Rangers-Royals Preview

At home or on the road, Adrian Beltre and the Texas Rangers

certainly enjoy facing the Kansas City Royals.

Beltre and the Rangers look to continue their dominance of the

faltering Royals and sweep a two-game set at Kauffman Stadium on

Thursday night.

Texas (23-20) has won 12 of the last 14 meetings with Kansas

City (20-22), including all four this season. They’ve also gone

11-4 in their last 15 games at Kauffman Stadium.

Beltre, an offseason free-agent signing, is giving the Rangers

some added punch at the plate against the Royals, as he’s batting

.342 with 10 homers and 44 RBIs in 50 career games against them.

The third baseman is batting a whopping .404 with four home runs

and 22 RBIs over his last 24 games in Kansas City.

Beltre came up big again Wednesday, with two hits including a

two-run single in the 11th to lift the Rangers to a 5-4

victory.

“We finally got the big hit that stood up,” Texas manager Ron

Washington said.

Beltre is 9 for 26 with three homers and 11 RBIs in his last

seven games overall, raising his average on the season 18 points to

.255.

Texas will give the ball to Derek Holland (3-1, 4.91 ERA), who

seeks his first win since he last faced the Royals, an 11-6 home

victory April 22. The left-hander allowed five runs in seven

innings, but benefited from the generous run support and also

struck out a season-high nine.

His only start at Kauffman Stadium ended in a 6-3 defeat July

25, 2009, when he allowed four runs in 4 2-3 innings opposite Luke

Hochevar – the Royals’ scheduled starter for Thursday.

Holland doesn’t have a decision and has a 5.57 ERA in his last

four outings. However, he was solid while battling through 105

pitches Saturday, yielding two runs in six innings of a 3-2 loss to

Los Angeles.

“I know I didn’t have the best command of my sinker and slider,

but I still used all of my pitches,” Holland told the Rangers’

official website.

The Rangers are trying to win consecutive road games for the

first time since taking three in a row April 9-11. They’re 5-10

away from home since, and have alternated wins and losses over

their last five road contests.

The Royals are seeking to avoid matching their season-high

six-game losing streak from April 22-28, which included a

three-game sweep at Texas.

They’ve been outscored 37-9 during their current skid, which

started with a 3-1 loss at Detroit with Hochevar (3-4, 4.87) on the

mound. He allowed three runs and seven hits – two homers – in six

innings.

The right-hander is 2-0 with a 4.08 ERA in three career starts

versus Texas.

Highly-touted rookie first baseman Eric Hosmer has four hits – a

single, a double, a triple and a homer – over the last three games.

Seven of his 11 hits since joining Kansas City have gone for extra

bases, including three homers.