Cruz leads winning slugfest, but Hunter injured

Cruz leads winning slugfest, but Hunter injured

GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- Nelson Cruz collected six RBIs as the Rangers prevailed over the Reds by a 15-13 score in another Cactus League slugfest Thursday.

Dave Sappelt, who went 2-for-3 and is batting .553 this spring, gave the Reds a short-lived lead with a two-run homer in the seventh inning. But the Rangers scored five times in the eighth, highlighted by Chris Davis' two-run homer, to put the game out of reach.

Texas took a 6-2 lead in the top of the third inning, when Cruz powered a grand slam to right field off Reds starter Travis Wood. The inning was already elongated because of two errors by third baseman Scott Rolen, who was hit on the left elbow by a pitch in the first inning and left in the bottom of the third.

Cruz, who came into the day batting .184 this spring, is now 7-for-his-last-18 after a 3-for-4 day. David Murphy, who extended his hitting streak to 11 games with two hits, gave the Rangers a lead in a four-run sixth with a two-run single.

The Reds tied the score at 6 in the bottom of the third, when Jonny Gomes hit three-run shot to left field off Rangers starter Tommy Hunter for this third homer of the spring. Gomes, who came in batting .158, is 5-for-13 (.385) during his four-game hitting streak.

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More serious trouble came Hunter's way when he strained his right groin while pitching to next batter Drew Stubbs, and he left the game abruptly. Hunter, who was to be re-evaluated later in Surprise, allowed five earned runs and six hits over his two-plus innings. Mason Tobin took over and surrendered three runs (two earned) and two hits over his two-plus innings.

"It doesn't feel very pleasant ... it's all right," Hunter said about his injury. "It's bearable.

"Hopefully I can be out there for Opening Day. It's something that happened. I've got to get full strength and go."

Cincinnati scored two in the fifth on an RBI single by Paul Janish, who was 2-for-3 with three RBIs, and an RBI double from Wood.

Wood gave up seven runs (five earned) on nine hits with no walks and five strikeouts.

"I felt good," Wood said. "I just got in trouble that third inning there. I ended up giving up a grand slam. That hurts, but we were able to battle back as a team.

"I feel like I'm ready for the season. I got stretched out pretty good. My pitches seem to be working pretty good. So, I'll pitch every fifth day and get ready the other four. I'll go out and give it everything I've got."

With two outs in the sixth, Chris Heisey's two-run triple to left field re-tied the score at 10.

It was the third straight game that the Reds' opponents have scored at least 10 runs.

Rangers up next: Derek Holland will start for the Rangers at 8:40 p.m. CT on Friday against the Rockies in Scottsdale, live on MLB.TV. Holland is 2-0 with a 3.21 ERA in four starts and has already earned a spot in the Rangers' rotation. Right now he is in line to pitch the fifth game of the season against the Mariners on April 5.

Reds up next: Edinson Volquez, who has an 11.57 ERA this spring, will get one more spring tuneup when the Reds host the Padres at 4:05 p.m. ET on Friday, live on Gameday Audio. Volquez lasted only 2 1/3 innings vs. the Brewers on Sunday, while giving up five earned runs and five walks, but was pleased with how he felt and attributed the ugly line on bad mechanics.

Mark Sheldon is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Mark My Word, and follow him on Twitter @m_sheldon. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.