches today and really executed most of them," said Estes, who picked up the loss in a Arizona's 8-0 win over the Chicago Cubs on Friday at HoHoKam Park. "I only got to throw like 16, 17 pitches the last time out. I felt pretty good about what happened out there."

For the first two innings, Estes looked good. He only walked one batter and didn't allow a hit. Then in third inning, which turned out to be his last, things went sour.

The Diamondbacks' Randy Johnson, who started the game for the defending National League West champs, grounded out to start the inning, then Tony Womack singled. Estes picked off Womack trying to steal second, but Chicago first basemen Hee Seop Choi made a poor throw and Womack got credited with a steal. Craig Counsell grounded out to first to move Womack over third. Then with two outs, Junior Spivey's grounder was fielded by Mark Bellhorn but his throw was off target and too high as Choi was pulled off the bag. Spivey reached first and Luis Gonzalez redirected Estes' next pitch over the right field wall to give Arizona a 3-0 lead.

Estes got Carlos Baerga to ground out to end the inning, but the damage was already done. Gonzalez' first-pitch homer was his second this spring. The final line for Estes' second start: three innings, three hits, three earned runs, two hit batters, one walk and zero strikeouts. In his first start, he pitched two innings and only gave up two hits in a 9-2 loss to Kansas City.

In the first inning, Estes hit Spivey's foot on a curveball in the dirt and then in the third, he hit Steve Finley in the back with a high inside fastball. In all, five players were hit by pitches in the game. Spivey was hit twice. Eventually, home plate umpire Dana DeMuth called in both team's managers to warn them about the inside pitches.

"I tried to come inside on Finley, then threw a curveball (to Spivey)," Estes said. "My first two curveballs weren't very good but you got to pitch inside to win, everybody knows that. They (the umpires) are nipping it in the butt quick. It (their warning) doesn't surprise me. Nobody is trying to hit anybody down here, we're just trying to get guys out."

Dave Veres replaced Estes in the fourth. Johnson, meanwhile, pitched four innings in the win. He allowed one hit and didn't give up a run for the third game this spring and struck out six.

"With R.J., it never ceases to amaze me," said Arizona manager Bob Brenly about Johnson, who's won four straight N.L. Cy Young awards. "Here's a guy who has been the best pitcher in baseball the last four years and he's still looking to get better."



Carson High graduate Matt Williams didn't make the trip to Mesa on Friday and has now missed the past three games because of the flu. Craig Counsell, who remains ahead of him as the everyday third baseman going into the season, started against Chicago. He went 0-for-3 and is now 1-for-12 this spring. Williams has gone 1-for-11 (.091).


Friday's attendance of 12,632 was the second highest ever at HoHoKam Park. The all-time high is 12,833, which was set during the 1997 season against Colorado. The Cubs set the Cactus League single season attendance mark in 1999 when they averaged 11,445 per game. This year's average attendance is 7,359.


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