Pitching shines early in Rangers' walk-off loss

Pitching shines early in Rangers' walk-off loss

PEORIA, Ariz. -- For all the attention he's received as a pitcher this spring, Christian Bethancourt reminded the Texas Rangers he can hit, too.

Bethancourt -- who is transitioning into a pitcher/catcher/outfielder hybrid -- hit a solo homer in the ninth inning Monday night, giving the Padres a 3-2 walk-off victory over the Rangers at the Peoria Sports Complex.

"The focus of camp for him has been pitching, it hasn't been hitting," said Padres manager Andy Green. "So to start getting him a few at-bats here and there, then see him connect and win a baseball game -- that's fun for him. He's worked really hard on the pitching side of things."

Texas starter Nick Martinez re-established his presence in the competition for the back two spots of the rotation by holding the Padres scoreless on one hit and a walk through five innings. Martinez allowed two singles and a run in the sixth but the 5 1/3 innings were the longest by a Rangers starter this spring.

Martinez fans Myers

"I executed my two-strike pitches," Martinez said. "That's where I was getting hurt before. I was leaving my pitches up and getting hurt. Tonight I was able to execute and keep the ball down."

Padres left-hander Clayton Richard allowed two first-inning runs, but was otherwise sharp over five frames. Richard, who already has his place in the rotation locked up, allowed five hits and did a nice job to escape a jam in the fourth.

Richard escapes a jam in the 4th

Padres right fielder Alberth Martinez made the most of his second Spring Training at-bat, launching an eighth-inning homer to knot the score at 2 before Bethancourt's shot an inning later.

Martinez's game-tying solo homer

Travis Jankowski had two hits for the Friars, and the bullpen shined late, with Miguel Diaz, Brandon Maurer, Ryan Buchter and Brad Hand combining for four perfect frames.

For Texas, Ryan Rua enhanced his standing on the Opening Day roster by going 2-for-2 with an RBI. Rua has now hit safely in eight straight games and has 15 hits in his last 35 at-bats in his bid to be the Rangers' Opening Day left fielder.

Rua's RBI single

Rangers Up Next: Cole Hamels starts for the Rangers at 8:05 p.m. CT Tuesday against the White Sox in Surprise. This will be Hamels' second Cactus League start. He allowed four runs in one-third of an inning against the Dodgers on March 10.

Padres Up Next: Right-hander Trevor Cahill faces the Giants on Tuesday at 1:10 p.m. PT as he continues his push for a place in the Opening Day rotation. Relievers Jose Torres, Craig Stammen and Kevin Quackenbush -- who are fighting for the final bullpen spots -- are also slated to pitch.

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AJ Cassavell covers the Padres for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @ajcassavell.

T.R. Sullivan has covered the Rangers since 1989, and for MLB.com since 2006. Follow him on Twitter @Sullivan_Ranger and listen to his podcast.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.