Luebke stung early in Padres' Cactus finale

Luebke stung early in Padres' Cactus finale

Luebke stung early in Padres' Cactus finale
SURPRISE, Ariz. -- In the Cactus League finale for both the Rangers and the Padres, the fireworks flew early with Texas jumping out to a three-run lead in the first frame and padding it quickly in the second en route to a 5-3 win Sunday before both teams left Arizona for some final exhibition games in their home states.

San Diego's No. 2 starter Cory Luebke had an ugly first inning, giving up three runs on four hits and a walk. Elvis Andrus and Michael Young hit back-to-back one-out singles, and Adrian Beltre plated one with a double to left. David Murphy's bloop single to left scored two more.

"The ball was coming up on me a little bit today," Luebke said. "I wanted to work on getting in to righties today, but some of them didn't get all the way in there. They have a good lineup. You got to make your pitches, and it didn't happen today. My arm feels good, so I'll put it behind me and get 'em Friday."

The Rangers added two more in the second frame on a one-out double from Ian Kinsler, a walk, a run-scoring wild pitch, and an RBI single from Beltre. Luebke lasted only two innings, throwing 61 pitches, 35 for strikes.

Texas won six of seven to end the Cactus League.

"There's something to that," manager Ron Washington said. "We're playing baseball the way it's supposed to be played at the right time. We're playing good ball and there are some things we have to correct as we go through the course of the season."

The Padres rallied in the fourth inning against Opening Day starter Colby Lewis, sparked by a one-out solo home run 400 feet into right off the bat of Jesus Guzman, his fifth of the Cactus League. San Diego followed with three successive singles from Yonder Alonso, Kyle Banks and Orlando Hudson to load the bases before Jason Barlett drove a run across with a grounder to short.

Prior to the two-run fourth, Lewis had yielded a pair of base hits, a walk, and a hit batsman in three shutout innings. He struck out four on the day, throwing 62 pitches, 39 for strikes.

"I felt like I made good pitches," Lewis said. "I threw 95 pitches my previous outing, 60 today, I feel great. I feel like I'm where I need to be."

The Padres inched closer in the eighth when first baseman Matt Clark launched his fourth Cactus League homer onto the berm beyond the right-center-field fence.

Casey Kelly struck out three in five innings of shutout relief for the Padres.

"Overall, we saw some instruction taken by players into competition that we should see carry over," manager Bud Black said about the Padres closing their stay in Arizona. "It was good to get a lot of our young players exposed to big league competition, even though it's Cactus League."

Up next for Padres: The Padres break in Petco Park with an exhibition game against the Royals on Tuesday at 7:05 p.m. P.T. Left-hander Clayton Richard (0-1, 9.00 ERA) starts for the Padres. Richard, the fourth starter in the rotation, is looking to bounce back after allowing eight earned runs on 12 hits in 4 1/3 innings against the Cubs on Thursday. The game marks one of the last opportunities for the Padres to get new input before finalizing their 25-man roster on Wednesday at 2 p.m. PT.

Up next for Rangers: Left-hander Derek Holland pitches for the Rangers against their Triple-A team in Round Rock, Texas, on Monday at 6:05 p.m. CT. Greg Reynolds will pitch for the Express. Holland is 2-0 with a 5.14 ERA in four starts this spring. In 14 innings he has walked two and struck out 10.

Owen Perkins is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.