Grind, baby, grind: Royals pick up a hard-earned victory over the Rangers

Jarrod Dyson and the Royals called Tuesday night's win over the Rangers a game they 'had to have.' 

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. — There wasn’t much aesthetically pleasing about this one. But it was the type of grind-it-out-and-will-your-way-to-a-win effort that the Royals will need to display the rest of September.

Jeremy Guthrie survived seven innings without his best stuff but held the Rangers in check on one run, and Sal Perez finally led the offense — which again blew several golden scoring chances — with a key RBI hit in the eighth as the Royals survived, 2-1 Tuesday night.

Credit also goes to relievers Jason Frasor, who got two key outs in the eighth, and Aaron Crow, who finished off the Rangers in the ninth for a gritty save, his third this season.

Manager Ned Yost didn’t have his big three bullpen arms — Kelvin Herrera, Wade Davis and Greg Holland, who needed a night of rest.

Crow gave up a two-out single but struck out the final hitter.

"I had confidence in him," Yost said. "He’s the guy down there who has done it before."

The win kept the Royals in first by a half-game after Detroit rallied for three in the ninth to topple Cleveland, 4-2.

"Just a big win for us," outfielder Jarrod Dyson said. "We had to have it."

There was some unfortunate news: Infielder Christian Colon, just recalled from Double-A Northwest Arkansas, broke his middle finger on the top on his right hand while fielding a grounder. He will miss from two to four weeks, meaning it could be a season-ender.

3 UP

— Real Guts. Guthrie battled all night without having his best stuff, holding the Rangers to one run through seven innings and helping to save the bullpen. "He really kept the ball down," Perez said. "And he got some double plays." Guthrie gave up eight hits but didn’t walk anyone. "I thought that every time he got in trouble, he just didn’t give in," Yost said. "He battled them and got ground balls."

— Luck helps. You can’t argue that Guthrie didn’t get his share of breaks. The Rangers had two on and one out in the second but Rougned Odor lined out hard to center, and then Guthrie got Daniel Robertson to strike out. After a bunt single led off the third, Guthrie purposely let a ground ball go past him right to shortstop Alcides Escobar, who started a double play. In the fourth, the Rangers again had two on, this time with none out. But Adam Rosales lined out hard to left, and Tomas Telis rolled into a double play.

— Sal comes through. Until the eighth, Perez was struggling mightily, having gone 0 for 3 and also committing a throwing error. With the go-ahead run on third and two out in the seventh, Perez flied out harmlessly to left. But in the eighth, with runners at the corners and two out, he ripped a liner off Adrian Beltre’s glove for an RBI single. "I was just trying to do something to help the team there," Perez said.  

3 DOWN

— Omar’s night. Omar Infante had a night to forget. Infante, with a runner on second and one out in the third, struck out. In the sixth, after Nori Aoki led off with a double, Infante couldn’t advance him, instead popping out to short right field. In the eighth, Infante could have been a hero with Dyson on second and one out. He popped out to center field. Infante also dropped a throw early in the game at second base on a potential double-play ball. The error went to Colon at third, but Infante should have caught it.


— Dyson’s bad AB. Dyson was up after Mike Moustakas’ leadoff double in the eighth and was called upon to sacrifice pinch-runner Terrance Gore to third. Dyson bunted foul, took a strike and then hit a broken-bat grounder to first and Gore was gunned down at third. Dyson redeemed himself by stealing second and third and scoring the go-ahead run eventually. "I was upset with myself for not getting the job done, and I knew I had to make up for it," Dyson said.

— More bad ABs. Alex Gordon and Billy Butler also didn’t add much to the evening. Gordon twice stranded a runner at second and went 0 for 3. Butler popped out, and struck out twice. The second whiff came with Eric Hosmer on second and none out in the seventh. But Perez said all teams are going to have nights they struggle this time of year. "It happens to everyone," Perez said. "You bounce back."

You can follow Jeffrey Flanagan on Twitter at @jflanagankc or email him at jeffreyflanagan6@gmail.com.