Royals 5, Rangers 2

Luke Hochevar is finally beginning to pitch the way the Kansas

City Royals hoped he would be after selecting him first overall in

the 2006 draft.

Hochevar went eight strong innings and Billy Butler homered to

lead the Royals to a 5-2 win over the Texas Rangers on

Wednesday.

Hochevar (5-2), the only Royals starter with a winning record,

held the Rangers to two runs on six hits, striking out four and

walking none. In winning his past two starts, Hochevar has allowed

five runs on 10 hits in 17 innings.

“You can’t pitch any better than he’s pitched the last two

games,” Royals manager Ned Yost said. “All the ingredients are

there for him to be an ultra-successful American League pitcher.

He’s throwing the ball as good as you can possibly throw it. Today

it was against a real good hitting club. They’ve got speed; they’ve

got dangerous power in the middle of that lineup. He was right on

top of his game. He was fantastic.”

Hochevar, who entered this season with a 13-26 record and 5.88

ERA, said he is gaining confidence.

“Success always comes before confidence,” Hochevar said. “I

feel comfortable on the mound. I feel my game plan has worked quite

a few times this year. I trust in it. There’s a lot of thump in

that lineup. You’ve got to be more aggressive, getting ahead in the

counts, ’cause if you fall into fastball counts with that team – a

good fastball hitting team – that’s when they do their

damage.”

Butler went 2 for 4 to raise his average to .348, second in the

American League. He led off the sixth with his fifth home run to

snap a 2-2 tie.

“It’s quite impressive to watch a young man have that good of

an idea and that good of an eye and put together consistent good

at-bats time after time after time,” Yost said.

Joakim Soria worked a flawless ninth for his 11th save in 13

chances and the 100th of his career.

“It means a lot because it’s a good number to reach, but I want

more,” Soria said.

Willie Bloomquist drove in two runs for Kansas City with a

sacrifice fly in the sixth and a run-scoring double in the

eighth.

Rangers right-hander Scott Feldman (2-5) allowed four runs on

seven hits with one walk and two hit batters in 6 2/3 innings.

Feldman, a 17-game winner in 2009, is 1-5 with a 6.91 ERA, and

opponents are hitting .326 in his past eight starts.

“I’m frustrated,” Feldman said. “I’ve got to get

better.”

Nelson Cruz doubled with two outs in the second inning and

scored on Justin Smoak’s single to give the Rangers a 1-0 lead.

The Royals tied it in the bottom half when Scott Podsednik’s

two-out single scored Mitch Maier, who led off with a single.

Kansas City went ahead in the third when Mike Aviles led off with a

double, moved to third on a groundout by Butler and scored on

Guillen’s sacrifice fly.

The Rangers tied it at 2 in the sixth when Michael Young tripled

to score Elvis Andrus. Young extended his hitting streak to a

season-high 12 games and has an MLB-best 37 hits in May.

“Hochevar didn’t give up much,” Rangers manager Ron Washington

said. “The sixth inning we had a chance to take the lead on him,

but we just didn’t get it done. Feldman hung in there and gave us 6

2-3 innings. We just didn’t put enough runs to make a

difference.”

NOTES: Royals SS Yuniesky Betancourt was held out of the lineup

because of a mild concussion which he sustained in a collision at

home plate Tuesday with Rangers C Matt Treanor. … Young’s triple

was the 44th of his career, tying him with Ruben Sierra for the

most in Rangers’ history. … The Royals beat the Rangers for the

first time in six meetings this season. … The Royals are hitting

an AL-best .303 in day games.