First of all, kudos to those who made it out to Kauffman. The stadium looked completely full, and the atmosphere seemed impressive on the television. Here's a nice picture of the packed house, courtesy our fearless leader:
You look beautiful tonight, Kauffman. pic.twitter.com/D4hDHIIgvC— Craig Brown (@royalsauthority) September 21, 2013
Unfortunately, the fans had little to cheer for during the actual game.
The Rangers jumped on the scoreboard in the top half of the first inning. Ian Kinsler led off the game with a triple, scoring on an Elvis Andrus grounder to short.
Texas' next two runs came in the third inning. Jeremy Guthrie issued back-to-back one-out walks to Andrus and Alex Rios, putting two runners on. Adrian Beltre then hit a groundball up the middle. Emilio Bonifacio looked like he would make the play, but the ball hit the bag, which caused Bonicafio to miss the grounder. Andrus scored on the play, and Rios advanced to third. A.J. Pierzynski followed with a sacrifice fly to center field, giving the Rangers a 3-0 lead.
Guthrie would allow base runners in every single inning he pitched, but did not surrender another run after the third. His stat line looks pretty familiar for those who have watched the 2013 Royals (which I assume is all of you): six innings pitched, seven hits, two walks, one strikeout, three runs. Guthrie is the master of sequencing.
Matt Garza countered Guthrie with one of his best starts of the season, shutting out the Royals for eight innings. Heading into the ninth inning, Garza had only allowed four hits and one walk, striking out five. He had been efficient, throwing 93 pitches in the first eight frames, 68 of them for strikes.
Jarrod Dyson laced a triple in the fifth, and Escobar smacked a double in the eighth, but Garza did a good job limiting the Kansas City offense until the final inning.
Eric Hosmer ended Garza's run at a complete game shutout, blasting a 2-2 fastball the opposite way to lead off the ninth inning. Ron Washington quickly pulled Garza for Joe Nathan, who retired the next three Royals to end the game.
The loss puts the Royals 3 ½ games back of the Cleveland Indians for the second AL Wild Card spot with eight games remaining. The team isn't done yet, but their playoff chances appear to be on life support.