SURPRISE, Ariz. (AP) — Texas Rangers outfielder Jim Adduci capped off a 10-pitch at bat by hitting a two-run homer in the eighth inning then led off the 10th with a walk to start the game-winning rally in the Rangers’ 7-6 win over the Chicago Cubs Tuesday night.
With the bases loaded and two out, the Rangers scored in the bottom of the 10th when Michael Choice hit a chopper to Cubs third baseman Jeimer Candelario, who struggled to get it out of his glove. Choice beat the throw to first, and the Rangers had the win.
Cubs designated hitter Mike Olt and Cubs shortstop Javier Baez belted back-to-back homers as the Cubs scored five unearned runs off Rangers starter Alexi Ogando in the third.
The rally started after Rangers’ third baseman Kevin Kouzmanoff made an error with two outs and nobody were on base.
“We’re giving up too many runs with two outs.” Rangers manager Ron Washington lamented. “That was an example right there. We gave up five of them. We got to stop that.”
For the Cubs, starting pitcher Jason Hammel gave up seven hits and four runs in five innings.
Hammel said he was pleased to get his pitch count up to 78 (45 strikes). He walked two and struck out two.
“Overall, not looking at the results, I felt pretty good,” he said. “Even in the last inning, I still felt strong. I think my velocity was the same. That’s all I need to really worry about right now. I threw good pitches today. It’s spring training baseball games, facing a lot of guys I don’t know. The only thing that bugs me right now is the walks. I’ve been walking a little too many guys. I’ve got to get the fastball command … a lot better.”
Ogando pitched three innings, giving up the five unearned runs after Kouzmanoff’s error.
Olt hit a two-run homer then Javier Baez followed with a solo homer, his fourth of the spring. The Cubs scored two more runs on a single by Rafael Lopez, a double by Darnell McDonald and a triple by Brett Jackson.
“I wish he could have gotten some outs after Kouzmanoff made that mistake,” Washington said. “And then all of a sudden he got the ball up. And they didn’t miss it. They hit for the cycle.”
Though he seemed to express concern about Ogando, who has a 6.35 ERA, Washington stopped short of saying the pitcher was in danger of losing his spot in the rotation.
“I haven’t decided on anything like that,” the manager said. “Up until his two outings, he’s been throwing the ball well.”
Yet, “He’s got to start getting outs….Errors are a part of the game…The inning got away from him.”
At the start of the fourth inning, Ogando took the mound, then walked off the field with the team trainer, but Washington said he messed up, that he didn’t realize quickly enough that Ogando had thrown enough pitches.
Ogando, speaking through an interpreter, said the Rangers’ staff thought he might have a blister but that he was OK. He indicated his lost his focus after the error and that “things got away” from him.
Ogando struck out four and walked two in his three innings of work.
Rangers: Shortstop Elvis Andrus was scratched from the lineup as a precaution because of recurring forearm soreness, the Rangers said. … Second baseman Jurickson Profar had four wisdom teeth removed last week and has been dealing with shoulder soreness, but started Monday night at second base (first game in field in spring training) and reported no issues. … Outfielder Mitch Moreland has a strained left oblique and is day-to-day.
Cubs: Olt, who has been dealing with shoulder soreness, was the DH Tuesday night. The Cubs hope he can start playing the field within a few days.