ARLINGTON, Texas -- The Rangers (16-6-2) had four home runs and 19 hits in their first game of the season at their home ballpark, pounding the Mexico City Rojas Diablos, 12-1, in an exhibition game before 29,972 fans in Arlington.
Darvish dominates: Fifty-two pitches, 42 strikes. 52, 42. Repeat that a few times. Darvish, who has been in complete command all spring, left Triple-A Mexico City at a complete loss, with seven strikeouts in four innings. Darvish allowed a leadoff single in the fourth inning, and that was it.
He got strikeouts on fastballs and sliders. He didn't walk anyone, leaving him with three walks in 17 2/3 innings. Not that Darvish had to convince anyone he can pitch, but this spring performance was exactly what the Rangers wanted to see from their ace.
Power surge: The new Capital One Club at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington did nothing to alter the stadium's reputation as a home run haven, as Ranger hitters hammered four home runs against the Red Devils' pitching, all with runners on base.
Ian Kinsler opened up the slugfest with a two-run home run to left field in the second inning. David Murphy had a two-run homer in the third to right field. Nelson Cruz launched another two-run homer to center field in the fifth, the first of two Rangers long balls in the inning. Mitch Moreland had the hardest hit ball of the night, smoking a three-run home run to right field.
Murphy's Law: Murphy hit his third home run of the spring, showing the home fans he's ready to be an everyday player. Murphy had two more hits Thursday, raising his batting average to .340 in his past 18 games.
Berkman executes: Lance Berkman helped the Rangers score in the opening inning, executing a hit-and-run with Elvis Andrus on first base after being hit by a pitch. Berkman lined a single into right field, his ninth hit in 21 at-bats.
Broussard vs. Ortiz: Rangers reliever Joe Ortiz found out he made the opening day roster before Thursday's game, and came out with a fury, retiring the first two batters he faced in the top of the seventh. But Ben Broussard, once thought to be the Rangers' solution at first base, belted a home run to right field. Ortiz has allowed two runs this spring, both on home runs.
Final roster spot: Two of three Rangers fighting for the final opening day roster spot had a successful night. Outfielder Julio Borbon had a double in his only at-bat. RHP Cory Burns worked a scoreless sixth inning. RHP Josh Lindblom had a perfect ninth inning.
What's next? The Rangers play the first of two exhibition games on Friday and Saturday against the San Diego Padres as part of the 2013 H-E-B Big League Weekend at the Alamodome. RHP Alexi Ogando (2-1, 2-95 ERA) will start Friday's 7:05 p.m. game for the Rangers. LHP Eric Stults (2-2, 6.63) will start for the Padres. The game will be televised on Ch. 21 and broadcast on ESPN 103.3-FM.