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Royals' bats quieted in loss to Rangers

Royals' bats quieted in loss to Rangers

KANSAS CITY -- Left-hander C.J. Wilson just keeps winning and there was nothing the Royals could do about it.

Wilson notched his seventh straight victory since the All-Star break by pitching the Texas Rangers to a 3-0 win over Kansas City on Monday night with 15,881 fans at Kauffman Stadium. He held the Royals to two hits and four walks in his 7 2/3 innings, stifling them for the second time this season.

While the Royals tried to figure out how to derail the streaking Wilson, the Rangers were having their own problems trying to decipher Kyle Davies. But they managed to go ahead, 2-0, by the fifth inning and the way that Wilson was pitching that was plenty.

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Wilson, in addition to being 7-0 with a 1.99 ERA in nine starts since the break, is 14-5 for the season.

"He's pitched like that basically all year long," Royals manager Ned Yost said. "He's got a real hard 92 mile-an-hour two-seamer that bores in on right-handers and he's got a nice changeup that fades away. His slider and his cutter to left-handers are about as good as you're going to see from a left-hander."

Davies worked into the ninth inning in the longest outing of his Royals career, giving up 10 hits but just one walk. One of the three runs was unearned.

"Their pitcher did a good job," the Rangers' Elvis Andrus said. "He was tough all night long. C.J. was just better and we got some timely hits."     

Nelson Cruz, just off the disabled list, wreaked his usual havoc against the Royals with a leadoff double in the second inning. This marked the third time in his career that Cruz had returned from the DL or the Minors in Kansas City and he's 6-for-12 with two doubles and three homers in those games. He scored on Bengie Molina's single.

Ex-Royal Andres Blanco belted one of his three hits off Davies, a triple high off the right-field bullpen fence, to start the fifth. He came home on Andrus' single.

Right fielder Willie Bloomquist seemed to get turned around chasing Blanco's drive but the ball hit high off the fence.

"I didn't think it was going to stay in the ballpark to be honest but it hit the top of the fence and it was past me anyway," Bloomquist said.

That's all the Rangers got until the ninth when, after one out, Davies gave up a single to Blanco who advanced to second on an error. Robinson Tejeda, in his first appearance since coming off the disabled list, was touched for a single by Andrus and a sacrifice fly by Michael Young. The run was unearned.

Davies got stronger as the game progressed past the second inning.

"Every single ball was pretty where I wanted it," he said. "I was ahead and they weren't just strikes, they were quality strikes down in the zone and close to the mitt and I think that got better as the game went along."

Wilson also had a second-inning lapse but proved impregnable.

Until the eighth inning, Bloomquist's infield single was the only hit off Wilson. His chopper to left of Mitch Moreland went off the first baseman's glove with two on with walks and two outs in the second inning and was immediately ruled a hit.

A hit or an error?

"That's really not for me to decide," Bloomquist said. "Once I put the ball in play, I really don't care what happened. Whether it's a hit or not really doesn't matter."

The bases were loaded but Wilson got Jai Miller to watch a called third strike.

The Royals didn't get another hit until Miller lined a single to center field with one out in the eighth. After Wilson struck out Gregor Blanco, he was relieved by sidewheeling right-hander Darren O'Day. Pinch-hitter Alex Gordon ripped a smash but it was caught by the lunging Moreland at first base.

The Royals had last seen Wilson back on May 7 at Arlington where he went the distance for a five-hit, 4-1 victory.

"We're not the only team he's shut down this year so he's got an idea what he's doing over there," Bloomquist said. "As far as all-around stuff, there are guys that have maybe more electric stuff but as far as hitting spots, mixing speeds and keeping us off-balance I don't think we've been held to one hit through eight innings in a long time."

Billy Butler got the Royals' third hit, a single to start the ninth inning, but Rangers closer Neftali Feliz ended the game by striking out Wilson Betemit and getting Yuniesky Betancourt to rap into a double play.

It was Feliz's 33rd save for the Rangers, who now lead the American League West by a healthy 8 1/2 games.

Dick Kaegel is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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