Mendoza makes case for spot in Rangers’ rotation

3-18-08 -- Luis Mendoza made his strongest case yet to earn the final spot in Texas’ rotation.

One of three candidates to become the Rangers’ fifth starter, Mendoza allowed two hits and one run over five innings Tuesday in an 11-6 victory over Oakland that snapped the Athletics’ seven-game winning streak.

“I’m trying to throw the most innings I can and mix all my pitches,” said Mendoza, who had allowed nine runs and nine hits in 6 2-3 innings before Tuesday. “I think that’s what they’re looking for—to show I can pitch in the big leagues.”

The right-hander’s five-inning stint was the longest by a Texas starter this spring.

“Other than the one inning in Colorado he’s been real good,” manager Ron Washington said. “He’s got good stuff, man. He kept his stuff for the whole time he was out there. That tells you right there he’s made adjustments.”

Jeff Fiorentino led off the game with a sharp single to center but was retired by Mendoza on a double-play grounder by Kurt Suzuki. Chris Denorfia doubled to start the third for Oakland’s other hit off Mendoza and later scored.

A’s starter Justin Duchscherer went four innings, allowing six runs on four hits with two walks and four strikeouts. The right-hander gave up four consecutive hits in the second inning as the Rangers extended a 1-0 lead to 3-0.

“I honestly felt like I consistently hit the spots I wanted to hit,” said Duchscherer, whose 2007 season was cut short by hip surgery in July. “My arm feels good and my hip feels good.”

Daric Barton’s third home run of the spring in the sixth pulled the A’s even at 4, but the Rangers scored one run in the bottom half and three more in the seventh. Adam Melhuse added a three-run homer in the eighth for Texas.

Corey Brown hit a solo shot in the ninth for the Athletics.

Oakland optioned RHP Joey Devine to Triple-A Sacramento. … The Athletics finalized their roster for their season-opening trip to Japan. Third baseman Eric Chavez, pitchers Kiko Calero and Chad Gaudin, and outfielders Carlos Gonzalez and Todd Linden will not be making the trip. … Rangers center fielder Josh Hamilton went 1-for-4 with two strikeouts, but is still hitting .556 (20-for-36) in 14 games this spring.