KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — While Yu Darvish flirted with a no-hitter, the Texas Rangers were hitting the ball over the Kauffman Stadium fences.
Darvish retired the first 17 batters, Texas hit five home runs and the Rangers beat the Kansas City Royals 8-4 Monday in a game that turned testy.
Adrian Beltre and Nelson Cruz homered on consecutive pitches in the sixth inning. Cruz watched his drive sail over the wall, then was hit by Louis Coleman’s first pitch leading off the ninth.
Cruz took a few steps to the mound, but was restrained by catcher Brayan Pena.
“It’s part of the game,” Pena said. “We’re trying to go inside. Cruz is a very strong guy and we were trying to not let him extend his arms. He is one of my good friends and I hope he knows we were not trying to hit him.”
The dugouts and bullpens emptied, but only words were exchanged. Both teams were issued a warning by plate umpire Mike Everitt.
Michael Young answered that by homering on the next pitch and Coleman was replaced by Francisley Bueno.
“That was an outstanding sequence,” Rangers manager Ron Washington said. “Not the fact Cruz got hit, but the fact Michael hit the home run. I don’t know what that was about, but undoubtedly it didn’t affect us because we put another two runs on the board and got him out of the game. We was fired up already. All he did was make it shine a little brighter.”
Josh Hamilton hit his 38th homer and Geovany Soto added a three-run shot as Texas won for the ninth time in 12 games. The AL West leaders moved a season-high 26 games over .500 with some more pop after hit four homers Sunday in an 8-3 victory at Cleveland.
A day after he homered and doubled in his first two big league at-bats, 19-year-old Jurickson Profar was not in the Texas lineup. Second baseman Ian Kinsler, who sat out Sunday with a stiff back, returned to the lineup.
Darvish (14-9), who retired the final seven batters he faced in his previous start, did not allow a runner until two out in the sixth when he walked Johnny Giavotella on a close full-count pitch.
“When I threw that pitch — it was a slider — I tried to throw it right down the middle,” Darvish said through an interpreter. “It ended up being on the outer edge, a very close call. At that moment, I wanted the call, but later after that inning I looked at the replay video and saw that it was fairly a ball. So it just goes to show the umpires are right and good. And that hitter had a very good take, a very good at-bat.”
David Lough, playing in his third big league game, blooped a single just over the reach of shortstop Elvis Andrus and into shallow center to end Darvish’s no-hit bid.
“I didn’t think about that at all,” Darvish said.
Darvish gave up a two-run triple to Tony Abreu and a RBI double to Alex Gordon to cut the Texas lead to 6-3 before the inning ended.
“It takes one hit sometimes and other guys can feed off it,” Lough said. “I saw him going back for it and I was hoping it would fall in.”
Darvish was pulled after the seventh and struck out six, including five in the first three innings, while walking one.
“It was as good as I’ve seen his stuff,” Washington said. “His stuff was real crisp. His curveball they just couldn’t do anything with it. Early in the game his cutter was just outstanding. His four-seamer, he was zipping it. He was hitting his spots with consistency.
“He was doing everything he wanted to do out there. He’s getting a feel for what is working and he’s staying with it.”
Darvish tied Wade Miley of Arizona for the most victories by a rookie this season.
Soto homered in the second for a 3-0 lead.
Bruce Chen (10-11) allowed six runs on six hits, four of them home runs. He lasted six innings as his career ERA against Texas climbed to 8.68.
Abreu also singled in a run in the eighth, giving him six RBIs in two games.
NOTES: The Rangers have hit back-to-back homers eight times this season. … Beltre is hitting .449 with nine home runs, six doubles and 17 RBIs in his past 12 games. … Hamilton has hit three homers in five games. In his past 12 games, he is hitting .341 with four home runs, 12 RBIs and 11 runs. … LHP Everett Teaford, who threw 5 1-3 scoreless innings as a reliever Saturday, will make a spot start Wednesday for the Royals. Rookie LHP Will Smith, who is 0-3 in his past three starts, will be skipped a start.