KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Matt Harrison couldn't put away Kansas City hitters, who kept fouling off pitch after pitch Tuesday night against the All-Star left-hander.
It was an outing when he wasn't perfect but needed the rest of the Texas Rangers to be to help them survive at Kauffman Stadium.
They weren't, especially during a tough third-inning sequence for Ian Kinsler, and the Royals took full advantage.
Kansas City pushed across five runs against Harrison, and two mistakes by Kinsler helped jump-start the Royals' offense in a 6-3 victory over the Rangers.
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The Rangers' offense, meanwhile, went cold after building a 2-0 lead after two innings. Texas went almost six innings between base hits.
"It was just a rough day for us," Kinsler said. "We just didn't play our best ball."
The loss threatened to chop the Rangers' lead in the American League West to three games, depending on the outcome of a late game between second-place Oakland and third-running Los Angeles.
Harrison and the Rangers were surviving, but the game tilted toward the Royals in about five minutes in the third.
It started when Kinsler, at third base with one out after a leadoff double, was picked off by catcher Salvador Perez to kill a Rangers threat.
Kinsler said his mistake was not looking to see where Royals third baseman Mike Moustakas was playing with Josh Hamilton at the plate. The infield was in, which meant Moustakas had a short route to third to catch Perez's throw and nab Kinsler.
"That's exactly what happened," Kinsler said. "Normally when Josh is hitting, the third baseman is pretty far off. I didn't check where he was and got caught."
In the bottom half, Lorenzo Cain hit a grounder to Kinsler's right that he couldn't handle for an error. Cain scored the first of two unearned runs as the Royals pulled even at 2-2.
Oftentimes the ball that Kinsler didn't handle goes for a hit. Instead, he was charged with his 15th error.
"It doesn't really matter if it's an error or not," Kinsler said. "He got on and he scored. I would like to come up with that ball."
Harrison (15-9) pitched well in the second, striking out the final two hitters with runners and second and third, but started the fourth at 68 pitches.
He needed only 12 to get into the fifth and was an out away from leaving the fifth in a tied game, but Alex Gordon swatted a fastball down the middle for a two-run shot that was the Royals' first homer in 41 innings.
Perez doubled home Billy Butler two batters later on a flat curveball to chase Harrison, who has allowed 12 runs (10 earned) in his past two starts covering 10 innings.
"They ran my pitch count up there, and I think I ran out of gas in the fifth," Harrison said. "They were fouling off a lot of good pitches. I tip my cap to them."
Jeremy Guthrie, meanwhile, found his rhythm after Kinsler was picked off. The Kinsler double was the last hit against Guthrie, who pitched seven innings.
The Rangers didn't collect another until Hamilton and Beltre started the ninth with consecutive singles. David Murphy, who went 0 for 3 against Guthrie and 0 for 4 overall, noted a difference in Guthrie's approach from past games against him.
"I think he threw a lot more off-speed stuff than we were used to seeing in the past," Murphy said. "He threw more fastballs early. We just didn't really have anything going after the first few innings."
Jeff Wilson, 817-390-7760