Texas Rangers

Shin-Soo Choo’s bloop single in 9th enough to push Rangers past Royals

Who was going to flinch first? The Texas Rangers’ Cole Hamels and the Kansas City Royals’ Danny Duffy squared off in a duel of left-handers Saturday night at Kaufman Stadium.

Both were outstanding and pitched deep into the game, but a couple of bloop singles were enough to give the Rangers a 1-0 win.

Jonathan Lucroy led off the ninth with a single to shallow right, and after Delino DeShields’ sacrifice bunt moved pinch runner Joey Gallo to second, Shin-Soo Choo’s bloop single down the left-field line allowed Gallo to score easily for the only run of the game.

In the bottom of the ninth, Alex Claudio took over after Jose Leclerc walked the lead-off batter. Claudio struck out Eric Hosmer and forced Salvador Perez into a game-ending 1-4-3 double play.

The victory lifted the Rangers back to the .500 mark (45-45) two games deep into the second half of the season. And they moved to two games behind the New York Yankees for the second wild-card spot in the American League, having nudged ahead of the Royals.

“Having all of [our rotation] healthy and being able to feed off of each other, that’s what builds confidence,” Hamels said. “I think we’re right where we want to be. We’re very confident we can go out and win a lot of ball games.

Hamels retired nine consecutive batters between the third and sixth innings and 15 of the last 17 batters he faced. He held the Royals to four hits and a walk.

“[Duffy] was making good pitches and getting quick outs and it was just a matter of going out there and trying to match him,” Hamels said. “We were both having really short innings so we were kind of building off that and getting through the game and all of sudden you look up and it’s the eighth inning. It’s kind of nice to be able to do that every once in a while, especially with how hot it can be here.”

A two-out double by Whit Merrifield in the eighth finally ended his night. Hamels has allowed two runs on nine hits combined in his last three starts (22 innings).

Duffy was even stingier than Hamels. The Rangers were limited to just three base runners in eight innings against Duffy. The first was a triple off the top of the right-field wall by Mike Napoli in the second inning.

But Duffy retired Nomar Mazara (groundout), Carlos Gomez (flyout) and Rougned Odor (foulout) to strand Napoli.

Duffy retired 10 consecutive batters until Gomez’s single in the fifth. Duffy, however, picked Gomez off at first base, and faced only one over the minimum through eight innings. Gomez singled again in the eighth, but Rougned Odor hit into an inning-ending double play.

Duffy allowed five hits, including the two bloops in the ninth in 8  1/3 innings. He struck out four and walked none.

Stefan Stevenson: 817-390-7760, @StevensonFWST

Texas

000

000

001

1

5

0

Kansas City

000

000

000

0

4

0

Texas AB

R

H

BI

BB

SO

Avg.

Choo dh

4

0

1

1

0

0

.246

Andrus ss

4

0

0

0

0

3

.295

Beltre 3b

4

0

0

0

0

1

.284

Napoli 1b

3

0

1

0

0

1

.198

Mazara rf

3

0

0

0

0

0

.256

Gomez cf

3

0

2

0

0

0

.254

Odor 2b

3

0

0

0

0

0

.215

Lucroy c

3

0

1

0

0

1

.257

Gallo pr

0

1

0

0

0

0

.192

Chirinos c

0

0

0

0

0

0

.220

DeShields lf

2

0

0

0

0

0

.283

Totals 29

1

5

1

0

6

 

Kansas City AB

R

H

BI

BB

SO

Avg.

Merrifield 2b

4

0

1

0

0

0

.284

Bonifacio rf

4

0

1

0

0

1

.254

Cain cf

3

0

1

0

1

1

.272

Hosmer 1b

4

0

0

0

0

2

.314

Perez c

4

0

0

0

0

2

.282

Moustakas 3b

3

0

0

0

0

0

.270

Escobar ss

2

0

0

0

1

0

.225

Moss dh

3

0

1

0

0

1

.196

Gordon lf

3

0

0

0

0

0

.190

Totals 30

0

4

0

2

7

 

LOB—Texas 2, Kansas City 5. 2B—Merrifield (18). 3B—Napoli (1). RBIs—Choo (43). S—DeShields. Runners left in scoring position—Texas 1 (Odor); Kansas City 3 (Bonifacio, Cain 2). RISP—Texas 1 for 4; Kansas City 1 for 5. GIDP—Odor, Perez. DP—Texas 1 (Claudio, Odor, Napoli); Kansas City 1 (Merrifield, Escobar, Hosmer).

Texas

IP

H

R

ER

BB

SO

NP

ERA

Hamels

7 2/3

4

0

0

1

5

99

3.05

Leclerc, W, 2-2

 1/3

0

0

0

1

1

9

3.38

Claudio, S, 3-5

1

0

0

0

0

1

8

2.64

Kansas City

IP

H

R

ER

BB

SO

NP

ERA

Duffy, L, 5-6

8 1/3

5

1

1

0

4

91

3.51

Herrera

 2/3

0

0

0

0

2

9

4.41

Leclerc pitched to 1 batter in the 9th. Inherited runners-scored—Leclerc 1-0, Claudio 1-0, Herrera 1-0. Umpires—Home, Quinn Wolcott; First, Paul Emmel; Second, Brian O’Nora; Third, Scott Barry. T—2:32. A—32,907 (37,903).

Rangers at Royals

1:15 p.m. Sunday, FSSW

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