But the two starters in this game are likely to be middle relievers once the season starts, and Thursday's outing may have reinforced that status. Rangers starter Derek Lowe allowed six runs in 3 2/3 innings, and Angels pitcher Jerome Williams allowed seven runs in 1 1/3 innings.
Lowe started his night by pitching three scoreless innings, allowing just two hits and throwing 31 pitches. Then the Angels jumped on him for six runs in the fourth, as Lowe gave up home runs to Albert Pujols, Josh Hamilton, Howie Kendrick and Conger.
"I should have stopped," Lowe said. "It was unbelievable. It's hard to do, give up four home runs, even if you lob the ball up there. It just goes to show you location. ... I made too many mistakes over the plate."
Williams faced 14 batters and gave up 11 hits. He has a 10.45 ERA on the spring.
"Unacceptable. I left the ball up in the zone, and it's just unacceptable," Williams said. "I'm better than that. I need to throw the ball down in the zone, keep the guys behind me on their feet, get those ground balls. That's what I normally do, and that didn't happen today."
Nelson Cruz made his first start for the Rangers since coming back from the World Baseball Classic and went 2-for-3 with a walk. Pujols, who started at first base, was 2-for-3. This was his third straight game and only his second at first base this spring. Erick Aybar also hit a home run in the seventh off of Rangers reliever Coty Woods.
Up next: Right-hander Nick Tepesch pitches against the Rockies at 3:05 p.m. Friday in Surprise at 3:05 p.m. CT (listen on rangers.com). Tepesch is 0-1 with a 3.46 ERA in two starts and two relief appearances this spring. He has pitched 13 innings and allowed five runs, 12 hits, three walks and has 10 strikeouts. He is trying to nail down the fifth-starter 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.