Final in 7

Rangers 1

(12-17, 6-9 away)

Diamondbacks 8

(14-15, 7-7 home)

    3:05 PM ET, March 31, 2004

    Kino Veterans Memorial Stadium, Tucson, Arizona 

    R H E
    TEX - -
    ARI - -

    Arizona 8, Texas 1 (6 innings)

    TUCSON, Ariz. (AP) -- Casey Daigle's biggest claim to fame at the start of spring training was his engagement to star softball pitcher Jennie Finch.

    Now he's close to winning the No. 5 spot in the Arizona Diamondbacks' rotation.

    The 6-foot-5, 23-year-old right-hander allowed a run on two hits through six innings and hit a massive two-run homer Wednesday in the Diamondbacks' rain-shortened 8-1 victory over the Texas Rangers.

    "I went out there and knew I had something to prove," Daigle said. "It was my last start of the spring so I wanted to leave a good impression in everybody's mind. I was up for this game."

    With a big league roster spot possibly in the balance, Daigle was calm and controlled.

    "Under the circumstances and knowing what he's pitching for, I thought he was extremely poised and just continued to do what he's been doing all spring," Arizona manager Bob Brenly said.

    Richie Sexson went 2-for-2 with a two-run double and Alex Cintron had a three-run double as Arizona wrapped up its Tucson spring training. Matt Kata was 3-for-3 to improve his spring batting average to .481.

    Daigle has not had a winning record in four minor league seasons and led the Texas League in earned runs and hits allowed with Double-A El Paso last season.

    But he pitched his way into contention for the big club this spring.

    "It's been a dream come true, I guess," he said. "I came into camp and I just wanted to come in here and get my work done and try to make the Triple-A team. And I'm where I am now, I mean, things are great. I thank God every night for it, because this was a lot more than I expected."

    With Finch in the stands on a cell phone relaying Daigle's efforts to his parents, he held the Rangers without a hit through four innings before Kevin Mench led off the fifth with a double, then scored on Einar Diaz's one-out single.

    Daigle, who struck out five and walked three, put the Diamondbacks up 2-0 with a two-out home run in the second that traveled at least 420 feet to left-center.

    Rangers starter Ricardo Rodriguez gave up eight runs, four earned, on nine hits in four innings. He struck out none and walked three.

    "He was up a lot today and paid the price for it," Texas manager Buck Showalter said. "We're still going to look at all his work. He's coming off an injury and made a lot of progress. We've talked about Triple-A, but nothing is decided."

    Just as the rain came in the seventh, Arizona left-hander Randy Choate slipped covering first base, caught himself with his left hand, and had to leave with a blood blister under his thumbnail.

    The Rangers played their final spring game in Arizona. They play at San Francisco on Thursday, then have games against Colorado in Las Vegas on Friday and Saturday.

    The Diamondbacks play the Cubs on Thursday in Mesa in Randy Johnson's final start before Tuesday's season opener. The Cubs and Arizona play at Bank One Ballpark on Friday and Saturday.

    Game notes

    The Rangers declined to add LHP Glendon Rusch to their major league roster, so he asked for and was granted his release. Rusch hopes to catch on somewhere, and his agent, Tommy Tanzer, said he had already spoken with a couple of teams.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press