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Ramirez turns in stellar outing in final spring start

Righty allows a run in five innings; Smoak homers against former team

SURPRISE, Ariz. -- Colby Lewis of the Rangers and Erasmo Ramirez of the Mariners were both excellent in their final starts in Arizona and now wait to see what's next for them.

Lewis pitched five scoreless innings on 72 pitches while Ramirez allowed just one run over five-plus in the Rangers 5-3 victory over the Mariners at Surprise Stadium. Kevin Kouzmanoff put the Rangers ahead with a three-run home run in the sixth. Mariners first baseman Justin Smoak had a two-run home run off reliever Daniel McCutchen.

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Lewis, who hasn't pitched in the Major Leagues since July 18, 2012 while recovering from flexor tendon surgery and hip replacement, allowed four hits and a walk while striking out three. His next outing will be an exhibition game between Triple-A Round Rock and Double-A Frisco on Monday. Lewis will likely throw 90 pitches and could soon be an option at the Major League level.

Ramirez is trying to win the No. 2 spot in the Mariners' rotation and matched Lewis with five scoreless innings. He left after giving up a leadoff single to Adam Rosales in the sixth. Charlie Furbush took over and gave up a couple of one-out singles that brought home a run charged to Ramirez. Kouzmanoff followed with his second home run of the spring.

"I felt great," Ramirez said. "My arm is feeling good and I'm still working on my routine. Don't mess with my routine, just keep it up. Today everything was working."

Manager Lloyd McClendon confirmed after the game that Ramirez would start the season's second game Tuesday at Anaheim.

"He made better pitches today," McClendon said. "I thought he threw extremely well. I was very pleased."

Brad Miller, trying to win a job at shortstop, was 1-for-2 with a walk and is hitting .439 for the spring. Nick Franklin, also in the hunt to be the starting shortstop, was 2-for-3 while playing second base. Robinson Cano was 0-for-3 while being used at designated hitter and is hitting .435.

Up next: The Mariners have a final off-day for their Major League club on Thursday, but left-hander James Paxton will start a Minor League game at the Peoria Sports Complex in his final tuneup before the regular season begins next week. Paxton appears to be lining up as the club's third starter behind Felix Hernandez and Ramirez and has posted a 3.18 ERA in five spring outings. The Mariners return to Cactus League play on Friday at 7:05 p.m. PT against the Rockies in Peoria with young southpaw Roenis Elias making his third start as he continues zeroing in on his own rotation berth. That game will be televised live on MLB.TV and ROOT Sports.

Greg Johns is a reporter for Follow him on Twitter @GregJohnsMLB as well as his Mariners Musings blog.

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