KANSAS CITY — Matt Harrison gave the beleaguered Texas pitching staff a strong start, Mitch Moreland hit a three-run homer and the Rangers defeated the Kansas City Royals 5-3 on Friday night.
The Rangers starters had allowed at least six runs in the previous four games, but Harrison (13-6) held the Royals to two runs and eight hits in 6 2/3 innings. Harrison, who went 1-3 in July, walked three and struck out three, departing after 109 pitches.
Moreland's home run in the seventh inning came off Royals lefty relief specialist Jose Mijares, who had not yielded a home run to a left-handed hitter this season. Moreland hit an 0-2 pitch out to right with Michael Young and Geovany Soto aboard.
Jeremy Guthrie (3-11) held the Rangers to three runs and six hits over six-plus innings. He is winless in three Kansas City starts since being acquired in a July 20 trade with the Colorado Rockies for Jonathan Sanchez and has not won since May 31 against Houston.
The Rangers loaded the bases with one out in the first on a single by Ian Kinsler and walks to Elvis Andrus and Adrian Beltre, but scored only one run. Nelson Cruz's fly ball to Jeff Francoeur at the wall in right field brought home Kinsler. Guthrie threw only 11 strikes in 25 pitches that inning.
The Royals tied it in the second when they loaded the bases with no outs. Salvador Perez started it with a single, Francoeur walked and Eric Hosmer beat out an infield single. Yuniesky Betancourt, however, grounded into a double play with Perez scoring.
The Rangers took the lead in the fourth, which Beltre opened with a single, advanced to second on a wild pitch and scored on David Murphy's single. Murphy is hitting .396 with 32 RBIs in 53 at-bats with runners in scoring position.
The Royals chased Harrison in the seventh. Chris Getz and Alex Gordon had two-out infield singles. After Alcides Escobar's run-scoring single, Tanner Scheppers replaced Harrison.
Betancourt's two-out double in the eighth scored Francoeur with the final Royals run.
Alexi Ogando worked a 1-2-3 ninth for his second save in five opportunities.