MESA, Ariz. — The pitching line might not have been great, but Alexi Ogando feels good about where he is at with less than two weeks until Opening Day.Ogando allowed four runs (three earned) on five hits with two walks and three strikeouts over five innings of the Rangers’ 5-4 loss to the Cubs on Tuesday afternoon at HoHoKam Stadium.Ogando got off to a rough start in the first inning. He gave up a leadoff single to David DeJesus, Starlin Castro reached on an error and then Anthony Rizzo drove in a run with a sacrifice fly to left.The next batter, Alfonso Soriano, drilled a hanging slider over the left-field fence to give the Cubs a 3-2 lead.“I tried to place it instead of going at him, which is why it didn’t come out as planned,” said Ogando, who gave up another run in the second on a solo shot to Darwin Barney.Ogando settled into a zone after that with three scoreless innings, pitching around two walks in the third and two singles in the fifth. He said he focused mostly on his changeup, and was pleased with the results. He has a 4.11 ERA in five Cactus League outings.“He’s progressing,” manager Ron Washington said. “The two pitches he would like to take back are the one he hung to Soriano and the one to Barney. Other than that, I thought he did a good job.”Washington also liked the outings by bullpen candidates Coty Woods, who had his second consecutive scoreless outing, and Tanner Scheppers, who turned in a 1-2-3 inning in the eighth.Scheppers went into the game with a 9.00 ERA but has not allowed a run in three of his five Cactus League outings.“Very clean inning,” Washington said. “He kept the ball down and made some good pitches.”Offensively, the Rangers scored a pair of runs in the first and second. Adrian Beltre and A.J. Pierzynski had RBIs in the first inning, and Ian Kinsler and David Murphy drove in the runs in the second.
Drew Davison, 817-390-7760 Twitter: @drewdavison