Joey Gallo sends Rangers fans home happy with big blast
Lance Lynn had checked out Sunday in the sixth inning and with the Texas Rangers trailing in his debut for them, but the veteran right-hander knew how to sum up what had transpired at Globe Life Park about an hour later.
“A win is a win,” Lynn said.
His team surrendered 10 runs, 17 hits and three walks to the Chicago Cubs. But Delino DeShields, of all people, had hit a grand slam, Nomar Mazara had collected at triple, and Joey Gallo had a single to left field.
That’s like seeing unicorn.
The bullpen was in such a bind in the season’s third game that long man Kyle Dowdy was warming to pitch the 10th inning.
The Rangers needed to win it in the ninth, and in a season-opening series in which they had scored in a variety of ways, they had one more in them – the walk-off wild pitch.
Gallo raced home from third base as former Rangers reliever Pedro Strop sent a pitch to the backstop, and the Rangers went just a little wild after a wild 11-10 victory over the Chicago Cubs.
“I’m looking at the box score, and up and down … everybody had something productive today,” manager Chris Woodward said. “It’s awesome to watch. They all feel it. They believe it. We fall behind, it doesn’t matter. It’s incredible for me to watch because I’m hearing it and I’m feeling it, and it’s showing up in the results.”
The Rangers took 2 of 3 from the Cubs and at 2-1 are above .500 for the first time since Sept. 11, 2017 (72-71). The Rangers hit three home runs Sunday and erased deficits of four and three runs the day after charging back from a 6-3 deficit in the seventh inning.
DeShields’ grand slam was the first of his career and came against former Rangers ace Cole Hamels to cap a five-run fourth and erase the Cubs’ 4-0 lead. They came back with four runs in the sixth for an 8-5 lead before the Rangers embarked on another comeback.
Jeff Mathis hit a solo homer in the sixth on his 36th birthday, and Mazara’s two-run triple in the seventh was followed by a two-run homer off the left-field foul pole by Asdrubal Cabrera.
The Cubs scored twice in the eighth to tie it, but Jose Leclerc (1-0) bailed out Chris Martin and tossed a quick ninth inning to leave it up to the offense.
Gallo, who won the game Saturday with a three-run homer in the eighth, started with a double off the left-field wall, and pinch hitter Shin-Soo Choo moved him over with a grounder to second on the next pitch.
The Cubs moved an outfielder into the infield to try to cut down Gallo at home, but Strop’s first pitch to Mazara skipped past catcher Willson Contrares and Gallo scored easily.
“It started from Day 1 back in Surprise,” Mathis said. “We knew we had a good offense and being able to understand that, knowing that the guy at the plate doesn’t have to do everything, it’s showing. It’s fun.”
Lynn was charged with seven runs in 5 2/3 innings. Kyle Schwarber got him for a solo homer in the second, and the Cubs added two runs in the third and another in the fourth to put the Rangers in a 4-0 hole.
Lynn tossed a scoreless fifth after being stake to a lead, but quickly surrendered the tying run in the sixth. Woodward came to the mound with one out, but returned without making a pitching change similar to a Lynn outing in spring training.
No. 9 hitter Victor Caratini struck out before former Dallas Baptist star Ben Zobrist singled in the go-ahead run and ended Lynn’s day.
The Cubs tacked on two more, one charged to Lynn, against Jesse Chavez.
“They’re a good ballclub,” Lynn said. “For the most part they battled and some balls found some holes.”
But it wasn’t enough to outlast the Rangers’ offense.
“It was a great victory,” Cabrera said. “We always come and battle every pitch and every at-bat. I feel that right now we’ve got a really good baseball team.”