Chicago Cubs Score and Recap (3/31/24): Cubs 9, Rangers 5 – Sloppy Cubs Salvage Final Game in Texas

After dropping the first two games of the regular season, the Cubs tried to salvage the final game of their series against the Rangers at Globe Life Park Sunday afternoon. Chicago was very sloppy early on before hopping back into gear and putting up a crooked number in their final at bat to earn their first victory of the season.

Christopher Morel got the party started in the opening inning for the Cubs with a laser-beam three-run homer against Jon Gray. A Morel throwing error set the stage for Marcus Semien to single home a pair of runs off Jordan Wicks in the 2nd to make it a 3-2 game.

Chicago got those runs back in the 4th when Ian Happ, who had a huge day, doubled in a run with a second runner scoring on an error by Leody Taveras in center. In the bottom of the frame, Dansby Swanson booted what looked like an easy double play ground ball and Texas would go on to even the score with a Wyatt Langford two-run triple.

Each side had numerous chances to take the lead but the respective bullpens kept things deadlocked into the 9th inning. The Cubs were able to use two walks and an infield single to load the bases against Rangers closer José Leclerc. Happ drew the third free pass in the frame to force in a run and give his squad a 6-5 edge.

Left-handed pitcher Jacob Latz came on in relief and Seiya Suzuki provided Chicago with crucial insurance, knocking in two with a single to left. Cody Bellinger added an RBI single of his own to put the road team ahead 9-5. Adbert Alzolay had a clean bottom of the inning to seal the Cubs first win of 2024. (Box score)

Key Moment

Happ fell behind 1-2 before he was able to work the count and get the crucial walk that opened the floodgates.

Why the Cubs Won

The bullpen was able to hold down the Rangers’ powerful lineup long enough for the offense to grab a late lead.

Stats That Matter

  • Wicks pitched relatively well but the Cubs’ defense did not do him any favors: 4 IP, 5 R, 2 ER, 5 H, 6 K, and 3 BB.
  • Happ had a huge Sunday with four hits and the big walk.
  • Miguel Amaya had two ringing singles in his first start of the season.
  • Julian Merryweather was impressive pitching two scoreless innings of relief.

Bottom Line

The Cubs did not play their best on Sunday, especially defensively, but they were able to battle and win the game. Winning the series is always the goal, that being said, going 1-2 on the road against a team as talented as the Rangers is certainly not the end of the world. Chicago also demonstrated the potential in their lineup with the big offensive display in the final inning.

On Deck

The Cubs head to a potentially rainy Wrigley Field Monday afternoon for the home opener against the Rockies at 1:20pm CT. Shōta Imanaga makes his MLB debut against former Cardinal Dakota Hudson in a contest available on Marquee and 670 The Score.

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