Martinez throws 6 shutout innings, Rangers beat Rockies 6-3
SURPRISE, Ariz. (AP) Nick Martinez threw six scoreless innings, Leonys Martin homered and the Texas Rangers beat the Colorado Rockies 6-3 on Thursday night.
Martinez, competing for the final vacancy in the Rangers' rotation, allowed five hits and walked one. He struck out four, throwing 54 strikes in 74 pitches, and lowered his ERA to 0.84 in three spring appearances. He has allowed one run over 9 2-3 innings.
''I felt great with all my pitches,'' Martinez said. ''Mentally, I feel sharp and ready to go. I had great fastball command and changed speeds well.''
Martinez went 5-12 with a 4.55 ERA as a rookie last year, making 24 starts and five relief appearances. He said he feels capable of taking the fifth starter spot.
''They wouldn't have given me a chance if they didn't think so,'' Martinez said. ''I definitely think so. There are other guys here that can do the job. It's just a dogfight right now.
Martin homered in the third with Robinson Chirinos aboard. Chirinos was hit by a pitch from Chad Bettis.
Ed Lucas, Nate Schierholtz and Adam Rosales delivered run-producing hits in a four-run eighth.
Rangers right-hander Ross Ohlendorf, who had been sidelined with a tender right groin, pitched for the first time since March 15. He struck out two in a spotless seventh but left after one inning with recurring tightness in his groin.
''It is frustrating,'' Ohlendorf said. ''I could have gone out and thrown (more), but I would say it's more cautionary. I knew if I did, I would have a better chance of setting myself back.''
The Rockies scored all their runs in the ninth, one on a wild pitch and another on a throwing error.
''It got a little messy at the end,'' Rangers manager Jeff Banister said.
Rockies: Bettis, optioned to the minors Sunday, was brought back to face the Rangers. He yielded two runs and three hits in four innings, walking none and striking out four. Bettis made the 2014 opening-day roster as a reliever, but is being converted back to a starter. The Rockies' rotation remains in flux, so his time in the minors could be brief.
''It's fun to come back from the other side and get a chance to throw against some big league hitters,'' Bettis said. ''I hope they always keep me in mind. You hang your head on something and you could be down there for a long time.''
Rangers: RHP Colby Lewis and LHP Derek Holland, who will be in the rotation, worked in minor league games Thursday. Lewis started against Omaha, the Royals' Triple-A affiliate, and allowed two runs on nine hits in 5 1-3 innings, throwing 90 pitches. Holland faced the Royals' Double-A Northwest Arkansas club, throwing 57 pitches in five innings. He allowed three runs on six hits, three of them homers.
Rockies: 2B Charlie Culberson, slowed by a bulging disk, went 2 for 4 and scored two runs in a minor league game.
Rangers: RHP Shawn Tolleson, scratched Sunday with right forearm soreness, had an MRI on Wednesday and the results were encouraging. Team physician Dr. Keith Meister will examine Tolleson on Friday. It appears likely he will start the season on the disabled list.
LUDWICK LEFT OFF
The Rangers notified OF Ryan Ludwick he will not make the big league club. Ludwick, 36, has played 10 years in the majors with the Indians, Cardinals, Padres, Reds and Rangers. He signed a minor league contract Feb. 4 with Texas.
Ludwick will take a few days to mull his choices. The Rangers will probably begin the season with a rookie in left field, either Ryan Rua or Jake Smolinski.
Texas RHP Yovani Gallardo gets the ball for the April 6 opener at Oakland. Gallardo started the Brewers' past five season openers. ''He's got experience in the role,'' Banister said. Gallardo will become the Rangers' seventh different opening-day starter in seven years.
Rockies: RHP Kyle Kendrick starts Friday against the Padres.
Rangers: RHP Anthony Ranaudo, competing for the final rotation slot, will start against the Athletics.