Rangers hold on for close victory

Sammy Sosa's second home run of the spring helped propel starting rotation candidate John Koronka to his first victory.

The Good

All candidates for the fifth spot in the Rangers' starting rotation continued to impress on Wednesday, as John Koronka and Kameron Loe turned in solid performances.

Koronka, a 26-year-old southpaw, faced the minimum in three innings of work, allowing no runs and no hits. The lefty helped to make up for a disastrous first outing, in which he yielded six runs in 1 1/3 innings.

Though his defense committed a pair of errors behind him, Loe allowed only an unearned run in three frames. The tall right-hander has yet to allow an earned run in five innings of work this spring.

Five of the nine players in the starting lineup had multi-hit efforts despite not playing the entire game. Outfielder Sammy Sosa led the way, going 2-for-3 with a home run and three runs batted in. Mark Teixeira also drove in three while going 2-for-3 at the plate. Kenny Lofton, Brad Wilkerson, and Gerald Laird each contributed with a pair of hits. Laird belted his first home run of the spring in the third inning.

The Bad

Hank Blalock went hitless in three at bats, dropping his spring average to .167. The third baseman, who also committed a rare error on Wednesday, has not reached base since Saturday's contest against the Kansas City Royals.

The Ugly

Rangers relievers were rocked for the second consecutive day, as the bullpen nearly lost a 9-1 lead in the game's final three innings.

Francisco Cruceta, Jose Vargas, and Mike Wood combined to allow seven runs in three innings just one day after Thomas Diamond, C.J. Wilson, and Steve Rowe surrendered a total eight runs over two frames.

Notable

The Rangers will return to the road on Thursday, as they face the Oakland Athletics at 2:05 p.m. CST. Dan Haren is scheduled to pitch for the A's while Vicente Padilla will get the nod for the Rangers.

Kansas City defeated the Rangers 3-1 in Wednesday morning's "B" game. Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News reports that Scott Feldman fanned four while tossing two scoreless innings.

Though Joaquin Arias was still unable to play in the field, he received his first start of the spring on Wednesday. The prospect recorded four at bats as the team's designated hitter.

ARIZONA (8) AT TEXAS (9)

 ARIZONA          AB  R  H BI  TEXAS            AB  R  H BI
 A Callaspo 2b     2  1  1  0  K Lofton cf       3  2  2  1
 D Richar 2b       3  1  1  2  F Guzman cf       2  0  1  0
 S Drew ss         2  0  0  0  B Wilkerson lf    3  1  2  0
 A Ojeda ss        1  1  1  0  M Byrd lf         2  0  0  0
 E Byrnes rf       3  0  0  0  M Young ss        3  1  1  1
 A Romero rf       2  0  0  0  J Hairston Jr ss  1  0  0  0
 C Jackson 1b      3  0  0  0  M Teixeira 1b     3  1  2  3
 R Hammock 1b      1  2  1  0  N Gold 1b         1  0  0  0
 T Clark dh        2  0  1  1  S Sosa rf         3  1  2  3
 C Carter ph-dh    2  1  2  1  V Diaz rf         1  0  0  0
 C Tracy 3b        2  0  0  0  H Blalock 3b      3  0  0  0
 M Reynolds 3b     2  1  1  1  D Relaford 3b     1  0  0  0
 D Brown ph        1  0  1  1  I Kinsler 2b      3  0  1  0
 E Bonifacio pr    0  0  0  0  D Meyer 2b        1  0  1  0
 S Hairston lf     2  0  0  0  G Laird c         3  2  2  1
 R Thompson ph-lf  3  0  2  2  G Quiroz c        1  0  0  0
 M Montero c       3  0  2  0  J Arias dh        4  1  0  0
 M Johnson c       1  0  0  0
 C Gonzalez ph     1  0  0  0
 C Young cf        2  0  0  0
 J Upton ph-cf     2  1  1  0
 TOTALS           40  8 14  8  TOTALS           38  9 14  9

 ARIZONA                   000 100 412 --  8
 TEXAS                     006 300 00x --  9

 E--C Tracy, M Reynolds, D Relaford, H Blalock.
 DP--ARIZONA 1, TEXAS 2. LOB--ARIZONA 9, TEXAS 5.
 2B--R Hammock, D Brown, M Reynolds, K Lofton, D
 Meyer, M Teixeira. 3B--C Carter, F Guzman. HR--D
 Richar 1 (1) (off F Cruceta), S Sosa 1 (2) (off L
 Hernandez), G Laird 1 (1) (off L Hernandez).
                                   IP   H   R  ER  BB  SO  HR
  ARIZONA
 L Hernandez (L,1-1)            3 1-3  10   9   7   0   1   2
 B Medders                        2-3   1   0   0   0   2   0
 B Murphy                           2   2   0   0   0   1   0
 J Bajenaru                         1   1   0   0   0   3   0
 D Carrasco                         1   0   0   0   0   1   0
  TEXAS
 J Koronka (W,1-0)                  3   0   0   0   1   1   0
 K Loe                              3   3   1   0   0   2   0
 F Cruceta                        2-3   5   4   4   0   0   1
 J Vargas                         2-3   2   1   1   1   0   0
 M Wood (S,1)                   1 2-3   4   2   2   1   2   0

 HBP--A Ojeda by F Cruceta. SO--ARI: E Byrnes, C
 Tracy, D Richar, S Drew, C Gonzalez. TEX: M Young,
 S Sosa, D Relaford, B Wilkerson, G Quiroz, V Diaz,
 F Guzman, N Gold. BB--ARI: R Hammock, C Carter, S
 Drew.  T--2:40. A--5,206.

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