Royals 2, Rangers 1(10)

Jeff Francoeur’s game-winning RBI single in the 10th inning

allowed everybody in a Kansas City uniform to take a deep breath

and relax.

When Melky Cabrera sped home from third for the game-winning run

in a 2-1 victory over Texas on Thursday night, it snapped a

five-game losing streak that came oh, so close to a six-game

slide.

It was also the Royals’ seventh walkoff win.

”We needed this,” said Francoeur. ”We’d been battling hard.

It wasn’t like we’ve been blown out all those games. To get this

tonight was huge. This kind of win to gets everybody relaxed and

having fun again.”

After fouling off several deliveries from Cody Eppley, Francoeur

delivered KC’s 14th hit and 14th single in a frustrating night that

saw four Royals get put out on the bases.

”I wanted to take a couple of pitches to feel him out,” said

Francoeur. ”I figured he was going to try to get me on that sinker

and get me to roll over. I kept fouling some off. Finally, he left

one up over the zone and I was able to just hit it right back up

the middle.”

Cabrera hit a one-out single off Darren Oliver (1-5) in the

10th, his third hit of the night, and sped to third when Eric

Hosmer singled into right for his third hit.

Greg Holland (1-0), called up from Triple-A Omaha hours earlier,

pitched 1 1-3 innings for his first major league win as the Royals,

for the second night in a row, broke through against Rangers closer

Neftali Feliz.

Feliz relieved after Derek Holland had thrown eight shutout

innings but allowed a leadoff single to Hosmer in the ninth. Hosmer

went to second on a single by Francoeur, then Feliz, who blew his

first save in 20 opportunities the night before, got the first two

outs on fly balls before the runners moved up on a wild pitch.

Mike Aviles, after fouling off five 3-2 pitches, drove in the

tying run with an infield single that shortstop Elvis Andrus

stopped from going into the outfield, keeping the Royals from

scoring the winning run.

”I thought for sure that ball was getting through,” said

Aviles. ”It was a heck of a lay on his part to stop it. If that

ball gets through, it’s game over.”

”Well, you know, he’s healthy. Sometimes it’s games like this

that get you going,” Washington said. ”I thought he came out

today and attacked. They did a good job of fouling balls off. They

made him work.”

Holland had one walk and five strikeouts while dueling Luke

Hochevar. He gave up only six hits and one run in 8 2-3

innings.

Chris Davis, in the game because Michael Young was given his

first night off of the year, hit Hochevar’s 2-1 pitch leading off

the second for his third home run.

Holland relieved Hochevar with two out in the ninth after Mitch

Moreland and Yorvit Torrealba hit two-out singles.

The Royals had at least one baserunner in every inning but the

second against Holland, a 24-year-old left-hander. But the Rangers

turned two double plays behind him and the Royals had four runners

thrown out on the bases.

Texas shortstop Andres Blanco, who had never played in the

outfield in the major leagues, went into right field in the bottom

of the fourth after Endy Chavez was removed with tightness in his

right hamstring.

Blanco bobbled the ball momentarily on his first chance when

Francoeur singled into right in the sixth. But he recovered in time

to nail Francoeur sliding into second on what would have been a

single and an error had he been safe.

Francoeur became the sixth runner the Royals lost on the bases

in two games. After getting two pinch runners picked off first base

and another thrown out trying to steal on Wednesday night, Cabrera

was caught off first base and put out on Thursday and Alex Gordon

was thrown out trying to steal second.

Notes: Alex Gordon’s first-inning single snapped an 0 for 10

skid. … Cabrera has had 16 multiunit games this season. … These

two games will be all the Rangers play in Kauffman Stadium this

season, their shortest series in KC ever. … Before Wednesday

night, Feliz had converted 25 straight save opportunities on the

road.