BY: Richard W. Humphrey
The Texas Rangers finished their nine-game road trip in style, winning the last two games to win their first road series of the year. Texas blasted the Kansas City Royals 22-2 in the final two games of the series after losing the opener 11-5.
The series began with the Rangers’ fifth straight loss, and the night got worse from there. Ranger captain Elvis Andrus ran hard late in the game trying to beat out a slow grounder past the pitcher that was fielded by the shortstop. The throw to first base beat Andrus, who gave indication of a slight limp as he ran past first base. He was immediately removed from the game and placed on the injured list the next day.
Shelby Miller was the Rangers’ starting pitcher, and he turned in his worst outing of the season. He’s been bad, so that was hard to do. He gave up eight earned runs in less than two innings, a performance that knocks him out of the starting rotation. Manager Chris Woodward told the media that Miller would be working out of the bullpen for now.
Miller is 1-3 with the loss, and his ERA ballooned to more than a run per inning – 9.51. Big ouch! K. C.’s Danny Duffy is 2-1 with the win. Offensively, Andrus (one), Joey Gallo (two) and Logan Forsythe (two) drove in the runs. The teams combined to hit nine doubles in the game.
Willie Calhoun was summoned from AAA Nashville to replace Andrus on the roster. He homered in his first Major League at bat of the season to give the Rangers an early 2-0 lead in game two of the series. Shin-Soo Choo and Ronald Guzman also hit home runs en route to a 6-1 win.
Mike Minor started and finished five innings allowing the Royals’ run to get the win that improved his record to 4-3. His ERA sits at a dandy 2.81. On Friday morning, that was sixth best in the American League.
On Thursday afternoon, the Rangers took control of a 1-1 game with a five run fifth inning. They made some smart base running plays, and the Royals lent a helping hand by committing an error.
The Ranger offense just took off from there, scoring in each of the final six innings of the game. Texas set season highs in runs scored (16) and hits (21). Willie Calhoun got four hits on the day including his second home run in as many days, as he puts in a strong bid to stay in the Majors when injured players return to the roster. Joey Gallo, Hunter Pence and Rougned Odor also hit home runs.
Lance Lynn completed seven innings allowing a run on six hits. He is 5-3 with the win, and his ERA dropped under 5.00 at 4.94. Brett Martin and Jeffrey Springs shut out K. C. in the eighth and ninth innings.
The Rangers are back home for three games this weekend with the St. Louis Cardinals. Texas is 19-22 for the season, which puts them in fourth place in the division one game ahead of Oakland, percentage points behind third place Los Angeles and 8.5 games behind first place Houston.
The announced starting pitchers for Texas are still up in the air. The primary pitcher, the ones that would normally start are Adrian Sampson on Friday and Ariel Jurado on Saturday. However, the Rangers have named Jose Leclerc to be the “opener” in Friday’s game, and will likely also use an opener to pitch the first inning in Saturday’s game. Drew Smyly is scheduled to either start or be the primary pitcher that follows an opener in Sunday’s game. Game times are 7:05 PM Friday night, 3:05 PM Saturday afternoon, and 2:05 PM on Sunday afternoon. (All times Central).