ARLINGTON -- Chris Woodward’s first victory as Rangers manager was both memorable and dramatic, courtesy of Joey Gallo.
With his team trailing by one in the bottom of the eighth, Gallo hit a three-run home run off of reliever Carl Edwards Jr. to lift the Rangers to an 8-6 victory over the Cubs at Globe Life Field on Saturday night.
“I just wanted to come through for the team,” Gallo said. “Honestly, I had a few opportunities early on and I didn’t come through. I knew if I got a pitch to hit I wasn’t going to miss it this time. It’s a good feeling, for sure.”
The Rangers, who trailed, 6-3, going into the bottom of the seventh, were 2-for-11 with runners in scoring position before Gallo’s home run.
“Tonight didn’t go our way, but that’s the thing about our group, is our resiliency,” Gallo said. “We kept believing and we kept fighting. Slowly we kept fighting and kept coming back. That’s the identity of this team, fight every game.”
That’s what Woodward wants to hear. That meant more to him than getting his first Major League win as a manager.
“It doesn’t mean as much to me as it does the belief that group needs to have,” Woodward said. “Our identity is being resilient and never giving up, not chasing results, but chasing the process, that’s just music to my ears. It almost made me shed a tear you hear one of your best players say that. I hope this is just an understanding, we just faced a really good team and faced some really good pitching.”
The Rangers had 11 hits, but also drew 12 walks. Cubs starter Yu Darvish walked a career-high seven in just 2 2/3 innings, the shortest regular-season start of his career. The Rangers kept the pressure on the Cubs’ bullpen and finally broke through late.
“It was an amazing team effort,” Andrus said. “We stuck to our game plan. We created a lot of opportunities early and had some misses, but we kept grinding out the at-bats and it paid off in the end. It was a team effort.”
Asdrúbal Cabrera had a two-run home run off Darvish, but Woodward said the biggest hit of the night might have come from Shin-Soo Choo in the seventh. Cabrera led off with a single and Ronald Guzman doubled him to third. Cubs reliever Jose Quintana struck out Isiah Kiner-Falefa and Delino DeShields, bringing up Choo.
Choo, who wasn’t happy when he didn’t start on Opening Day, had already struck out four times in the game, including twice against Quintana. This time he smacked a two-run single up the middle to pull the Rangers within one.
“What I did the first four at-bats, that's me,” Choo said. “I wasn't ready to hit. I'm human; I've played this game a long time, and I've had worse games in my career, so honestly, inside [there were] a lot of negative things, but I told myself 'It's OK, I've had worse games in my career; I'll try to make it happen in the last at-bat.”
Rangers starter Edinson Vólquez made it through four innings and 80 pitches, allowing four runs on six hits. He walked four and struck out three in his long-awaited return from Tommy John surgery. It was his first start since July 5, 2017, when he was with the Marlins.