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Sports

Baez hits 2 HRs, Cubs beat Japan

MESA, Ariz. – Javier Baez hit homered twice, including a two-run shot in the bottom of the ninth that gave the Chicago Cubs a 7-5 win over Japan on Friday.

The shortstop prospect who played in the high Class A Florida State League last season finished 2-for-4 with a walk, three runs and RBIs. He homered in the seventh and then followed up with the winning hit off Takeru Imamura.

Sho Nakata, who had three hits, and Hayato Sakamoto each hit two-run home runs as the two-time World Baseball Classic champions prepared for the event's semifinals in San Francisco.

Cubs left-hander Travis Wood allowed five runs, 4 earned, and seven hits in his 4 2-3 innings. He struck out four.

The Cubs jumped out to an early lead in the first when Alfonso Soriano hit a sacrifice fly, Dave Sappelt had an RBI double and third baseman Josh Vitter had an RBI single.

Cub prospect Dan Vogelbach singled in the tying run in the eighth inning before Baez's heroics in the ninth after third baseman Christian Villanueva doubled to start the inning. Shinnosuke Abe had two doubles and a RBI for Japan to join Sakamoto with two hits each.

NOTES: Cubs 3B Ian Stewart (quad) saw his first action Thursday in a B game. He said felt tight later that night but felt great Friday, which was a rest day. He was unsure when he'd appear in Cactus League game but still feels he can be ready by opening day. . The Cubs expect top OF prospect Albert Almora to make a full recovery from the broken hamate bone in his left hand he suffered in a minor-league spring game Thursday. Surgery expected soon with a recovery time of eight to 10 weeks. . Cubs 1B Anthony Rizzo is expected back in the lineup Saturday after returning from World Baseball Classic action with Italy.

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