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.