Rangers' Choice tallies three hits, three RBIs

Orioles' Gausman makes statement, strikes out eight over four innings

Michael Choice tied for second in the Pacific Coast League with 89 RBIs last season. (Mike McGinnis/Getty Images)

By MiLB.com Staff | March 23, 2014 9:00 PM ET

On a sun-splashed day in Arizona, Rangers prospect Michael Choice's bat was among the hottest things on the field on Sunday at Surprise Stadium.

Choice collected three hits and drove in three runs to lift his spring average to .357 in the Rangers' 11-7 Cactus League loss to the Padres.

Runs came early and often, especially on the San Diego side. The Padres had a 9-0 lead when Choice got Texas on the board with an RBI single in the second. An inning later, MLB.com's No. 72 overall prospect sparked a four-run rally with a two-run double.

Selected 10th overall in the 2010 Draft, Choice singled again in the fifth to cap his first three-hit day of the spring. The three RBIs also matched a personal best.

Olt homers in Cubs' comeback: The Cubs brought their power bats to Sunday's matchup with the A's, and third baseman Mike Olt wasn't left out. The Cubs' 14th-ranked prospect mashed a towering solo shot to left field in the eighth inning of Chicago's 10-6 win.

The homer, Olt's fifth in Cactus League play, was the fourth of an eventual six for the Cubs on the day.

Romero the difference for M's: Mariners outfielder Stefen Romero got just one at-bat on Sunday, but he made it count. He crushed a three-run walk-off homer, his first of the spring, to give Seattle a 6-4 win over as A's split squad.

Early Games

Kevin Gausman is forcing the issue.

Looking from the outside-in at a spot in Baltimore's starting rotation, the Orioles' top pick from the 2012 Draft flashed his swing-and-miss stuff Sunday. The right-hander punched out eight Pirate hitters over four one-run innings in a 10-inning, 7-7 tie.

The effort slimmed Gausman's Spring Training ERA to 2.45 over four appearances, including two starts. He walked two and allowed three hits Sunday, including a leadoff home run to Pirates left fielder Starling Marte.

Following Marte's round-tripper, Gausman walked Travis Snider and then allowed a double to Andrew McCutchen. The 22-year-old thwarted a potential Bucco onslaught, though, with three consecutive strikeouts. First, he got Pedro Alvarez and Neil Walker swinging, then ended the threat by freezing Travis Ishikawa with a 98-mph fastball.

Gausman got revenge on Marte in the second, striking out the 25-year-old swinging to strand a runner at second. The hurler retired Snider, McCutchen and Alvarez in order in the third. In the fourth he struck out Tony Sanchez and Jordy Mercer consecutively to strand another runner and complete his work day.

The Louisiana State product is still in the running for a rotation gig, but is more likely to begin 2014 pitching with Triple-A Norfolk. Manager Buck Showalter has confirmed Chris Tillman and Ubaldo Jimenez as the team's No. 1 and 2 starters. Also in the running for the remaining spots are Wei-Yin Chen, Bud Norris and Miguel Gonzalez, each of whom appears to have the inside track on Gausman.

Sanchez vies for bench spot: Pirates catching prospect Tony Sanchez caught all 10 innings Sunday in the tie, going 1-for-3 with a walk, a run and an RBI. The backstop's sixth-inning single plated McCutchen, and Sanchez later came around to score on Gerrit Cole's sacrifice fly to right. With projected backup Chris Stewart injured, Sanchez is in line to handle backup duties for the big league club, unless another move is made.

This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.

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