Rougned Odor had been showing signs, however slight, of returning to the kind of slugger he was two years ago.
The biggest change of late is his patience. He walked for the eighth time in 15 June games on Wednesday night after just six walks in his first 31 games.
Of course, walks were never part of his strategy at the plate. A year ago he walked 32 times while hitting 30 home runs for the second consecutive year. (He had 33 homers with 19 walks in 2016.)
Just to underline his improvement, Odor also homered on a 1-2 pitch in the sixth inning to give Austin Bibens-Dirkx a two-run cushion and help the Rangers sweep the Royals with a 3-2 win at Kauffman Stadium.
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It's the Rangers' first three-game sweep of the season as they stretched their season-best win streak to five games.
Odor, who was hitting .169 a month ago, is up to .226 with an improved approach. Manager Jeff Banister said his staff has challenged Odor to become a more selective swinger.
"I believe he’s progressively gotten better," Banister said. "He's showed progress where we need him to show progress. Odor has been a significant player on this team and will continue to be a significant player."
Bibens-Dirkx, making the start in place of the demoted Yohander Mendez, held the Royals to one run on five hits over 6 2/3 innings. A throwing error with two outs in the seventh forced a move to the bullpen and Alex Claudio retired his only batter on one pitch.
Texas relievers combined for 6 1/3 scoreless innings in the series before a Mike Moustakas homered off Jake Diekman in the ninth to pull the Royals to within a run. Jose Leclerc pitched a scoreless eighth and Diekman, after the homer, retired the side to earn his second save.
Rookie Isiah Kiner-Falefa caught his first major league game and went 1 for 4 and ended the game by throwing out the potential tying run a on steal attempt at second base.
"Good delay steal by them, I got lucky I guess," Kiner-Falefa said. "I was really nervous before the game. But right when I stepped behind the plate I felt comfortable."
After an off day Thursday, the Rangers begin a three-game series against the Twins on Friday in Minneapolis. Texas returns to Arlington against the Padres on Monday night.
Odor is not the only one showing a more patient approach at the plate. Joey Gallo had three walks for the first time in 2018 and fifth time in his career.
Shin-Soo Choo's first-inning single stretch his current league-best on-base streak to 34 games. The last time a Rangers player had a longer streak was Mark Teixeira's 36-game stretch in 2006.