SURPRISE, Ariz. -- Kyle Davies started spring training the same way he finished last season.
Davies pitched two scoreless innings and Ross Gload hit a bases-loaded triple to help the Kansas City Royals beat the Texas Rangers 7-2 on Thursday.The win snapped the Royals' six-game spring training losing streak to the Rangers, who defeated Kansas City 12-7 on Wednesday in both teams' exhibition opener.Davies' performance followed his strong work last September, when he went 4-1 with a 2.27 ERA in five starts."You hope all the guys in your rotation pitch the way he did in September," Royals manager Trey Hillman said. "Five starts in a row he was lights out. He started off that way today. He can be a huge stabilizer."The Royals have Gil Meche and Zack Greinke topping the rotation, but are looking for quality starters behind them. Davies could emerge as the No. 3 starter with a strong spring training after the way he finished 2008."I don't think one player is the key to a season, but I want to feel like I'm the guy that can help contribute to us winning a championship," Davies said. "I think every person in this clubhouse is the key to us winning the division and going on and winning the championship."Davies retired five of his first six batters before walking two and giving up a single in the second. He retired Ian Kinsler on a fly ball to end the inning."You don't want to walk two and load the bases in the second inning," Davies said. "I got a little bit quick in the second inning with my delivery. Overall, the ball came out great and my pitches were working."Kevin Millwood, the Rangers' opening-day starter the past three seasons, also was sharp in his spring training debut. He struck out three and allowed one single in two scoreless innings."I'm excited about it," Millwood said. "I felt strong. I think my velocity will get better as the spring goes along, but as far as locating the ball and throwing some good breaking balls I was extremely happy with that part of it."He struck out left-handed hitters Alex Gordon and David DeJesus with inside fastballs.A year ago, Millwood was set back by a hamstring injury and pitched in just one Cactus League game before the season started."It definitely slowed me down," Millwood said. "I was able to get ready for opening day, but it definitely took away from being able to work on some things in the bullpen and to stay in the kind of shape I needed to be in."Josh Hamilton homered for the second consecutive game for the Rangers.Coco Crisp had two hits, drove in a run and scored a run for the Royals. John Buck homered leading off the Kansas City third.
Jose Guillen made his spring training debut as the Royals' designated hitter. He lined out to Hamilton in center and walked in his only plate appearances. ... The Rangers were limited to six hits after getting 20 on Wednesday against the Royals.