KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Kenny Rogers won for the first time since July 16, and Rod Barajas homered twice and drove in four runs to lead the Texas Rangers past the Kansas City Royals 5-4 Thursday night.

Making his fifth start since serving a 13-game suspension for shoving two TV cameramen, Rogers allowed four runs – three earned – and 11 hits in seven innings. The All-Star lefty was backed by three double plays in the first three innings.

Rogers (12-7) was 0-3 in his previous six starts, but he improved to 3-0 against the Royals this season with his first win since beating Oakland 10-8 on July 16. His ERA rose slightly to 3.18.

Barajas has a career-high 16 home runs, giving the Rangers a major league-record nine players with at least 15. Seven teams, including the 1991 Rangers, had eight players with 15 or more.

Alfonso Soriano opened the fourth with a double and scored on Hank Blalock’s one-out double. After rookie left-hander J.P. Howell (1-5) walked Phil Nevin, Barajas hit a 3-1 pitch off the left-field foul pole for a 4-2 Texas lead.

Barajas led off the seventh with a home run on the first pitch from rookie reliever Ambiorix Burgos. It was the third multihomer game of Barajas’ career, and his first since June 24, 2004, against Seattle.

Angel Berroa’s eighth-inning single off Steve Karsay scored Terrence Long, who had doubled, to cut the Rangers’ lead to 5-4. Brian Shouse struck out Denny Hocking looking to end the eighth with the bases loaded.

Francisco Cordero worked the ninth for his 30th save.

Howell, winless in 10 starts since winning his big league debut on June 11 at Arizona, gave up four runs and five hits in six innings. He struck out seven and threw a career-high 108 pitches.

The Royals scored an unearned run in the second when Berroa singled with two outs and advanced to second when left fielder Kevin Mench had trouble picking up the ball for an error. Matt Diaz singled to center to score Berroa.

The Royals made it 2-0 in the second. Hocking led off with a double and scored on Long’s single up the middle.

Hocking also opened the fifth with a walk and scored on Joe McEwing’s single.

Rangers shortstop Michael Young went 0-for-3, including two strikeouts – ending his 11-game hitting streak. Young and Boston’s Johnny Damon are tied for the AL lead with a .323 batting average.

Notes: Royals manager Buddy Bell had a hole-in-one Thursday at Lakewood Country Club. Bell, who was playing with bullpen coach Brian Poldberg and former Royals manager John Wathan, said he used an 8-iron on the 140-yard, No. 14. … The Rangers recalled C Gerald Laird, who was hitting .310 with 17 home runs in 75 games with Triple-A Oklahoma. … The Rangers have won nine of their past 11 games against the Royals. … Kansas City 1B Mike Sweeney sat out his fourth consecutive game with lower back problems.

AP-ES-09-01-05 2325EDT


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