SURPRISE, Ariz. — There's nothing like an 11-strikeout outing to give a pitcher confidence, regardless of the opponent.
Arizona right-hander Trevor Cahill went 5 2/3 innings, scattered four hits and allowed an unearned run in the Diamondbacks' 9-3 victory over the Texas Rangers on Thursday.
"I felt a lot better today than I have," Cahill said. "I was throwing my sinker for strikes and threw to both sides of the plate, which is the first time I've done that consistently this spring."
The Rangers' lineup was made up solely of minor leaguers, the majority of whom will begin the season in Class A – either with Myrtle Beach of the Carolina League or Hickory in the South Atlantic League.
"All their guys weren't here today so it was a good day for him to go out there and relax," said Arizona manager Kirk Gibson
Cahill, who will make his first regular-season start April 2 against the St. Louis Cardinals, threw 63 of his 88 pitches for strikes.
"I felt good going a little bit longer and stretching out a bit and hopefully my body bounces back for Tuesday," said Cahill, who has allowed only three runs – two earned – in his past four outings spanning 17 1/3 innings.
The Rangers took a 1-0 lead in the first off Cahill when Rougned Odor tripled into the right field corner and scored when Paul Goldschmidt couldn't handle Joey Gallo's two-out line drive to first.
Arizona rallied for four runs in the fifth on a hit, three walks, a passed ball and three errors – two by centerfielder Lewis Binson. Binson lost two balls in the sun, one for an error, and dropped the ball when trying to return it to the infield after a single.
The Diamondbacks added another four runs in the seventh, keyed by Tyler Bortnick's two-run homer.
A.J. Pollock went 2 for 2 and Garrett Weber also homered for Arizona.
NOTES: Texas' major leaguers, along with a handful of Triple-A and Double-A players, already had left for Arlington for the Rangers' exhibition against the Mexico City Red Devils later Thursday. . The Diamondbacks' starters left the game shortly after the clock struck 3 p.m. in order to get to Chase Field for a dinner event. . The Rangers will play exhibitions Friday and Saturday in San Antonio against the San Diego Padres. . Arizona plays host to Cincinnati on Friday and Saturday at Chase Field. . Diamondbacks RHP Brandon McCarthy will pitch in a minor-league game against the Rockies on Friday.