Hamilton leads way as Rangers slam Royals with five HRs

ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) -- Josh Hamilton was one of the few bright spots in a disappointing April for the Texas Rangers.

Hamilton capped a torrid first month with his first career grand slam and the Rangers hit a season-high five home runs to beat the Kansas City Royals 11-9 Wednesday night.

The Rangers acquired Hamilton in the offseason from Cincinnati. His first handful of games with a new team have been memorable as Hamilton leads the American League with 32 RBIs.

After 298 at-bats as a rookie with the Reds, Hamilton was quick to downplay his accomplishments.

"I don't think I really realized what I've done," Hamilton said. "I've never played a full season, so I'm just coming to the park every day and doing what I have to do to get ready."

Rookie Brandon Boggs hit his first major league homer, and Milton Bradley, David Murphy and Gerald Laird also homered for the Rangers, who roughed up Brian Bannister (3-3).

The Rangers were close to losing a 9-1 lead even with the outburst. The Royals scored five in the seventh and John Buck hit a two-run homer with one out in the ninth.

Losing the big lead would have been a fitting end to a disappointing April for a Rangers team that has had nearly everything go wrong.

The Rangers, who lost a club record 18 games in the month, came into the game last in team pitching and fielding. Texas committed three more errors Wednesday.

Texas also placed four starting pitchers and third baseman Hank Blalock on the disabled list.

"It was tough certainly," said Texas manager Ron Washington, who has to had to answer questions about his own job security this past week. "We had higher expectations. Some of those losses we got could have been wins. There's a lot better things ahead."

Kevin Millwood (2-2) allowed five runs and seven hits in 6 1/3 innings in his first victory since April 10.

David DeJesus hit a two-run homer in the seventh and drove in three runs for Kansas City, which has scored 18 runs in two games against Texas.

"We've had run production two nights in a row," Royals manager Trey Hillman said. "That's a good sign. We'll take that everyday."

Hamilton's slam capped a five-run second inning for Texas. German Duran and Ian Kinsler singled with two outs, and Michael Young walked to load the bases.

Hamilton drove a 1-0 pitch from Bannister into the Royals' bullpen in left-center field to give Texas a 7-0 lead.

Hamilton, who has six homers, had the second-highest April RBI total in team history. Juan Gonzalez had 35 RBIs in April 1998.

"I wouldn't have been able to put up the numbers I did if we didn't have men on base," Hamilton said.

Bannister equaled a career high by giving up seven runs in three innings. He allowed seven hits, walked two and struck in three in his shortest outing of the season.

Joel Peralta relieved Bannister, who was frustrated by a 25-mph wind that was blowing out.

"It was like pitching on the moon," Bannister said. "All you had to do was get the ball up in the air and it was an extra-base hit."

Bradley hit the first of three home runs off Bannister -- a two-run shot in the first.

Boggs, who was 2-for-2 Tuesday night in his first big league game, added a solo blast in the second.

Boggs had hits in his first two at-bats Wednesday to become just the second Rangers player to start his career with four consecutive hits. He was retired in the fifth on a strikeout.

Murphy added a two-run shot in the fifth that extended Texas' cushion to 9-1.

Laird's two-run homer in the seventh made it 11-6.

Game notes
Colorado acquired minor league LHP Jorge De La Rosa from Kansas City on Tuesday. De La Rosa was player to be named later in the deal that sent right-hander Ramon Ramirez to the Royals in March. ... Texas general manager Jon Daniels said before the game that RHP Jason Jennings is headed to the disabled list with muscle soreness in his forearm. Jennings won't go on the DL until the Rangers need a starting pitcher Saturday. ... Because of the high winds, fireworks weren't set off after Rangers home runs as they normally do. Fans booed when the announcement was made in the stadium. ... Jose Hernandez started his career with four straight hits for the Rangers Aug. 9-10, 1991. ... Washington said Bradley had cramps in his hamstring and would not start in the series finale Thursday.