It appeared that the Texas Rangers were going to ease their way to victory after leading the Chicago Cubs 7-1 early on. That is until the Cubs pushed across four runners in the top of the fifth, and eight more in the ninth to beat the Rangers, 15-10 Tuesday afternoon.
Outfielder Matt Szczur is letting it be known that he does, in fact, belong on the big league roster come Opening Night. Szczur drilled a solo home run in the top of fifth inning, bringing the Cubs within five, setting the tone for the rest of the inning. It was his fifth of the spring.
More from Chicago Cubs News
- Cubs need to walk the walk this winter after talking the talk
- Alec Mills shocked Cubs fans, baseball world with 2020 no-hitter
- Cubs: After season of adjustments, Seiya Suzuki primed for monster 2023
- Projecting the 2023 Cubs Opening Day lineup
- Cubs: 2022 season a ‘success,’ according to Tom Ricketts
Chicago picked up the early lead at the top of the second inning on a RBI single by Szczur off Derek Holland before the Rangers took a 3-1 lead at the bottom of the same frame. Veteran outfielder Shin-Soo Choo tied things up at one a piece on his second triple of the year while Leonys Martin gave his team the 3-1 lead on a single to right field.
Starter Eric Jokisch (1-1, 8.80 ERA) was on the wrong end of the fence early on as the Rangers forced him out of the game after just 3 1/3 innings. Texas clubbed him for 10 hits while pushing across seven runs (all earned). He would walk one and strikeout only two.
Prospect Wes Darvill hammered his first home run of the spring, a two-run shot that cleared the left field fence, cutting the Rangers lead down to 9-7 through seven.Â Darvill reached on a force attempt by Guilder Rodriguez, tying the game up at 9-9 after two runs came across to score in the ninth.
Catching prospect Wilson Contreras later gave the Cubs an 11-9 lead on a two-run triple to right field, driving in Darvill and Jacob Hannemann. With Contreras standing on third, outfielder Billy McKinney continued the late-inning hit parade with a RBI single to make it 12-9.
Meanwhile, Texas (9-16) made it a five-run game thanks to a solo home run courtesy of Carlos Corporan in the bottom of the ninth.
What Stood Out:Â
As mentioned at the beginning of the recap, Matt Szczur is proving to this front-office that he belongs on the 25-man roster come this Sunday. Last season with the Cubs, Szczur hit just two home runs and five runs batted in while hitting .226/.237/.355.
With only three games left to play this Spring Training, he’s showed signs of improvement in the batter’s box through 43 at-bats. In those at-bats, Szczur now has five home runs, nine RBI, two doubles and two triples while slashing .349/.417/.837.
Skipper Joe Maddon and Cubs’ President Theo Epstein would be crazy if they started him off in the Minors to begin the year.
The Cubs 2015 Spring Training home stand will end tomorrow in a showdown with N.L. Central division rival, the Milwaukee Brewers (11-13).
Chicago will send No. 3 starter Jason Hammel in the mound opposite of Kyle Lohse. Hammel (2-1, 3.60 ERA) is looking to end the spring strong after picking up his last victory against the Chicago White Sox in his last outing. He gave up six hits, two runs (both earned) while striking out two.
Lohse, on the other hand, has dominated all four teams that he’s been put up against in March. In four starts, Lohse (2-0, 1.80 ERA) has only given up nine hits and three earned runs while posting a 15/1 K/BB ratio.
Tomorrow’s Sloan Park spring finale will be televised on CSN Chicago and the MLB Network with the first pitch scheduled for 3:05 pm central time.