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Rusin strong as Cubs top Mets

Cubs starting pitcher Chris Rusin delivers a pitch during the first inning of an exhibition game Sunday against the New York Mets in Las Vegas.
Cubs starting pitcher Chris Rusin delivers a pitch during the first inning of an exhibition game Sunday against the New York Mets in Las Vegas.

LAS VEGAS – Chris Rusin threw four scoreless innings, while Donnie Murphy, Daniel Vogelbach, and Arismendy Alcantara each homered to lead the Cubs to a 6-3 victory over the New York Mets with both teams playing with split squads Sunday.

Rusin (2-2), who started for the fourth time this spring, allowed only a second-inning single while walking none and striking out one.

The Cubs jumped out to a 5-0 lead thanks in part to a first-inning throwing error by Mets second baseman Anthony Seratelli in the top of the first, scoring Ryan Kalish and Murphy, who later homered in the third. Ryan Sweeney had an RBI single to center, scoring Kalish in the fourth.

Andrew Brown hit a two-run homer for the Mets in the sixth inning, cutting the Cubs' lead to 5-3. Zach Lutz homered an inning earlier.

Mets starter Jenrry Mejia (0-1) took the loss, allowing three runs, four hits, while walking two. He allowed an opposite-field home run to Murphy, his final batter.

Meanwhile in Jupiter, Jon Niese, the Mets' potential opening day starter, left after two innings after feeling a twinge in his left elbow in the team's other split-squad game against St. Louis. If Niese misses any time, it could open a spot for Mejia in the rotation.

"I didn't have the command today," said Mejia, who hadn't hear about Niese. "I had a hard time getting ready for this game because it is a three-hour time difference. (Niese) can be good. I don't want to have to worry about him. I just have to worry about staying healthy."

Alcantara's homer to right came in the ninth.

Alberto Cabrera pitched a scoreless ninth for his third save.


Mets: Mets general manager Sandy Alderson and manager Terry Collins were in Las Vegas and received the news about Niese.

Alderson said Niese would travel back to New York and receive an MRI on Monday morning. Collins told Niese to take no chances and get the MRI.

"He felt a twinge in his elbow," Collins said. "He did not want to come out. He felt he was fine."


Cubs: Rusin had been 1-2 with an 8.22 ERA this spring. He was 2-6 with a 3.93 ERA last year with the Cubs. He also spent part of 2013 at Triple-A Iowa. He was a fourth-round draft pick in 2009.

Mets: This was Mejia's second outing of the spring. He did not get a decision against Washington on March 5, pitching two innings, allowing a run.


Cubs: The Cubs played exhibition games at Cashman Field in Las Vegas every year since 2005. The Cubs have played 22 games in Las Vegas since 1993.

Mets: This is the Mets' second trip to Las Vegas, their first since 1997, when they played two games there.


Mets CF Curtis Granderson celebrated his 33rd birthday on Sunday. Granderson, who was on the Las Vegas split squad, went 0-for-3.


Kris Bryant, the Cubs' No. 1 pick (second overall) in last year's draft, saw action in his hometown Sunday. Bryant played high school baseball in Las Vegas, and later played at the University of San Diego. He went 0-for-2 and was hit by a pitch.

The two split-squad games at Cashman drew 19,514, including Sunday's 10,408.

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