SURPRISE, Ariz. — The Rangers recorded a win and a loss in a pair of one-run split squad games on Thursday, beating the Royals 5-4 in Surprise and losing a 2-1 decision to the Cubs in Mesa.
In Surprise, Texas played as the road team and earned its 2nd win against Kansas City in a span of 4 days. After facing an early 2-run deficit, the Rangers plated 5 runs in the 3rd, 4th, and 5th innings to gain a lead that they would not relinquish. The club strung together 3 consecutive hits in a 3rd inning that was capped by Elvis Andrus’ 2-run single. Andrus brought home another run with an RBI single in the 5th inning, finishing the day 3-for-3 to raise his spring batting average to .588 (10-17). Danny Santana broke a 2-2 tie in the 4th inning with his 2nd home run of the spring, a 2-run shot into the Rangers’ bullpen in right field. Edinson Vólquez started for Texas and logged his longest outing of the spring, allowing 2 runs in 4.0 innings with no walks and 3 strikeouts.
The right-hander retired 8 of his final 9 batters faced and has posted a 2.00 ERA (2 ER/9.0 IP) in his last 3 starts, increasing his workload during each outing. The 2nd inning was highlighted by a pair of defensive plays for Texas. Third baseman Asdrúbal Cabrera made a lunging snag on a line drive off the bat of Cheslor Cuthbert to lead off the frame, and the 2nd out was recorded on an outfield assist from center field by Joey Gallo, who cut down Brett Phillips trying to stretch a single into a double. At the plate, Cabrera added a single and a walk, scoring on Santana’s blast in the 4th. In his last 7 games, Cabrera has batted .471 (8-17). Rougned Odor hit a pair of doubles to finish 2-for-3 and has gone 7-for-17 in his last 7 games.
The Arizona sun proved tough for fielders to manage throughout the game. The Royals’ 1st inning was extended by a sun-aided double, and Kansas City scored a pair of runs on another such double in the 5th inning with Chris Martin on the mound. Kansas City threatened in both the 8th and 9th innings, but Kyle Bird and Zach McAllister were able to escape both frames without any damage. Bird logged 2.0 shutout innings and stranded a runner at third base in the 8th. Zach McAllister picked up the save, inducing a game-ending ground out with the bases loaded in the 9th.
In the Rangers’ 2-1 loss to the Cubs in Mesa, the teams combined for just 7 hits and only one extra-base hit in a pitching-dominant contest. Texas scored its lone run in the 1st inning when Hunter Pence hit a 2-out RBI single to score Delino DeShields. Adrian Sampson posted 4.1 shutout innings after allowing an inherited runner to score on starter Connor Sadzeck’s ledger in the opening frame. Sampson has a 2.00 ERA in Cactus League games this spring. The game remained knotted at 1-1 into the 8th inning.
Chicago plated the decisive run in the 8th after Zack Short walked, stole second base, and advanced to third on a throwing error by catcher Jett Bandy. Ryan Court hit a sacrifice fly to score Short and provide the final margin. Jeffrey Springs posted 2.0 scoreless innings in relief of Sampson to keep the game tied. Ronald Guzmán, Eli White, and Logan Forsythe also had hits, with Forsythe’s double accounting for the lone extra-base knock in the game, as Texas out-hit Chicago by a 4-to-3 margin. Former Ranger Yu Darvish pitched 4.0 innings for the Cubs.
Additionally, RHPs Lance Lynn and Jesse Chavez both started in minor league games against Seattle affiliates in Surprise on Thursday.
· Lynn for Nashville (AAA) vs. Tacoma on Rangers Field 6: 5.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 7 SO, 72 pitches/42 strikes
· Chavez for Frisco (AA) vs. Arkansas on Rangers Field 5: 2.1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 4 SO.
The Rangers play 5 of their next 7 games in Surprise, beginning with Friday’s matchup against Cleveland at 3:05 p.m. CT. RHP Jason Hammel (1-0, 1.93) will make his 1st start of the spring for the Rangers opposite Cleveland RHP Carlos Carrasco (1-0, 6.00).
From Rangers PR staff reports