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Ninth-inning rally dies with pop up

SURPRISE, Ariz. -- New Texas Rangers utility man Mike Napoli came to the plate in the bottom of the ninth with runners at first and third and two out.

Facing Kansas City Royals righty Kevin Pucetas, Napoli attacked the first pitch, a 78-mph slider, and sent it straight up to shallow center to end the game, a 4-2 KC win. The Royals got two runs, one earned, off C.J. Wilson in the first inning and tacked on single runs in the fourth and fifth innings, including a solo homer by former short-timer Rangers outfielder Jeff Francoeur off rotation hopeful Dave Bush.

Rangers manager Ron Washington said he didn't mind Napoli, who finished 1-for-3 with a single, first-pitch swinging.

"He can hit the ball out of the park. He's got no reason to look at a pitch," Washington said. "If he makes a mistake with a pitch, get it. He thought he could get it, he didn't. That's the way baseball go. Even in spring training."

Other notes from Sunday's Cactus League opener:

*Right-hander Tanner Scheppers pitched a scoreless sixth inning, getting a fly out and two pop outs. He threw just nine pitches and the first six were fastballs that registered between 95 and 97 mph. He threw two curveballs, one for a called strike and the other got Manuel Pina to pop out to end the inning. Despite the swift inning, Washington said Scheppers flirted with danger by leaving too many pitches high in the zone. "Because of his velocity he was able to get away with pitches up in the zone. Of course, we want him to get the ball down. But, he had a clean inning and that was important."

*Micheal Young, playing third base while Adrian Beltre recovers from a calf strain, was charged with a throwing error on the first grounder hit his way in the first inning. Young couldn't get the runner at second so he fired to first. The throw was off-line and first baseman Mitch Moreland tried to stay anchored to the bag and got run over by Melky Cabrera. The ball ended up in the Rangers' dugout, setting up runners on second and third. Both scored on Billy Butler's single.

*Ian Kinsler, Elvis Andrus, Josh Hamilton, Nelson Cruz and Michael Young combined to go 1-for-9 at the plate with Andrus recording the lone hit. "I thought their pitchers looked a little ahead of our hitters today," Washington said. Kansas City starter Kyle Davies gave up one hit in two innings and struck three.

*Non-roster invitee Doug Deeds drove in the Rangers' only runs in the bottom of the sixth inning with a two-run blast to right-center with two outs.

*A two-out fielding error by center fielder Julio Borbon led to the Royals' fourth run in the fifth inning.

*Quick lineup change this week: Young will play first base in Monday's game against the Royals and will take Tuesday off. Young was going to play second base on Tuesday.