KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Michael A. Taylor homered, drove in three runs and threw out two players at the plate from centre field, leading the Kansas City Royals past the Texas Rangers 14-10 in a wild season opener Thursday.
Each team scored five times in the first inning of a game that took 4 hours, 26 minutes. The first seven Rangers batters reached safely — on six hits and a walk — but Kansas City roared back with the help of home runs by Jorge Soler and Whit Merrifield.
Taylor, who spent his first seven seasons with Washington, had three hits and three RBIs in a do-it-all debut for the Royals. Kyle Isbel had three hits and two RBIs in his first major league game. Merrifield also got three hits, scored twice and knocked in two.
Kansas City set a club record for runs on opening day, surpassing its previous high of 11 in 1979, as both pitching staffs struggled. The teams combined for 30 hits, 17 walks, 14 pitchers, 26 runners left on and 402 total pitches.
Carlos Hernandez (1-0) struck out five in three innings of two-run relief for his first career win. Wade Davis whiffed two batters for a save in his return to the Royals.
Kyle Cody (0-1) took the loss.
Both starting pitchers were ineffective. Brad Keller recorded his first out for Kansas City on his 30th pitch and was charged with six runs and nine hits in 1 1/3 innings. Kyle Gibson got his only out of the day on his 27th pitch and allowed five runs and four hits.
Texas jumped on Keller right away. Isiah Kiner-Falefa and David Dahl doubled. After a walk to Joey Gallo loaded the bases, an infield single by Nick Solak scored one. Nate Lowe hit a three-run double to the opposite field and scored on a single by Eli White.
According to the Elias Sports Bureau, the Rangers became the second team since 1961 to open a season 6 for 6 (the 1995 World Series champion Atlanta Braves were the other).
Keller’s defence saved him from further damage. New left fielder Andrew Benintendi leaped against the wall in foul territory to snare the first out. Taylor cut down Brock Holt at home plate for the second out of the first inning.
The Royals got to Gibson just as quickly in the bottom of the first. Merrifield and Benintendi singled to open the inning, followed by consecutive walks to Carlos Santana, Salvador Perez and Soler. With one out, Isbel and Taylor singled in runs. Nicky Lopez drove in the tying run with a sacrifice fly.
The Rangers regained the lead in the second and scored two more in the third, but Taylor’s second outfield assist kept it from getting worse. Taylor then showed some pop with a 402-foot homer to right- centre . Santana drove in Lopez with a single.
The Royals added three more in the fourth to take the lead. Soler led off with a 435-foot homer, and Taylor and Merrifield added RBIs.
The Rangers scored their ninth run in the sixth on an infield hit by White. The Royals got three more in the seventh on just one hit. The RBIs came on a hit batter, a fielder’s choice and an infield hit.
Merrifield homered in the eighth. The Rangers got an unearned run in the ninth before Davis closed it out.
Rangers: RHP Demarcus Evans, LHP Brock Burke, LHP Brett Martin, LHP Joely Rodríguez, C Sam Huff, OF Willie Calhoun and OF Khris Davis were placed on the 10-day injured list, retroactive to March 29.
Royals: SS Adalberto Mondesi went on the 10-day IL with a right oblique strain on Wednesday. ... 3B Hunter Dozier left the game with a bruised right thumb.
The Rangers selected the contracts of RHP Matt Bush and INF Charlie Culberson from Triple-A Round Rock. LHP Kolby Allard was recalled from Round Rock. RHP Demarcus Evans (right lat strain) was placed on the injured list. RHP Hunter Wood and LHP Hyeon-jong Yang were assigned to the alternate training site.
Isbel and Royals LHP Jake Brentz were selected to the roster. C Meibrys Viloria and RHP Scott Blewett were designated for assignment.
RHP Kohei Arihara makes his Rangers debut when the teams resume their series Saturday.
LHP Mike Minor returns to the Royals after spending the past three seasons with Texas and Oakland. He was 6-6 with a 2.55 ERA for Kansas City in 2017.
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David Smale, The Associated Press