Martinez's arm, Martin's power carry Rangers

Martinez's arm, Martin's power carry Rangers

SURPRISE, Ariz. -- Leonys Martin hit a two-run home run in the third, Nick Martinez pitched six scoreless innings and the Rangers defeated the Rockies, 6-3, on Thursday night.

Rockies starter Chad Bettis allowed two runs in four innings. He only allowed three hits, but he hung a 1-2 curveball to Martin, who hit it out to right-center for his second home run of the spring. Reliever Rex Brothers, who entered with a 1.50 ERA in five games, struggled, allowing four runs in the eighth inning, on a pair of singles, a double and a wild pitch.

Martinez allowed five hits, walked one and struck out four. He now has a 0.84 ERA in his bid to be the Rangers' fifth starter.


Martinez tough in the clutch: Opponents hit .270 with runners in scoring position off Martinez last season, and the Rockies went 0-for-5 in those situations on Thursday. Martinez kept the Rockies from scoring after giving up one-out singles to Corey Dickerson and Nolan Arenado in the first, and a leadoff double to Rafael Ynoa in the fifth.

Speedy recovery for Bettis: Righty Bettis, who was optioned to the Minors on Sunday but is part of the Rockies' starter depth, showed some growth. He was rolling until the third, when he hit leadoff batter Robinson Chirinos and, two batters later, served up a two-run homer to Martin. Elvis Andrus followed with a bloop single, but Bettis, who was converted last season from a starter to a reliever, retired the final four batters he faced. He fanned the last two, and finished with four strikeouts.

Bettis on his outing

Peguero takes step back: Rangers outfielder Carlos Peguero has had a great spring, but he struck out twice in his only two at-bats on Thursday night. Peguero has made significant progress at the plate this spring, but he has also struck out 10 times in 31 at-bats.

What can Brown do for the Rockies? With the Rockies debating whether to keep seven or eight pitchers in their bullpen, Thursday was a good time for righty Brooks Brown to shine. Brown threw two spotless innings with two strikeouts, and strikes on 14 of his 21 pitches. He posted a 2.77 ERA in 28 games with the Rockies last season.


"I got an MRI yesterday and talked to Dr. [Keith] Meister last night. The elbow looks really clean, and so does the forearm. It has only been a week, so I haven't lost any arm strength. If it feels good, maybe a light bullpen tomorrow and get in a game this weekend. If I can get in three more games, I'm confident I will be ready for the start of the season." -- Rangers pitcher Shawn Tolleson, sidelined with tightness in his right forearm


Andrus went 1-for-3 on Thursday night and has 10 hits in his last 21 at-bats. He is 13-for-30 for the spring after missing the first week of the Cactus League with a sore left knee. Ryan Rua has a seven-game hitting streak after going 1-for-3. He is 9-for-21 during the streak.


Up next for the Rockies: Opening Day starter Kyle Kendrick will start against the Padres and their free-agent addition, righty James Shields, on Friday at 6:05 p.m. MT. Veterans LaTroy Hawkins and Boone Logan are scheduled to pitch, as are youthful hopefuls Jairo Diaz and Ken Roberts.

Up next for the Rangers: Anthony Ranaudo pitches against the Athletics at 3:05 p.m. CT in Mesa. Ranaudo is trying to revive his candidacy for a spot in the rotation. He has a 6.48 ERA in three outings and was temporarily set back by some tightness in his elbow in the middle of the camp. Relievers Kyuji Fujikawa, Keone Kela, Phil Klein and Alex Claudio are also scheduled to pitch. The game can be heard via an exclusive webcast.

Thomas Harding is a reporter for Read his blog, Hardball in the Rockies, and follow him on Twitter @harding_at_mlb. T.R. Sullivan is a reporter for 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.