ARLINGTON -- The Royals needed starter Sean O'Sullivan to eat up some innings on Saturday night and he did. Trouble was, the 10 runs he gave up were difficult to digest.
O'Sullivan was hammered for five home runs among 15 hits as the Texas Rangers romped to a 10-1 victory in front of 40,240 fans in the 98-degree sauna called the Ballpark in Arlington.
"That was about as fun as it looked," O'Sullivan said.
This is a sampling of how O'Sullivan's evening went: Mitch Moreland homered, Mike Napoli homered, Endy Chavez homered. All in a row to start the second inning.
"O'Sullivan had some pitches up in the zone, and we didn't miss them," Rangers manager Ron Washington said.
No Royals pitcher had given up back-to-back-to-back home runs since last Aug. 14 at Kauffman Stadium. The Yankees' Alex Rodriguez, Jorge Posada and Curtis Granderson hit three straight blasts on that day -- against O'Sullivan.
O'Sullivan had to take one for the team on this muggy evening, though, because the Royals had pretty much emptied out the bullpen on Friday night to win a 14-inning marathon. Only Aaron Crow and Greg Holland didn't work in that game.
So, in order to save the bullpen, O'Sullivan was needed to suck up some innings and he obliged, grinding through 5 2/3 rough ones. Even then, he didn't want to leave the game.
"I tried to get as many outs as I could, knowing how deep our bullpen has had to go recently," O'Sullivan said. "Even when they came to take me out of the game, I was telling 'em, 'I'll get this last one if you need me to -- I'll get this last out so you can save some bullets.'"
The homers belted by the Rangers' 7-8-9 hitters were just part of O'Sullivan's travail. In the first inning, he issued two walks and darned if both guys didn't score on Adrian Beltre's double into the right-field corner. Then Beltre started the third inning with a high blast into the left-field seats.
When Nelson Cruz hammered the Rangers' fifth homer in the sixth, upping the score to 10-0, manager Ned Yost finally excused his starter and brought in Tim Collins to get the third out and finish the game.
The five homers measured 1,974 feet, topped by Moreland's 424-footer into the visitors' bullpen in left-center field. The little Chavez reached the upper deck in right with his 398-footer, his first homer in two years.
O'Sullivan sweated through 99 pitches, 66 of which were strikes.
It turns out that he was pitching with some problems in his big right arm.
"I was trying to battle a little bit of biceps tendinitis," O'Sullivan said. "It was just a little weak. Couldn't put much behind the ball. It felt like even if I'd make a good pitch in certain situation, they still would put the barrel on it."
It's something that he's had in previous seasons and, in one or two games, he's been able to pitch through it.
"It's not something that sticks with me," he said.
O'Sullivan, in his last three starts, has surrendered a total of 23 earned runs in 15 innings. He said his biceps was "grabbing" in his previous start against St. Louis and his range-of-motion wasn't right in this start.
"It made it difficult to pitch with your fastball when you don't have a fastball," he said.
Rangers winning pitcher Matt Harrison, a left-hander who shut out the Royals on five hits in his six innings, had his own medical issue -- a blood blister on his left index finger.
No less an authority than club president Nolan Ryan, who is certainly a doctor of pitching if not of medicine, was summoned from his box seat for consultation.
"I was trying to talk my way into going out there for another inning, but then they called Nolan in to look at it and he said it was best to get it taken care of now," Harrison said. "If it busts open out there on the mound it is only going to make it worse.
"From what I've heard he's dealt with them his whole career, so I think he knows a thing or two about helping to maintain it."
So out went Harrison and in came Yoshinori Tateyama, who gave up the Royals' only run which was unearned. Billy Butler reached base on an error, and singles by Wilson Betemit and Mike Aviles filled the bases. But the lone run came when Matt Treanor grounded out.
Washington professed to be worried about the Royals making a comeback, especially in light of his team's 14-inning, 12-7 setback on Friday night.
"I wasn't comfortable until we got 27 outs," he said. "You never know how these guys are going to swing the bats. Last night they put five runs on the board before we could blink."
But the only dangerous swings were those swung by the Rangers against O'Sullivan, the Royals' willing sacrificial lamb.
"I had to take the ball and keep going as hard as I could, as long as I could," O'Sullivan said. "I'd have finished it if he'd kept running me back out there."
Dick Kaegel is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.