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03/18/09 6:48 PM ET

McCarthy cruises behind early barrage

Right-hander tosses four hitless frames; Hamilton goes 3-for-3

at Peoria, Ariz.
Wednesday, March 18

Padres at the plate: The Padres didn't get their first hit until the fifth inning, when with one out, Kyle Blanks doubled down the left-field line. Blanks would later score in the inning when Will Venable, who like Blanks is having a good spring, singled up the middle. Speedy Everth Cabrera lined an opposite-field double just inside the third-base bag in the sixth inning. Third baseman Chris Burke had a hit and a walk. Drew Macias hit a two-run homer in the ninth.

Rangers at the plate: Leadoff hitter Ian Kinsler had hits in each of his first three plate appearances, including a double. Not to be outdone, Josh Hamilton did the same, including dropping down a bunt for a single. Hamilton drove in a run, giving him 15 this spring. Nelson Cruz hit his third home run of the spring, a three-run shot in the first inning.

Padres on the mound: Starting pitcher Cesar Ramos, who along with Josh Geer and Walter Silva are leading candidates for the No. 5 spot in the rotation, allowed four consecutive hits to open the game, one a three-run homer to Nelson Cruz. All told, Ramos allowed five runs on seven hits with two walks in three innings. Jae Kuk Ryu fared a little better, allowing one run over two innings. Edwin Moreno tossed another scoreless inning. His ERA this spring is 1.13 ERA.

Rangers on the mound: Starting pitcher Brandon McCarthy continues to impress this spring. On Wednesday, McCarthy held the Padres hitless over his four innings, walking two with three strikeouts. McCarthy lowered his ERA to 1.80 this spring and opponents are hitting just 0.90 against him. Brendan Donnelly followed by allowing a run on two hits. Reliever Willie Eyre looked sharp in his one innning, striking out two.

Cactus League records: Rangers 11-9; Padres 4-11-3.

Up next: Kris Benson, trying to win a spot in the Rangers rotation, pitches against the Athletics at 3:05 p.m. CT on Thursday in Surprise, Ariz. Vicente Padilla, who is locked in as the Rangers No. 2 starter, will pitch in a Minor League game. Benson is in camp on a Minor League contract just in case one of the Rangers front five starters falters but that doesn't appear to be the case so far.

Corey Brock is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.