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Blanton sharp in Cactus League debut with Angels

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Blanton sharp in Cactus League debut with Angels play video for Blanton sharp in Cactus League debut with Angels

TEMPE, Ariz. -- Angels starter Joe Blanton gave up only a solo homer in his spring debut and outfielder Brian Bogusevic, competing for one of the Cubs' bench spots, had three hits in the Cubs' 4-2 win at Tempe Diablo Stadium on Sunday.

Bogusevic hit a solo homer with two outs in the first inning, giving the Cubs' split squad the early lead, but Blanton mostly cruised through his two-inning outing, striking out two without allowing any additional baserunners.

"He pounded the zone, no doubt," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. "He pulled a couple of pitches middle-in, one was the one that went out of the park, and he ended up pulling one changeup for a strikeout. But I think for the first outing, you couldn't ask for much more."

Cubs pitching prospect Nick Struck, who won 14 games and posted a 3.18 ERA in Double-A last season, breezed through the first three innings, giving up just two hits and striking out one to put his Cactus League ERA at 1.80.

Josh Hamilton, serving as the Angels' designated hitter, hit two hard line drives to right field, one of which fell in for a single. Mike Trout and Peter Bourjos, comprising the top two spots in the Halos' lineup, combined to go 0-for-6.

The Cubs took a 2-0 lead in the fourth off prospect A.J. Schugel, when Dioner Navarro's single scored Bogusevic, who has reached base safely in seven straight plate appearances. But the Angels came right back, scoring a run on Andrew Romine's double-play groundout in the bottom half, then tying the game in the sixth an RBI groundout by Alex Yarbrough following a leadoff triple by Brendan Harris.

The Cubs retook the lead on a sacrifice fly in the seventh by Alberto Gonzalez, scoring Johermyn Chavez after he led off the frame with a double. Brad Nelson made it a two-run lead in the eighth on a solo homer off Hiroyuki Kobayashi.

Cubs closer Carlos Marmol threw a scoreless fourth and Chris Rusin followed with three shutout frames.

Angels up next: Jason Vargas, acquired in exchange for Kendrys Morales on Dec. 19, will make his spring debut when the Angels take on the A's at Phoenix Municipal Stadium on Monday at 12:05 p.m. PT on Gameday Audio. The 30-year-old left-hander, who is scheduled to pitch the first two innings, has gone 33-36 with a 3.96 ERA while averaging 204 innings the last three years. Right-hander Dan Straily will start for Oakland.

Alden Gonzalez is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Gonzo and "The Show", and follow him on Twitter @Alden_Gonzalez. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

{"event":["spring_training" ] }
{"event":["spring_training" ] }
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