Arlington, Texas Jorge De La Rosa was a bit nervous, a little excited and wanted to show the Kansas City Royals that he could be a long-term part of their starting rotation.
The 25-year-old left-hander left a pretty good first impression on his new team.
De La Rosa struck out seven and allowed only two runs over six innings in his Kansas City debut Saturday night, and the Royals beat the Rangers, 5-3.
"I was impressed," manager Buddy Bell said. "I really was."
The Royals got De La Rosa (1-0) on Tuesday when they traded infielder Tony Graffanino to Milwaukee, where he was 0-2 with an 11.57 earned-run average in three starts. De La Rosa was 0-5 in eight previous major-league starts.
Gerald Laird and Mark DeRosa hit home runs on consecutive pitches in the second inning for the Rangers, whose season-worst losing streak reached six games.
But those were the only runs allowed by De La Rosa despite giving up nine hits. The seven strikeouts were a career high.
"He had the demeanor to fight and be able to handle things," Bell said.
"He made the pitches when he needed them, was effective with his fastball and had great command of his changeup," said catcher John Buck, who had three hits and three RBIs for the Royals. "He did a good job keeping his cool, and staying with it."
Ambiorix Burgos worked the ninth for his 16th save in 25 chances.
All-Star outfielder Carlos Lee went 3-for-4 with a walk in his second game since being traded from Milwaukee to the Rangers (51-53), who dropped three games behind division-leading Oakland in the AL West.
Kansas City, with the worst record in the majors, won the first two games of the series by beating the Rangers' top two starters and 10-game winners: Vicente Padilla on Friday and then Kevin Millwood (10-7).
Millwood walked five and gave up seven hits while allowing four runs over 51â3 innings. He also hit a batter with a pitch while losing for fourth time in six starts.
"I just couldn't get the ball where I wanted it to go," Millwood said. "Right now, I think we are all kind of in a rut at the same time. No facet of this team is going well right now, and it is never a good thing when the whole team is struggling."
Hoping to make a push for their first playoff appearance since 1999, the Rangers got Lee in a six-player deal Friday. The slugger is 5-for-8 in his two games in Texas, with a double on Saturday, but Texas hasn't won with him in the lineup.
The Rangers had 13 hits Saturday, but left 13 runners on base.