Royals’ bats cool off in 8-1 loss to Rangers

Whit Merrifield was one of the few Royals who provided an offensive spark, collecting two hits and scoring one run.
Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports

The Kansas City Royals have been among baseball’s hottest-hitting teams this spring but were held in check Friday night in an 8-1 loss to the Texas Rangers at Surprise Stadium.

With 140 runs scored, the Royals trailed only the Athletics as the highest-scoring teams this spring training heading into Friday’s game.

Whit Merrifield provided the lone spark for the Royals in the first inning on a leadoff double. He later scored on a wild pitch to give the Royals a brief 1-0 lead.

Jackson Kowar made his third start this spring. In his first two starts, the right-hander fared well, throwing five scoreless innings. But this time he was hit around in his 1 1/3 innings as the Rangers collected five hits, three walks and six earned runs.

Carlos Hernandez relieved Kowar and battled command issues. He walked four and allowed a run to score on a wild pitch, which gave the Rangers a 7-1 lead.

The KC bullpen began to fall into a groove after that as Richard Lovelady, Ryan Kalish, Kyle Zimmer and Jake Newberry combined to pitch 4 2/3 scoreless innings.

Kansas City’s spring training record slipped to 14-8-3.

The Royals have just three more Cactus League games on the docket before Opening Day on April 4 at The K. Next up is Milwaukee at Surprise Stadium at 3 p.m. Saturday.