Five Rangers homer in 11-6 win over Royals
Saturday, April 23, 2011
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."
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