Rangers 11, Indians 9

March 4, 2011

Neftali Feliz is starting to see what it will take to be a starter.

The AL Rookie of the Year pitched two scoreless innings in his bid to become part of the Texas rotation, and a Rangers split squad beat the Cleveland Indians 11-9 Thursday.

Feliz, who posted 40 saves last season for the AL champions, allowed two hits, walked one and hit a batter. He threw 19 of his 36 pitches for strikes.

''I feel fine. I need to find my pace so I can go longer,'' he said through a translator. ''I don't know how hard to go so that I can go longer.''

The hard-throwing closer walked Asdrubal Cabrera, the game's second hitter, and grazed Carlos Santana's jersey with a pitch before working himself out of trouble in what became a 26-pitch inning.

In the second, Feliz allowed consecutive singles to Jason Donald and Jordan Brown but retired Cord Phelps on a fly ball. Feliz induced Lou Marson to ground into an inning-ending double play.

''In the second inning I needed to locate better so I needed to take something off,'' he said.

Feliz relied heavily on his fastball in his second inning.

''I just felt like I fell behind on the first few batters,'' Feliz said. ''I used the fastball to get ahead and then I went back to the other pitches.''

Rangers manager Ron Washington said he wouldn't expect Feliz to do anything else.

''We're not going to turn him into a breaking ball pitcher,'' Washington said.

Indians starter Mitch Talbot gave up a home run to Ian Kinsler on his second pitch, a drive that bounced off the top of the left-field fence and into the Cleveland bullpen for his third homer and second in as many days.

Talbot, who won 10 games as a rookie and already is slotted into the Cleveland rotation, went two innings. He gave up two runs, four hits and a walk.

''Kinsler's was below his knees and sinking pretty good but he's a very good low-ball hitter. That's kind of what he's known for,'' Talbot said. ''He just got it and got it up in the air, and that's a good thing to do here in Arizona.''

Chris Davis capped the Rangers' three-run ninth inning with a two-run, game-ending homer.

Matt LaPorta had a pinch-hit grand slam to highlight the Indians' seven-run seventh inning. Erik Morrison homered in the sixth for the Rangers.

NOTES: Rangers RHP Brandon Webb said he saw movement on his pitches for the first time during his 54-pitch bullpen session on Thursday morning, his third of the week. Webb remains optimistic of being ready by opening day though pitching coach Mike Maddux is keeping him on a three-day throwing schedule. ... Indians OF Travis Buck made his first start in center field and went 1 for 3 with an RBI. ... Indians GM Chris Antonetti described newly acquired utilityman Matt Lawson as ''a versatile, blue-collar grinder.'' Lawson was acquired on Wednesday in a trade from Seattle for LHP Aaron Laffey. ... Rangers 3B Adrian Beltre (right calf strain) continues to hit in a cage and work in a pool, but said he'll likely be out longer than the 10- to 14-day timeframe initially set by the team. Assistant general manager Thad Levine said there are no concerns Beltre will not be ready by opening day. ... Rangers C Yorvit Torrealba, who had been scheduled to return to the lineup Thursday, instead missed his third straight game with soreness in his lower back. ... Indians RF Shin-Soo Choo will play in the field for the first time on Friday against Colorado. Choo has been bothered by a sore left elbow, which he hyperextended during his offseason throwing program. ... Indians manager Manny Acta said Santana will play first base for a few days. The Indians want to rest him this season, but keep his bat in the lineup when he's not catching.