Arlington, TX – The highly competitive Texas Rangers’ intrasquad series ended in a tie. The Fort Worth Wonders and the Dallas Black Giants played to a 6-6 draw on Saturday night at Globe Life Park.
“We are going to settle it tomorrow somehow,” said manager Chris Woodward. “We talked about a home run derby. We are going to come up with something creative.” Fort Worth manager Jeff Mathis was counting on Lance Lynn to pitch the Wonders to a win in the deciding game. But Lynn allowed six runs in four innings, giving up eight hits and a walk.
Rougned Odor’s two-run homer and run-scoring doubles by Todd Frazier, Scott Heineman and Yadiel Rivera did the bulk of the damage. Lynn finished with 88 pitches in his last outing before Friday’s Opening Day start against the Rockies.
“I feel good physically,” Lynn said. “All my pitches are where I want them to be. Now you can go in with a game plan and do what you need to do to execute pitches instead of just kind of out there working on stuff. I am looking forward to locking in a game plan and working with a catcher on what we want to do.”
Dallas starter Wes Benjamin had a much better outing. The rookie left-hander pitched two scoreless innings without allowing a hit, walking two and striking out three. Benjamin, who was not in big league camp in Spring Training, has pitched 6 2/3 scoreless innings with 10 strikeouts over four Summer Camp appearances.
“Benjamin continues to impress us all,” Woodward said. “His stuff looks good, he throws strikes. He’s gritty. He has no fear when it comes to pitching. He has all the qualities we are looking for. He has definitely raised awareness of who he is in the organization in this camp.”
The game had some drama at the end. Fort Worth trailed 6-5 into the top of the sixth, when Leody Taveras and Adolis Garcia led off with singles against Dallas reliever Jonathan Hernández. Josh Jung forced Garcia out with a bouncer to shortstop Elvis Andrus, leaving runners at the corners. Andy Ibáñez followed with a grounder to Andrus, who threw home to catch Taveras trying to score. With runners at first and second, Jung surprised everybody with a two-out steal of third base. Shin-Soo Choo took advantage by dropping a bunt down the third-base line and beating it out for a hit. That brought home Jung with the tying run.
“If we want to be champions, we have to do whatever it takes,” Woodward said. “Bunting with two outs in what [could have been] the bottom of the ninth inning against a guy throwing a 99 mile per hour sinker. It shows the rest of the guys we have to take it any way we can get it.”
Woodward was also impressed Jung dared to steal third with two outs. That’s a bold move for a rookie, who was the Rangers’ first-round Draft pick last year and is playing against big leaguers for the first time. “There is a lot of game awareness in stealing that base, and to do it in that situation showed a lot about the kid,” Woodward said. “Choo doesn’t get that bunt down if Jung doesn’t steal third.”
Joey Gallo, who had a late start to camp because of a positive test for COVID-19, was 0-for-2 with a walk on Saturday and is 2-for-20 in six games. Woodward was more impressed with his defense in right field for the Dallas team after he made a couple of nice running catches.
“He’s coming along,” Woodward said. “He just needs as many at-bats as we can possibly give him without risking injury. I expect him, before it’s all said and done, to win a few Gold Gloves out in right field, if he stays out in right field the whole time. He’s got one of the best arms in baseball. He’s fast. He’s long. He takes good routes. He’s not afraid of the wall. There’s a ton of value there. With the bat, it’s just a matter of timing, getting the at-bats. Hopefully, when Opening Day comes around, he’s ready to roll.”
Barring any major setbacks, Texas will host the Colorado Rockies on Friday, July 24 in the Rangers’ home opener at Globe Life Field. First pitch is slated for 7:05 p.m.