KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Kenny Rogers is back in the win column.
Making his fifth start since serving a 13-game suspension for shoving two TV cameramen, Rogers allowed four runs -- three earned -- and 11 hits in seven innings. The All-Star lefty was backed by three double plays in the first three innings.
"Kenny was great," Barajas said. "He hadn't been himself his last few starts because his sinker hadn't been there. He hadn't been able to pitch the way he likes to pitch. Tonight we really wanted to focus on that sinker and stay away from the cutter a little bit. He gave up a lot of soft hits."
The 40-year-old Rogers (12-7) was 0-3 in his previous six starts, but he improved to 3-0 against the Royals this season with his first win since beating Oakland 10-8 on July 16. His ERA rose slightly to 3.18.
"He worked down in the zone. He worked the corners. We'd like to have fewer runs scored, but when you look back it was a good outing for him. It was a positive outing. It is something we can build on," Barajas said.
Francisco Cordero worked the ninth for his 30th save.
"Kenny is an unbelievable guy," Cordero said. "When he comes out to pitch, he looks like a kid, like he's 22. He gives everything he's got.
"He means a lot to this pitching staff. We have a lot of young pitchers and they can learn from Kenny. He knows how to pitch. He's got mound presence."
Rogers declined to speak with a group of reporters, as he has most of the season.
Rangers manager Buck Showalter said it was important for Rogers to go deep into the game because his bullpen was short.
"He pitched well," Showalter said. "It was similar to his outing in Minnesota (six shutout innings on Aug. 27). He deserved to have a win his last time out. I'm proud of his effort."
Barajas has a career-high 16 home runs, giving the Rangers a major league-record nine players with at least 15. Seven teams, including the 1991 Rangers, had eight players with 15 or more.
"It is great to set records as long as they are positive records," Barajas said. "For me to be the guy to get that record, I'm excited. It means I have the least home runs of all of them. We have a good offensive club and score a lot of runs."
Alfonso Soriano opened the fourth with a double and scored on Hank Blalock's one-out double. After rookie left-hander J.P. Howell (1-5) walked Phil Nevin, Barajas hit a 3-1 pitch off the left-field foul pole for a 4-2 Texas lead.
"That's a tough lineup and obviously they have a lot of power," Howell said. "I wish it was 335 feet down the line, instead of 330. It is the one pitch I'd like to have back."
Barajas led off the seventh with a home run on the first pitch from rookie reliever Ambiorix Burgos. It was the third multihomer game of Barajas' career, and his first since June 24, 2004, against Seattle.
"He is an offensive threat at the bottom of the order," Showalter said. "He's having another solid year."
Angel Berroa's eighth-inning single off Steve Karsay scored Terrence Long, who had doubled, to cut the Rangers' lead to 5-4. Brian Shouse struck out Denny Hocking looking to end the eighth with the bases loaded.
"When you throw great pitches in tough situations, you should be rewarded," Barajas said.
Howell, winless in 10 starts since winning his big league debut on June 11 at Arizona, gave up four runs and five hits in six innings. He struck out seven and threw a career-high 108 pitches.
"J.P. went to his off-speed stuff almost exclusively (to Barajas) and then he had to come in with a fastball on 3-1," Royals manager Buddy Bell said. "He was pitching backward from what he did before. It is a growing pain and he'll have to learn from that.
"It never does come down to one pitch or one inning. We had opportunities, but Kenny made big pitches when he had to, just like he has for years."
The Royals scored an unearned run in the second when Berroa singled with two outs and advanced to second when left fielder Kevin Mench had trouble picking up the ball for an error. Matt Diaz singled to center to score Berroa.
The Royals made it 2-0 in the second. Hocking led off with a double and scored on Long's single up the middle.
Hocking also opened the fifth with a walk and scored on Joe McEwing's single.
Rangers shortstop Michael Young went 0-for-3, including two strikeouts -- ending his 11-game hitting streak. Young and Boston's Johnny Damon are tied for the AL lead with a .323 batting average.
Bell had a hole-in-one Thursday at Lakewood Country Club. Bell, who was playing with bullpen coach Brian Poldberg and former Royals manager John Wathan, said he used an 8-iron on the 140-yard, No. 14. ... The Rangers recalled C Gerald Laird, who was hitting .310 with 17 home runs in 75 games with Triple-A Oklahoma. ... The Rangers have won nine of their past 11 games against the Royals. ... Kansas City 1B Mike Sweeney sat out his fourth consecutive game with lower back problems.