Rangers 11, Royals 6

Jeff Francis had been off to a strong start for the Kansas City

Royals.

Then the 30-year-old lefthander ran into the Texas Rangers.

Francis gave up six runs and nine hits in four-plus innings on

Friday night as the Rangers beat the Royals 11-6.

Francis (0-2) had gone at least 6 1-3 innings and allowed no

more than three runs in each of his first four starts after signing

with the Royals as a free agent in January.

But the Rangers took advantage of a howling wind blowing out to

right, with Mike Napoli and Ian Kinsler homering off Francis, who

was lifted after one batter in the fifth.

”It’s a bad place to leave balls up,” Francis said. ”When I

leave balls up, no matter where I pitch, it’s not what I want to

do. I want to get guys to hit the ball on the ground. I didn’t do a

good job of pitching. I don’t think I did too many things well

today.”

Francis pitched for the Colorado Rockies, so he knows what it’s

like to compete in a hitter’s park.

He had few answers for a Rangers lineup that had been hurting

since reigning AL MVP Josh Hamilton was lost for as long as two

months due to a broken right shoulder.

”I pitched in Colorado for six years. I’ve pitched here for two

hours,” Francis said. ”There are nights when the wind blows out

in Colorado too, but if a pitcher goes out and makes his pitch,

you’ll do OK.”

Royals manager Ned Yost knew his team would struggle in a

slugfest against the Rangers.

”They were much more proficient at utilizing the jet stream

than we were,” Yost said. ”They actually hit a couple of good

pitches. We just got a couple up. They’re a tremendous fly

ball-hitting team with a lot of pop, a lot of power.

”They hit some good pitches, but (Francis) wasn’t as sharp as

he has been. He battled out there. He was working hard to try to

keep the ball down and hit his spots.”

David Murphy, Adrian Beltre and Mitch Moreland went deep against

the Royals bullpen and Kansas City lost for the fourth time in six

games.

Texas had four homers over its previous nine games before

breaking out. The Rangers hadn’t hit five in a game since May 12,

2010.

Kinsler’s two-out solo shot in the fourth put the Rangers ahead

for good after the Royals tied it with five runs in the top

half.

Murphy’s two-run blast in the fifth made it 8-5, and Beltre went

deep with the bases empty in the sixth to give Texas a four-run

cushion.

Moreland added a two-run homer in the seventh to complete the

long-ball barrage.

Texas starter Derek Holland (3-1) struck out nine and gave up

five runs and seven hits over seven innings.

Brayan Pena homered for the Royals.

Young extended his hitting streak to 12 games with a

first-inning RBI single.

In the third, Young’s run-scoring triple off the center field

wall, Beltre’s RBI double, and Napoli’s two-run shot made it

5-0.

The Royals answered with their five-run fourth highlighted by

Pena’s three-run blast.

Also in the fourth, Jeff Francoeur extended his hitting streak

to 12 games with an RBI double, and Wilson Betemit stretched his

streak to 13 games with a run-scoring single.

Kansas City threatened in the third with runners on first and

third and one out. Melky Cabrera hit a grounder to second, and

Kinsler threw to second to force Chris Getz.

The relay to first by shortstop Elvis Andrus was wild, but

Cabrera was called out because Getz veered out of the baseline

while sliding into Andrus in an attempt to break up the double

play.

Notes: Kansas City’s Alex Gordon pushed his career-best hitting

streak to 16 games with an infield single in the fourth. …

Francoeur and C Matt Treanor received their AL championship rings

from Texas manager Ron Washington on the field prior to the game.

”Francoeur brought a lot of energy, kept the bench loose, and when

he got out there against left-handers he produced,” Washington

said. ”Matt was certainly an integral part of our club. They did a

lot for us and right now they’re doing a lot for Kansas City.”