TUCSON, Ariz. -- Josh Rupe flowed through two innings Thursday, looking every bit like a pitcher who came to camp as one of the leading candidates for the fifth spot in the Rangers rotation. In those two scoreless innings, he allowed just one hit, wiped that out quickly with a double-play grounder and ended facing the minimum six hitters. Then came disaster and more reason why his fifth-starter candidacy seems to be in deep trouble.
Rupe, who had followed Robinson Tejeda to the mound, fell apart in the sixth inning, allowing eight runs on four hits and four walks and ultimately ended up the losing pitcher in the Rangers' 15-12 loss to the Arizona Diamondbacks. "He had two very smooth innings," said bench coach Art Howe, who was filling in for manager Ron Washington. "He started to run out of gas. That's not good. I liked what I saw in the first two innings. He was in total control and then he started missing the strike zone." Rupe now has a 15.43 ERA for the spring and appears to be trailing Jamey Wright, Kameron Loe and even Bruce Chen in the fifth-starter competition. "I don't know," Rupe said afterward. "I just don't know. I was doing good and on a roll and all of a sudden ... I was just short, just off. The ball was moving and I wasn't controlling it. It wasn't good." Tejeda allowed five runs in 2 2/3 innings but only two were earned. Three runs came across with two outs in the third when left fielder Jason Botts slipped going after Chris Young's catchable line drive with the bases loaded, turning it into a three-base error. "He can be better," Howe said. "I'm sure he knows he can be better. He has the stuff to be better." Gagne good in camp: Eric Gagne threw one scoreless inning in a Minor League camp game back in Surprise, Ariz., on Thursday, striking out one. Gagne, pitching for Triple-A Oklahoma against Omaha, threw 14 pitches, including 10 for strikes in his second appearance of the spring. He threw in a "B" game against Milwaukee on Monday. "I felt a lot more in control out there today," Gagne said. "I had a lot more control compared to my first outing. I felt crisp, but I was only throwing at about 85 percent. I was trying to put myself in game situations out there today and read the hitters. "I did not overthrow today. I thought my changeup was really good. All but one was knees and below. I tried to throw some back-door curveballs, and I tried to work some mechanics. I didn't feel stiff today; I felt really good." As far as his next outing, Gagne said, "We'll see how I feel [Friday]." C.J. Wilson pitched two innings in the game and allowed one hit. He was followed by Wes Littleton, who added one scoreless inning.
T.R. Sullivan is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.