ARLINGTON, Texas — Alcides Escobar is doing his job leading off for the Kansas City Royals, getting on base, scoring runs and even driving in a few for the top-hitting team in the majors.
Escobar had three hits and accounted for five runs, scoring twice while driving home three, as the Royals beat the Texas Rangers 6-3 on Thursday for a split of the four-game series.
"Having him at the top of the lineup the way he swings the bat, and just what he does in the field, he's a big part of this team," said Eric Hosmer, whose two-run homer in the sixth scored the shortstop. "He sets the tone for us. ... He's really got things going right now."
After going 8-for-16 in the series, Escobar is hitting .318 for the season. He led off the finale with a single and scored when Alex Gordon's had a shattered-bat grounder to reach on a fielder's choice. Escobar added a two-run single to make it 3-0 in the fourth, then had an RBI single before Homer's seventh homer of the season in the sixth.
"People kind of get on him every now and then because he doesn't take enough pitches, but that's his style of play. He's a cut-and-slasher," manager Ned Yost said. "He's just been swinging the bat really, really well."
Royals starter Jeremy Guthrie (3-2) gave up two runs over five innings to win his second consecutive start. He struck out one and didn't walk a batter, but twice hit Prince Fielder with pitches.
Greg Holland worked the ninth for his seventh save in eight chances, even after consecutive two-out walks.
Ross Detwiler (0-5) is winless in his first seven starts for Texas, which acquired the right-hander from Washington over the winter. Detwiler gave up nine hits and three runs in five innings.
"I'm mostly frustrated with myself," Detwiler said. "I'm the one not getting the ball where it needs to be. I feel like I'm fighting myself."
The AL Central-leading Royals loaded the bases for Escobar in the fourth after consecutive singles, a sac bunt and a hit batsman — by the bottom four hitters in the lineup.
Fielder and Delino DeShields each had RBI singles for Texas in the fifth.
Hosmer had three hits and an 11-game hitting streak. ... Texas leadoff hitter Shin-Soo Choo had three hits, extending his hitting streak to an AL-high 14 games. He is hitting .373 (22 of 59) in May to raise his season average from .096 to .243.
Two relievers made their Rangers debuts. Japanese right-hander Kyuji Fujikawa retired all three batters he faced in the eighth after coming off the DL (groin). He signed this winter after a two-season stint with the Chicago Cubs that included Tommy John ligament replacement surgery. Lefty Sam Freeman, the final cut when the Rangers set their opening day roster, gave up Hosmer's homer in his 1 2-3 innings.
STILL ONLY COUNTS AS ONE OUT
On Adrian Beltre's popup to short right in the first, Royals second baseman Omar Infante drifted out and right fielder Paulo Orlando came in. As they got closer, Infante put his head down while extending his glove, which became engulfed in Orlando's glove. It took a moment to determine that Infante made the catch.
Royals: After a 4-3 trip, the Royals are set for their longest stretch at home so far this season. They have eight home games over 10 days, starting Friday night against the New York Yankees.
Rangers: Texas stays home for three games against Cleveland. Wandy Rodriguez (1-1), who set a franchise record retiring 34 consecutive batters over his last two starts, says he's good to go for the series opener vs. the Indians after having back spasms in his last start Sunday in Houston.
Royals: OF Alex Rios, who broke a bone in his left hand when hit by a pitch a week into the season, is starting to hit balls off a tee. He has also been throwing, and did some long toss in the outfield before Thursday's game. Manager Ned Yost says Rios is "definitely make progress" and is on schedule.
Rangers: CF Leonys Martin said his left wrist felt "weird a little bit" after a getting a cortisone injection Wednesday. But he said he felt no pain and was getting better. He initially hurt his wrist diving for a ball in the outfield at Houston last week, and reaggravated that when he got jammed by a pitch at bat Monday night.
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