ARLINGTON, Texas - Taylor Hearn allowed only one hit in five scoreless innings, Brad Miller homered and the Texas Rangers defeated the Kansas City Royals 3-1 on Thursday night.
The Royals’ first hit literally was off Hearn. Michael A. Taylor sent a liner up the middle off the pitcher’s leg that continued to the left of second base and into left field with two out in the second inning.
Hearn (2-2) walked three and struck out five.
Joe Barlow pitched a scoreless ninth, retiring Whit Merrifield on a grounder with two runners on base, for his sixth save in six opportunities.
Jonathan Heasley (0-1) allowed four hits and four runs in 3 1/3 innings in his first major league appearance this season.
Hearn had not pitched in 11 days, while he was briefly out of the rotation and available to come out of the bullpen.
"I was trying to come in consistent," Hearn said. "You can try to prepare for games but it's different when you get in there your first time seeing a lot of batters. It felt a little weird."
Hearn threw 64 pitches and said he could have gone longer.
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Manager Chris Woodward thought Hearn had thrown enough.
"We weren't sure how he was going to respond after being out for so long," Woodward said. "He was really honest, but you could tell he was a little bit fatigued."
Miller led off the bottom of the first inning with an infield hit against a shift and later scored on a two-out, popup single by Kole Calhoun over third baseman Emmanuel Rivera's head in short left field.
Miller hit a home run, his fifth, off the right field foul pole in the seventh. The homer was reviewed, and the home run call was confirmed.
Miller popped out with the bases loaded in the fourth inning of a 1-0 game.
"He was kicking himself," Woodward said. "He was saying, ‘I’ve got to get a run in there.'
"He thrives in big spots because he has no fear. He said he knew it was a home run because he knocked down the pole."
Texas reliever Brock Burke pitched two hitless innings before Kansas City used three consecutive singles to break up the shutout in eighth against John King. Matt Bush relieved King to get the third out, fanning Bobby Witt Jr. with runners at first and second.
Adolis Garcia restored Texas' two-run lead in the bottom half when he tripled and scored on Josh Staumont's wild pitch.
Heasley was recalled from Triple-A Omaha to take the place of LHP Kris Bubic, who was optioned to Omaha. The 25-year-old Heasley was 1-1 in three starts for the Royals last season.
"It's an opportunity," manager Mike Matheny said. "He's going to be someone that we're going to watch closely now that he'll be here to help us. He's got three plus pitches — changeup and breaking ball are both very good, and his fastball. This is going to be a good test for him back in his home territory. It's an extra add to already being a great test, and he's ready for it."
Heasley is from Plano, Texas, 29 miles from Globe Life Field. Hearn is from Royse City, an additional 20 miles from the Rangers' home field.
Royals: C Cam Gallagher was eligible to come off the injured list on Thursday, but he remained inactive. C Sebastian Rivero started in his first major league game this season after being recalled from Double-A Northwest Arkansas.
Rangers: RHP Josh Sborz, who had been optioned to Triple-A Round Rock after coming off the IL May 1, returned to the Rangers' roster. He replaced LHP Kolby Allard, who was optioned to Round Rock.
Royals: Begin a three-game series at Colorado on Friday with RHP Zach Greinke (0-2, 2.67) opposing Rockies LHP Kyle Freeland (1-3, 3.94).
Rangers: Home for a three-game weekend series beginning Friday against Boston, with Texas RHP Dane Dunning (1-1, 3.38) going against Red Sox RHP Nick Pivetta (0-4, 6.08).