Nothing seemed to go right for the Texas Rangers on Saturday afternoon.
Lance Berkman was ejected in the first inning, Adrian Beltre exited in the 10th inning with left hamstring tightness, and Robbie Ross suffered his first career loss.
So it wasn’t a surprise that the Royals scored the go-ahead run on a hit by pitch by Ross, and went on to a 4-1 victory in 10 innings over the Rangers.
“It’s a tough one to swallow today,” Ross said. “It happens to the best of us.”
Ross entered in the 10th with the game tied 1-1. He gave up consecutive singles to start the inning, with the runners advancing to second and third on the throw from the outfield. That forced him to issue an intentional walk to Billy Butler to load the bases.
But Ross struck out the next two batters and had a 2-1 count against David Lough before plunking him with a fastball that was too far inside.
“After I got those two strikeouts with the bases loaded, I was sitting there thinking, ‘This is the biggest one,’” Ross said. “And I couldn’t get it.”
Still, a one-run game would have been within reach for the Rangers to overcome. But the next batter, George Kottaras, lined a two-run double to right to make it a three-run game.
The Rangers went down in order against Royals closer Greg Holland in the home half of the 10th, leaving Ross with the loss and an ERA that jumped from a major league-best 0.37 to 1.42.
“You forget about it and try to move on,” Ross said.
The Rangers had their chances before Ross stepped on the mound, too.
The Rangers had a 1-0 lead after a two-out rally in the fourth. Beltre got it started with a single to left, and moved to third on a bloop single down the right-field line by Nelson Cruz. That play, however, is when Beltre aggravated his left hamstring.
Beltre is listed as day-to-day, and stayed in the game until the 10th inning. He scored the Rangers’ lone run in the fourth on an RBI single by Mitch Moreland.
The Royals answered with a run in the fifth. Lough reached on an infield single with one out, moved to third on a single by Elliot Johnson and scored on a passed ball with Alex Gordon at the plate.
Rangers starter Nick Tepesch had an 0-2 count against Gordon and threw a slider down and in that got by catcher A.J. Pierzynski. Even though it was ruled a passed ball, Tepesch took some of the blame for it.
“I just yanked it,” Tepesch said. “I got it a little too far down and in, and yanked it a little too far in there.”
That was the only run the Royals scored off Tepesch, as he scattered seven hits over 61/3 innings. And the Rangers had a chance to regain the lead in the bottom of the fifth.
Leonys Martin reached on a one-out walk, stole second and advanced to third on a throwing error. But Royals starter James Shields got out of it by getting Elvis Andrus and David Murphy to ground out.
Texas had another chance in the ninth after Joe Nathan worked a perfect top half. With two outs, Moreland walked and Pierzynski doubled on a pop-up to shallow left field that fell just beyond the outstretched gloves of three Royals.
Moreland held up at third on the play, and Jurickson Profar popped up to end the inning.
“It was just one of those games,” manager Ron Washington said. “They took advantage of their opportunity in the 10th.”
Berkman was tossed in the first inning for arguing a called third strike with home-plate umpire Todd Tichenor.
It was the first ejection of the season for a Rangers player or coach.
“Any time you stand there and argue with the umpire, you run the risk of getting kicked out of the game,” Berkman said. “But I didn’t think I said or did anything that would warrant an ejection, but he obviously felt differently.”
Said Washington: “Yes, we miss that presence in the lineup. You never know what may have happened had he stayed in the ballgame.”