SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. (AP) - Whether it is as a starter or long reliever, Alexi Ogando just wants to pitch for the Texas Rangers and help them reach the World Series for the third straight season.
He made his first spring start Friday night and gave up three hits in 4 2-3 shutout innings in the Rangers' 4-1 victory over San Francisco at Scottsdale Stadium.
Elvis Andrus broke a scoreless tie with an RBI single off Giants starter Madison Bumgarner in the fifth inning and Texas scored three more on four hits in the ninth off reliever Javier Lopez. The Giants also scored in the ninth on Brett Pill's home run.
``I felt good out there, worked on both sides of the plate,' said Ogando, who walked three and struck out three. ``As far as I can remember, it is my best of the spring.'
Ogando is ticketed to start the regular season in the bullpen, although he did start 29 of his 31 games in 2011 and posted a 13-8 record.
``I am ready for anything. Having a couple of starts (in the spring) will help just in case. I want to be ready for any occasion,' Ogando said.
Andrus' hit to center field scored Mitch Moreland from second base in the fifth, and the play might have been even more significant for the Giants.
The play at the plate was the first such play in a game situation for catcher Buster Posey after Posey was lost for the season last on May 25 when he broke a bone in his left leg and tore three ankle ligaments on a collision at the plate with Florida's Scott Cousins.
Posey admitted he probably stepped more away from the plate than in the past and put a swipe tag on Moreland that missed on the throw from Angel Pagan.
``It wasn't that much different than last year,' Posey said. ``Instincts take over and you just try to get the man out. You work on those types of plays, but no play is the same, short hop, long hop, left or right.'
He said a catcher gets a sense of whether the play is going to be close.
If the Giants position Posey where he is not directly in the line of fire, there is a chance it might make a difference in an extra run or two for the opponent.
That is fine with Bumgarner, who said he was thinking about a play at the plate as the play developed.
``I agree with that (decision),' Bumgarner said. ``One run is not worth losing Buster for the whole season.'
Moreland didn't realize people were keeping such close attention to Posey's play at the plate.
``I did what I needed to get in there,' Moreland said. ``He gave me the plate. That's why I slid on the outer half. There was not going to be a collision.'
The run was the only one given up by the left-handed Bumgarner, who scattered eight hits, walked two and struck out five in 5 2-3 innings.
``I felt a lot more ready (for the regular season), as close to ready as I can be,' Bumgarner said. ``I worked the fastball down and away. They (Texas) have the best-hitting lineup of anybody, so I felt good only giving up one run.'
Notes: Just a few days after signing a new contract, Texas left-hander Derek Holland pitched in a minor-league game, facing San Diego's Triple-A Tucson team and giving up one run on three hits in five innings with five strikeouts . . . Japanese star pitcher Yu Darvish is scheduled to make his next start for the Rangers on Sunday in a minor-league intrasquad game . . . Giants reliever Sergio Romo pitched for the first time since March 13 due to an elbow issue. He pitched one shutout inning.
The Associated Press News Service
The Associated Press
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