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Murphy comes up aces in Cactus League debut

Left-hander hurls 4 1/3 scoreless innings, allowing a bunt single

SURPRISE, Ariz. -- Mitch Moreland had a two-run single in a five-run sixth inning that helped the Rangers rally for a 6-2 victory over the Athletics on Monday.

Moreland was in the lineup for the first time since March 18 after missing time because of a strained left oblique muscle. He was 2-for-3 with a walk and the sixth-inning single was off left-hander Joe Savery. Moreland is 5-for-11 off left-handers this spring.

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"Yeah, I'm feeling good," Moreland said. "I'm trying to get back in the swing of things. I had nine at-bats last night and then played today. I'm feeling good and need to finish up spring strong. I didn't really felt like I got behind. It was a few days, and I stayed with my work. I didn't miss a whole lot on the field other than the games.

"Added manager Ron Washington: "It's significant he's having good at-bats against everybody but it is significant he's handling left-handers. His approach has been good. He's not stepping in the bucket, he is staying in there pretty good."

Athletics starter Sean Murphy, making his Cactus League debut, pitched 4 1/3 scoreless innings. He allowed a hit and a walk while striking out two. The only hit was a bunt single by Robinson Chirinos.

"Definitely nerve-racking" Murphy said. "That first inning I was so nervous, I couldn't control my fastball, so I had to resort to my changeup. You see a lineup like that, who wouldn't be a little nervous? My cutter was definitely working as a strike pitch. I got a lot of swings and misses with it, and my changeup started to come around at the end. I just went from there."

Rangers starter Ryan Feierabend pitched four scoreless innings. He allowed four hits, including three in the first inning. Then he returned 10 of the last 11 batters he faced.

Billy Burns led off the game with a single to left and then was forced by Sam Fuld. Nick Punto's single put runners on first and second, and Alberto Callaspo followed with another single to left. Fuld rounded third base too far and was tagged out trying to get back by third baseman Adrian Beltre, who cut off the throw in from left fielder Mitch Moreland. Athletics manager Bob Melvin asked for a review to see if Fuld was safe but the call was upheld by replay.

Aaron Poreda took over in the fifth and gave up a run. Jake Elmore led off with a walk, went to second on a balk and scored on a single by John Jaso.

Up next: Lefty Tommy Milone is scheduled to make his final Cactus League start on Tuesday, when the A's host the Reds for a 1:05 p.m. PT start at Phoenix Municipal Stadium -- their second-to-last exhibition game in the desert. Milone, in line to start the fifth game of the regular season, is expected to have several regulars behind him Tuesday.

T.R. Sullivan is a reporter for Read his blog, Postcards from Elysian Fields and follow him on Twitter @Sullivan_Ranger.

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