Rangers 8, Royals 7

Bruce Chen had an impressive streak going before getting to
Texas. So did the Kansas City Royals.

Chen gave up three home runs in 4 1-3 innings on the way to the
end of his personal seven-game winning stretch in Kansas City’s 8-7
loss Sunday as the AL West-leading Texas Rangers wrapped up a
three-game sweep.

Kansas City arrived in the Lone Star State as the only team in
the major leagues that hadn’t lost a series this season, but has
now lost eight consecutive games at Rangers Ballpark back to the
2009 season.

”They outplayed us in all aspects of the game,” said Mike
Aviles, who homered twice for the Royals.

After a day off Monday, the Royals open a three-game series at
AL Central-leading Cleveland. The Indians, who lead Kansas City by
1 1/2 games, were also swept this weekend in three games at
Minnesota.

The Royals (12-10) have lost eight straight on the road against
the Rangers, dating to the 2009 season.

”What happened here stays here,” Chen said.

Chen (3-1) lost for the first time in 12 starts, since his last
loss Aug. 23 at Detroit. The only pitcher in that span with more
consecutive wins was Carlos Zambrano of the Chicago Cubs, but his
eight-game winning streak ended Sunday in a loss to the Los Angeles
Dodgers.

Chen gave up six runs and seven hits while walking three with
two strikeouts.

”He wasn’t sharp today, but he really battled,” manager Ned
Yost said. ”He was out there competing with everything he had,
just couldn’t get the ball down.”

C.J. Wilson (3-0) struck out 10 in seven innings, Adrian Beltre
hit one of Texas’ three homers and 41-year-old Arthur Rhodes saved
it for the Rangers.

The game was tied at 2 after a pair of solo homers by each team
before light-hitting Rangers utility infielder Andres Blanco pulled
the first pitch in the fifth into the left-field seats.

”I was just trying to throw a strike to get ahead,” Chen said.
”There was nothing else I could do.”

Blanco’s second career homer started a six-run outburst with 10
batters coming to the plate for the Rangers, who entered the series
having lost six of eight games.

After a pair of walks by Chen, Michael Young stretched his
hitting streak to 14 games with an RBI single that made it 4-2 and
chased Chen. Reliever Jeremy Jeffress walked two batters, including
Mike Napoli with the bases loaded, before David Murphy’s three-run
double into the left-center gap.

Yost took part of the blame for putting Jeffress, a
hard-throwing youngster, in that situation.

”I didn’t give him much wiggle room to get out of the inning,”
the manager said. ”I probably given Jeremy a little more leeway.
One base open was probably not enough to work with.”

The Royals were down 8-2 before scoring twice in the seventh and
then getting a three-run homer in the ninth from Aviles off Brett
Tomko.

”The hole was just too big at that point,” Yost said.

Rhodes got the final out for his first save since 2008 to become
the oldest pitcher to get a save for Texas. That came only a day
after 40-year-old Darren Oliver had set that mark by closing out a
3-1 victory in which first-year starter Alexi Ogando didn’t give up
a run until the seventh inning.

Neftali Feliz, the regular Rangers closer, is on the disabled
list because of shoulder inflammation.

Wilson (3-0) overcame giving up his first two homers of the
season with his third career double-digit strikeout game. The
crafty left-hander walked only one batter while giving up eight
hits and four runs on another windy day at Rangers Ballpark.

Aviles lined the second pitch of the game into left field for a
sharp single before Wilson struck out the next three hitters.
Kansas City had two on in the second before Alcides Escobar lined
into a double play.

The Royals got their runs in the seventh when No. 9 hitter Chris
Getz had an RBI single following doubles by Wilson Betemit and
Escobar.

Wilson hadn’t allowed a homer in 35 innings over six starts
dating to last season before Jeff Francoeur’s two-out solo shot in
the fourth that hit high off the pole down the left-field line.
Aviles’ game-tying 409-foot homer landed on the hill in center
field an inning later on an 85 mph pitch Wilson said he left over
the middle of the plate.

”You have to go out there and keep your team in the game when
you don’t have your best stuff, and that’s what he did,” manager
Ron Washington said. ”We were able to put some runs on the board
to give him a little cushion. They battled them the whole day. That
team over there can swing the bat. They keep coming and keep coming
and keep coming, see what they did right there in the ninth
inning.”

Notes: Francoeur’s homer extended his hitting streak to 14
games. Alex Gordon has an 18-game hitting streak after a leadoff
double in the eighth. … Beltre matched the AL lead with his
seventh homer, and leads the league with 20 RBIs. … Napoli also
homered for Texas. … Wilson’s career high is 12 strikeouts,
against Baltimore last Aug. 20. … The Rangers are 10-2 at home.
… It was the first career multihomer game for Aviles.