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05/05/10 9:10 PM ET

Rangers bring momentum into homestand

Don't blame the Rangers if they have an extra spring in their step. Texas will return from a successful road trip for Thursday's series opener against Kansas City, a game that kicks off an extended stretch of home games for the Rangers. Texas will play 14 of its next 17 games at home, and it will also have the knowledge that May has been a very good month in recent years.

The Rangers are 3-2 since the calendar changed in 2010, but they've racked up a 42-21 record in May since the start of the 2008 season. That .666 winning percentage is the best in baseball over that span, a trend the Rangers hope to continue. And they'll get another chance Thursday, when Matt Harrison gets matched up against the Royals' Kyle Davies.

Harrison has completed at least six innings in four of his first five starts, and he's also allowed two earned runs or fewer three times. The southpaw has also experienced enough success to put him in the team's record books. Harrison is the fastest to 14 wins in Rangers' history, having done it in 33 games. Former starter Kevin Brown needed 33 games to win his 14th.

Kansas City, meanwhile, will counter with Davies, who has been a big surprise this season. The former first-round draftee has posted four quality starts in his first six outings, and two starts ago, he took a no-hitter into the sixth inning. Davies wound up allowing one hit in that start, and he's posted an 0-3 record and a 5.55 ERA in his career against Texas.

The Rangers, who have won six of their last nine games and nine of their last 14, can thank some pitching consistency for their recent surge. Texas has seen its starters complete at least six innings in 11 straight games. The Rangers' relief staff has managed to post a 1.80 ERA over its last six games, protecting the rotation and giving the offense some margin for error.

Royals: Ka'aihue joins big league club
The Royals reached down to Triple-A Omaha on Wednesday to replace Rick Ankiel's bat, recalling 26-year-old first baseman Kila Ka'aihue to help provide some power and some patience. Ka'aihue was hitting .304 (24-for-79) with seven home runs and 20 RBIs at the time of his promotion, and he had also impressed by posting an eye-popping .466 on-base percentage.

Ka'aihue, a former 15th-round draftee, made his big league debut last September and batted .286 in 12 games. Now, manager Trey Hillman will be pressed with the task of finding the native Hawaiian some playing time. The Royals have been playing Billy Butler at first base and Jose Guillen at designated hitter, the two spots where Ka'aihue would fit best.

Rangers: Young bats looking to heat up
David Murphy went 0-for-4 in Wednesday's game and is now hitting just .095 (2-for-21) in his last seven games. The Rangers have still worked to find him playing time, though, and Murphy has started 10 of the team's last 17 games. Murphy is hardly alone, though, as youngsters Justin Smoak and Julio Borbon are both hitting under .200 in their big league transition.

And if those guys represent the cold part of the equation, Elvis Andrus and Vladimir Guerrero are their fitting complements. Andrus has a six-game hitting streak and has seen his batting average rise 50 points in the last week. Guerrero has a five-game streak and had a five-RBI night on Tuesday. Guerrero has the best home batting average (.449) in the American League.

Worth noting
Mike Young's next hit will vault him past Rafael Palmeiro (1,692) and into sole possession of second place on the Rangers' all-time hit list. Young should be able to track down the leader -- Ivan Rodriguez (1,747) -- sometime this season. ... Alex Gordon, the second overall selection in the 2005 First-Year Player Draft, was recently demoted to Omaha and switched to the outfield. ... The Royals completed a Minor League move on Tuesday, selling the contract of outfielder Buck Coats to the White Sox. Coats, 27, hit .315 in 15 games for Triple-A Omaha, but lost his job as the starter in left field after the Royals sent down Gordon. ...Diamond of Dreams: Taking the Field for Operation Breakthrough will take place on the field at Kauffman Stadium from 7-10:30 p.m. CT on June 24. The annual Royals Charities event benefits Operation Breakthrough, which works to help poverty-stricken children and their families.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.


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