Rangers 8, Royals 1
Rogers gave up a run in the first and allowed six baserunners through the fourth, even with a three-up, three-down inning in that stretch.
But that was the only run the 40-year-old left-hander allowed over seven innings in an 8-1 victory against the Kansas City Royals on Thursday night. Rogers (6-2) lowered his American League-best ERA to 1.69.
“He never pitches according to the score. He’s trying to put a shutout inning up there and get us back in the dugout,” manager Buck Showalter said.
“He didn’t have his great stuff. He went more with his fastball because his changeup wasn’t that sharp,” catcher Sandy Alomar said. “But he got people out. He just creates stuff. He mixed it up. He knows how to survive.”
The Rangers have consecutive three-game sweeps at home over last-place teams Houston and the Royals, who pitched two winless starters in Texas. They end the homestand this weekend against the AL Central-leading Chicago White Sox, facing Jon Garland and Mark Buehrle during the weekend games.
Rogers threw 64 of his 98 pitches for strikes with just one strikeout. He allowed five hits, only one of them for extra bases, with two walks and a hit batsman.
Just like he has all season, Rogers afterward spoke only to one of the writers who regularly cover the team. Rogers’ boycott of most media started after reports just before spring training that he threatened to retire without a contract extension.
Rogers is in the second year of a $6 million, two-year contract he signed in January 2004 to return to Texas for the third time.
Before giving up a run in his last start against the Astros, Rogers had pitched 31 consecutive scoreless innings. The only complete game in the four-game stretch was May 14 at Minnesota, and his last loss was 3-2 at Tampa Bay on April 21.
Jose Lima (0-4) allowed eight runs, leaving after Teixeira’s 11th homer led off the fifth to make it 8-1.
Lima is winless in 13 starts since Sept. 14 for the Los Angeles Dodgers, including all 11 of his starts for the Royals. And his spot in the rotation could be in jeopardy.
“He looked like he was going to be all right, and then he gives up three home runs,” interim manager Bob Schaefer said. “We’ll have to see what we’re going to do. We can’t keep getting behind.”
Hidalgo had an RBI single in the second that made it 2-1. Two innings later, he hit his 10th homer—fourth in the three-game series—for a 7-1 lead.
Soriano, in a 6-for-38 slump over 10 games, hit a three-run homer with two outs in the third. It was his 12th of the season, his first since May 14.
It was only the second time in six games the Rangers trailed. Texas was behind only after Rogers’ scoreless streak ended in the second Friday night against Houston, but the Rangers tied that game the same inning.
Kansas City had runners at first and second in the third, and they were running when Mike Sweeney hit a sinking liner to left. Kevin Mench made the shoestring-level catch and doubled up Angel Berroa to end the inning.
Rangers third baseman Hank Blalock’s error in the seventh ended his streak of games without an error at 53, matching Buddy Bell’s team record.
Blalock had fielded 149 straight chances without an error since Sept. 25, with four in this game until Eli Marrero’s tough grounder hit off his glove and rolled into left field.
“It stayed down and got by me. It’s one of those things, I’m glad they called it an error,” Blalock said. “I really wanted to make sure I earned it the right way, not with a call that could go either way. … It’s a play I should have come up with.”
On the next pitch, Blalock cleanly fielded Alberto Castillo’s grounder to start a double play.
Bell, who won five straight AL Gold Gloves from 1979-84, had 170 chances without an error in his 53-game streak during the 1979 season.
Steve Stemle, whose contract was purchased by the Royals from Triple-A Omaha earlier Thursday, made his major league debut with three strikeouts over three perfect innings after replacing Lima. … Lima has allowed 15 home runs over 55 1-3 innings this season. … The Rangers and Royals, who share a spring training complex in Arizona, play seven more games this season. All are in Kansas City, next week and Sept. 1-4.
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