Royals defeat Rangers 4-1 in extra innings

Rick Yeatts

This was a pretty poorly played baseball game all-around, but I'll take the win.

It took an extra inning, but the Kansas City Royals offense finally outscored their opponent in a James Shields start, defeating the Texas Rangers 4-1 in 10 innings.

The Royals took the lead in the top of the tenth, but nearly squandered a perfect opportunity. Alcides Escobar led off the inning with a single, then Eric Hosmer slapped a double single down the left field line, and hustled to second when Escobar went first-to-third. Rangers manager Ron Washington ordered Robbie Ross to walk Billy Butler following the Hosmer hit, loading the bases with nobody out.

Mike Moustakas came to the plate, and promptly struck out swinging. Moose's final strike was particularly brutal, as the third baseman attempted to call time, but the home plate umpire didn't grant it. Moose stepped away from home plate while Ross was in his pitching motion, then stepped back towards the plate and offered a feeble swing, missing the pitch.

Lorenzo Cain followed Moustakas with another strikeout, bringing David Lough to the plate with two outs. Ross then hit Lough in the hand, which drove in Escobar. Lough appeared to be in serious pain, and was replaced following the HBP by Jeff Francoeur.

George Kottaras then hit a two-out double, driving in Hosmer and Butler to give the Royals some insurance runs. Elliot Johnson struck out swinging to end the inning, but the Royals had their runs.

Greg Holland pitched a perfect bottom of the tenth to earn the save.

The offense scored their first run in the top of the fifth inning, but needed some help from the Rangers to plate the runner. Lough hit a single one-out single, then advanced to third base on a Johnson single. Lough then scored on a passed ball by A.J. Pierzynski.

The team had plenty of other opportunities to score during the first nine innings, but failed to. The seventh and eighth innings were particularly brutal to watch. Cain led off the seventh win a single, then advanced to third when Adam Moore hit a one-out single.

With a runner on third and one-out, Johnson struck out looking against Texas reliever Neal Cotts. Cotts then pitched around Alex Gordon, walking the leadoff hitter to load the bases. Escobar ended the threat with a flyout to centerfield.

Hosmer led off the eighth inning with a single, then advanced to second on a Butler flyout. With a runner on second and one out, Mike Moustakas struck out swinging.

Cain followed Moose with a two-out walk, and Hosmer stole third base during the at-bat. Lough then hit a sharp groundball, but right at Elvis Andrus for the third out of the inning.

Rangers starter Nick Tepesch allowed seven hits, all of them singles, in 6 1/3 innings. The right-hander struck out two, walked none, and was charged with an unearned run. Twelve of the Royals 19 outs against Tepesch were groundouts.

Shields countered Tepesch with seven innings pitched, allowing one run on five hits. The starter struck out five Rangers and walked one. It wasn't the best start from Shields this season, but given the opponent, it was everything you could have realistically hoped for.

Texas scored their only run in the fourth, as Adrian Beltre, Nelson Cruz and Mitch Moreland all hit two-out singles. Beltre scored on the Moreland single, but Pierzysnki grounded out to end the threat.

The Royals nearly gave the game away in the bottom of the ninth. Mitch Moreland drew a two-out walk against Aaron Crow, but Pierzynski followed Holland with a shallow flyball to left-centerfield.

The flyball looked deep enough for an outfielder to catch it, but Escobar waived off Cain and Gordon and attempted to catch the ball. Escobar seemingly misjudged the ball, jumping in the air to catch the ball but failing to do so. Pierzysnki was credited with a double, and Moreland advanced to third.

Fortunately, Jurickson Profar followed Pierzynski with a foul-out to to Kottaras, which gave the Royals an opportunity to win the game in the tenth.

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