KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Adrian Beltre got a chance to atone for his baserunning mistake. Jarrod Dyson and Mike Aviles, whose blunders were much more humiliating, did not.
Beltre lined a two-run single into center field off Jeremy Jeffress in the 11th inning of a strange and mistake-filled game Wednesday night, lifting the Texas Rangers to a 5-4 victory over the rookie-laden Kansas City Royals.
On third base in the 10th inning, Beltre had been easily thrown out on a ball hit directly to the third baseman.
"You have to focus on that at-bat," said Beltre, who also had an RBI grounder earlier. "You can't think about you missed a couple of opportunities early. You've got a chance to redeem yourself there. You forget about what happened earlier."
Rookie Eric Hosmer hit Neftali Feliz's first pitch in the ninth inning for his third home run, tying it 3-all. The Rangers had gone ahead 3-2 in the top of the ninth on a pinch-hit RBI single by Elvis Andrus.
Feliz, who had converted eight saves in eight opportunities and 19 straight dating back to last year, walked Jeff Francoeur and Billy Butler after Hosmer's home run. But in a comedy of careless baserunning, pinch-runners Dyson and Aviles each got picked off first. That hadn't happened since the Cubs got caught twice by the Mets on April 3, 2003, according to STATS LLC.
"Never," said Texas manager Ron Washington when asked if he'd ever seen that.
Aviles insisted Feliz used a balk move.
"He bent his front knee. He definitely did," said Aviles. "He had a balk move and it went unnoticed and he picked two guys off. His left knee broke forward. His left knee bent. Once your left knee bends, you've got to go to the plate."
Nevertheless, Aviles still thought the tag was too high up the arm for him to be out.
"But it shouldn't be that close. That can't happen," he said. "But that's just the way baseball goes sometimes, I guess."
A balk move? Washington scoffed at the idea.
"There's pitchers in the league who are doing that. The umpire never called a balk," he said. "So I don't know anything about Neftali having a balk move. Of course there's other guys in the league doing that. The umpire didn't call it a balk. That's all I've got to say about it."
But Royals manager Ned Yost agreed with his player.
"My opinion is he was balking. He was breaking his front leg and then coming to first base," he said. "The umpires are going to have to keep their eyes on that. It's a good move."
Jeffress (1-1) walked the bases full with one out in the ninth, running Kansas City's walk total for the night to 13. Beltre, who came into the game with a .373 career average in Kauffman Stadium, delivered a solid single into center, allowing Endy Chavez to score easily and Ian Kinsler to score on a close play at the plate.
"We finally got the big hit that stood up," said Washington.
Mark Lowe gave up Brayan Pena's RBI single with two outs in the 11th to make it 5-4 but finished for his first save. Arthur Rhodes (2-2) got two outs in the 10th for the win.
Joakim Soria, on his 27th birthday, walked Craig Gentry leading off the Texas ninth. Chavez sacrificed him to second and then Andrus, batting for Andres Blanco, who was 2 for 4, delivered an RBI single.
Texas' Alexi Ogando went seven strong innings, his eighth straight career start without a loss, two shy of the club record. The right-hander, who spent last year in the bullpen, allowed two runs on four hits, failing in only one inning to set the Royals down 1-2-3. He walked one and struck out five.
Danny Duffy, a left-hander called up from Triple-A Omaha earlier in the day, went four innings plus one batter and was charged with two runs on four hits, two soft singles each by Chavez and Blanco. The ninth rookie on the Royals' roster, Duffy did not allow another batter to get the ball out of the infield while walking six batters and striking out four.
Chavez singled and came around to score on Beltre's fielder's choice grounder in the third inning and then the Rangers tied it 2-all in the fourth without putting the ball in play. No. 9 hitter Craig Gentry drew a two-out walk and stole second, then Chavez walked and the two pulled a double steal. When Duffy bounced a breaking pitch in the dirt, Gentry scored on the wild pitch as the ball rolled toward the backstop.
Until Wilson Betemit singled with one out in the seventh, Ogando had retired 14 in a row.
The only other inning the Royals got anyone on base against the 27-year-old right-hander was the second, when they scored two runs with two outs. Betemit singled, Treanor walked and Chris Getz hit the 10th pitch of the at-bat for an RBI single. Alcides Escobar, the No. 9 hitter, made it 2-0 with an RBI single that scored Treanor.
NOTES: The Texas team record for most starts beginning a career without a loss is 10, by Gerald Alexander from Sept. 9, 1990, to July 21, 1991. ... It was the 60th birthday of Jim Sundberg, a Rangers front office executive and the man who scored the winning run on a headfirst slide in Kansas City's game 6 World Series victory over St. Louis in 1985. ... Sugar Ray Marimon and Chas Byrne combined on a no-hitter for KC's Class-A Kane County team at Cedar Rapids on Tuesday night.