Ryan Dempster gets bombed, Rangers win anyway

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Making his Rangers debut, Ryan Dempster surrendered eight runs Thursday against the Angels, yet opposing starter C.J. Wilson was just as bad and Texas won a shootout 15-9.

Dempster gave up his eight runs in 4 2/3 innings, while Wilson, an ex-Ranger who left for Anaheim in free agency last winter,yielded eight runs in 5 1/3 innings, making it a battle of the bullpens. The Rangers held the big advantage there thanks to Roy Oswalt in his first appearance since being bumped from the rotation. Working in relief for the 14th time in his career, he pitched two scoreless innings and picked up his 163rd career victory.

Ian Kinsler and Nelson Cruz homered for the Rangers. They also had six doubles among their 18 hits, Josh Hamilton drove in four runs, and Geovany Soto went 2-for-5 with a two-run double in his first start behind the plate for Texas.

In his major league debut, Mike Olt went 1-for-3 with a run scored before being replaced by Mitch Moreland at first base.

The Angels got homers from Mark Trumbo, Kendrys Morales and Alberto Callaspo in the loss. They scored 40 runs in the four-game series in Texas, yet won only two out of four games. The Rangers ended up with 36 runs in the series.

Texas currently has a five-game lead over the Angels in the AL West.

Video: Angels use eight pitchers in spring training no-hitter

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Who says no-hitters can’t be just as fun when they happen during spring training?

Angels’ right-hander Bud Norris delivered two perfect innings on Friday night, paving the way for an eight-pitcher no-hitter against the Mariners at Tempe Diablo Stadium. Jose Alvarez, Cam Bedrosian, Andrew Bailey, Austin Adams, Drew Gagnon and Justin Anderson each filed a hitless inning of their own, leaving right-hander Abel De Los Santos to close out the ninth inning with just three pitches — and three game-saving plays by the defense.

Of course, it didn’t hurt that the Angels were facing a bevy of Mariners’ backups, rather than their starting lineup. In fact, Seattle’s lineup featured just two starting players — outfielder Leonys Martin and shortstop Jean Segura — while the majority of their everyday position players took on the Royals in a 4-3 win elsewhere in the Cactus League. The Mariners managed to reach base twice, first on catcher interference in the fourth inning, then on a four-pitch walk in the sixth, spoiling the Angels’ chances of turning their combined no-hitter into a combined perfect game.

Still, whether it’s executed in spring training or the regular season, against an All-Star lineup or one comprised of minor leaguers, a no-hitter is a no-hitter. The team’s eight-pitcher effort marked the first spring training no-no the Angels had completed since 1996, when they took on the Giants in a 15-0 showdown. Unfortunately for the 1996 squad, their regular season ended with a 70-91 record, good for last place in the AL West. Perhaps this no-hitter will prove a better omen for the coming season.

Tanner Scheppers leaves Cactus League game with lower core injury

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Rangers’ bullpen candidate Tanner Scheppers left Friday’s Cactus League game with pain in his “lower half,” according to reports by Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News. The specifics of the right-hander’s injury have yet to be determined, but he was accompanied by the athletic trainer when he exited the game and is scheduled to undergo an MRI on Saturday.

Scheppers, 30, has a long history of elbow and knee injuries. He missed all but 8 2/3 innings of the 2016 season after undergoing a procedure to repair torn articular cartilage in his left knee. While he appeared healthy enough through his first seven appearances this spring, he failed to impress with three runs, five walks and six strikeouts over 7 2/3 innings with the club.

Should Scheppers find himself on the disabled list for another lengthy stay, MLB.com’s T.R. Sullivan speculates that his absence could clear some room in the bullpen for Rule 5 draft pick and fellow righty Mike Hauschild. Hauschild, 27, has dealt seven runs, five walks and 15 strikeouts through 17 1/3 innings in camp.