Rangers Rally Around Big Swings

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Vladimir Guerrero got the desired result on his second big swing, and the Texas Rangers escaped with a victory after blowing a huge lead.

    Josh Hamilton and Guerrero hit back-to-back homers in the eighth inning and the Rangers pulled out a 13-12 victory over the Kansas City Royals after squandering an early eight-run lead Thursday night.

    "I was trying to swing as hard as I can," Guerrero said through an interpreter. "The first one I missed. He came back with a fastball so I got the next one."

    The Royals had finally taken their only lead of the game in the top of the eighth and brought in closer Joakim Soria (0-1) with two outs in the bottom of the inning. Hamilton hit a full-count pitch into the second deck of stands in right field and Guerrero followed with his second go-ahead homer of the game, a shot that landed in the Rangers bullpen in right-center.

    "It was one of those crazy games where the wind was kind of blowing out and it was a good day to hit," Michael Young said. "The Royals battled back and made it a ball game, but we found a way to win at the end. ... Any win is fun."

    Texas (15-14) returned home and regained a share of the AL West lead with the idle Athletics after losing the last two games of their three-game series in Oakland this week.

    Frank Francisco (4-3) gave up a run in one inning. Neftali Feliz, only minutes after catching Guerrero's shot in the bullpen, struck out two of the three batters he faced for his seventh save in eight chances.

    Guerrero's towering two-run homer in the sixth -- more than 10 rows deep into the left-field stands -- had put the Rangers up 11-9 after the Royals had tied the game with five runs in the top of that inning.

    Hamilton had three hits with three RBIs and four runs scored. Hamilton, who has homered four times the past 11 games, and Guerrero each have five homers this season.

    Alberto Callaspo hit a two-run homer in the seventh for the Royals, who then took their only lead in the eighth when Kila Ka'aihue had a pinch-hit RBI single in his first plate appearance of the season.

    "It's a great comeback, but it's a bottom-line business and we lost the game," Royals manager Trey Hillman said. "(Soria) left a couple of pitches over the plate and they did what they have the ability to do to the side of the field where the ball carries."

    Billy Butler and Scott Podsednik also homered for the Royals.

    Kansas City's No. 9 hitter Yuniesky Betancourt led off the eighth against Francisco with a single and advanced to second on Podsednik's sacrifice before the go-ahead hit by Ka'aihue, the 26-year-old rookie from Hawaii who was recalled from Triple-A Omaha on Wednesday.

    The Rangers had an 8-0 lead in the third after Justin Smoak lined a three-run homer into the right-field seats. The rookie first baseman's third homer of the season capped a six-run outburst in the inning.

    Kansas City then scored multiple runs in the fourth, fifth, sixth and seventh innings.

    Rangers reliever Dustin Nippert struck out the first batter he faced, Callaspo leading off the sixth. But the next five batters reached and scored against the right-hander, including a walk to Betancourt before Podsednik hit a three-run homer to right to tie the game at 9.

    Kansas City needed only two batters in the seventh after Guerrero's first homer to get back even at 11. Reliever Chris Ray walked leadoff hitter Jose Guillen before Callaspo followed with his fifth homer of the season.

    "We came out swinging the bats and they came out swinging the bats," Rangers manager Ron Washington said. "What was great about it, we got their best pitcher and they didn't get ours. ... It was just one of those nights. We were the last guys standing."

    Young, the Rangers' longest-tenured player in his 10th season, had a single in the fourth inning for his 1,693rd career hit. That broke a tie with Rafael Palmeiro for second on the team's career list, and another single two innings later pushed him within 53 of Ivan Rodriguez's record of 1,747.

    NOTES: All-Star 2B Ian Kinsler made his home debut after opening the season on the DL and playing his first six games on the road. He was 3 for 4 and was part of two spectacular defensive plays. ... Texas opened a stretch of playing 14 of 17 games at home. ... Royals 2B Chris Getz, who is hitting .204, got a day off. Mike Aviles started instead.