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KC@TEX: Pena ties the game with a three-run shot

ARLINGTON -- Enough already of the Texas jet stream. The Royals have seen enough.

With the wind boomeranging through Rangers Ballpark in Arlington, the Texas club walloped five home runs and blew away the Royals, 11-6, on Friday night as 45,769 fans howled their approval.

The Royals managed just one homer, a three-run poke by Brayan Pena that pulled the Royals even at 5-5 in the fourth inning. But, for the Rangers, the answer was blowing in the wind.

"They were much more proficient at utilizing the jet stream than we were today, for sure," Royals manager Ned Yost said.

It was a curious effect, with the stiff breeze coming from the south and pointing the flags over right field straight in. But the wind hits the other side of the stadium and whips around toward right-center field.

"So it makes it a jet stream out there," Yost said.

And that's the direction that three of the five Rangers homers took.

Not that the Royals didn't have some fun for a while. Just when a blowout seemed to be building, a 5-0 Rangers lead suddenly disappeared.

The Royals' streakers went to work on left-hander Derek Holland in the fourth inning.

Alex Gordon got his hitting streak to 16 games with a leadoff single, Billy Butler walked and Jeff Francoeur doubled to deep center to score one run and extend his streak to 12 games. Getting into the streaky spirit, Wilson Betemit punched an RBI single and had then hit in 13 straight.

Kila Ka'aihue struck out weakly but Pena, whose only streak was 0-for-12, unveiled a surprise. Batting right-handed, he popped an opposite-field drive that just did carry over the right-field wall -- a tying three-run homer. For a few moments, Pena didn't know if the ball would make it.

"That's the thing when you don't hit too many homers. You don't know how far the ball is going to go," Pena said.

The Rangers, though, seemed to know. Mike Napoli hit a two-run shot off Royals starter Jeff Francis in the third. Ian Kinsler took the left-hander deep in the fourth, a 412-footer that put the Rangers back on top, 6-5.

Francis lasted just four-plus innings but refused to use the wind as an excuse.

"It's a bad place to leave balls up and I left balls up," Francis said. "I didn't do a very good job of pitching. Balls can go in the air and they can get blown out or whatever, but my approach is to get guys to hit balls on the ground and I didn't do that very well."

Rangers manager Ron Washington was certainly aware of how well his batters used their ballpark -- and the jet stream.

"We did a good job of keeping the ball in the big part of the yard," Washington said. "If we went up there trying to pull him, you would have seen a lot of 5-3 and 6-3 plays. We made him throw the ball over the plate and hit to the big part of the field. Not too many guys are going to let us pull the ball."

Royals reliever Blake Wood gave up the longest homer of the night, David Murphy's two-run drive that carried 416 feet.

"It's weird because you look at the flags and it looks like the wind is blowing in from right, and then you get on the mound and it's blowing straight at you," Wood said. "I think the wind rolls back over, it's real weird."

Rookie Nate Adcock gave up two homers, Adrian Beltre's solo shot and Mitch Moreland's two-run blast -- the first runs that he's surrendered. At least the wind effect was not entirely new to the kid up from Class A.

"I've done that before. I've pitched in High Desert in California and that's a park that blows also, so I wasn't thinking about it," Adcock said. "I made two pitches that were up and they hit 'em hard, and you can't do that here. I was more upset about the two leadoff walks I had than the home runs."

When the final results were in, the Rangers had 15 hits and nine were for extra bases. The 11 runs were the most given up this year by the Royals.

"This is a tremendous fly-ball-hitting team, they've got a lot of pop, a lot of power," Yost said. "They look to do that, they look to get balls up and drive it into that right-center-field gap, and they do it really, really well."

As amply illustrated. And Pena, the Royals' catcher, had a front-row view.

"It was unbelievable," Pena said. "We're not going to make excuses because excuses are for losers, but it was one of those days where it was blowing everywhere. It was very tough out there."

Especially if you happened to be a Royals pitcher. Comments