Tepesch battles against A's in Rangers' victory

Tepesch battles against A's in Rangers' victory

SURPRISE, Ariz. -- Rangers starter Nick Tepesch continued his long-shot bid for the fifth-starter spot by holding the Athletics to one run over three innings on Saturday afternoon, when Texas managed a 4-3 victory at Surprise Stadium.

Tepesch had the early edge over A's starter Dan Straily, who allowed two runs in three innings. One of the runs was unearned as Straily allowed three hits, a walk and three strikeouts.

Tepesch retired eight of the first nine batters he faced before running into trouble with two outs in the third. The A's scored a run on an RBI a single by Jed Lowrie after a single by Coco Crisp and a walk to Chris Young. Tepesch then walked Yoenis Cespedes to load the bases, but he struck out Brandon Moss to end the inning.

Tepesch threw 59 pitches, including 37 in the third inning, and allowed three hits, two walks and three strikeouts. He has a 2.25 ERA on the spring and opponents are hitting .233 off him. In eight innings, Tepesch has two walks and eight strikeouts.

"I felt like I didn't have my best stuff, but I competed," Tepesch said. "I just tried to attack hitters and go after them. I felt like it was a pretty good day overall."

Straily had trouble in the second inning, when he gave up leadoff singles to David Murphy and A.J. Pierzynski. After Aaron Cunningham bunted the runners to second and third, Leonys Martin lined a single to left that skipped past Cespedes, allowing both runners to score. Straily then retired the last seven batters he faced on the cool afternoon.

"I thought it went well, I felt relaxed and in control," Straily said. "It was the first time I really felt like myself out there. I was able to make a few pitches, too. It was good."

The Rangers led, 2-1, into the seventh, but Shane Peterson put the Athletics ahead with a two-run single off of reliever Colin Balester. Brandon Snyder then tied it with his first home run of the spring in the bottom of the inning, and the Rangers went ahead on a run-scoring single by Minor League catcher Jake Skole.

Up next: Robbie Ross continues his bid to be the Rangers' fifth starter on Sunday at 3:05 p.m. CT, when Texas plays the Indians in Goodyear, Ariz. Ross has pitched nine innings over three games and allowed three runs on nine hits, a walk and two strikeouts. He was a setup reliever last year but could be the top candidate for the fifth spot.

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.