Arlington, Texas The Kansas City Royals were more than willing to wait out a long rain delay and play until the wee hours of the morning to end an eight-game losing streak.
Later that same day, the weary Royals were just glad to be done with a miserable May.
Derek Holland struck out eight over seven innings to wrap up his undefeated month for the Texas Rangers in a 7-2 victory Friday night over the Royals, whose previous game had ended at 3:14 a.m. that morning in St. Louis.
Kansas City took a lead on Alcides Escobar’s RBI single in the third, but Adrian Beltre had a tying RBI single before Nelson Cruz hit a long three-run homer in the bottom of the inning off Wade Davis (3-5) to put the Rangers ahead to stay.
“It’s just a weird day, it was a weird day. Everybody slept in until like 3 o’clock today, we didn’t get in until the sun was coming up,” Davis said. “I was a little sluggish, but I made good pitches, I just made one bad one. “
The Royals led 1-0 after Adam Moore led off the third with a double and scored on the single by Escobar. They still had two runners on before Lorenzo Cain’s comebacker and an inning-ending fielder’s choice grounder by cleanup hitter Billy Butler.
“That’s part of the reason we’ve been struggling a little bit. You get second and third with one out and we take the lead, have an opportunity to tack some more on, and we just couldn’t,” Kansas City manager Ned Yost said. “They’re giving us a run, they’re playing the infield back and we couldn’t take advantage of it, we hit the ball to the pitcher and we can’t get a two-out hit. ... That’s the way things have been going.”
Kansas City finished 8-20 in May, losing nine of its last 10 games.
“The best way to describe it is I’m glad it’s over,” Yost said.
Holland (5-2) went 4-0 with a 2.31 ERA in six May starts, matching a career-best for wins in any month. The Rangers, who have the best record in the American League, won all six of those games started by the left-hander.
“He’s certainly pitching well. He was outstanding again,” manager Ron Washington said. “If Yu Darvish wasn’t on the staff we have right now, I guess you’d say Derek would probably be the ace.”
The Rangers (34-20) have played exactly one-third of their regular season, and matched their most wins at this point.
Kansas City had an eight-game losing streak before the 4-2 win over the Cardinals earlier Friday. That game started an hour late because of rain, and then had another 41⁄2-hour delay after the Royals took the lead with three runs in the top of the ninth in George Brett’s first game as their hitting coach.
The Royals got to their Texas hotel about 7 a.m. Friday — right fielder Jeff Francoeur said the sun was coming up and people were already having breakfast as team members headed to their rooms.
After four hits in their first game with Brett, the Royals had nine against the Rangers.
Davis had a season-high eight strikeouts with no walks in what was otherwise another tough start against Texas, giving up six runs and 10 hits in five-plus innings. The right-hander is 0-3 with a 17.18 ERA in three starts against the Rangers. He twice started for Tampa Bay against them, giving up seven runs in 22⁄3 innings and then eight runs in 31⁄3 innings.
“It’s frustrating. I had a lot of hits get through today, some weak contact but ground balls that got through, they put me in a bad spot and I made a mistake to Cruz there,” Davis said. “That’s unfortunate, especially the way we’re playing right now.”
Cruz pulled a ball an estimated 419 feet, his 13th homer hitting a scoreboard high above the first section of seats in left field, to make it 4-1. That was right after Adrian Beltre had an RBI single.
Beltre led off the Rangers seventh off the Royals second reliever with his 11th homer, his fourth hit of the game. It was his fourth four-hit game this season — all in May, the first Texas player with four such games in a month. He had 44 hits in May and is hitting .306, over .300 for the first time this season.
Notes: Royals starting catcher Salvador Perez left the team to be with his family in Venezuela after his grandmother’s death last Saturday. His seven-day bereavement leave ends today, but manager Ned Yost says he doesn’t expect Perez back before Monday. Yost said Perez had his priorities in order in taking care of his family.