Royals win second straight over Rangers, 7-4
ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) On the road against the American League's best offense isn't the most ideal way to make your season debut. Vin Mazzaro made the most of it.
Mazzaro kept Texas' potent lineup in check for five innings, and Billy Butler and Brayan Pena each drove in a pair of runs to lead the Kansas City Royals to their second straight win over the Rangers, 7-4 on Tuesday night.
The Royals, losers of 12 straight last month, have now won five of six games and pulled off a rare two-game sweep of the Rangers - Kansas City's first since 1977.
"To come in here and win two games is big for us," said Royals manager Ned Yost. "Our pitching has been pretty good. That shows you how good."
Mazzaro, making the start in place of left-hander Danny Duffy, who is out for the season with a torn elbow ligament, gave up three runs on seven hits. He had two strikeouts.
"It's a tough situation," Mazzaro said of the injury to Duffy. "But any situation you get thrown in you have to give it your best. You never know when you'll get another one. I just went out there and stayed focused on every pitch."
Mazzaro and the Royals got a little help from two throwing errors by Rangers starter Colby Lewis (3-3), which led to five unearned runs in the first two innings.
Mike Moustakas, who reached base for a 22nd consecutive game, homed in the third for Kansas City.
Major league home run leader Josh Hamilton, who is only the fourth player in 40 years to lead the majors' triple crown categories 35 games into a season, according to information provided by the Rangers from the Elias Sports Bureau, extended his hitting streak to 15 games with a single and added a sacrifice fly.
Reliever Tim Collins struck out five of the six batters he faced in the sixth and seventh innings for the Royals, who handed Lewis his third loss in May.
"Collins was dynamite tonight," said manager Ned Yost. "The bullpen has been doing it all year long."
Lewis' throwing error on a comebacker to the mound by Eric Hosmer put runners on second and third with no outs in the first. Jarrod Dyson scored on Butler's fielder's choice and Lewis retired Alex Gordon on a flyout to left field before Jeff Francoeur doubled and Moustakas was hit by a pitch. Pena followed with a two-run single to put the Royals up 3-0.
Moustakas came around to score on Chris Getz's run-scoring base hit.
Kansas City sent nine hitters to the plate in the inning.
"The only thing we can look back at is that Colby should have made that play," said Texas manager Ron Washington. "If he makes that play, it's a zero on the scoreboard.
"They swung the bat, but those at-bats wouldn't have happened if we execute some plays."
Dyson led off the second with a single and advanced to second when Lewis bounced a pickoff attempt short and wide of the bag. Butler hit a double to score Dyson and put Kansas City ahead 5-0.
The run support was plenty for Mazzaro and the bullpen, which held the majors' top-scoring team to one run in four innings. Mazzaro had made six starts with Triple-A Omaha this season, going 1-0 with a 4.37 ERA. Before his promotion May 8, Mazzaro had allowed just two runs on eight hits in 13 innings in his last two starts.
Dyson reached base three times for Kansas City, including a double to lead off the game.
Notes: Rangers OF Nelson Cruz, who had home runs in consecutive games on Sunday and Monday after hitting only two in the first 34 games, sat out Tuesday. He was the only Rangers player to have played in the field in all of the team's 35 games. ... Rangers SS Elvis Andrus has hit safely in 16 of the past 19 games after failing to reach base as a pinch-hitter in the ninth and raised his average from .235 to .326. ... Moustakas is hitting .348 since Aug. 17, 2011, the third-highest mark among players with 250 plate appearances behind Detroit's Miguel Cabrera (.358) and New York's Derek Jeter (.352). ... Radio broadcaster Eric Nadel, who has called Rangers games for 34 years, will become the 15th inductee into the team's Hall of Fame on Aug. 11, officials announced. ... Among AL teams, only Kansas City's Denny Matthew currently has a longer tenure with one team than Nadel, 44 years.
Updated May 16, 2012