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Sunday, February 24, 2013
Rapid Reaction: Royals 7, Rangers 5

By Ron Matejko

The Texas Rangers (0-2-1) are still seeking their first victory of the spring following Sunday's 7-5 loss to the Kansas City Royals (2-0-1) at a windy Surprise Stadium.

What this means
This was the Rangers' second consecutive loss to the Royals in this three-game series against their Surprise Stadium co-inhabitants. The Rangers suffered a 4-2 walk-off loss on Saturday and played to a 5-5 tie in Friday's Cactus League opener when both clubs agreed to called the game after nine innings.

Unwelcome Matt

No. 2 starter Matt Harrison struggled in his spring debut, allowing four runs on six hits in one inning of work. He did throw 25 of his 40 pitches for strikes but admitted he was "grabbing too much plate." Harrison exceeded his 35-pitch count prior to ending the inning by striking out Royals center fielder Luis Durango looking. Rangers pitching coach Mike Maddux visited the mound prior to that final at-bat to chat with Harrison before deciding to let the left-hander finish the inning. That enabled Harrison to end his outing on a positive note.

Impressive debut
RHP Nick Tepesch, who grew up 15 minutes from Kauffman Stadium in Kansas City, was nearly untouchable during his first career appearance in an "A" game. His sole blemish was a perfectly placed bunt single by Willy Taveras, who was eliminated on the front end of a double play by the next batter, Alcides Escobar. Tepesch struck out the first three batters he faced during the third inning and overall threw 15 of his 23 pitches for strikes.

Middle infield battle
Leury Garcia may have the early edge over top prospect Jurickson Profar for the backup middle infielder role after going 2-for-3 with 3 RBIs, including a two-run home run. Garcia entered the game 0-for-4.

Profar made his first start of the spring at shortstop and showed good patience at the plate by walking twice during an 0-for-1 outing.

New blood

RHP Josh Lindblom, who was acquired as part of the offseason, three-player trade that sent Michael Young to Philadelphia, made his Rangers debut on Sunday and took the loss. Lindblom entered the game in the eighth inning and allowed one run on three hits, although none of the balls were hit especially hard. He walked one and struck out one.

Slow start

The game began with a pace that resembled a typical battle between the New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox after the first inning took 31 minutes to play.

What's next?

Texas will play its first road game and first interleague game of the spring when it travels to Salt River Fields at Talking Stick in Scottsdale to face the Colorado Rockies on Monday at 2:05 p.m. CT. There is no radio or TV broadcast. LHP Martin Perez is expected to take the mound for Texas. Colorado is slated to start RHP Chris Volstad.