KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Matt Garza pitched like Texas Rangers manager Ron Washington remembered, not how he had been pitching recently.
Garza allowed one run on five hits as the Texas Rangers topped the Kansas City Royals 3-1 on Saturday night in a matchup of teams fighting for wild-card berths.
"Outstanding," Washington said of Garza's performance. "He was locked in and used all his pitches. He was able to do exactly what he wanted to do out there. That was Matt Garza. That was certainly the way he always dealt against us."
Washington hopes this version of Garza stays.
"We got it tonight," Washington said. "That could be the thing that gets him over it. The thing is he was just able to command that ball. His breaking ball was outstanding. He was able to spot his fastball around the zone. He was able to keep some good young hitters off balance."
Garza, who won for the first time since Aug. 19 to snap a personal four-game losing streak, held the Royals scoreless into the ninth, which Eric Hosmer led off with a home run into the left-field bullpen.
That was Washington's cue to bring in Joe Nathan from the bullpen. Nathan logged his 40th save in 43 tries. He owns 41 career saves against the Royals.
Garza, who is 4-5 since the Rangers traded four players to the Cubs for him on July 22, walked one and struck out five.
The loss dropped the Royals 3 1/2 games behind the Cleveland Indians, who beat Houston 4-1 Saturday, for the second wild-card spot.
"We know we can't do anything unless we win," Hosmer said. "We're still in it. We're not out of it yet. We'll come out and do our end of the bargain."
The Rangers remain a half-game behind the Indians with six clubs bunched within three games for two wildcard berths.
"We've still got a long way to go," Garza said. We've got to keep fighting and keep pushing. It looks like it's going to come down to a brawl to the end, so it's going to be a lot of fun."
Jeremy Guthrie (14-12) was charged with the loss, yielding three runs on seven hits and two walks in six innings.
Craig Gentry had three of the eight Rangers hits. Adrian Beltre went 2-for-4 with a RBI and improved his career average at Kauffman Stadium to .374.
Ian Kinsler opened the game with a triple to center and scored on Elvis Andrus' groundout to shortstop.
The Rangers tacked on two more runs in the second, when Guthrie walked Andrus and Alex Rios on eight pitches after one out.
"I fell behind on pitches down (to Andrus) and then when he got on base I tried to throw some pitches to Rios and over threw them a little," Guthrie said. "I didn't feel like I was out of control."
Beltre rolled a single up the middle that hit the second base bag to score Andrus and move Rios to third. A.J. Pierzynski sacrifice fly to left scored Rios, making it 3-0.
"The ball hit the back of the bag," Yost said of Beltre's hit. "If that doesn't happen, he turns the double play easy and we're still playing. If that ball doesn't hit the back of the bag we're still playing. Fate got us. I don't know if it was fate, but it wasn't luck."
Garza, who had failed to last longer than 4 1/3 innings in his previous two Rangers starts, limited the Royals to one hit -- an Emilio Bonifacio first-inning single -- in the first four innings.
Garza did not give up another hit until Jarrod Dyson's triple to right with two outs in the fifth. Garza struck out Alcides Escobar looking to end the inning.
"He was great," Pierzynski said of Garza. "That was probably the best I've seen him since he's been here - down in the zone, commanding more than one pitch, in and out, up and down, just using them all as much as you could ask for."
Guthrie crossed the 200-inning barrier for the fourth time in five years. He joins teammates James Shields and Ervin Santana in pitching 200-plus innings. The last time the Royals had three pitchers log 200 innings was 1997 -- Kevin Appier, Tim Belcher and Jose Rosado.
NOTES: RHP Alexi Ogando will make just his eighth start Sunday for the Rangers since May 16. He has been placed on the disabled list three times with shoulder inflammation and biceps tendinitis. He is 2-0 with a 0.82 ERA in five games, one start, since being activated Sept. 4. ... Despite losing a franchise record 11 consecutive home games early in the season, the Royals have won 43 Kauffman Stadium games, which is the most since going 43-38 in 1993.