Peoria, AZ – Derek Norris was on a mission to show his current club why they should keep him in San Diego by hitting a two-run home run, a double, and throwing out to runners as the San Diego Padres (7-12) beat the Texas Rangers (11-10) 17-5 on Tuesday afternoon.
Those runners Norris threw out? From his knees with apparently zero effort. Norris threw out 44 of 84 (34%) steal attempts in 2015, well above the league average of 28%.
After a rough first inning, which saw a miscommunication between 3B Alexi Amarista and newcomer LF Jabari Blash allowed Shin-Soo Choo to reach base, a double by 2B Rougned Odor brought in the first run of the game, scoring Choo. Odor stole third and a sac fly by Mitch Moreland gave the Rangers a 2-0 lead before the Padres got a chance to have their turn at the plate.
That’s all the Rangers would be able to get off Cashner as he turned in one of his better starts of the spring going six full innings, allowing seven hits and two earned runs while striking out four and walking no one. Oh yeah, offensively, Cashner added to his cause by hitting an RBI ground rule double in the fourth inning.
“For me, it’s just getting my pitch count up. It’s getting up, getting down, getting up, getting down,” Cashner said. “Spring training, I put zero stock into spring training…It matters when the lights go on.”
The Padres bats have been blazing hot this week. In three games dating back to Sunday, they have totaled 37 runs off 53 hits.
“I think the guys are starting to swing better, especially guys we are going to rely on this year, getting more comfortable in the box,” manager Andy Green said. “Sometimes what they’re asked to do early in camp, probably had their wheels turning a little, it was stuff they hadn’t been exposed to with [hitting coach] Alan [Zinter] and now it seems like those guys are really buying in and we’re seeing results.”
Derek Norris’ two-run home run in the bottom of the first started the scoring for the Padres as they would also score seven more through the fourth inning as Jabari Blash got in on the homer parade and Alexi Amarista drove in two RBI of his own. Jamile Weeks and Cory Spangenberg would drive in another five runs between them.
The Rangers Colby Lewis gave up 11 hits in his 4 2/3 innings with only one strikeout and nine earned runs.
“I don’t feel I’m missing anything. As long as I feel good both times I go out…it’s an adjustment even adrenaline-wise when the season starts,” Lewis said.
For Texas, Hanser Alberto added a three-run home run and Shin-Soo Choo added two hits of his own.
OF Travis Jankowski injured his left ankle rounding the bases when Spangenberg hit a double in the third after Colby Lewis hit Jankowski. He had to be helped off the field but was diagnosed with a bruise.
RHP Brandon Morrow will make his Cactus League debut on Friday after appearing in some minor league games this spring following shoulder surgery.
LHP Drew Pomeranz will make his first start of the spring as he continues to fight for one of the final rotation spots against the Chicago White Sox. The Sox will contest him John Danks.
First pitch is scheduled for 1:05pm from Camelback Ranch. There is no TV or radio coverage for this game, but it can be seen on MLB.com.
Follow Jake Harman on Twitter for more news surrounding the San Diego Padres, and San Diego State Aztecs baseball.
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