SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. (AP) - Micah Owings is one of baseball's rare breeds - a pitcher who is an excellent hitter.
On Saturday, Owings' focus was on pitching. And he didn't disappoint.
Owings threw one perfect inning as the Arizona Diamondbacks defeated the Texas Rangers 3-2 on Ryan Roberts' run-scoring single in the bottom of the ninth.
During spring training, Owings also has been working out at first base, and is one of the few pitchers in the major leagues who keeps bats in his locker - a total of four. In other words, he's ready to hit when needed, which he often has been called upon to do. He's still waiting to make his first appearance at first base.
Last year, he was primarily a reliever for the Cincinnati Reds, but often was used as a pinch hitter by manager Dusty Baker. Now, he's with the Diamondbacks for the second time after signing as a free agent during the offseason.
``I'm ready for whatever,' Owings said. ``My primarily focus is on pitching, getting my arm in shape, getting comfortable out there. I'm here to pitch. Pitching is what got me to the big leagues.'
Owings said he has been keeping bats in his locker his entire baseball career.
``You never know when you might have to use them,' he said, laughing. ``Whatever I can do to help the team, I'll do.'
This year, Owings is being groomed as a reliever. ``Maybe someday I will start again,' Owings, who was a starter the three years before 2010, said. ``I'll be ready no matter what role they put me in.'
While Owings worked a flawless inning, Armando Galarraga, another free agent signee, was almost as effective. Galarraga, who missed a perfect game last season with Detroit because of an umpire's mistake, went three hitless innings, giving up only a walk and a hit batsman.
Overall, five Arizona pitchers held the hard-hitting Rangers to only four hits. Both Texas runs came on home runs - a leadoff shot by Ian Kinsler in the first inning and another leadoff drive by Mitch Moreland in the third.
Roberts' game-winning hit off Ryan Tucker followed a single and a stolen base by Willie Bloomquist.
Roberts, the Diamondbacks' handyman, was delighted to come up in that situation - with the winning run on base. He fell behind 0-2 after manager Kirk Gibson ordered the steal by Bloomquist.
``I was just trying to hit the ball up the middle. Last year, I was overswinging, trying to hit home runs. That's not me,' Roberts said.
Stephen Drew drove in the first two Diamondbacks' runs, with a double in the first inning and a sacrifice fly in the third, both off starter Colby Lewis.
Texas manager Ron Washington was most pleased with reliever Michael Kirkman, who pitched three scoreless innings.
``He kept his fastball in and down,' Washington said. ``He spotted his pitches well.'
Washington also was impressed by Kinsler's homer, his fourth in four days.
``He smoked that ball pretty good,' the manager said. ``It was a line drive - 385 feet.'
NOTES: Diamondbacks rookie RHP Chris Gorgen will need Tommy John surgery and be lost for the season. ``It's a tough break,' he said. ``I hope by next year I'll be able to throw again. That's not the way I wanted to start my career here.'
The Associated Press News Service
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