Rangers edge Royals

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ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) -- C.J. Wilson wants to be the Texas Rangers' closer in 2008 and he took another step in his tryout to nail down the job.

Wilson survived a shaky ninth inning to earn another save, Michael Young hit a two-run double and Ian Kinsler homered as the Rangers held on to beat the Kansas City Royals 4-3 on Wednesday night.

The Royals rallied for two runs in the ninth as Wilson had his scoreless streak of 16 2-3 innings snapped.

Pinch-hitter Emil Brown reached on an error leading off, and Wilson walked Esteban German before John Buck hit an RBI double to center field on a bad hop that nearly hit Young in the head at shortstop. Wilson was sure Young would start a double play on the grounder and was stunned when the ball bounced into the outfield for two bases.

Joey Gathright followed with an infield single that made it 4-3.

But with runners on the corners, Tony Pena Jr. hit into a game-ending 5-4-3 double play for Wilson's sixth save in seven chances.

"There's so many lessons to learn," Wilson said. "I made some bad pitches, I made some good pitches. I got some bad breaks, got some good breaks. It was a good lesson for me. I can't let my guard down. It's a good feeling. You're going to get into some jams. You have to get out them if you want to be a closer."

Wilson has earned saves in the Rangers' last three games, stamina that has impressed manager Ron Washington.

"He's handled it very well," Washington said. "He's been out there three games in a row. He was challenged mentally and physically, and he stood up to the challenge."

Royals starter Gil Meche allowed only two infield singles before Ramon Vazquez drew a leadoff walk and Kinsler singled in the sixth. Both runners raced home when Young's drive split the gap in right-center, giving Texas a 2-1 lead.

Mike Wood (3-1) allowed two hits in one scoreless inning to earn the win.

Kinsler's 15th homer leading off the eighth stretched the lead to 4-1.

Meche lost his fifth straight start, giving up three runs -- two earned -- and five hits in 6 1-3 innings. He struck out four and walked three.

The pitch Meche wanted back was the fastball he threw to Young for the go-ahead double to right-center.

"It was out over the plate," Meche said. "He's gone that way before against me for a home run. I thought that one was gone, too. After five innings, I thought I was in control. Then I give up the big hit to their best hitter."

The Rangers got a strong return to the rotation from right-hander Vicente Padilla, who struck out a season-high eight. Padilla left after five innings trailing 1-0.

Padilla was activated from the 15-day disabled list before the game. He hadn't pitched since June 21 when he was shut down with right triceps inflammation. He looked fresh when he struck out the side in the first and fifth innings.

Padilla allowed one unearned run and four hits without a walk, throwing 80 pitches.

Kansas City threatened to go in front in the seventh, loading the bases with one out against reliever Frank Francisco. Gathright hit a fly ball to center, but Marlon Byrd threw out pinch runner Jason Smith attempting to score from third to complete the double play.

Texas made it 3-1 in the seventh when Nelson Cruz scored from third on reliever Jimmy Gobble's throwing error, after he fired wide on an attempt to pick off Jarrod Saltalamacchia at first.

The Royals scored the game's first run in the third on a wild rundown gone awry.

With Pena at first, David DeJesus singled to right and Cruz threw to Young, the cutoff man at shortstop, who fired to first and got DeJesus in a rundown. Second baseman Kinsler chased DeJesus back to first, then threw to third and got Pena in a rundown.

After tagging Pena at home, catcher Gerald Laird threw to second in an attempt to get DeJesus. Laird's throw was off target and ended up in the outfield, allowing DeJesus to score easily from second.

"It's one of those things where it was too funny to get mad," Laird said. "I just smiled and laughed it off."


Kinsler set a career high for homers, surpassing the 14 he hit last season. ... Texas has won five of its last seven. ... Padilla also had eight strikeouts in a start last Aug. 27, against Oakland. His career high is 11 for Philadelphia against Cincinnati on April 14, 2002. ... Meche is 2-6 for his career in Arlington. ... The Royals committed two errors after going without one in their previous six games. ... After the game the Rangers announced the signing of RHP Neil Ramirez, the 44th overall selection in the June draft.