Hunter solid as Rangers belt four homers

Hunter solid as Rangers belt four homers

Hunter solid as Rangers belt four homers
SURPRISE, Ariz. -- Rangers pitcher Tommy Hunter is off to a quick start in his bid to win a job in the rotation. Dan Haren, who doesn't have to prove anything at this point with the Angels, didn't get out of the Spring Training starting blocks quite as quickly.

Hunter pitched two scoreless innings while Haren, in his first Cactus League start, gave up a three-run home run to David Murphy in the Rangers' 10-6 victory over the Angels on Wednesday at Surprise Stadium.

Haren retired the side in order in the first inning but gave up one-out singles to Michael Young and Mike Napoli. Murphy then smashed a 1-2 pitch over the right-field wall for a three-run home run. Haren did end his day by striking out the next two hitters.

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"It was a fastball inside," Haren said about the pitch to Murphy. "I've faced these guys a million times. It wasn't too bad of a pitch. He put a good swing on it. I felt pretty good. I made the one mistake, but all in all, the ball's coming out of my hand pretty good. I threw one or two splits, a few curveballs, a cutter. They're pretty aggressive, swinging at a lot of pitches."

Hunter, who won 13 games last season but still needs to earn a spot in the rotation, was smooth in his two innings. He threw an economical 22 pitches, 17 for strikes, while retiring six of seven batters he faced. He gave up one hit and struck out two.

"That's part of what we do as a staff," Hunter said. "We attack people. That's what we do. We go after people and make them put the ball i play."

Ian Kinsler had a two-run home run for the Rangers in the fourth off Angels reliever Trevor Bell and is now 3-for-7 with two homers in three games this spring. Napoli was 1-for-2 with two runs scored against his former team and Chad Tracy had a sixth-inning home run for the Rangers.

Maicer Izturis hit a two-run homer for the Angels in the seventh before Doug Deeds answered with his own two-run shot in the bottom of the inning.

Angels up next: Manager Mike Scioscia expects to have his new outfield of Vernon Wells, Peter Bourjos and Torii Hunter back in action on Thursday vs. the Royals at Tempe Diablo Stadium after they sat out Wednesday's game. Ervin Santana makes his spring debut for the Angels, facing right-hander Kyle Davies at 12:05 p.m. PT. Bourjos, hoping to nail down the center-field job, is 2-for-6 with a double and a bunt single and has played his typically superb defense in center field as Wells and Hunter adjust to the corners after being center fielders their entire careers.

Rangers up next: In a split-squad doubleheader, the Rangers host the Indians in Surprise while others travel across the Valley to play the Cubs in Mesa. Neftali Feliz could be the big story. He pitches against the Indians while Derek Holland starts against the Cubs. Both are scheduled to pitch two innings, but this could help launch Feliz's attempt at winning a spot in the rotation. Eric Hurley follows Feliz while Scheppers will pitch after Holland in Mesa.

T.R. Sullivan is a reporter for MLB.com 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.