Rapid Reaction: Rangers 8, Royals 4
KANSAS CITY, Mo. – The Texas Rangers went into slug mode with five homers and used the strong starting pitching of Yu Darvish to defeat the Kansas City Royals 8-4 on Monday afternoon.
What it means: The Rangers are 26 games over .500 for the first time this season. They had failed in two previous tries to reach that mark. The win makes Texas 80-54, equaling the club’s best mark through 134 games. The Rangers were also 80-54 in 1999.
Ruffled feelings: Nelson Cruz had to be restrained from going to the mound after being hit by a Louis Coleman pitch in the ninth inning. Television replays showed Cruz on a slow jog around the bases after a sixth-inning homer, and the Royals apparently didn’t like it. Both benches emptied but no punches were thrown. Michael Young made his own statement moments later with a two-run homer off Coleman.
Yu the man: Darvish retired the first 17 batters on Monday before walking Johnny Giavotella with two outs in the sixth on a 3-2 pitch. It was the longest streak of consecutive batters retired to start a game for the Rangers since Kenny Rogers retired the first 21 Cleveland batters on Aug. 9, 2002. The first hit off Darvish was a bloop single to left by David Lough immediately after the Giavotella walk. That walk ended a streak of 24 consecutive batters retired by Darvish over a two-game span.
Select company: Manager Ron Washington picked up his 507th win with the Rangers, moving him into sole possession of second place on the all-time club list. Washington broke a tie with Johnny Oates and trails only Bobby Valentine, who had 581 wins managing the Rangers.
In the field: The Rangers’ defense got mixed reviews while working behind Darvish. On the positive side, Adrian Beltre and Mike Olt made nice plays on tricky grounders to keep Darvish perfect into the sixth inning. But in that sixth, right fielder Cruz appeared to take a bad route on a Tony Abreu liner and it resulted in a two-run triple.
Muscling up: When Beltre and Cruz blasted consecutive homers off Bruce Chen in the sixth, it marked the eighth time this year that Texas has recorded back-to-back homers.
Holiday treat: The Rangers broke a four-game losing streak on Labor Day. Prior to that, they had won eight of nine on the first Monday in September.
Up next: Left-hander Matt Harrison, working with an extra day’s rest, will try to atone for a poor outing at Tampa Bay when the Rangers face right-hander Jeremy Guthrie and the Royals on Tuesday night in the second game of a four-game set.
103.3 FM ESPN PODCASTS
Play Podcast Rangers GM Jon Daniels joins Fitzsimmons and Durrett to tackle the tough questions after his team failed to advance to the playoffs.
Play Podcast Nolan Ryan joins Galloway and Company to discuss having Nelson Cruz back in the lineup and how the Rangers are feeling heading into their wild-card play-in game against the Rays.
Play Podcast ESPN Insider and senior MLB analyst Jim Bowden joins Fitzsimmons and Durrett to discuss the wild-card race and the Rangers' chances of making the playoffs.
Play Podcast Chuck Cooperstein joins Ian Fitzsimmons and Tim MacMahon to discuss why he feels Rangers pitcher Yu Darvish isn't an ace.
Play Podcast Elvis Andrus joins Galloway and Company to discuss the Rangers' stretch run and the morale level in their clubhouse.
Play Podcast Nolan Ryan joins Galloway and Company to discuss the latest Rangers news, including the team's struggles, Ron Washington's job security and a rumored trade with the Braves.
Play Podcast Ron Washington joins Ian Fitzsimmons and Tim MacMahon to discuss the Rangers' dismal September, who's to blame for their September struggles and his status as the team's manager.
Play Podcast Fitzsimmons and Durrett discuss how some people are calling for the Rangers to fire manager Ron Washington.