The Rangers posted a decisive win over the Kansas City Royals on Friday night, defeating their complex neighbors by an 8-1 margin under the lights at Surprise Stadium. Texas is now 9-2-1 at home this spring and 9-3-1 overall in Surprise.
The offense showed impressive discipline at the plate, matching its spring high with 8 walks (also 3/16 at SF) against just 5 strikeouts. Half of those walks came in the club’s 5-run 2nd inning, which was highlighted by David Dahl’s 3-run home run onto the berm in straightaway center field. The outfielder has hits in 6 of his last 7 games at 8-for-19 (.421). Leadoff hitter Isiah Kiner-Falefa posted an RBI single in the 2nd before scoring on the home run, and also came around to score on Joey Gallo’s sacrifice fly after singling in the 1st. Kiner-Falefa, who leads the club with 15 hits this spring, is batting .462 (12-26) in his last 8 games to raise his batting average from .231 to a spring-high .385. Gallo reached base twice (1B, BB), as he is now tied with Nate Lowe for the team lead in free passes with 7. Leody Taveras drew a pair of walks.
Texas pitchers recorded a spring-high 13 strikeouts, including 5 of the final 6 batters to end the game. Starter Taylor Hearn (3.0 IP, 1 R-ER) recovered well after a troublesome 1st inning that saw him exit with 2 outs and re-enter the game to start the 2nd, his 2nd straight start to utilize the spring training re-entry guideline. The left-hander did not permit a runner to reach scoring position after coming back in the game, earning the win with a spring-high 5 strikeouts. Relievers John King (2.2 SHO IP, 3 SO) and Josh Sborz (1.0 SHO IP, 3 SO) delivered strong efforts out of the bullpen, with Sborz striking out the side in the 8th. Matt Bush (0.1 IP) and Ian Kennedy (0.2 IP) were also scoreless, as both entered mid-inning while working on back-to-back nights for the 1st time this spring.
The Rangers head to Mesa on Saturday for a 3:05 p.m. CT matchup against Oakland, with RHP Kyle Gibson (1-0, 0.00) slated to oppose A’s LHP A.J. Puk (0-0, 12.27). It will mark the final spring tune-up for Gibson ahead of his 1st career Opening Day assignment next Thursday, April 1 at Kansas City. There will be no Texas radio or TV broadcast of Saturday’s game. The Rangers will also play a ‘B’ game against Kansas City at 10 a.m. AZ time on Nolan Ryan Field in Surprise.
From Rangers PR staff reports