ARLINGTON, Texas – 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.
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“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 ballgame, 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 RBI and four runs scored. Hamilton, who has homered four times in the past 11 games, and Guerrero each has 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.