SURPRISE, Ariz. -- A pair of pitchers vying for rotation spots this spring squared off against each other Wednesday at Surprise Stadium, with both Rangers right-hander Tommy Hanson and Rockies lefty Franklin Morales starting off shaky before settling down later in their outings.
When both starters were already long gone, the Rockies pulled away late in the afternoon to down the Rangers, 8-2.
Signed to a one-year deal just last month, Hanson made his Rangers debut Wednesday, surrendering two runs on five hits while striking out three in three innings of work. Meanwhile, Morales allowed one unearned run on three hits while punching out five in his three frames.
The Rockies got the scoring started in the first when Charlie Culberson picked on a belt-high fastball from Hanson and deposited it over the left-field wall for a solo homer. Later in the frame, Wilin Rosario smacked an RBI double down the left-field line to put his club ahead, 2-0.
Rangers manager Ron Washington was impressed with Culberson, who went 3-for-4.
"It looks like he's going to be a pretty good hitter, because he hit the ball hard all day," said Washington. "He made me go to the stat book. I guess he did a pretty good job for [the Rockies] last year when he got called up so he's a good hitter."
In the bottom of the frame, Morales threw errantly to first base to try to pickoff Shin-Soo Choo, who singled moments before and scurried all the way to third on the error. Prince Fielder capitalized on the miscue by delivering an RBI single up the middle two batters later.
That would be all the offense either team would get off the opposing starter though as Hanson and Morales each turned in clean innings in the second and third.
Up next: The Rangers will hope to see more strikes Thursday from Alexi Ogando as the right-hander makes his second start of the spring when Texas visits the Padres at the Peoria Sports Complex at 2:05 p.m. CT in a game that will air on MLB.TV. Expected to fill one of the middle of the rotation spots out of camp, Ogando frequently got behind in the count in his spring debut last week against the Royals, surrendering two runs on four hits in two innings of work. Neftali Feliz, Joakim Soria and Jose Contreras are also scheduled to pitch Thursday.
Tyler Emerick is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.