The Texas Rangers have used the long ball as their primary source of offense the past few days while moving a season-best 26 games over .500.
The Kansas City Royals already know attempting to intimidate them won't slow them down.
Texas looks to continue its power surge against the host Royals as the teams resume their four-game series Tuesday night.
The Rangers homered four times in Sunday's 8-3 win over Cleveland, then blasted five more in Monday's 8-4 victory over Kansas City as Texas (80-54) moved four games ahead of second-place Oakland in the AL West.
The AL's best team has 32 hits over its last three games, with 11 leaving the park. Josh Hamilton hit his 38th homer Monday to tie Adam Dunn for the major league lead, while Geovany Soto , Adrian Beltre , Nelson Cruz and Michael Young also went deep.
Cruz was hit by a pitch from Louis Coleman leading off the ninth inning, leading to the benches and bullpens clearing for an exchange of words.
Young proceeded to hit Coleman's next pitch out of the park, and Coleman was removed."That was an outstanding sequence," manager Ron Washington said. "Not the fact Cruz got hit, but the fact Michael hit the home run. I don't know what that was about, but undoubtedly it didn't affect us because we put another two runs on the board and got him out of the game."
Cruz took exception to being hit and had no doubt he was targeted.
"I know they hit me on purpose," Cruz said. "They can say what they want to say, but if you play this game long enough, you know."
Royals manager Ned Yost neither confirmed nor denied intent.
"You saw the pitch before -- I mean, (Cruz) hit it nine miles," Yost said. "So, yeah, I think Louis was trying to pitch in on him to keep him from extending his hands."
Nevertheless, Texas has won three of the last four meetings with the Royals (60-74) and will look to keep rolling with help from Matt Harrison , who hopes to bounce back from a rough outing.
Harrison (15-8, 3.30 ERA) allowed seven runs and 12 hits - including a career worst-tying three homers - in 5 1-3 innings of an 8-4 loss to Tampa Bay on Wednesday. He had given up three earned runs over his previous three starts combined."I didn't give us a chance," Harrison said. "It was just a bad night."
The left-hander, though, was solid in Kansas City on Aug. 3, giving up two runs over 6 2-3 innings of a 5-3 victory.
Jeremy Guthrie allowed three runs in six innings in that contest, and he'll oppose Harrison again Tuesday.
The right-hander allowed 10 hits but only one run in 7 1-3 innings to beat Detroit 2-1 on Thursday, improving to 3-0 with a 1.93 ERA over his last five starts.
"The biggest thing was I was able to keep nine of (Detroit's hits) to singles and just allow the one extra-base hit," Guthrie said. "That was kind of the big key in allowing the hits, but not the runs."
Guthrie (3-3, 3.86), though, is 0-3 with a 5.82 ERA in his last four starts versus Texas, and Young is 11 for 28 (.393) with a homer and three doubles off him.
Guthrie didn't give up a homer to the Rangers the last time he faced them, but he ranks among the worst in the majors with 26 allowed.
|September 02, 2012||Ian Kinsler||Day-to-Day||Lower back stiffness|
|August 31, 2012||Tyler Tufts||15-Day DL||Surgery, perforated bowel|
|August 30, 2012||Robbie Ross||15-Day DL||Strained left forearm|
|August 28, 2012||Nelson Cruz||Day-to-Day||Left game - bruised left elbow|
|August 22, 2012||Yu Darvish||Day-to-Day||Right quad tightness|
|August 11, 2012||Mike Napoli||15-Day DL||Strained left quadriceps|
|Kansas City Royals|
|August 18, 2012||Chris Getz||15-Day DL||Broken left thumb|
|August 17, 2012||Chris Getz||Day-to-Day||Left game - fractured left thumb|
|July 28, 2012||Mike Moustakas||Day-to-Day||Left game - sprained right knee|
|July 05, 2012||Luke Hochevar||Day-to-Day||Sprained right ankle|
|June 18, 2012||Chris Getz||15-Day DL||Lateral strain in lower left leg|
|June 18, 2012||Chris Getz||15-Day DL||Lateral strain in lower left leg|
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) -- Salvador Perez 's pickoff throw changed the momentum, and Jeremy Guthrie was unhittable after that.
