KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Michael A. Taylor homered and drove in three runs for the second straight game, leading the Kansas City Royals over the Texas Rangers 11-4 Saturday.
Released by Washington after hitting .196 last season, Taylor is off to a sensational start for Kansas City. After getting three hits and throwing out two runners at the plate from center field in a 14-10 win on opening day, Taylor came back with a home run and double as the Royals improved to 2-0.
Whit Merrifield also homered for the second game in a row.
Once again, the Royals spotted the Rangers a big early lead before rallying. Kansas City allowed five runs in the top of the first inning in the opener, and this time trailed 4-0 before scoring three runs in the fifth and seven more in the sixth.
Mike Minor (1-0) allowed four runs on four hits in six innings. He pitched for the Rangers over the past three seasons.
Texas reliever Josh Sborz (0-1) gave up three runs without retiring a batter.
Rangers starter Kohei Arihara allowed three runs and six hits in five innings in his major league debut after six seasons in Japan.
Joey Gallo’s mammoth 450-foot homer to center put the Rangers on the board in the first. After David Dahl doubled, Gallo hit a 1-2 pitch into the batter’s eye.
Minor ran into trouble in the third, much of it his own doing. After retiring the first two hitters, he gave up an infield single before a four-pitch walk and a hit batter. Nate Lowe then looped a two-run single.
The Royals finally got to Arihara in the fifth when Taylor hit a 458-foot home run to straightaway center. Kyle Isbel then tripled when center fielder Leody Taveras lost his flyball in the sun. Hanser Alberto doubled and when Nicky Lopez bunted for a single, the Royals had a cycle in the first four batters of the inning. Merrifield drove in Alberto with a fielder’s choice.
Taylor’s two-run double in the sixth to give Kansas City the lead. Isbel followed with an RBI single, Merrifield drove in two with a single and Carlos Santana had a two-run double,
Royals 3B Hunter Dozier was out of the lineup with swelling in his right thumb. He left Thursday’s game with a contusion apparently hurt on a swing. Manager Mike Matheny said Dozier is day-to-day.
The Rangers will send RHP Jordan Lyles to the mound Sunday. He finished 2020 1-6 with a 7.02 ERA. He allowed the most runs in MLB in 2020.
Royals RHP Brady Singer will try to build on an impressive debut season. He went 4-5 with a 4.05 ERA in 2020, but he won three of his last four starts, including allowing just one hit over eight innings in a late-season start against Cleveland.
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