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Kansas City Royals: Reviewing the Texas Rangers Series

ARLINGTON, TX - APRIL 24:  Pitcher Bruce Chen #52 of the Kansas City Royals is taken out of the game by manager, Ned Yost #3 against the Texas Rangers in the 6th inning at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington on April 24, 2011 in Arlington, Texas.  (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
Ronald Martinez/Getty Images
Ben GartlandAnalyst IIApril 25, 2011

After a thrilling series with the Cleveland Indians, the Kansas City Royals traveled to Arlington to take on the Texas Rangers in a three-game series. This is the beginning of a six-game road trip that will end in Cleveland next week.

Game 1 has Jeff Francis on the mound for the boys in blue taking on Derek Holland for the Rangers.

This is just one of the games that Royals fans would like to forget. At least the Royals didn’t cave after being dug into a five-run hole. They fought back but were unfortunately bested by the power hitters of the Texas Rangers, who pounded out five home runs in the game.

This was Francis’ worst game of the season by far, giving up nine hits and five earned runs in four innings. He picked up the loss, making his record for the season 0-2.

It was nice to see Brayan Pena behind the plate again and showing off some power with a three-run home run in the fourth inning to tie the game up.

The Royals were simply over powered in Game 1, and they needed to find a way to shut down the Rangers’ bats in the second game.

Well, they did that. The Royals only allowed three runs scored, all earned from Kyle Davies (1-2), who pitched six innings and gave up four hits. Tim Collins and Louis Coleman combined for two innings of scoreless work.

In the spirit of Easter, Kila Ka’aihue performed a miracle of his own, actually hitting the ball. His solo home run shot put the Royals on the scoreboard in the seventh inning, but it was all the Royals would get. Squandered opportunities in the late innings kept the Royals from mounting a comeback, which led to Texas picking up the win 3-1.

This loss clinched the Royals first series loss of the season. The good thing is that the Royals were the last team to lose a series, which is definitely a difference than previous seasons. Alex Gordon also advanced his hitting streak to 17 games with a single first inning.

Looking to avoid a sweep, the Royals sent out their stellar lefty, Bruce Chen, to take on C.J Wilson in the Easter Sunday matchup.

Unfortunately, not even the unbeaten Chen could quiet the Rangers’ bats as the Royals fell 8-7 as Texas completed the three game sweep.

Chen gave up six runs on seven hits in four-and-a-third innings pitched. He only struck out two batters. Jeffress, Wood, Collins and Crow combined for the other three-and-two-third innings, with Jeffress giving up the other two runs.

The Royals made it interesting at least. Down 8-4 in the top of the ninth with two outs and two on, Mike Aviles blasted his second home run of the game, third of the season to pull the Royals to within one. Unfortunately, after drawing a full count, Melky Cabrera grounded out weakly to the shortstop to end the game.

In positive news, Alex Gordon extended his hitting streak to 18 games, which is now tied for tenth best in Royals history.  The record is George Brett’s 30-game hitting streak, achieved back in 1980.

The Royals, now 12-10, are still only 1.5 games back of Cleveland, thanks to some excellent play from Minnesota.  Detroit, however, has caught up and now ties the Royals for second place with a 12-10 record of their own.

The Royals will travel to first place Cleveland for a three-game series with the Indians, starting on Tuesday. Hopefully, the Royals will take advantage of the off day to rid their minds of the sweep and get mentally prepared to take over first place.

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