Royals 8, Rangers 2

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ARLINGTON, Texas (AP)—Jose Lima is having flashbacks to his days with the Houston Astros, and the Kansas City Royals think it’s the 1980s again.

Lima pitched seven scoreless innings to win his fifth consecutive start, and Carlos Beltran had four hits and three RBIs as the Royals beat the Texas Rangers 8-2 Saturday night.

Lima (5-0) allowed four hits—all singles—and struck out three in becoming the first Royal to win five straight starts since Paul Byrd did it July 25-Aug. 16, 2001.

After winning 21 games for the Astros in 1999, Lima has struggled every year since. He was 4-6 with a 7.77 ERA with the Detroit Tigers last season before being released. Lima started the season with Newark of the independent Atlantic League. He made his first start with the Royals on June 15 when the team was five games out of first place.

“I’m doing all the things I did in Houston,” Lima said. “I’m confident, I don’t overthrow the ball, and I’m trying to make every pitch count.”

Kansas City extended its lead to 6 1/2 games over the Minnesota Twins in the American League Central, and will be in first place at the All-Star break for the first time in 23 years.

“This might surprise some people, but it doesn’t surprise me,” Kansas City manager Tony Pena said. “Everyone believes in themselves and knows what they have to do to win ballgames.”

Michael Tucker added a pair of RBIs and Aaron Guiel went 3-for-5 and hit his fourth home run of the season for the Royals.

Doug Glanville ended Kansas City’s shutout bid when he homered leading off the eighth against Jason Grimsley.

In the first, Guiel doubled to lead off and scored two batters later on Beltran’s sacrifice fly.

Beltran, who was 4-for-4, also had a two-run triple in the eighth. He is 6-for-8 with six RBIs over the last two games.

“Carlos has shown in the past he’s a second-half player,” Pena said. “That’s when he puts up big numbers, and that’s what we’re seeing now.”

The Royals extended their lead to 3-0 in the fourth on Tucker’s RBI triple and Angel Berroa’s run-scoring single.

Guiel hit a solo homer with one out in the fifth off Texas starter Ismael Valdes.

Valdes (7-6) lost for the fourth time in five decisions. He allowed four runs and eight hits in 4 2-3 innings.

“(Valdes) was a little wild in the strike zone,” Texas manager Buck Showalter said. “Kansas City had a good approach against him. There are a lot of good left-handed bats over there.”

Valdes wanted to go into the second half of the season on a stronger note.

“Four and two-thirds innings is not the way you want to end the first half,” Valdes said. “They know I throw a lot of strikes, and obviously they swung the bats pretty well.”

Tucker added an RBI single in seventh, and Desi Relaford had an run-scoring groundout in the eighth before Beltran’s triple.

“We’re sending a message that we’re for real,” Lima said. “I’m sorry I wasn’t here for the first two months, but I’m not complaining.”

Alex Rodriguez drove in Einar Diaz with a sacrifice fly in the eighth after the Rangers loaded the bases against Grimsley. But Curtis Leskanic struck outRafael Palmeiro, and Juan Gonzalez flied out to end the inning.

Notes

Second baseman Carlos Febles robbed Glanville when he made of diving catch on his liner in the fifth. … Kansas City is 18-9 since Lima joined the starting rotation on June 15. … Beltran stole a base in the fifth inning— his 23rd straight successful steal. … Glanville went 3-for-4 and has threehome runs this season.

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