Kansas City, MO – Geovany Soto hit a three-run home run, one of five for the visitors, as the Texas Rangers downed the Kansas City Royals by an 8-4 count in the opener of a four-game series.
Michael Young clubbed a two-run shot, while Josh Hamilton, Adrian Beltre and Nelson Cruz added solo blasts for the Rangers, who have won three of four.
Yu Darvish (14-9) worked seven innings for the win, allowing three runs on three hits with a walk and six strikeouts.
"He's been phenomenal," Soto said of the rookie hurler. "He's getting early outs and, if you go deep in the count, he's got the breaking pitches, the pitches that put them away. I think the main key is his fastball."
Tony Abreu finished with two hits and three RBI for the Royals, who have dropped three of four. Bruce Chen (10-11) was tagged for six hits and as many runs over six full frames.
Staked to a 6-0 lead, Darvish set down the first 15 Royals he faced through five, but the hosts spoiled his perfect-game bid with three runs in the sixth.
After an Eric Hosmer groundout and Brayan Pena fly out, Johnny Giavotella worked a two-out walk, then David Lough singled and stole second. Abreu followed with a two-run triple and Alex Gordon added a run-scoring double to make it 6-3.
Abreu singled home Pena in the bottom of the eighth, but was tagged out trying to advance.
In the ninth, Cruz was plunked by Louis Coleman and he scored when Young followed with a two-run homer. Coleman's actions were precipitated by the way Cruz watched his sixth-inning home run against Chen. Both dugouts emptied as Cruz was restrained by Pena at the plate, and home plate umpire Mike Everitt warned both sides.
"This is part of the game. Cruz is a strong guy and we're not trying to get his arms extended, like in the previous at-bat," said Pena. "I hope he knows we're not trying to hit him."
Joe Nathan served up two singles in the home ninth but got out of the jam by inducing a game-ending double-play grounder from Lorenzo Cain.
In the Texas second, Cruz walked with one out, David Murphy singled with two down and Soto followed with a three-run shot to left center.
Hamilton's 38th of the season, a fourth-inning solo homer, made it 4-0 for the visitors. Beltre and Cruz added back-to-back homers in the sixth to push the Texas edge to six.
Texas has won three of four meetings in Kansas City this season, and six of the last nine in KC since August of 2010 ... The Rangers have gone deep nine times in their last two games ... Texas has hit back-to-back homers eight times this season ... Chen's earned run average against Texas ballooned to 8.68.