3/17/2013 7:30 P.M. ET
Schierholtz, Saunders homer in Cubs' loss to Rangers
By Carrie Muskat / MLB.com
LAS VEGAS -- Mitch Moreland hit a two-run homer in the first inning and Joey Gallo added a three-run shot in the sixth, powering the Rangers to an 8-5 victory over the Cubs in split-squad action on Sunday.
Moreland connected with one on and one out in the first against Carlos Villanueva, who was making his fourth spring start. A.J. Pierzynski singled, and one out later, scored on Julio Borbon's triple to open a three-run lead.
Moreland went 2-for-3 and is now the only Rangers player with three home runs this spring. He also leads the team in RBIs, with 10, and is hitting .361. Last spring he hit .283 with three home runs and nine RBIs while recovering from offseason wrist surgery.
"I pretty much approach every spring the same," Moreland said. "This offseason I was able to get more done as opposed to the last offseason, when I was just trying to get back healthy. I feel pretty good, and it's coming along well. I'm trying to keep grinding it out. So far it has been a lot of fun."
Villanueva, who will open the season in the rotation because of injuries to Matt Garza and Scott Baker, gave up four hits and three walks over four innings while striking out two.
"The good thing about today is that I know from experience that I'm going to have days like today," Villanueva said. "To be honest, I felt I had nothing."
There wasn't anything wrong physically; he just didn't have a good feel for his pitches. His three previous starts had been quick, so he actually welcomed the work.
"Games like this, I think, are necessary, especially in spring," he said. "You can't really plan them out."
The 10-mph wind blowing out to right field certainly prepared him for Wrigley Field.
"You're going to have those days," he said. "Some guys get it blowing in, some guys get it blowing out."
Lefty Robbie Ross, a candidate for the fifth spot in the Rangers' rotation, threw three scoreless innings, giving up four hits and walking three.
The Cubs loaded the bases in the third, but Ross got Dioner Navarro to fly out and end the inning.
Gallo's homer came off Esmailin Caridad in the sixth.
Nate Schierholtz greeted Collin Balester with a home run leading off the Chicago sixth to make it 6-1.
Jose Felix added a two-run homer in the seventh for the Rangers, and Timothy Saunders closed the scoring with a two-run homer in the eighth.
The Cubs and Rangers, who will square off in Interleague games from April 16-18 at Wrigley Field, split the weekend series at Cashman Field.
Up next: After three days of split-squad games, the Cubs have two weeks to fine-tune before the start of the regular season. On Monday, they'll travel to Peoria to face the Padres. Expect to see Javier Baez and Jorge Soler in the lineup backing Edwin Jackson, who will make his fourth Cactus League start. Jackson has given up three runs on seven hits over nine innings. The game will be broadcast on Cubs.com.
Carrie Muskat is a reporter for MLB.com. She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings, and you can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.