Rapid Reaction: Royals 4, Rangers 0 (10)
September, 22, 2013
By Todd Wills | ESPNDallas.com
KANSAS CITY -- The Rangers lost again in extra innings, and oh is this one a kick in the stomach.
Kansas City won Sunday's game on an walk-off grand slam by Justin Maxwell off former Royals closer Joakim Soria with two outs in the bottom of the 10th for a 4-0 victory. Eric Hosmer led off the bottom of the 10th with a double off Neal Cotts and after Billy Butler was intentionally walked by Soria, Salvador Perez loaded the bases with an infield single. Soria got two outs, but couldn't get the third.
The Rangers are 3-9 in the extra innings, the worst record and the fewest wins in the majors.
Postseason picture: The Rangers lost ground on both Tampa Bay and Cleveland, who won again on Sunday. The Rangers start the final week of the regular season two games behind the Rays and 1 1/2 games behind the Indians in the American League wild card race. The A's also clinched the American League West.
Ninth-inning gamble fails: The Rangers had an opening in the top of the ninth when speedy Alex Rios reached first base to lead off the inning on a strikeout and wild pitch. He stole second on the first pitch to Adrian Beltre, barely beating Royals catcher Salvador Perez's throw. Beltre then hit a fly ball into deep left field and Rios decided to challenge the arm of Alex Gordon, who throws as well as any outfielder in the American League. The gamble didn't work as Rios was out easily at third. Instead of having two more chances with a runner in scoring position, Pierzynski batted with two out and nobody on and grounded out to third.
Ogando is awesome: In a brilliant start, Alexi Ogando allowed two singles and a walk in seven innings. He struck out the side in the fourth inning and had five punchouts for the game. The Royals never really threated against Ogando. They did get a leadoff walk by Eric Hosmer in the bottom of the fourth, and Billy Butler got ahead in the count, but he grounded into a double play to end the threat. Ogando, who was on an 80-pitch limit, needed 77 pitches. Since returning from his third trip to the disabled list on Sept. 4, Ogando has allowed one run in 18 innings. The other Texas starts of seven innings, no runs and no decision this season were by Derek Holland on Aug. 16 against Seattle and Yu Darvish on June 2 against Kansas City.
Shields good too: The Rangers managed six hits off Royals starter James Shields, who is always tough in big games. The Rangers did have their chances. They made two outs on the bases as Perez threw out Elvis Andrus and Leonys Martin trying to steal. Adrian Beltre had a leadoff double in the top of the fourth but never moved off second base. Craig Gentry had a two-out double in the top of the seventh but David Murphy struck out on a changeup by Shields.
Scheppers dominates: Tanner Scheppers breezed through the Royals in the bottom of the eighth, getting two strikeouts and a ground out. He started the bottom of the ninth with a strikeout of Alcides Escobar before giving way to Neal Cotts. Scheppers has retired 16 of the last 18 batters he's faced.
Rare for Rangers: The last Rangers' game that was scoreless through nine innings came on April 30, 2010 at Seattle. The game remained scoreless through 11 innings before the Rangers won it 2-0 in 12.
Up next: The Rangers open their final homestand of the season with state rival Houston in town for a three-game series. Texas will start left-hander Derek Holland (9-9, 3.48 ERA) versus Astros right-hander Jordan Lyles (7-8, 5.26) at 7:05 p.m. Monday night on Fox Sports Southwest and ESPN Dallas 103.3 FM and 1540-AM.