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Archive for Sunday, April 4, 2010

K.C. closes spring training with victory

April 4, 2010

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— The Texas Rangers can now try to live up to Nolan Ryan’s expectations of at least 92 victories in the regular season after losing the most spring training games in team history.

Rick Ankiel had an RBI double and scored on Mitch Maier’s bloop triple to start a five-run seventh inning against Chris Ray, and the Kansas City Royals beat Texas, 10-7, Saturday in the spring training finale for the teams that share a complex in Surprise, Ariz. The finale was played at the home stadium of the Rangers’ Double-A team.

Texas finished 10-19-1 to match the team record for losses in the spring, many of them like Saturday when the go-ahead runs came after most of the regulars had already exited the game.

Kansas City was 14-13-4.

“We accomplished what we needed to accomplish,” said third baseman Michael Young. “We feel good about ourselves right now. ... We have a good group of guys, guys driven to establish winning habits here.”

The Rangers and Royals both play season openers at home Monday. Texas hosts Toronto and Kansas City plays Detroit.

The spring record won’t dampen the hopes of the Rangers, whose record has improved each season under fourth-year manager Ron Washington. Texas won 87 games last season, and team president Ryan has repeatedly said this spring there is no reason the team shouldn’t be able to have at least five more victories this season.

Maier, who also had an RBI triple in Friday night’s 2-1 loss to the Rangers, got the one against Ray on a ball that dropped in shallow right field and took a funny hop.

The Rangers led after six of the first seven batters reached, including four doubles, against starter Brian Bannister in the fourth.

Bannister, scheduled to start for the Royals on Thursday, allowed six runs and nine hits in his four innings with two strikeouts. He was 7-12 a year ago, when he lost his last five decisions.

“Really the only thing that bothered me is they kept scoring on him the same inning,” manager Trey Hillman said. “He was trying to get a little too fine, then he elevated. The more he tried to get out of it, the more he elevated.”

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