LAS VEGAS -- Cubs Opening Day starter Jeff Samardzija out-pitched Rangers fifth-starter candidate Nick Tepesch in a 4-1 victory on Saturday afternoon at Cashman Field.
Tepesch wasn't bad in his fourth outing of the spring. He just couldn't match Samardzija, who held the Rangers scoreless through five innings on three hits and a walk, while striking out three. Samardzija has a 3.68 ERA after his fourth Cactus League start and fifth appearance overall of the spring.
Tepesch, making his second start and fourth overall appearance of the season, gave up three runs on five hits and a walk while striking out two in five innings. Tepesch now has a 3.46 ERA on the spring and opponents are hitting .250 off him.
Tepesch's biggest problem was letting the leadoff hitter reach base. That happened in four of his five innings. Steve Clevenger's double started off a two-run third and Scott Hairston's second home run of the spring led off the fourth.
"I felt strong the whole game," Tepesch said. "I just didn't get the leadoff guy. That kind of hurts you when you do that."
The Rangers didn't score until the sixth, when Craig Gentry led off the inning with a triple and scored on Mitch Moreland's grounder to first. Joey Gallo, who is from Las Vegas, doubled off the center field wall with two out in the seventh.
Nate Robertson pitched a scoreless seventh inning for the Rangers and has not allowed a run in eight innings this spring.
Up next for the Rangers: Robbie Ross continues his bid for the fifth starter spot, pitching for the Rangers against the Cubs at 3:05 p.m. CT on Sunday in Las Vegas. Ross is 1-0 with a 3.86 ERA in four spring outings. Closer Joe Nathan will be among those who pitch against the Mariners in Peoria in the other half of the split-squad doubleheader. Justin Grimm is also scheduled to pitch in a game that starts at 3:05 p.m. CT.
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.