ARLINGTON -- Maybe all the Royals needed was one more inning.
"That would've helped," said manager Ned Yost.
The Royals were certainly charged up after Mike Aviles' second homer, a three-run shot, brought them to within a run, 8-7, of the Texas Rangers in the ninth inning. But that's the way it ended on Sunday as 28,284 fans watched on a cloudy, 79-degree afternoon.
The Royals, who had come into Texas as the only big league club not to lose a series this year, not only had that distinction shattered but were swept in three games by the defending American League champions. Rangers Ballpark in Arlington has been a forbidding place recently for the visitors from Kansas City.
They've lost eight straight games here dating back to 2009, including six by two runs or less. That's the longest home winning streak against any opponent for the Rangers since the park opened in 1994.
Texas starter C.J. Wilson left the game after seven innings with an 8-4 lead and turned things over to veteran Brett Tomko, a former Royal making his first appearance for the Rangers.
Tomko got through the eighth and struck out the first two batters in the ninth. Then Alcides Escobar and Chris Getz each singled, bringing up Aviles. He belted Tomko's 1-2 pitch, a slider up, into the left-field seats to close the gap to one run. But Arthur Rhodes relieved Tomko and got Melky Cabrera to ground out to end the game.
Texas manager Ron Washington breathed a sigh of relief.
"That team over there can swing the bat," he said. "They keep coming and keep coming and keep coming -- see what they did right there in the ninth inning."
This was the first time that Aviles had experienced a multi-homer game and the four RBIs matched his career best.
"It would've been nicer if we'd have won," Aviles said. "It's definitely fun to have a good game but it's better to win, and we just came up on the short end of the stick. I was just fortunate to get some good pitches to hit."
With former President George W. Bush joining Rangers head honcho Nolan Ryan in the front row on Easter afternoon, this game started like a Home Run Derby with five solo shots.
Mike Napoli, Adrian Beltre and Andres Blanco each teed off against Royals left-hander Bruce Chen.
"The ball carries real well in this ballpark and they're tough," said Chen, who took his first loss after three wins. "You just can't leave the ball out over the plate for them."
Wilson felt the home-run wrath of Jeff Francoeur, who extended his hitting streak to 14 games, and Aviles.
Aviles' first homer came in the fifth inning and, if the ballpark's fabled jet stream wasn't in full-blown splendor on this day, he might have had some help.
"When Mikey hit his [first] ball, he got a big gust of wind and that helped us," Yost said.
The ball landed in the grassy area behind the center-field wall, and at 409 feet was the day's longest smash.
"I guess it got in that jet stream, I don't know," Aviles said. "I hit it pretty good."
Blanco, an ex-Royals infielder, led off the fifth with just the second homer of his career and then things got out of hand. After two walks and Michael Young's RBI single, Chen was excused by Yost.
"He wasn't sharp today. He really battled to get pitches down, he was leaving pitches up," Yost said.
At this point, Yost brought right-hander Jeremy Jeffress into the game. Later Yost blamed himself for putting the rookie, a hard thrower who sometimes has control problems, in that situation.
At the time, there was one out and two runners on base with the Rangers ahead, 4-2.
"I've got to wear that one," Yost said. "In managing, you put a player in a position where he can succeed and that was a really tight area for him to succeed."
Jeffress walked Beltre to load the bases and struck out Nelson Cruz but then walked Napoli to force in a run. Then David Murphy ripped a double to center to clear the bases and it was 8-2.
"I probably should have given Jeremy more leeway," Yost said, "especially for a kid that has great stuff and at times has trouble throwing strikes. One base open probably wasn't enough to work with and he ended up walking two guys. That was totally my fault, more than his."
Jeffress lamented the mistake he made to Murphy, repeating the same pitch he'd just thrown for a strike.
"That pitch against Murphy, I should've mixed it up. It was the same spot as the first strike -- you've got to mix it up with those guys," Jeffress said.
That six-run inning was just enough for the Rangers to ward off the last two runs that Wilson gave up in the seventh and the three provided by Aviles' homer.
Once again the Royals put together another rousing comeback.
"We did but the hole was just too big at that point," Yost said.
Dick Kaegel is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.