- Calvin Watkins, ESPN Staff Writer
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ARLINGTON, Texas -- The Kansas City Royals do a little bit of everything well from stealing bases to their bullpen work, but hitting home runs is just a problem.
Friday night, the AL Central-leading Royals hit two homers and used their strong bullpen to beat the Texas Rangers 6-3 at Globe Life Park.
The Royals' solid middle relievers of Wade Davis (23 1/3 scoreless innings, longest in the majors) and Kelvin Herrera (21 innings, second longest in the big leagues) held the Rangers from making a late push with 1 2/3 innings of solid relief work. Closer Greg Holland picked up his major league-leading 40th save and joined Dan Quisenberry and Joakim Soria as the only Royals with multiple seasons of 40 saves or more.
If you're going to slow the problems of your season, not allowing the weaknesses of your opponent to become strengths is pretty important. Rangers starter Colby Lewis gave up two home runs in an inconsistent outing when he battled through trouble too many times over six innings and 102 pitches of work.
This wasn't the type of games where Lewis needed to be perfect, but against a team without a true power hitting threat, giving up two homers is difficult to accept.
Lewis did some good things but just not enough of them.
How it happened: Lewis was given a 1-0 lead on a RBI double from Alex Rios. The Rangers' starter lost it all in the second inning. He allowed a 417-foot homer to Billy Butler that tied the score. One out later he hit Josh Willingham in the jersey. Mike Moustakas then singled up the middle and that was followed by an RBI single from Lorenzo Cain. Alcides Escobar singled to right center and the lead was 3-0. Lewis was able to get three consecutive flyouts in the third, but Willingham's leadoff homer in the fourth, traveling 408-feet on a 3-2 pitch, pushed the lead to 4-1. Lewis gave up home runs on pitches that were belt high and over the plate. For a team like the Royals, last in the majors with 80 home runs, you just can't allow yourself to get beat like this.
The Rangers were able to creep back in when Daniel Robertson, scored on a fielder's choice in the seventh to make the score 5-3. The Royals' bullpen was able to slow down the rally afterward.
More home woes: When you're on pace to lose 100 games, the record at home is something to consider as one of the reasons for your problems. The Rangers have now lost 16 of their past 22 games at home and are 5-9 at The Globe in the second half of the season.
The Rangers now have 39 home losses, among the worst in the big leagues, which puts them with the likes of Boston (37), Philadelphia (37) and Arizona (39).
Carp struggles: The Rangers will play Mike Carp at first base and maybe one of the corner outfield spots in a pinch. Carp can also pitch, if needed and throw his knuckle ball. At the plate, Carp has been a mess all season. Friday night he went 0-for-4 with two strikeouts and he has produced only two hits in his 20 at-bats the past six games. He left two runners on base, in the fourth and the sixth innings.
He did what? Third baseman Adrian Beltre has been the most consistent player for the Rangers. So when he committed an eighth-inning error, it was out of place. It was his 10th of the season and first since July 5 at the New York Mets, a span of 37 consecutive games where he hadn't had a miscue in the field.
What's next: RHP Jeremy Guthrie (9-10, 4.48) takes on RHP Nick Tepesch (4-7, 4.15) in Saturday's game, whose start time has been pushed back to 7:25 p.m. CT. Before the game, the team will induct former team president Tom Schieffer into the Rangers Baseball Hall of Fame.
6mRandy Jennings, Special to ESPN.com
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