Royals 8, Rangers 2

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ARLINGTON, Texas (AP)—Julius Matos fulfilled his manager’s prediction by getting three hits, and he even provided some power along the way.

Matos went 3-for-5 with a two-run homer in his third start since being recalled from the minors July 3, and the Kansas City Royals beat the Rangers 8-2 Sunday night to complete their first three-game sweep at Texas since 1980.

Before the game, Royals manager Tony Pena joked that the seldom-used Matos would probably get three hits. Afterward, he was quick to credit his team’s latest surprise contributor.

“When you have confidence, it doesn’t matter who you play, you have to believe in them,” Pena said. “For a club to win, everybody has to chip in, and tonight was his turn.”

Angel Berroa also had a two-run homer in Kansas City’s five-run third inning, and Carlos Beltran had two RBI singles among his three hits. Darrell May pitched five innings to win his fourth straight start.

The Royals (51-41) are the first team to follow a 100-loss season with 50 wins by the All-Star break. They lead the AL Central by seven games over the Chicago White Sox, their largest division lead since 1980, when they won the West by 13 games.

“It’s awesome, who would have thought it?” May said. “It hasn’t been one person. It’s been everybody. We’ve still got a lot of games left, but we’re definitely more comfortable to be in this position than chasing.”

May (4-4) allowed one run on seven hits over five innings. The left-hander has a 1.61 ERA during his winning streak.

Matos homered to open the scoring with one out in the third. Beltran followed with a single and scored on Ken Harvey’s single one out later. Berroa then hit a liner that just cleared the wall in left for his ninth homer, giving Kansas City a 5-0 lead.

“I looked for a pitch inside and he threw a fastball right where I was looking for it,” said Matos, who had just six at-bats for the Royals before Sunday night.

Tony Mounce (1-3), one of six rookies on Texas’ roster, gave up six runs on eight hits in four innings.

Texas had won nine of 16 before being getting outscored 29-7 in three games against the Royals. Kansas City’s sweep was its first at Texas since Aug. 18-20, 1980. The Rangers are last in the AL West at 38-55, 20 games behind Seattle.

“It’s frustrating the way we played the whole series,” said Rangers manager Buck Showalter. “There will be a lot of (pitching) scenarios discussed during the break.”

Beltran’s two-out single in the fourth scored Aaron Guiel, who had been hit by a pitch for the second time. Guiel hit a solo homer in the sixth for a 7-1 lead, and Beltran added another run-scoring single in the eighth.

May threw 71 of his 106 pitches in the first three innings—25 to Juan Gonzalez in two at-bats—but the Rangers didn’t score until Mark Teixeira’s 431-foot homer led off the fourth.

Gonzalez’s infield popout ended a 10-pitch at-bat with two on in the third. An inning earlier, Gonzalez struck out swinging on the 15th pitch, and Texas went on to leave the bases loaded.

Alex Rodriguez, the AL’s starting shortstop for the All-Star game, was 0-for-4 with two strikeouts but drove in a run on a fielder’s choice grounder. Rangers third baseman Hank Blalock, an All-Star reserve, grounded out as a pinch-hitter in the eighth.

Only one of Kansas City’s two All-Stars played. Closer Mike MacDougal pitched a scoreless ninth that took 30 pitches, but first baseman Mike Sweeney is on the 15-day disabled list.

Harvey, the Royals’ first baseman, was knocked down when Rodriguez clipped him running out a seventh-inning grounder. Harvey also went to the ground after colliding with Ryan Ludwick when the runner scrambled back to first in the fourth.

Teixeira has 14 homers, tops among major league rookies.


Royals LF Raul Ibanez left with a bruised left leg after fouling a pitch off it in the eighth. … Texas CF Doug Glanville went 3-for-5 and is 8-for-15 in his last four starts, raising his average from .195 to .231. … Texas 2B Michael Young had two hits for his 39th multihit game—third-most in the AL behind Ichiro Suzuki and Alfonso Soriano. … The Rangers said after thegame that 3B Mike Lamb would be optioned to Triple-A Oklahoma.

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