Guthrie pitched seven strong innings and the Kansas City Royals got home runs from Alex Gordon and Johnny Giavotella in a 6-3 victory over the Texas Rangers on Tuesday night.
After giving up five hits to his first 10 batters, Guthrie did not allow another hit after Ian Kinsler led off the third with a double. Elvis Andrus bunted him to third, but Perez picked off Kinsler with Josh Hamilton at the plate.
"The big momentum shift was the throw by Salvy," Guthrie said. "That was a huge sigh of relief for me. I scuffled up to that point. It gave me a big boost."
Perez leads all major league catchers with three pickoffs this season even though he didn't play until June 22 after having knee surgery in spring training.
"That's a big play," Royals manager Ned Yost said. "You're staring down the barrel of being down 3-0 and you've got an All-Star pitcher on the mound with a tremendous offensive club. To pick a runner off third base and keep it 2-0, you still feel like you've got a chance for something to happen, and it did."
Gordon broke a 2-all tie in the fifth with a two-run shot off Matt Harrison , the third home run he has allowed to a left-handed hitter this season.
"From experience, he likes to pound me in with fastballs," Gordon said. "He does a pretty good job of laying it on the inside corner. It's a tough pitch to hit. I just tried to wait him out and get a pitch out over the plate. I was able to do that and put a good swing on it."
Guthrie (4-3) held the AL West leaders to two runs and five hits. He went 3-9 with Colorado before the Royals acquired him in a July 20 trade for Jonathan Sanchez .
"One play didn't change this game," Rangers manager Ron Washington said. "We just didn't score any runs. We had Hamilton up there with less than two outs. I figured we were going to get that run in."
After Perez's run-scoring double with two outs, Harrison was replaced by Roy Oswalt . It was a rare short night for Harrison (15-9), who has pitched at least eight innings in eight starts. He fell to 10-5 away from home, tied with Tampa Bay ace David Price for the most road victories in the American League.
Harrison allowed five runs, three earned, and eight hits. The Royals scored a pair of unearned runs in the third after an error by Kinsler at second base.
Giavotella connected off Oswalt, ending a drought of 185 at-bats with his first home run since Sept. 3, 2011.
After Hamilton and Adrian Beltre started the ninth with singles off Kelvin Herrera , Greg Holland came on to earn his 11th save in 13 opportunities. Hamilton scored on Michael Young 's sacrifice fly.
Guthrie gave up a home run to Andrus in the first inning. Mitch Moreland 's double in the second scored Geovany Soto .
Lorenzo Cain reached on Kinsler's error in the third and scored on Alcides Escobar 's double, which snapped an 0-for-21 skid. Escobar went to third on Gordon's groundout and scored on Billy Butler 's sacrifice fly.
After getting some help from his teammates, Guthrie cruised.
"When Salvy picked Kinsler off third base and he struck out Hamilton, he really got on a roll from that point," Yost said. "He got settled in, was banging strikes and was extremely sharp. From the third inning on he was fantastic. A phenomenal job by him."
NOTES: Japan committed to play in the 2013 World Baseball Classic, but Rangers RHP Yu Darvish was non-committal about whether he will participate. Darvish refused to talk about the possibility, but instead issued a statement through the Rangers: "We're in the middle of the season. I have no comment on the issue." ... The Royals recalled RHP Jeremy Jeffress from Double-A Northwest Arkansas. Jeffress did not allow an earned run in 6 2-3 innings in two previous stints this season with Kansas City. ... 1B Eric Hosmer was held out of the Royals' lineup. Hosmer is hitting .224 against left-handers, while Harrison had limited left-handed batters to a .189 average entering the game. ... Rangers C Mike Napoli , who went on the disabled list Aug. 11 with a strained quadriceps, ran on the field for the second consecutive day with cleats. If he has no soreness Wednesday, Napoli could try running the bases. ... LHP Everett Teaford will make a spot start Wednesday for the Royals. He is 3-2 with a 4.95 ERA in seven major league starts. The Rangers will counter with RHP Ryan Dempster .