SURPRISE, Ariz. -- Home runs by Carlos Gomez and Ryan Rua carried the Rangers to a 3-2 victory over the Mariners on Sunday afternoon at Surprise Stadium.Knuckleballer Eddie Gamboa went five strong innings for the Rangers, allowing two unearned runs on five hits. He struck out six and walked one,
SURPRISE, Ariz. -- Home runs by Carlos Gomez and Ryan Rua carried the Rangers to a 3-2 victory over the Mariners on Sunday afternoon at Surprise Stadium.
Knuckleballer Eddie Gamboa went five strong innings for the Rangers, allowing two unearned runs on five hits. He struck out six and walked one, giving the Rangers something to consider as they ponder the last two open spots in their rotation.
"Very encouraging day for him," Rangers manager Jeff Banister said. "I think the biggest thing is he got back in the strike zone in the first inning, and managed the strike zone, limiting the damage to two runs and then putting zeros on the board. Pretty efficient for a knuckleballer."
Mariners left-hander Dillon Overton went three innings, allowing a two-run homer to Gomez among his three hits allowed. He did not walk a batter and struck out four.
"Whether he makes our team or not, we like him as a starter right now, but maybe down the road we'll see what he brings," Mariners manager Scott Servais said. "He's left-handed, a pretty athletic guy and we really like the changeup and stuff, but we'll keep him starting and see how far that goes."
Overton left the game with the score tied at 2, and the Rangers went ahead in the fourth on Rua's solo shot to center. Rua's blast landed near the top of the hill in straightaway center field.
Mitch Haniger hit an RBI double for the Mariners. Taylor Motter went 2-for-4, while playing left field and first base. He is trying to earn a spot on the Mariners' roster as a utility player.
"You'll see him more at first base here, and in left field as we get going, and we're very comfortable with him really anywhere on the field, but he's shown well at short, second and third, so we'll put him in some other spots," Servais said.
Matt Bush and Keone Kela followed Gamboa to the mound and each pitched two scoreless innings.
Mariners up next: The Mariners get a day off on Monday before resuming their Cactus League schedule on Tuesday night against the A's in Peoria, Ariz., at 7:10 p.m. PT, live on MLB.TV. Right-hander Chris Heston will get the start. Left-hander Drew Smyly, who has returned to camp from the World Baseball Classic, is scheduled to make a start in a Minor League game on Tuesday afternoon.
Rangers up next: Right-hander Nick Martinez pitches against the Padres at 9:10 p.m. CT on Monday in Peoria, Ariz. The Rangers are expecting third baseman Adrian Beltre, catcher Robinson Chirinos and second baseman Rougned Odor back from the World Baseball Classic on Monday, although it's uncertain when they will be back in the lineup.
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T.R. Sullivan has covered the Rangers since 1989, and for MLB.com since 2006. Follow him on Twitter @Sullivan_Ranger and listen to his podcast.