Though their offense has been struggling of late, the Kansas City Royals continue finding ways to win.
A day after scoring all of its runs in the first four innings then holding on for a 4-3 victory over Texas (53-85), Kansas City needed a tiebreaking single from Salvador Perez in the eighth to win 2-1 on Tuesday.
Not including Sunday's game that was suspended by rain with the Royals (76-61) trailing 4-2 in the 10th, they've scored one or two runs six times in the last complete nine contests. They were 2 for 15 with runners in scoring position Tuesday and have batted .140 in such situations over the last five, including the suspended contest.
However, Kansas City owns a one-half game lead over Detroit in the division and remains collectively confident.
"It's all good," said Jason Frasor, who earned the win Tuesday with a scoreless two-thirds of an inning against the team that traded him to Kansas City on July 16.
The Royals have totaled two runs in the last two outings by Vargas (10-7, 3.27 ERA), who allowed three runs, 11 hits and four walks in six innings of a 3-1 loss at Texas on Aug. 24. He followed it by yielding four runs and 10 hits over six innings of Friday's 6-1 home defeat against Cleveland.
Vargas' problems from the latter outing were compounded by his throwing error that led to a three-run third by the Indians.
"Those are just mental mistakes that I can't afford to make and put the team in that kind of situation," he told MLB's official website. "The extending of those innings takes its toll later in the game and gives the other team confidence."
The left-hander is 0-3 in his last six starts against the Rangers, but has a 3.41 ERA in those games.
Alex Rios had three of the Rangers' 10 hits Tuesday, but they were 0 for 7 with runners in scoring position. Texas has been outscored 11-6 during its four-game skid.
After scoring 12 runs with Nick Tepesch (4-8, 4.44) on the mound in his first three starts, the Rangers have totaled 19 in the next 14.
Tepesch, who grew up in nearby Blue Springs, Missouri, and will make his first appearance at Kauffman Stadium, gave up six runs in 6 1-3 innings of a 6-3 loss to the Royals on Aug. 23.
The right-hander followed that by giving up two runs, five hits and three walks in 4 1-3 innings while not factoring in the decision of a 4-2 defeat at Houston on Thursday.
"Long innings, no clean innings," said Tepesch, who threw 89 pitches. "A lot of pitches per innings. It's tough to pitch deep into the game throwing so many pitches."
Lorenzo Cain is 7 for 15 against the Rangers this season and has four hits with a walk in six plate appearances versus Tepesch.
Perez has never faced Tepesch, but is batting .342 with eight RBIs in his last nine games.
Texas has used 61 players, including 38 pitchers, this year - both major-league records for a season.