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Spring Training

CACTUS FEVER

Rangers hunt for runs, Severino and Wilson go long as Brewers find 11

Cactus Fever is back! It’s great to finally escape the Covid bubble for spring baseball. Keep watching this space for more game reports.

Saturday, March 19
Milwaukee 11 at Texas 0
Surprise Stadium, Surprise
Temp: 79, partly sunny.

Brew Crew Routs Rangers

If Milwaukee fans were worried about run support for their fantasy baseball chart-topping Corbin Burnes, Brandon Woodruff and Josh Hader, today’s game was one to file away for future reference. The Brewers scored early, often and — aided by three Texas misfires — trounced the Rangers 11-zip.

Back-up catcher Pedro Severino got the start and made the most of it with a first-inning, two-run bomb off Dane Dunning that sailed over the 400-foot sign in center. The Brewers poured two more across in the third when Adolis Garcia let a Kolten Wong fly ball to center get the better of him. Garcia looked to be tracking the ball well, then slowed and the ball bounced behind him off the warning track for a double. Luis Urias cashed Wong in with a single to right. Severino’s hot bat smashed a double, moving Urias over to third. Urias should’ve easily scored on the play but he pulled up lame at third and was replaced by Brice Turang. A Tyrone Taylor sacrifice fly scored Turang and Milwaukee led 4-0 after three. The Rangers had yet to put a man on base.

The Brewers added a run in the fourth when Jonathan Davis walked, stole second and came home on a Rowdy Tellez single to right. Milwaukee doubled their score in the fifth, exploding for five runs — all unearned — against Nick Tropeano, who gave up four hits while recording one out. It was a somewhat complicated affair. David Dahl led off with a double and moved to third on Jonathan Davis’ ground out. Andruw Monasterio hit a grounder to Yonny Hernandez who set to throw to first. But Dahl broke for home and as Hernandez paused to recalibrate, his feet had other ideas. He slipped, went down in a heap and his throw home landed on Greenway. Turang dropped a single into center, advancing Monasterio to third. Weston Wilson, pinch hitting for Tellez, punched a ball to Hernandez. Yonny’s toss to second was an adventure. His second error of the inning allowed Monasterio to score. Brett Sullivan doubled home Wilson and Turang. Sullivan eventually scored on a Corey Ray line-drive sac fly. When the dust finally settled after Dahl’s second at bat of the inning, a deep fly ball to Willie Calhoun in left, Milwaukee had reached double digits. An eighth inning Wilson dinger topped the fence in left to make the final, 11-0.

Texas only mustered three hits on the day and two of them came in the ninth inning. After Jonathan Ornelas struck out, Zach Reks and Nick Tanielu hit back-to-back singles, stirring the crowd. Or maybe it was the collective surprise that two consecutive batters were both wearing number 64. Unfortunately, Steele Walker — “great name for a wrestler,” said one fan — hit into a double play to end the game.

Ballpark Buzz … Concession stand wobbly pop selection included Papago Orange Blossom. Four Peaks’ The Joy Bus WOW American Pale Wheat Ale was plastered across the outfield wall, ensuring parents would have to explain to their kids what puts the “WOW” in beer. … Lamest ballpark promotion in living memory: Mid-fifth inning, a young fan with his face up on the scoreboard was asked how many Banner Medical Centers serve the state of Arizona. (You won’t find that on the back of a baseball card.) It gets better. The options were: A) 7 … B) 51 … and C) 43. Oh, they are so coy. The poor kid had no idea. Do NOT raise your hand. I refuse to give the answer because it would mean they won. Banner Medical Center, it is not all about you. You. Are. At. A. Baseball. Game. … The Texas Rangers Pro Shop has outstanding gear. I wanted to buy one of everything. I think the designers had so much time off during Covid that they came out of their hiatus with all the haute couture $34.95 could stand. Check it out. … Finally, as I strolled/ambled down West Greenway Road to the ballpark, I marveled at how baseball really is heaven on earth because when the Gates of Spring Training open, we are all eleven.

By David Belisle

I'm a novelist and screenwriter in search of the Great Guffaw. It's kind of like getting hit with a bucket of Gatorade. It's a good time that sticks with you.

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