Josh Hamilton rebounds, but Rangers beat Angels 7-3

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Even though Josh Hamilton finished his return to Texas by going 3-for-5, the Rangers claimed the series Sunday night, beating the Angels 7-3.

Unfortunately, Hamilton failed to come through when it would have made the biggest difference. After Yu Darvish opened the top of the first with a walk, a hit by pitch and another walk, Hamilton stepped up with the bases loaded and none out. He swung at both pitches he saw and hit a routine grounder on the second, resulting in a 4-6-3 double play that nonetheless gave the Angels their first run.

The Angels finished the top of the first up 2-0, only to see Jered Weaver give up three runs on back-to-back homers from Lance Berkman and David Murphy in the bottom of the inning.

Both Darvish and Weaver later left with injuries. The blister that Darvish developed in Tuesday’s near perfect game knocked him out after five innings, while Weaver was removed with a sprained left (non-pitching) elbow, the result of an awkward fall trying to get out of the way of a comebacker. Weaver is iffy to make his next start.

With the starters gone, the Rangers won the battle of the bullpens. Ian Kinsler hit a three-run homer off former teammate Mark Lowe in the bottom of the sixth, putting the Rangers up 7-3 and finishing the scoring for the night.

Kinsler finished the game 3-for-3 with four RBI and a walk. He has three homers already this season.

Hamilton’s average bottomed out at .048 before he collected a double and two singles in the middle of the game. He got one more at-bat in the ninth and grounded out to end it, leaving him at .160 (4-for-25) through six games.

Of course, it means next to nothing right now, but with the Angels’ strength supposed to be the top five or six hitters in the lineup, it’s funny to see none of those guys hitting above .280, while Alberto Callaspo, Chris Iannetta and Peter Bourjos are all at .300 or better from the seventh-through-ninth spots.

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.