Rapid Reaction: Royals 6, Rangers 3
September, 4, 2012
By Robert Falkoff / Special to ESPNDallas.com
KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- The Texas Rangers couldn’t hold an early two-run lead and fell 6-3 to the Kansas City Royals on Tuesday night at Kauffman Stadium.
What it means: The four-game series is tied at 1-1 and the Rangers are back to 25 games over .500 at 80-55. Texas had reached a season-high 26 games over .500 with its win in Kansas City on Monday. The Rangers’ record after 135 games equals the best in franchise history. Texas was also 80-55 in 1999.
Long gone: After watching the Rangers blast five homers Monday, shortstop Elvis Andrus got in on the power show. Andrus, who entered Tuesday’s game with two homers in 523 at-bats, connected for a solo shot off Jeremy Guthrie in the first inning. The Andrus homer to left came after he had homered just once in the previous 123 games.
Momentum shifts: Kansas City catcher Salvador Perez is known for his throwing ability and when he picked Ian Kinsler off third base in the third inning, it was a big momentum play for the Royals. Texas had already built a 2-0 lead and had Kinsler at third with one out after a Kinsler double and an Andrus sacrifice bunt. Perez caught Kinsler straying too far down the line and the pickoff -- with Josh Hamilton at the plate -- gave the Royals a boost. Kansas City promptly scored twice in the third and was on its way. Perez now has three pickoffs, the most by any Major League catcher.
Early exit: Left-hander Matt Harrison has failed to make it deep into the game two starts in a row. After lasting just 5 1/3 innings last Wednesday versus Tampa Bay, Harrison went 4 2/3 innings against the Royals. He allowed eight hits and five runs (three earned). Harrison gave up a two-run homer to lefty-hitting Alex Gordon, snapping a fifth-inning tie.
Close call: A bang-bang play at the plate in the third inning went Kansas City’s way and brought manager Ron Washington out of the dugout. With Alcides Escobar at third and one out, Billy Butler flied to center and Hamilton made a strong throw home as Escobar tagged. Home plate umpire Lance Barksdale ruled that Escobar eluded the tag of Geovany Soto and Soto protested before Washington came out to have his say. The Butler sacrifice fly made it a 2-2 game.
Up next: RHP Ryan Dempster (9-6, 2.87 NL/AL) will try to give the Rangers the series lead Wednesday when he opposes Kansas City left-hander Everett Teaford.