SURPRISE, Ariz. -- It's been a relatively quiet spring for the Rangers in terms of power. They came into Monday's game with the Cincinnati Reds with 18 homers all spring. And they were averaging just a little less than five runs per game.
But the club bashed its way to 12 runs -- all of them scored in the second, third and fourth innings off Jeff Francis -- in a 12-2 win in Surprise on Monday night. They did it with extra-base hits and even a homer. Ian Kinsler hit the long ball, a two-run shot that was his fourth home run of the spring (the team leader). The win was the club's first at home this spring.
Everyone got into the act. Nelson Cruz had three RBIs on a double and a single. Josh Hamilton had a two-run double in the fourth. Pitching coach Bryan Price came out to talk to Francis prior to the at-bat about how to handle Hamilton. But the 2010 AL MVP turned on a pitch and drove it off the wall in straightaway center.
Every regular in the lineup got on base, and eight of them had hits. The lone exception was catcher Yorvit Torrealba, but he had a sacrifice fly in the third and walked in the fourth.
Insurance policy: Scott Feldman isn't in the rotation at this point. But the right-handed starter continues to go about his business and put up solid outings. He pitched against mainly minor leaguers Monday, but his sinker and cutter were effective and he went six scoreless innings. He gave up three hits with no walks and nine strikeouts on 79 pitches (54 strikes). More on Feldman on Tuesday on the blog.
Nathan solid: Closer Joe Nathan had his fastball velocity working and some breaking stuff too, striking out two of the three batters he faced. Frankly, it doesn't matter that it was minor leaguers. Nathan needed a confidence-building outing with some results, and he got it.
"He kept the ball down and got some strikeouts," manager Ron Washington said. "He had real, hard sink. He kept getting on top of the baseball."
Flying bat: Hamilton, who has a penchant for throwing his bat, did so in impressive fashion in the fourth inning. He launched the bat over the first baseman's head for a strike. First baseman Miguel Cairo pretended to catch it and throw Hamilton out. Then Hamilton hit a double.
Beltre has solid night: It was a game that we've seen from Adrian Beltre before. He was solid at third base and then took advantage of fastballs to his liking at the plate. He singled to lead off the second and scored. He doubled to lead off the third and scored. Beltre was hitting just .211 coming into the game, so it might be what he needs to get going.
Regulars get five innings: Since the regulars got three at-bats each, most of them departed after the fifth inning. That allowed some of the minor leaguers and extra players to get looks in the field.
Snyder plays LF: Brandon Snyder, a right-handed bat, got a chance to play the outfield for four innings Monday. He's a darkhorse in the outfield shuffle, but the club is still looking for a right-handed bat in center. Snyder played in the corner spot Monday, but could get some time at center this week. He doubled to center in his first at-bat and he made a nice diving catch on a ball in left. Snyder didn't exactly take a direct route to the ball.
"It was a heck of a zigzag pattern, but he made the catch," said Washington, chuckling. "I don't think an offensive coordinator could have written that up any better."
Utility infield battle: Both Alberto Gonzalez and Luis Hernandez, the two remaining utility infielders in camp, were in the game in the sixth inning. The Rangers are still exploring options outside camp for that spot as well. Gonzalez played second and Hernandez shortstop. Manager Ron Washington has said that he wants someone who can play short to win that job.
Hawpe plays: Brad Hawpe played first base for the final four innings and got a hit. His swing has been there the past few weeks and he feels good about it. The issue with him is that he can't throw from the outfield in a game. And he's much more valuable to the Rangers as a bench player if he can do that.
Lowe gives up two in ninth: Mark Lowe gave up two runs in the ninth inning -- surrendering a home run on a 1-2 count with two outs. He hasn't had consistent results yet this spring.