SURPRISE, Ariz. — Even Derek Lowe was left to simply say wow.The right-hander breezed through the first three innings Thursday night on only 31 pitches as the Texas Rangers took a 7-0 lead against their American League West rival, the Anaheim Angels.But then the fourth inning arrived, and Lowes sinker stopped sinking. The result was six runs, five of which came on four Angels homers before Lowe was pulled with two outs.Lowe, 39, was working on two days rest as the Rangers try to stretch him out quickly to see if the late arrival to camp can be their fifth starter. But the veteran said that fatigue wasnt the issue in the fourth inning.I was happy with the way the first three innings went, Lowe said. It was a good crowd here today, so I gave out some souvenirs. The ball got flat fast. But its over with.Lowe, taking some jabs at himself, said that surrendering four homers in one inning isnt easy today even if a pitcher just lobs the ball to the plate. But his high-80s fastball didnt have any movement and was put in bad locations.Albert Pujols and Josh Hamilton hit back-to-back one-out homers after Mike Trout scored on a wild pitch, and Howie Kendrick and Hank Conger went deep with two outs.Lowe has worked eight scoreless innings this spring before the Angels big inning. His work in the first three innings, though, will likely keep him in consideration to be the No. 5 starter, though manager Ron Washington again declined to say that Lowe is in the competition.Nick Tepesch, Randy Wells and Justin Grimm, also right-handers, remain in the hunt after Robbie Ross was sent to the bullpen earlier Thursday.Angels starter Jerome Williams didnt fare much better than Lowe. Williams lasted only 1 1/3 innings and was yanked after surrendering eight straight hits in the second. The Rangers collected 11 hits against the Angels projected long reliever.
Jeff Wilson, 817-390-7760 Twitter: @JeffWilson