March 10 (UPI) — Outfielder Rafael Ortega provided some preseason drama with a walk-off grand slam to help the Chicago Cubs beat the Oakland Athletics in a spring training game in Mesa, Ariz.
Ortega’s game-winning smash came in the bottom of the seventh inning in the 9-8 Cactus League win Tuesday at Sloan Park.
The Cubs trailed 8-5 to start the half inning. Athletics pitcher Adam Kolarek struck out Brennen Davis in the Cubs’ first at-bat of the frame. Jose Lobaton then singled to left field. Kolarek then walked Chase Strumpf and allowed a single to Abiatel Avelino to load the bases.
Ortega then stepped into the box to face the Athletics left-handed relief pitcher. The Cubs outfielder took a ball on the first pitch of his exchange. He then smashed the next pitch deep to right field to unload the bases and give the Cubs a victory. Ortega’s blast traveled at least 370 feet.
The Cubs outfielder is now hitting .231 with one home run and four RBIs in 13 spring training appearances. Fellow Cubs outfielder Joc Pederson also homered in Tuesday’s victory. Pederson now has three home runs this spring.
Veteran third baseman Matt Chapman also homered Tuesday for the Athletics.
The Cubs face the San Francisco Giants in another spring training game at 3:05 p.m. EST Wednesday in Scottsdale, Ariz. The Athletics battle the Milwaukee Brewers in a spring training game at 3:05 p.m. EST Wednesday in Mesa.