The Royals managed to avoid the sweep with a nail-biting 2-1 win over the Rangers this afternoon. This was a low-scoring game with neither team putting together much in the way of a rally, but Kansas City prevailed.
The Royals had a chance to break the game open early off Rangers starter Dane Dunning. After Whit Merrifield and Andrew Benintendi were retired in the first, Kansas City loaded the bases with a single by Bobby Witt Jr., a double by Hunter Dozier, and a walk by Vinnie Pasquantino - his first time reaching base in the majors. MJ Melendez followed that up by dropping a soft single into center. Leody Taveras played the ball on a hop and threw a dart home. The throw was up the third base line, but Viloria was able to catch it and tag a dodging Hunter Dozier to end the inning, limiting the Royals to one run.
There wasn’t anything resembling a rally for either team after that. The Rangers got first and second with two outs in the second, but that was the last time either team would get multiple runners on in an inning. In a battle between soft tossers, Dunning and Zack Greinke put on an outs-in-play clinic, combining for just six strikeouts but also only nine hard-hit balls.
The only offense after the first came via the solo homer. In the fifth, Leody Taveras yanked a 2-2 curveball into the Bepis Party Porch to tie the game. It was his first of the year. Not to be outdone by his eighth-hitting center field counterpart, Kyle Isbel responded in the bottom of the frame. He got a sinker right down the middle from Dunning and did not miss, smoking it down the right field line for a dinger, retaking the lead. This was Isbel’s second homer in as many days, this after having gone 38 games this year before his first. The old adage is you cannot win with solo homers. This is false, as evidenced by this game. Amir Garrett, Taylor Clarke, and Scott Barlow locked it down late, with each contributing a scoreless frame and only Garrett allowing a baserunner.
It was a great day for Royals pitching, bouncing back after having surrendered 18 runs in the first two games of this series. With baserunners few and far between, this game moved right along with a game time of just 2:18. Pasquantino still has not found his first big league knock, but he walked twice in three plate appearances to give him a walk-to-strikeout ratio of infinity. The win moves the Royals to 27-47, now ahead of Cincinnati in the win column and just one behind Detroit and the Chicago Cubs. Kansas City will have the day off tomorrow before heading to Detroit for the first time this season for a three game set.
Zack Greinke - 6.0 IP, 4 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 3 K, 1 HR
Dane Dunning - 6.0 IP, 6 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 3 BB, 3 K, 1 HR
MJ Melendez - 2-3, 2B, RBI
Leody Taveras - 2-3, HR, R, RBI