KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) - So what's wrong all of a sudden with Neftali Feliz?
Nothing, according to the radar gun. The Texas closer is still bringing heat at a 98, 99-MPH clip.
Nevertheless, the Kansas City Royals broke through against him for the second night in a row Thursday. This time, the Rangers failed to stop them in extra innings as Jeff Francoeur's RBI single in the 10th off Cody Eppler plated Melky Cabrera with the winning run in a 2-1 victory.
The night before, Feliz failed to convert a save opportunity for the first time in 20 tries when Eric Hosmer belted a tying homer leading off the ninth. Until then, he had converted 25 straight save opportunities on the road.
``Whatever happened yesterday happened,' Feliz said through an interpreter. ``I went out there today and tried to do my best.'
Feliz said he would try to just keep going and regain the touch that's made him one of the league's most feared closers.
``I feel bad because today the team lost,' he said. ``I'm going to do my best not to go crazy about it and put it behind me.'
Feliz relieved after Derek Holland had thrown eight shutout innings but allowed a leadoff single to Hosmer in the ninth. Hosmer went to second on a single by Francoeur, then Feliz got the first two outs on flyballs before the runners moved up on a wild pitch.
Mike Aviles, after fouling off five 3-2 pitches, drove in the tying run with an infield single that shortstop Elvis Andrus stopped from going into the outfield, keeping the Royals from scoring the winning run.
Holland insisted he's not lost an ounce of confidence in his closer.
``He did what he had to do. It was just one of those nights,' he said. ``Nine times out of 10 he's going to get the job done. This was the one. There's nothing to worry about. He'll be all right. He'll get back in there and get that save for us.'
Greg Holland (1-0), called up from Triple-A Omaha hours earlier, pitched 1 1-3 innings for his first major league win.
Cabrera hit a one-out single off Darren Oliver (1-5) in the 10th, his third hit of the night, and sped to third when Hosmer singled into right for his third hit. Eppley then relieved and gave up the RBI single to Francoeur that stopped the Royals' five-game losing streak with their seventh walkoff win.
Holland had one walk and five strikeouts while dueling Luke Hochevar. He gave up only six hits and one run in 8 2-3 innings.
Chris Davis, in the game because Michael Young was given his first night off of the year, hit Hochevar's 2-1 pitch leading off the second for his third home run.
``My first at-bat, he got behind me with some off-speed stuff,' Davis said. ``He left one out over the plate and I was able to hit it through the wind. He looked good all night. He was changing speeds and spotting up. We really couldn't put a lot together against him. When he was getting ahead he was pretty much shoving it.'
Holland relieved Hochevar with two outs in the ninth after Mitch Moreland and Yorvit Torrealba hit two-out singles.
The Royals had at least one baserunner in every inning but the second against Holland, a 24-year-old left-hander. But the Rangers turned two double plays behind him and the Royals had four runners thrown out on the bases.
Texas shortstop Andres Blanco, who had never played in the outfield in the major leagues, went into right field in the bottom of the fourth after Endy Chavez was removed with tightness in his right hamstring.
Blanco bobbled the ball momentarily on his first chance when Francoeur singled into right in the sixth. But he recovered in time to nail Francoeur sliding into second on what would have been a single and an error had he been safe.
``You look at the radar gun, I don't think he's doing anything different,' he said. ``There were some pitches to me that I don't even know how I got on. They felt like they were off the plate. But with two strikes, you have to keep going, trying to foul them off until you get something to hit. I just saw typical Feliz. We were just able to put together some things against him.'
NOTES: Alex Gordon's first-inning single snapped an 0-for-10 skid. ... Cabrera has had 16 multihit games this season. ... These two games will be all the Rangers play in Kauffman Stadium this season, their shortest series in KC ever.
The Associated Press News Service
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