Thursday, April 18, 2013
Rapid Reaction: Cubs 6 Rangers 2
By Jesse Rogers
Here's a quick look at the Chicago Cubs' 6-2 victory over the Texas Rangers on Thursday at Wrigley Field:
How it Happened: The Cubs exploded early off Rangers' starter Alexi Ogando. Nate Schierholtz scored their first run after doubling in the second inning and getting driven in by a Welington Castillo single. They added four more in the third on back-to-back home runs by Anthony Rizzo and Alfonso Soriano chasing Ogando before he could get through the inning. Meanwhile, Carlos Villanueva rolled through the Rangers giving up just four hits but two left the park. Ian Kinsler hit a solo shot in the 4th inning followed by a Nelson Cruz blast in the seventh. But those two players were the only ones to get hits off Villanueva as he stymied the rest of the lineup to win his first game as a Cub.
What it Means: Maybe for the first time this season the Cubs' balanced lineup paid off. Every lefty in the lineup hit the ball hard off Ogando while he didn't exactly mow down the righties. Going left, right, left, right, all the way down the Cubs starting nine gave the Rangers' pitcher trouble. Villanueva isn't looking like a No. 5 starter and won't be seeing the bullpen for a while -- if at all this season. He kept the ball down as he's done in all his starts and home plate umpire Bill Miller was prefect for him. He called low strikes all afternoon. Villanueva is the best and biggest surprise for the Cubs so far.
Key Stats: Castillo went 4-4, his first four hit game of his career. He's hitting .425 on the year ... Starlin Castro walked his first two times up, his first two free passes of the season. He also had a hit in his 10th consecutive game ... According ESPN Stats and Info Rizzo's third inning home run traveled 475 feet, the longest in baseball this season ... David DeJesus was on base three times with a triple, double and walk. ... Soriano's home run was his first run driven in this season.
What's Next: The 5-9 Cubs travel to Milwaukee to begin a weekend series with the Brewers and a 10-game road trip. Jeff Samardzija pitches for the Cubs on Friday.