Rua's three-run triple in eighth caps four-RBI night
Rotation hopeful Gonzalez strikes out six in solid five-inning start
By Mark Sheldon and T.R. Sullivan
SURPRISE, Ariz. -- The Rangers and Reds played to a 6-6 tie on Monday night at Surprise Stadium in a game that ended after 10 innings.
Ryan Rua hit a three-run triple off reliever Burke Badenhop in the bottom of the eighth to give the Rangers a 6-5 lead. The Rangers trailed, 5-2, going into the inning. The Reds tied the game at 6 in the top of the ninth on Marlon Byrd's fielder's choice.
Rangers starter Alex Gonzalez, continuing to maintain a presence in the Rangers' pitching competition, went five innings and allowed two runs on four hits and two walks. He struck out six and threw a team-high 82 pitches while lowering his spring ERA to 3.95.
Reds starter Jason Marquis continued his bid to make the Reds rotation, allowing two runs in six innings while throwing 89 pitches. He allowed six hits, walked three and struck out three.
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED Gonzalez rallies vs. Votto: Gonzalez ran into trouble in the third when he issued two-out walks to Irving Falu and Billy Hamilton. He then fell behind, 3-0, to Joey Votto, but came back to strike him out swinging on a full-count slider.
"[Catcher Robinson] Chirinos just said, 'Throw the ball right at me,'" Gonzalez said. "So I did and I got strike one, strike two. Then he said, 'Throw a slider over the plate,' and we got him."
Mesoraco goes deep: Reds catcher Devin Mesoraco connected for his first home run of the spring and certainly wasn't cheated. Facing Rodriguez in the fourth inning two batters after Byrd's leadoff triple to left-center field, Mesoraco attacked a first-pitch offering and hit a no-doubt, two-run long ball that landed in the grassy hill in left-center field and made it a 2-2 game. The 2014 All-Star came into the night batting .143 this spring.
Wright still struggling: Veteran Jamey Wright is not helping himself in the Rangers' bullpen competition. Wright gave up three runs in the sixth inning, including a two-run home run by Chris Dominguez. Wright has a 14.29 ERA in six Cactus League appearances.
Byrd soaring at the plate: As the designated hitter, Byrd went 2-for-5 in the game, adding a single to center field that led off the sixth inning. He raised his team-leading batting average to .414, while he has a six-game hitting streak that includes two hits in each of his last four games.
DeShields shows his speed: Rule 5 Draft pick Delino DeShields started in center field and had two hits for the Rangers. He also demonstrated his speed on a line-drive single to right fielder Brennan Boesch. Only it wasn't a single even though it was right at Boesch. DeShields kept running and turned it into a double with his speed, just beating the offline throw.
"Getting the six innings and feeling good and feeling loose throughout those six innings was a big step for getting ready for the season. I'm just trying to get a little more comfortable from the stretch. I made pitches when I needed to tonight, which is part of the game. All in all, it went pretty well, not as crisp as my earlier outings but nonetheless, sometimes it's a battle and you've got to find a way to get it done." -- Marquis
"[Pitching coach Mike] Maddux was telling me, 'You're a ground-ball pitcher. Get the ground ball in the first two pitches. Not with a full-count pitch.'" -- Gonzalez
SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
Rua was 2-for-5 and has hit in five straight games. During that streak he is 7-for-17 at the plate.
"Rua has really shown up well the last few days," manager Jeff Banister said. "He is getting more comfortable in the outfield and he is starting to control the strike zone more. He's not chasing."