Rangers 3, Royals 1

First-year starter Alexi Ogando pitched into the seventh inning

for the Texas Rangers before Cody Eppley pitched two scoreless

innings in his major league debut. Then they handed it over to one

of their old guys.

Darren Oliver, one of two 40-something left-handers in the Texas

bullpen, pitched a perfect ninth inning Saturday night for only his

fourth career save in a 3-1 victory over the Kansas City

Royals.

”Just like we drew it up,” Rangers manager Ron Washington

said.

Oliver became the oldest pitcher ever to save a game for the

Rangers.

”I figure if you’re 40 years old, you’re going to be in a lot

of history books about something,” Oliver said. ”If Arthur

(Rhodes) gets a save tomorrow, he’ll be the oldest.”

The Rangers put 22-year-old closer Neftali Feliz on the 15-day

disabled list earlier Saturday because of right shoulder

inflammation. They then purchased Eppley’s contract from Triple-A

Round Rock and said they would go closer by committee until Feliz

returns.

That includes Oliver, who made his 602nd career appearance, and

41-year-old Arthur Rhodes, who hasn’t had a save since 2008 and has

only eight in 855 career games. Before a save last season, Oliver

hadn’t had a save since 1994.

Ogando (3-0) held the Royals scoreless until Kila Ka’aihue led

off the seventh with a homer on the right-hander’s 14th and final

pitch. He struck out five, walked one and allowed five hits.

”I used changeup early in game and keep hitters out of

bounds,” Ogando said. ”I didn’t have my control of my pitches in

the early innings. But I kept pounding the strike zone.”

By losing the first two games in the three-game set, the Royals

(12-9) became the last team in the majors to lose a series this

season. They had won three series and split three others before

getting to AL West-leading Texas.

Kansas City had two runners on in each of the first three

innings without scoring. Billy Butler, who entered hitting .352,

left runners in scoring position in the first and third with an

infield popout and then a strikeout.

`We couldn’t capitalize, and I’m speaking of myself,” Butler

said.

After Elvis Andrus had a one-out walk in the third off Kyle

Davies (1-2), Michael Young had his second single of the game.

Adrian Beltre then hit a sacrifice fly before Young stole second

base and scored on a single by Nelson Cruz to make it 3-0.

Davies, who needed 79 pitches to get through the first three

innings and only 33 over the next three, limited the Rangers to

three runs and four hits over six innings. The right-hander has

still never beaten them, now 0-5 with a 5.91 ERA in eight career

starts.

”I wasn’t very effective the first three innings, trying to be

too fine,” Davies said. ”I settled down in the fourth, fifth and

sixth, but the damage was done.”

After Ka’aihue’s homer, Eppley came on and struck out Matt

Treanor. Eppley allowed only two hits.

”When he came out of the bullpen and I welcomed him to the big

leagues and I put my hand on him and he didn’t have any nervous

energy,” Washington said. ”He was ready to go. And the results

proved just that.”

Alex Gordon extended his career-best and AL-high hitting streak

to 17 games for the Royals with a single in the first.

Gordon’s single came after a single by Melky Cabrera, but Ogando

got out of that jam with an infield popout and a grounder. The

Royals had two runners on in each of the first three innings.

After Cabrera doubled and Gordon was hit by a pitch to start the

third, Ogando, a converted outfielder, faced only 12 more batters –

helped by a double play in the fifth – before Ka’aihue’s second

homer landed in the second deck of seats in right field.

Texas got an unearned run in the second when David Murphy

reached on an error by second baseman Chris Getz and scored on a

double by Mitch Moreland.

Young, the longest-tenured Ranger in his 11th season and now the

team’s primary designated hitter, is hitting .434 (23 of 52) in a

13-game hitting streak to push his season batting average to

.366.

While Gordon extended his hitting streak, the second-longest

active in the majors behind a 20-gamer by Andre Ethier for the Los

Angeles Dodgers, Royals teammate Jeff Francoeur has a 13-game

hitting streak after his eighth-inning double. Wilson Betemit’s

13-game streak ended by going 0 for 4, including shortstop Andrus

making an impressive catch of a popup in short left field to end

the eighth.

NOTES: Ogando threw 13 scoreless innings his first two starts,

and was coming off a no-decision last Sunday when he gave up five

runs in 6 1-3 innings at the New York Yankees. His ERA is 2.13. …

Rangers C Yorvit Torrealba was uninjured in the third when he was

chasing a foul popup and ended up running down the steps of the

Texas dugout. … Despite several impressive lightning strikes

lighting up the sky during the game, including a couple of

to-the-ground bolts just beyond the stadium in the ninth inning,

there was no delay.