RANGERS 8, DIAMONDBACKS 7
at Tucson, Ariz.
Thursday, March 20
Rangers at the plate:
Catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia doubled his RBI production and homer output for the Cactus season, hitting a run-scoring double to left in the second inning and blasting a three-run homer beyond the right-field bullpen in the fourth. Hank Blalock doubled, walked, and homered to right in four trips to the plate, scoring each time he got on base.
Diamondbacks at the plate:
Chris Burke tripled in the sixth inning and scored the D-backs' first run on a Chris Young double later in the inning. Young had three hits on the day, including a solo shot to lead off the ninth. Trot Nixon, Robby Hammock and Alex Romero each added an RBI single in the four-run sixth-inning rally, with Romero going 3-for-5. Jesus Merchan knocked an RBI double to center in the two-run seventh.
Rangers on the mound:
Kevin Millwood was sharp in his first Cactus League start, throwing five scoreless innings of three-hit, one-walk ball while striking out five. Wes Littleton had a rough inning of relief, facing 10 batters and giving up four runs on five hits, a walk and a hit batsman.
Diamondbacks on the mound:
Billy Buckner struggled on the mound, giving up five runs in four innings on four hits, two walks, and a hit batsman. Buckner gave up a three-run homer and struck out two. Chad Qualls couldn't stop the bleeding in his inning of relief, giving up two runs (one earned) on two hits and a walk. Brandon Lyon and Tony Pena threw 1-2-3 innings in the sixth and seventh, respectively.
Cactus League records:
Diamondbacks 8-14-1, Rangers 12-8-2.
Up next for the Diamondbacks:
Randy Johnson makes his third Cactus League start as the D-backs host the Dodgers for their first-ever Cactus League matchup at 1:05 p.m. PT on Friday. Johnson is working his way back to game speed after offseason back surgery. He is expected to throw around 60 pitches and will bring a bat to the plate for the first time this spring. Chan Ho Park will climb the hill as the Dodgers make their Tucson debut.
Up next for the Rangers: Sidney Ponson toes the rubber in his second Cactus League start and third appearance for the Rangers, facing the Angels' Jered Weaver at 8:05 p.m. CT in Surprise. Vicente Padilla will start a Minor League game for the Rangers Friday.
Owen Perkins is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.