Royals 10, Rangers 7
FRISCO, Texas (AP)
The Texas Rangers can now try to live up to Nolan Ryan's expectations of at least 92 victories in the regular season after losing the most spring training games in team history.
Rick Ankiel had an RBI double and scored on Mitch Maier's bloop triple to start a five-run seventh inning against Chris Ray, and the Kansas City Royals beat Texas 10-7 Saturday in the spring training finale for the teams that share a complex in Surprise, Ariz. The finale was played at the home stadium of the Rangers' Double-A team.
Texas finished 10-19-1 to match the team record for losses in the spring, many of them like Saturday when the go-ahead runs came after most of the regulars had already exited the game. Kansas City was 14-13-4.
``We accomplished what we needed to accomplish,'' said third baseman Michael Young, the longest-tenured Ranger going into his 10th season. ``We feel good about ourselves right now. ... We have a good group of guys, guys driven to establish winning habits here. We've already got a good clubhouse chemistry.''
The Rangers and Royals both play season openers at home Monday. Texas hosts Toronto and Kansas City plays Detroit.
The spring record won't dampen the hopes of the Rangers, whose record has improved each season under fourth-year manager Ron Washington. Texas won 87 games last season, and team president Ryan has repeatedly said this spring there is no reason the team shouldn't be able to have at least five more victories this season.
``We're ready to go. ... I feel good about it, I really do,'' Washington said. ``We're fine. I think my regular guys have been out there and done a pretty good job.''
Ray inherited a 6-5 lead but retired only one of the six batters he faced, allowing four hits - three for extra bases - and a walk. The Rangers acquired the right-hander from Baltimore this winter in the deal for Kevin Millwood.
``Whatever he had in his system, I hope he got it out,'' Washington said. ``We still believe in Chris.''
Maier, who also had an RBI triple in Friday night's 2-1 loss to the Rangers, got the one against Ray on a ball that dropped in shallow right field and took a funny hop.
The Rangers led after six of the first seven batters reached, including four doubles, against starter Brian Bannister in the fourth.
Bannister, scheduled to start the Royals third regular-season game Thursday, allowed six runs and nine hits in his four innings with two strikeouts. He was 7-12 a year ago, when he lost his last five decisions.
``Really the only thing that bothered me is they kept scoring on him the same inning,'' manager Trey Hillman said. ``He was trying to get a little too fine, then he elevated. The more he tried to get out of it, the more he elevated.''
Rangers left-handed starter Matt Harrison, who missed the second half of last season after shoulder surgery, gave up five runs and seven hits in five innings with three strikeouts and a walk.
Vladimir Guerrero, the Rangers' new designated hitter, led off the fourth with a double and Nelson Cruz followed with another. Joaquin Arias had a two-run double and Julio Borbon, now leading off and starting in center field, had an RBI single to make it 6-2.
Guerrero ended spring with a .333 batting average and 10 RBIs, but didn't homer in 63 at-bats over 21 games. He struck out only five times, including once Saturday when he still reached on John Parrish's wild pitch.
Billy Butler had three RBIs for the Royals, with a sacrifice fly in the third and a two-run single in the fifth when another run came in on an infield single by Maier that cut the deficit to 6-5.
NOTES: Chuck Greenberg, head of the investment group working to purchase the Rangers, attended the game. He says the sale is on track to be completed the week of April 19. ... Royals RHP Luke Hochevar, who took a comebacker off his left ankle in Friday night's game, is fine. ``No issues, no worries,'' Hillman said. Hochevar is scheduled to start Kansas City's second regular-season game Wednesday. ... Willie Bloomquist likely will start at third base for Kansas City in the opener. Switch-hitting Alberto Callaspo is recovering from irritation when swinging left-handed. The Royals face Detroit's Justin Verlander on opening day and want to be cautious with Callaspo.