Prospect Williams hits two homers in 1st spring game
Young outfielder enjoys big day for Rangers; Choice goes deep against former team
PHOENIX -- Outfield prospect Nick Williams hit home runs in both of his at-bats, including a game-tying shot in the top of the ninth, and Brett Lillibridge added a sacrifice fly as the Rangers rallied for a 16-15 victory over an A's split squad on Saturday.
Back-to-back home runs by Brandon Moss and Josh Reddick helped the Athletics jump to a 13-6 lead after five innings. But the Rangers had their own back-to-back home runs by Williams and Robinson Chirinos off of Athletics reliever Ryan Dull in the seventh. And the 20-year-old Williams made it a memorable day in his first career Cactus League game with a home run over the right-field fence to tie the game at 15-15 in the top of the ninth.
"It was awesome," Williams said. "It was my first time in a big league game. I've sat the bench but never got to play."
Moss, who entered the game hitting .409 for the spring, also had a home run in the sixth inning when the Athletics scored five runs off of Nick Tepesch. Moss has three home runs this spring. Catcher John Jaso was 3-for-3 with a double, triple and four RBIs.
Rangers outfielder Michael Choice was 2-for-3 with a home run against his former team. Choice was acquired by the Rangers from the Athletics in the offseason and is now hitting .389 (14-for-36) this spring with a .694 slugging percentage.
"It's always a good feeling to do well against the team you used to play for," Choice said. "This spring has been great. I have been working hard in the cages and on my defense in the outfield and to see things go well in the game is a rewarding feeling."
Both starters didn't get get through three innings. Rangers starter Colby Lewis allowed six runs in 1 1/3 innings while Arnold Leon, who had not allowed a run in three relief appearances for the Athletics, gave up three runs on two hits and two walks in 2 2/3 innings. Oakland middle relief candidates Evan Scribner and Philip Humber also gave up three runs each. Tepesch allowed seven runs in three innings.
Rangers catcher Geovany Soto had two singles in three trips to the plate in his second start of the Cactus League. Soto, who had a bone removed from his ankle on Feb. 22, also caught five innings. Josh Wilson was also 2-for-3 while batting leadoff and playing second base for the Rangers.
Up next: Right-hander Yu Darvish makes his fourth start of the Cactus League when he faces the Indians at 3:05 p.m. (CT) Sunday in Surprise. Darvish has allowed four runs in 10 innings on 10 hits, a walk and five strikeouts. Neftali Feliz, who has four straight scoreless appearances, and Joakim Soria, who has not allowed a run this season, are also scheduled to pitch.
T.R. Sullivan is a reporter for MLB.com Read his blog, Postcards from Elysian Fields and follow him on Twitter @Sullivan_Ranger. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.