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Cruz belts solo homer to take lead in fourth

ARLINGTON -- Scott Feldman was terrific in his second start of the season, but he still ended up with the loss. Afterward, third baseman Adrian Beltre stood in front of his locker and took the blame.

"He was throwing a great game, and I didn't make an accurate throw," Beltre said. "It's all on me tonight."

Beltre's throwing error was critical, but Royals starter Bruce Chen and his bullpen also had something to do with it. They held the Rangers to one run on seven hits and pitched the Royals to a 3-1 victory at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington on Monday. The Rangers drew 38,702, ending their streak of nine straight sellouts.

Nelson Cruz produced the Rangers' only run with a leadoff home run in the fourth. The Rangers' other six hits were all singles, and they all came with two outs. Chen, a left-hander who throws almost everything in the 80-plus-mph range, went 6 2/3 innings to earn his first victory over the Rangers since 2005, and Ron Washington was asked why he was so good on Monday night.

"I wish I knew," Washington said. "If I knew, we would have swung the bats better."

"He was mixing it up ... hard and soft, in and out, no pattern," first baseman Michael Young said. "He threw anything in any count, and we couldn't get anything going."

The Rangers had scored at least two runs in 30 straight games since a 1-0 victory over the Mariners on April 10. They have not been shut out this season. They were also 0-for-2 with runners in scoring position on Monday, the first time they have been hitless in those situations in a game this season.

"That was a great win right there. Bruce was just superb," Royals manager Ned Yost said. "He made one mistake, and it wasn't that bad a pitch, but it was a 2-0 cutter right into Cruz's hot zone. Besides that, he was spectacular."

Chen's performance came on a night when Washington kept right-handed hitters Ian Kinsler and Mike Napoli out of the starting lineup. Napoli pinch-hit in the ninth and struck out looking against closer Jonathan Broxton, while Kinsler did not play at all for the first time this season.

"I wanted to give him a full day off," Washington said. "We're in a stretch [of 20 straight games]. We ought to be able to play baseball without any one guy on that team, and I believe we can. Give Kansas City credit. When we get beat, we don't make excuses. They're capable of beating a Major club and they beat us. We accept that and move on tomorrow."

Feldman was starting because a rainout forced the Rangers to play a doubleheader last Thursday, and Washington did not want to bring back either Colby Lewis or Derek Holland on three days' rest as a starter. So Feldman got the call and came within one out of putting himself in position to get a victory.

"He gave us a lot more than we expected," Washington said. "Unfortunately, the guy who made the mistake doesn't make many mistakes. It happens. He made a mistake, a physical mistake. It happens."

Feldman allowed one hit through four scoreless innings and had retired eight in a row going into the fifth. Jeff Francoeur led off with a single, then Mike Moustakas popped out. Brayan Pena followed with a slow grounder to the right side, and second baseman Alberto Gonzalez had to go to first for the out.

Francoeur ended up at second, and Chris Getz followed with a ground ball to the left side. Beltre made a nice stab going to his left but, despite having plenty of time, threw off target to first. Francoeur went to third and Getz was safe at first.

"I just pulled the throw," Beltre said. "I didn't get a grip. I didn't get a four-seam grip like I usually do. I threw it on target, but the ball just kept going."

Getz then stole second with Alcides Escobar at the plate. That left runners on second and third when Escobar lined a single to center. Craig Gentry came in hard and tried for the diving catch, but just missed, short-hopping the ball as he dove.

"He almost got there," Feldman said. "It says a lot about him to get even get that close to it. When I first saw it off the bat, [I thought] it was a hit. Then I had a glimmer of hope that maybe he got there."

Gentry didn't. The ball went for a single, and two runs scored.

"That was key to be able to do that, because I think Adrian Beltre's the best third baseman in baseball, or right there with 'em," Yost said. "To take advantage of that was huge."

That was it for Feldman, and left-hander Robbie Ross took over. The Royals got one more off him in the seventh to give Chen and four relievers a two-run cushion.

"It was almost a good outing," Feldman said. "I was able to battle through some bad command and was able to get guys to hit right at our guys for the most part. I was one pitch away there from getting out of it."

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