Nippert replaces Millwood as Rangers top Royals

Dustin Nippert allowed one hit in a stellar job of relief pitching, and the Texas Rangers scored seven times off the Kansas City bullpen in a 7-2 victory over the Royals on Sunday.

Nippert was forced into action when Rangers starter Kevin Millwood left after two innings with tightness in his left gluteus. He gave up a run in the seventh on Alex Gordon‘s single, the only hit he allowed. Nippert (3-0) walked two, hit a batter and struck out one in 4 2-3 innings.

The game was scoreless until the seventh, when Royals second baseman Alberto Callaspo dropped Ian Kinsler‘s pop up with two outs, allowing Nelson Cruz to score. Michael Young and Marlon Byrd contributed run-producing singles after that.

Ron Mahay (1-1), the first of four relievers, faced two batters and gave up two hits to take the loss for the Royals. They’ve lost 11 of 12 overall.

Kansas City starter Sidney Ponson pitched six scoreless innings, lowering his ERA from 7.63 to 6.79. He held the Rangers to five hits while striking out four and walking three.

The Rangers led 3-1 going into the eighth, but scored four runs on three hits, including Andruw Jones‘ 15th home run to lead off the inning. The inning also included RBI singles by Michael Young and Kinsler, while another run scored on David Murphy‘s ground out.

In his past four outings, Cruz has allowed 10 hits and 12 runs.

Young had three hits and rove in two runs.

Miguel Olivo‘s two-out single in the second off Millwood was the only hit the Royals had before Gordon’s single in the seventh drove in Mark Teahen. Nippert retired the first 11 batters he faced. John Buck‘s single in the ninth scored Callapso with the final run.

NOTES: Manager Ron Washington held Rangers CF Josh Hamilton, who is 0 for 7 with five strikeouts in the series, out of the starting lineup. … Royals RHP Kyle Farnsworth, who is on the disabled list with a right groin strain, threw a bullpen session Sunday and is scheduled to begin a minor-league rehab assignment Tuesday with Triple-A Omaha.