PHOENIX (AP) - Randy Wells hopes that maybe, just maybe, this will be the year that everything falls into place.
Injury and inconsistency have plagued the 30-year-old right-hander during his career, which up until 2013 primarily had been with the Chicago Cubs.
Now with the Texas Rangers, he is making a bid for the No. 5 spot in their rotation.
On Thursday, he had the team's longest outing of the spring, giving up a run on three hits in five innings of a 6-2 victory over the Oakland Athletics.
Wells struck out four, walked four, hit a batter and gave up a solo home run to Josh Reddick in the fifth inning.
Wells also escaped a pair of jams, leaving the bases loaded in the second and fourth inning - retiring Scott Sizemore for the final out on both occasions.
Wells' best season came in 2009, when he was 12-10 for the Cubs. He is 28-32 in 86 career starts. In 2012, he was 1-2 in 11 appearances (four starts) in 2012, and had nine starts for Triple-A Iowa.
In July, his season came to a close when he had surgery to remove bone spurs from his elbow.
Thursday marked his fourth start of the spring. He ERA dipped from 5.63 to 4.15.
``He kept the ball down much better today,' said Rangers manager Ron Washington. ``He got into some trouble, but he was able to get out of it.
``He had a good changeup,' Washington said. ``He is the first guy to go five innings for us.'
Wells got some help from the top of his batting order in the early going.
Leadoff hitter Ian Kinsler and No. 2 Elvis Andrus both reached base in the first inning - on an error and a single - and scored on sacrifice flies by Lance Berkman and Adrian Beltre.
In the third inning, Kinsler drove in a run with a double and scored on a double by Andrus.
Kinsler, whose leadoff role was the subject of much debate by Rangers fans last season, went from first to third on Andrus' single to left when he caught A's left fielder Yoenis Cespedes off guard.
``Ian saw that (Cespedes) was being too lackadaisical, so he took that extra base,' Washington said. ``We need to be running the bases, heads-up. You try to take advantage of the things you see.'
Right-hander Dan Straily, one of the Oakland minor league pitchers of the year in 2012, made his fourth start of the spring and had mixed results.
In three innings, he gave up four runs - two earned - on three hits, walked one and struck out three.
``He was a little inconsistent,' said A's manager Bob Melvin. ``He was behind people when he normally isn't, but he did throw some quality pitches.'
NOTES: Texas INF Jurickson Profar was to leave camp Thursday morning and join the Netherlands in its preparation for its World Baseball Classic semifinal on Monday in San Francisco. ... RHP Derek Lowe is due to make his debut for the Rangers on Friday against the Giants in Scottsdale. His target is two innings. ... INF Jeff Baker increased his hitting streak to eight games and is hitting .528 overall. ... Oakland INF Jemile Weeks played in his first game since March 1 (bruised shoulder), going hitless as a PH-DH in two at_bats. He likely will start at 2B against Arizona on Friday in Scottsdale. ... The A's had a five-game home winning streak come to an end.
The Associated Press News Service
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