Rangers 4, Royals 3
David Murphy had three hits and Nelson Cruz drove in two runs,
yet their late-inning catches in the outfield drew the most praise
in the Texas clubhouse.
”The defense was outstanding,” Rangers manager Ron Washington
said after a 4-3 win over Kansas City on Wednesday night. ”Murphy
and Cruzie just saved the game for us.”
Rookie Mitch Moreland homered again as the Rangers increased
their division lead to 9 1/2 games over Oakland, which lost in New
With two Royals on base in the sixth, Murphy made an exceptional
catch on Gregor Blanco’s fly down the left-field line to the
”Murphy made a great play on Blanco, that’s two runs,” Royals
manager Ned Yost said. ”That absolutely saved the game for
Said Murphy: ”We know he tries to slap the ball the other way
so we were playing the lines. I didn’t think it was going to carry
as much as it did, but I got there at the last second and stretched
and reached out and got it.”
In the ninth, Wilson Betemit and Billy Butler each sent Cruz to
the right-field wall to make catches, allowing rookie Neftali Feliz
to record his 34th save in 37 opportunities.
”They both smoked the ball,” Yost said. ”I thought they both
had a chance to go out. The outfielders were playing so deep. Billy
just scalded it.”
Said Butler: ”Almost every other park you can almost put it on
the board, but not in this one. All that resulted in was a save for
Feliz, instead of a tie game. The guy is throwing 100 miles per
hour and I put the barrel on it. We play in the biggest park in the
league, if not the biggest.”
”A lot of parks, Wilson’s is gone, too. In Texas, we may have
two home runs hit back-to-back. We’re not playing in Texas, so it’s
two outs,” he said.
Cruz said he knew he Butler’s long drive all the way.
”I think it probably wouldn’t have gone over, maybe it would
have gone off the top of the wall,” he said. ”He hit it pretty
good. We put a lot of emphasis on our defense in the
Moreland homered for the second straight game, leading off the
sixth inning with a shot that made it 4-2. He has five home runs in
his first 25 big league games.
”I’m just doing what I can,” Moreland said. ”I’m trying to
work better at-bats. I’ve been struggling to get my pitch. I just
need to go back to my gameplan and be short to the ball.”
Tommy Hunter (12-2) allowed two runs on seven hits and four
walks in 5 2-3 innings.
Elvis Andrus walked, Murphy singled and Cruz hit a two-out,
two-run single in the first off Bryan Bullington (1-4).
The Royals manufactured a run in the third. Brayan Pena led off
with a bunt single, Mitch Maier singled, Blanco sacrificed and Mike
Aviles had a sacrifice fly.
Moreland walked in the fourth and scored on Andres Blanco’s.
Yuniesky Betancourt, who hit seven home runs in August, hit his
career-high 15th homer in the Royals fourth.
Aviles and Betancourt doubled in the seventh, pulling the Royals
Bullington gave up four runs and eight hits in 5 2-3 innings.
After allowing two hits in eight scoreless innings Aug. 15 against
the Yankees for his first big league victory, Bullington has
allowed 17 runs on 28 hits in 14 2-3 innings.
Gil Meche, who was reinstated from the disabled list before the
game, worked a scoreless ninth for the Royals. He gave up a single
in his first relief appearance since Oct. 1, 2005, while with the
NOTES: Rangers OF Josh Hamilton, who tops the majors with a .361
batting average, was held out of the lineup after receiving a shot
Tuesday in his sore right knee. … Royals manager Ned Yost said
with C Jason Kendall scheduled for right shoulder surgery Friday,
Pena and Lucas May would share the catching duties. The recovery
time for Kendall’s surgery is eight to 10 months. … Rangers 2B
Ian Kinsler, who has been on the disabled list since July 28 with a
left groin strain, was activated, but said he would not be at full
strength until next year.