SURPRISE, Ariz. -- Rangers second baseman Ian Kinsler led the assault against Royals pitcher Ervin Santana with three hits, including his first home run of the spring, in leading Texas to an 8-2 victory over Kansas City at Surprise Stadium on Monday night.
Kinsler was hitting .154 coming into the game. But he led off the first with a single and later scored on a single by Adrian Beltre. Kinsler had another single in the Rangers' two-run second and hit a two-run home run in the fourth inning. Kinsler has been working on some things this spring to try to drive through the ball. The aim is for more line drives and less popups, and his 3-for-3 evening left him with a good feeling.
"To see results after working on something for an extended period of time is always nice," Kinsler said. "That just adds to the comfort of what I'm trying to change and adds some confidence. I'm not changing anything; I'm just putting myself in a better position."
Santana ended up going four innings and allowed six runs on 10 hits and a walk. He had allowed two runs over nine innings through his first four starts.
Derek Lowe, in his second outing with the Rangers, pitched three scoreless innings while starting in place of Yu Darvish, who was scratched earlier in the day because of stiffness in his neck. Lowe allowed three hits, walked one and struck out three while throwing 47 pitches.
Rookie left-hander Joe Ortiz had another great outing in his bid to make the Texas bullpen. He pitched two more scoreless innings and has not allowed a run in nine innings this spring. He has allowed five hits, walked one and struck out nine.
His prime competition is Nate Robertson, who also pitched two scoreless innings. Robertson has not allowed a run in 10 innings this spring.
Royals roster hopeful Brandon Wood put Kansas City on the board with a two-out, two-run double in the ninth against Lisalverto Bonilla, a bullpen prospect acquired by Texas in the Michael Young trade with the Phillies.
Royals left fielder Alex Gordon went 1-for-2, maintaining his .500 average in Cactus League play. Lorenzo Cain was 2-for-2 and is hitting .471. Shortstop Alcides Escobar was 0-for-3 in his first start after missing six games with a stiff back.
Up next: Jeremy Guthrie will make his fourth start in the Cactus League against the Rockies at 3:05 p.m. CT on Tuesday at Surprise Stadium. It was the Rockies who traded Guthrie to the Royals on July 20 in exchange for Jonathan Sanchez. The last time that Guthrie took the mound against the Rockies, the game was rained out after he'd pitched three innings and given up three runs. Aaron Crow, who followed Guthrie with a perfect inning that wet night, is also scheduled to pitch. So is Greg Holland, who has given up just two runs this spring, both on homers. The Rockies' probable starter is Juan Nicasio.
T.R. Sullivan is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.Less