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Hamilton, Pujols lead homer-happy Halos in loss

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Hamilton, Pujols lead homer-happy Halos in loss play video for Hamilton, Pujols lead homer-happy Halos in loss

SURPRISE, Ariz. -- On a night when both starting pitchers got hit hard, Leonys Martin hit a three-run double with one out in the bottom of the ninth to give the Rangers a 10-9 victory over the Angels.

Both teams used what should be at least close to their Opening Day lineups. The Angels brought every regular except catcher Chris Iannetta, while the Rangers used their exact Opening Day lineup if Leonys Martin is the starting center fielder. Backup catcher Hank Conger drove in four runs for the Halos with a home run and a triple.

But the two starters in this game are likely to be middle relievers once the season starts, and Thursday's outing may have reinforced that status. Rangers starter Derek Lowe allowed six runs in 3 2/3 innings, and Angels pitcher Jerome Williams allowed seven runs in 1 1/3 innings.

Lowe started his night by pitching three scoreless innings, allowing just two hits and throwing 31 pitches. Then the Angels jumped on him for six runs in the fourth, as Lowe gave up home runs to Albert Pujols, Josh Hamilton, Howie Kendrick and Conger.

"I should have stopped," Lowe said. "It was unbelievable. It's hard to do, give up four home runs, even if you lob the ball up there. It just goes to show you location. ... I made too many mistakes over the plate."

Williams faced 14 batters and gave up 11 hits. He has a 10.45 ERA on the spring.

"Unacceptable. I left the ball up in the zone, and it's just unacceptable," Williams said. "I'm better than that. I need to throw the ball down in the zone, keep the guys behind me on their feet, get those ground balls. That's what I normally do, and that didn't happen today."

Nelson Cruz made his first start for the Rangers since coming back from the World Baseball Classic and went 2-for-3 with a walk. Pujols, who started at first base, was 2-for-3. This was his third straight game and only his second at first base this spring. Erick Aybar also hit a home run in the seventh off of Rangers reliever Coty Woods.

Up next: C.J. Wilson will make his second-to-last spring start on Friday, taking on James Shields and the Royals at Tempe Diablo Stadium at 1:05 p.m. PT (watch on MLB.TV). Wilson has posted a 3.60 ERA in 10 innings this spring, striking out six and walking one. The 32-year-old left-hander is expected to get to at least 80 pitches. Kevin Jepsen, out since March 9 because of tightness in his right triceps, is slated to pitch, as is non-roster reliever Fernando Cabrera, who just came back from a stint with Puerto Rico in the World Baseball Classic.

T.R. Sullivan is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Postcards from Elysian Fields, and follow him on Twitter @Sullivan_Ranger. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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