ARLINGTON, Tex. (AP) — The Texas Rangers’ offense got in gear and they ended their longest losing streak of the season.
After much delay, so did the Kansas City Royals, who still need to improve their offense under interim hitting coach George Brett.
The AL West-leading Rangers and Royals meet for the first time this season Friday night in Arlington.
Losers of three straight heading into Thursday’s contest with Arizona, Texas (33-20) went 5 for 13 with runners in scoring position in the 9-5 victory. The Rangers were 5 for 29 in those situations during their slide.
“Honestly, I hadn’t even thought about us losing three games,” said Mitch Moreland, who hit a two-run homer. “We’re going to go out and play our style of ball. We got out of it for a couple of games, but came back out today and made it work and it was a good win for us.”
Kansas City (22-29) finally ended its eight-game skid at 3:14 a.m. local time Friday, defeating host St. Louis 4-2 in a contest that ended eight hours after the original start time, which was pushed back an hour because of a rain delay. The teams endured a second rain delay, which lasted 4 hours, 32 minutes, after the Royals rallied for three runs – as many as they had scored in any of their previous six games – in the top of the ninth and loaded the bases with no outs.
Kansas City, which finished with just four hits in Brett’s debut, couldn’t tack on any runs when the game resumed, but it didn’t matter as the Cardinals went down in order.
The Royals, who won for just the fifth time in 24 games, were fortunate umpire crew chief Joe West decided to wait out the storms instead of suspending the game – the final one between these clubs in 2013 – and invoking a rule that would have erased the ninth-inning rally and made the Cardinals a 2-1 winner.
“I wasn’t sure we were going to get that game in, and to lose in that fashion after coming back in the ninth inning wouldn’t have been right,” manager Ned Yost said. “I credit Joe West for hanging in there. I credit their grounds crew for getting the field playable.”
Kansas City will now have to make a quick turnaround in Arlington against Derek Holland (4-2, 2.97 ERA) to open this three-game set.
Texas’ left-hander is looking to win his fourth straight decision after giving up two unearned runs and four hits in Saturday’s 5-2 victory at Seattle. Holland’s 10 strikeouts in 6 2/3 innings were a season high.
“I’ve got to go out and try and match the pitcher. That’s what it really comes down to,” he said after outdueling Mariners ace Felix Hernandez.
The Royals will counter with Wade Davis (3-4, 5.71), who has been pitching better of late despite his opponents batting .341 against him. The right-hander didn’t allow a baserunner past second base in the first six innings of Sunday’s 5-2 loss to the Los Angeles Angels. Davis, though, was replaced in the seventh after giving up a leadoff homer and walking two.
“The walks put us in a bad spot,” he said after getting charged with three runs in 6 1/3 innings.
Davis faced the Rangers three times out of the bullpen last season while with Tampa Bay, going 1-0 with no runs allowed in four innings. However, he’s 0-2 with a 22.50 ERA in two starts versus Texas.
Adrian Beltre, 4 for 8 off Davis, hit a team-best .371 with a team-best three homers and six RBIs against Kansas City last season when Texas won five of nine matchups.