Number one was pretty special. Even if it wasn’t pretty.
Down early and often, unable to break through time and again, the Rangers held on, fought back, and scored five runs in their final two tries to stun the Cubs, avoid being winless for the season, and more important, give new manager Chris Woodward his first major league win ever.
It was a game that showed how baseball is a game of redemption. No matter how much you failed earlier, you always get another chance.
Shin-Soo Choo, angry and embarrassed he was left off the opening day roster, compounded the problem by striking out his first four times to the plate. Three times to lead off an inning. Once with two runners on.
But Chicago Cubs pitching felt sorry for the Rangers. They just kept walking batter after batter after batter, twelve in all. So Choo got another chance in the seventh.
With two outs and runners at second and third, looking down the barrell of a 6-1 deficit, already having carried the bat back four times, and already having seen his team fail to score with so many opportunities, Choo’s redemption came in the form of a single up the middle to score runs two and three. They would be huge.
Because it allowed Joey Gallo a measure of redemption as well. Gallo had been 0-for-the new season so far. He’d stranded more men than Spirit Airlines. But Elvis Andrus, who looks to be in a totally new gear right now, led off with his sixth hit of the young season. Then, Cubs pitching does what Cubs pitching does, issued a walk, this one to Mazara, his fourth of the game. Gallo came up looking for a first-pitch fastball. That’s what he got.
Next anyone saw of it, it was landing somewhere over the wall in center field and the opportunistic Rangers defeated of the philanthropic Cubs, 8-6.
Redemption is sweet.
Cole Hamels (0-0, -.–) vs. Lance Lynn (0-0, -.–)
Game time: 3:05