ARLINGTON, Texas (TNS) — The momentum the Royals built in St. Louis and carried into a series-opening win here on Thursday evaporated with one swing of Nomar Mazara's bat on Friday night.
His two-run shot that bounced off the Globe Life Park fence in left field and into the crowd gave the Rangers a three-run advantage the Royals could only chip at in an 8-4 loss.
Royals rookie starter Eric Skoglund labored through 41/3 innings, yielding seven hits and six earned runs. He found himself on the wrong end of an error in the first inning and was hurt by Mazara's speed in the third — but three home runs did the left-handed pitcher in.
In five May starts, Skoglund has allowed seven home runs over 28 innings. Opponents have hit him at a .302 clip. While he's shown flashes of superior command in quality starts against the White Sox and Rays this season, he's still in development mode. He still needs to perfect his change-up and throw his curveball, often his out-pitch, with better consistency.
On Friday, he was plagued by command issues.
Abraham Almonte and Ramon Torres tried to start a seventh-inning rally to get Skoglund off the hook. Almonte singled and then scored when Torres smacked a double that one-hopped a diving Delino DeShields in center field.
But Rangers reliever Alex Claudio retired the next three batters, stranding Torres at third base.
The Royals had 10 hits, including home runs from Mike Moustakas and Jorge Soler, but they were 0-for-7 with runners in scoring position. After Moustakas walked to load the bases with two outs in the ninth, Salvador Perez flew out to center field.
Former Royals pitcher Mike Minor got the victory for the Rangers after allowing four earned runs on seven hits.