ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) — Derek Holland struck out eight and Nelson Cruz hit a long tiebreaking three-run homer and the Texas Rangers beat the weary Kansas City Royals 7-2 Friday night.
Holland (5-2) allowed two runs, one earned, over seven innings to wrap up his undefeated May. The left-hander was 4-0 in his six May starts, matching a career best for wins in any month.
The Royals, after playing until 3:14 a.m. Friday for a victory at St. Louis, led 1-0 after Adam Moore led off the third with a double and scored on a single by Alcides Escobar.
Texas went ahead in the bottom of the third when Cruz pulled a ball an estimated 419 feet, hitting a scoreboard high above the first section of seats in left field, to make it 4-1 against Wade Davis (3-5).
Adrian Beltre led off the Rangers seventh with his 11th homer, his fourth hit of the game. It was his fourth four-hit game this season — all in May, the first Texas player with four such games in a month. He had 44 hits in May and is hitting .306, over .300 for the first time this season.
Beltre's eight-game hitting streak includes multiple hits in five of his past seven games.
The Rangers (34-20) have the best record in the American League. They have played exactly one-third of their regular season, matching their most wins at this point.
Davis retired the first two Rangers batters to start the third before David Murphy's infield single and Lance Berkman's hit. Beltre lined a single up the middle to drive in the tying run before Cruz hit his 13th homer, his fifth game in a row with an extra-base hit.
Kansas City had an eight-game losing streak before the win over the Cardinals. That game started an hour late because of rain, and then had another 4½-hour delay after the Royals took the lead with three runs in the top of the ninth in George Brett's first game as their hitting coach.
The Royals got to their Texas hotel about 7 a.m. Friday — right fielder Jeff Francoeur said the sun was coming up and people were already having breakfast as team members headed to their rooms.
Davis had a season-high eight strikeouts with no walks in what was otherwise another tough start against Texas, giving up six runs and 10 hits in five-plus innings. The right-hander is 0-3 with a 17.18 ERA in three starts against the Rangers. He twice started for Tampa Bay against them, giving up seven runs in 2 2-3 innings and then eight runs in 3 1-3 innings.
The last batter Davis faced was A.J. Pierzynski, who hit a ball that ricocheted off the padding on the top of the 8-foot wall in straightaway center.
Pierzynski rounded first base with his right hand extended above his head signaling home run. Manager Ron Washington went out to question the play with the umpires, who did go look at the replay that showed clearly that the ball stayed in the park.
After reliever Bruce Chen walked Jurickson Profar to load the bases, No. 9 hitter Leonys Martin hit a two-run double.
Notes: Rangers RHP Alexi Ogando pitched six innings, allowing two unearned runs, in a rehab start for Double-A Frisco. He went on the 15-day disabled list May 16 with right biceps tendinitis. He could rejoin the Rangers next week.