The Rangers went 1-1 in a pair of split squad games on Thursday, winning 5-0 against the Cubs in Mesa and losing 11-9 to the Diamondbacks in Surprise. Texas is 6-1 in its last 7 games.
In Mesa, six Texas pitchers from the first split squad combined on a 3-hit shutout, including 3.0 scoreless frames from starter Jonathan Hernández, who was filling in for an injured Joe Palumbo. Cubs regulars Kris Bryant, Javier Baez, Kyle Schwarber, and Willson Contreras combined to go 0-for-5 with a walk against Hernández, who has 3 walks and 10 strikeouts in 7.0 innings this spring. It was the first time for Texas pitching to hold the opposition scoreless in spring training since March 2, 2019, when the team played a 9-inning scoreless tie against the Giants in Scottsdale. The club last posted a spring shutout victory on March 31, 2017 vs. Kansas City at Globe Life Park in Arlington (3-0 win). Texas won both meetings with Chicago-NL this spring, out-scoring the North Siders by a combined 18-1 margin.
The Rangers’ win over the Cubs included a 4-run 4th inning, a frame in which Nick Solak and Anderson Tejeda each hit 2-run singles. Texas batters drew 4 walks and sent 10 men to the plate in the 4th inning. Willie Calhoun drew 2 walks in the game, and now has 5 walks against just 3 strikeouts this spring. Solak had a 2-for-4 day, and Isiah Kiner-Falefa had 3 hard-hit balls in a 1-for-3 effort. Kiner-Falefa has gone 9-for-16 in his last 7 games and his Cactus League slash line is .346/.393/.692/1.085. Texas pitching posted 13 strikeouts in the victory. Jimmy Herget has 4.0 shutout innings over his 4 ‘A’ appearances this spring. The teams combined for 8 hits in the game, all singles.
In Surprise, Texas reserves on the second split squad staged a late comeback that fell short, scoring 7 runs in the 8th and 9th innings. Blake Swihart struck out with the bases loaded and the tying run on 2nd base to end the game, giving Texas its first loss since Fri. at LAA. Arizona was held hitless through 3 innings and tagged the Texas bullpen for multiple runs in 3 of the game’s final 5 innings. Starter Mike Minor worked 3.0 hitless innings and allowed just 2 baserunners on a pair of walks in his first Cactus League outing. He recorded strikeouts of Kole Calhoun and Travis Snider, both looking. Arizona’s first hit came in the 4th inning, a solo home run by Kevin Cron off Joely Rodríguez, and the D-backs proceeded to score 4 runs off Edinson Vólquez in the 5th. Adolis García hit a towering solo home run to left field off Robbie Ray to lead off the 3rd inning, and Joey Gallo added a solo blast in the 6th, sending a 3-2 pitch from Taylor Clarke high over the home bullpen in right field. It marked the 2nd home run of the spring for both players, as Gallo has gone deep in 2 of his last 3 games. Eli White, Scott Heineman, Henry Ramos, Rob Refsnyder, and Swihart all reached base multiple times off the bench. Ramos, Refsnyder, and Swihart each drove in 2 runs in the late innings. Josh Jung, Texas’ top selection in the 2019 June draft, hit an RBI single in the 8th inning. Nick Ciuffo started behind the plate and doubled, as he has gone 5-for-11 in his last 5 games. Derek Law worked a scoreless 6th inning and has 4.1 shutout innings across 4 ‘A’ games this spring.
The Rangers head to Peoria to play the Padres on Friday night at 7:40 p.m. CT. RHP Corey Kluber (0-0, 6.00) will take the hill against San Diego RHP Zach Davies (1-0, 2.25).
From Rangers PR staff reports