ARLINGTON, Texas -- The Rangers made Friday night disappear.
A day after blowing a one-run lead which led to all sorts of questions about their closer, the Rangers responded Saturday night with a convincing 10-1 victory over the Kansas City Royals.
The Rangers received another strong performance from Matt Harrison. He moved to 5-4 on the season with six shutout innings in which he walked one and picked up one strikeout.
The hitters handled their business. The Rangers hit five home runs, including three in a row in the second inning. Nelson Cruz had a massive day with three hits -- single, double and a home run. His third-inning single ended a 0-15 slide.
Harrison doing his deal: Matt Harrison went through a tough stretch -- six starts without a victory -- but he's earned two in his last two starts. He shutout Philadelphia last Sunday afternoon, salvaging that series in which the Rangers had lost the first two games, and he took care of things on Saturday night. Harrison has pitched into at least the six inning in his last three starts. After a difficult 1 2/3 inning performance on May 1 at Oakland, one in which he took the loss, Harrison has been a strong pitcher. He's allowed just five earned runs the last four starts.
A three-homer inning:The game broke open in the second inning when the Rangers' Mitch Moreland, Mike Napoli and Endy Chavez hit back-to-back-to-back home runs off Royals starter Sean O'Sullivan. It made the score 5-0 and was the first time the Rangers have done that since Aug. 25, 2004, when Laynce Nix, Rod Barajas and Adrian Gonzalez performed the feat. Incidentally, the Rangers trio that did it Saturday were the 7-8-9 hitters, the same lineup group which did it in 2004.
Josh Hamilton and Endy Chavez return to field:For the first time since suffering a broken bone in his shoulder, Josh Hamilton returned to the field. Hamilton fought the sun to catch a Eric Hosmer pop-up in the first. It was the only work of the night for Hamilton. At the plate, he went 2-5 with two doubles, an RBI and a run scored.
"I enjoy being out there," Hamilton said before the game of playing in the outfield. "I enjoy trying to take hits away from people, trying to help my pitchers if they get somebody one, just like what [David Murphy] been doing, throwing people out."
Chavez also made his return to the field after missing a few days with a hamstring strain. He was pinch hitting and pinch running as he recovered. Chavez was a big boost from the No. 9 spot, hitting a home run and getting a nice greeting in the dugout. He also singled in the fifth.