By Anthony Andro, The Sports Xchange
ARLINGTON, Texas — The Texas Rangers flexed their power muscles in a big way, getting two-homer games from Joey Gallo and Robinson Chirinos on their way to a 6-2 victory over Kansas City on Friday night.
Gallo’s first two-homer game of his career included a tape-measure shot that bounced off a popcorn truck stationed on the concourse in right field. He and Chirinos became the 16th Texas teammates to each have at least two homers in the same game and the first in Arlington since 2005.
The power display was plenty for left-hander Cole Hamels (1-0), who pitched eight innings of one-run ball. The Royals have now lost eight straight against the Rangers and were done by the long balls that doomed starter Nate Karns (0-1), who surrendered all four homers.
“It’s good for everybody, not only for myself, but everybody’s been putting in the work in the cage, during BP to show what we did tonight,” said Chirinos, who now has four career multi-homer games. “It was good to see that in the game.”
Chirinos tied the score for the Rangers with a solo homer with two outs in the second. Two batters later, Gallo matched him with a long two-run homer to right to put Texas up 3-1.
Chirinos made it 4-1with his solo homer with two outs in the fourth. Gallo matched Chirinos again an inning later, launching a solo homer to right and pushing the Texas lead to 5-1.
Mike Napoli ended the night for Karns with an RBI single that pushed the Texas lead to 6-1 in the fifth. Karns, who went to high school in Arlington, was charged with six runs and five hits in 4 2/3 innings.
“I felt fine,” Karns said. “Just two hitters in the lineup pretty much got me. That’s the name of it today. I felt like something I could have been when I got two outs led to a walk and a 3-0 homer (Gallo’s first). It’s something I can do better job is once I get two outs really try to end the inning and prevent, when you’re on offense, and you can extend the inning, good things happen for yourself. Something as a pitcher I need to go out there and limit.”
Kansas City struck early against Hamels, taking a 1-0 lead in the first inning on an RBI double from Lorenzo Cain. But Hamels settled in and retired 12 straight Royals at one point. He gave up just three hits in eight innings, striking out three and walking two.
He was happy to see the club put together a complete game.
“Being able to get those first-pitch strikes, I know they’re an aggressive team, they’ve got a lot of power,” Hamels said. “Just being able to make sure I was able to keep the momentum on my side. I wanted to try and get really quick outs. Being able to do so, we were kind of able to get into a good rhythm for us as at the plate. It’s always nice to be able to see what Chirinos and Gallo did. Man I wish I could hit balls like that. They definitely put on a show.”
Chirinos and Gallo each had two hits on a night the Rangers finished with six. Whit Merrifield had two of the six Kansas City hits, including an RBI single in the ninth.
“I felt like we had some better at-bats,” Kansas City manager Ned Yost said. “We’re facing an All-Star pitcher in Cole Hamels, who’s extremely tough. And jump on the board in first two hitters we were ahead 1-0. I thought we hit some balls good. We just couldn’t find any holes. But I just think he [Hamels] pitched really well.”