Rapid Reaction: Rangers 5, Royals 5

February, 22, 2013
2/22/13
5:19
PM CT
SURPRISE, Ariz. – The Texas Rangers kicked off the Cactus League season with a 5-5 tie against the Kansas City Royals.

What it means: It was the first of three games between the two teams that share Surprise Recreation Campus. The Nos. 3 and 4 starters in the rotation pitched for the Rangers with Derek Holland scattering six hits in three innings and Alexi Ogando allowing three runs in his two innings. (More on that below.)

Early nerves?: Ian Kinsler made a nice play to his left to glove a grounder from Alex Gordon, the first batter of the game, but Kinsler’s throw forced Mitch Moreland off the bag. It was ruled as a hit. ... Leonys Martin then bobbled a single to center off the bat of Alcides Escobar, though I don’t think Martin would have had a play at third anyway. ... Jurickson Profar had an error in the sixth as he charged a ball and it went off his glove.

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Two-strike trouble: Holland wasn’t able to retire Gordon or Escobar despite being ahead in the count 0-2 on both of them. In fact, three of the first four hits Holland surrendered were on two-strike counts. He ended up giving up six hits, though none were particularly hard.

Rust factor: Ogando appeared to have trouble getting comfortable on the mound. His first four pitches were balls and he hit the next batter. After Jarrod Dyson bunted for a hit, the bases were loaded with no outs. Ogando walked in a run by throwing a 3-2 fastball inside to Gordon. He also allowed a sacrifice fly to Escobar, giving the Royals a 3-0 lead at that point (fourth inning). … Ogando gave up a homer to Adam Moore in the fifth and didn’t get his full two innings in.

Highlight reel: Mike Olt had the play of the day in the field, gloving a chopper behind the bag and making a long, off-balance throw to first to get Billy Butler. … Elvis Andrus showed off his range, backhanding a sharply-hit liner to his right to end the first inning. … Leury Garcia made a nice over-the-shoulder in shallow right field in the fifth. ... Brandon Allen show quick reflexes, diving to his right to get to a ground ball and then hopping up to flip to Cory Burns for the out.

Long strikeout: Holland struck out Gordon to end the second inning, but it took a while. Gordon kept fouling off pitch after pitch after falling behind in the count (including two into the Rangers’ dugout) before striking out on a fastball low and away. It was a 10-pitch at-bat.

Boomstick: Nelson Cruz homered to center field with David Murphy on at third base in the fourth inning, bringing the Rangers within one. It was another case of Cruz, who now has a leg kick in his swing to help with timing, using the big part of the field. That’s the spot that manager Ron Washington wants him to focus on.

Ninth-inning dramatics: Yangervis Solarte delivered a two-out home run in the bottom of the ninth inning to get Holland off the hook for the loss. The teams decided to call the game after nine innings.

Gentry hits righty: If there's a platoon in center field, Leonys Martin would likely hit against most righties with Craig Gentry hitting lefties. So for both outfielders, showing they can hit right-handed pitchers and lefties would help their cause in seizing a full-time job. Gentry, who batted .277 against righties last year and .343 against lefties, hit an RBI single off a right-hander in the seventh inning.

Strong throw: Engel Beltre made a terrific throw, charging a single to right and throwing it on a line to catcher Juan Apodaca, who applied the tag, in the ninth inning to save a run.

Up next: The Rangers and Royals renew their spring training rivalry at 2:05 p.m. CT with Randy Wells starting for the Rangers and Guillermo Moscoso, a former Ranger, on the hill for Kansas City. ... The announced attendance Friday was 7,985.

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TEAM LEADERS

WINS LEADER
Colby Lewis
WINS ERA SO IP
10 5.18 133 170
OTHER LEADERS
BAA. Beltre .324
HRA. Beltre 19
RBIA. Beltre 77
RA. Beltre 79
OPSA. Beltre .879
ERAC. Lewis 5.18
SOY. Darvish 182