KANSAS CITY, Mo. — — Bruce Bochy watched from the Texas dugout Tuesday night as, one by one, the Rangers stepped to the plate in the sixth inning to face Kansas City Royals reliever Carlos Hernández and sent his pitches right back at him.
All except for the one that Marcus Semien sent over the center field wall.
Semien’s three-run shot highlighted a five-run inning that broke open a close game, and Adolis Garcia added another three-run homer in the eighth, as the Rangers routed the Royals 12-2 to reach their best 17-game start since the 2013 season.
Sandy León also drove in a pair of runs, and three Rangers that reached base on walks from erratic Royals starter Brad Keller also scored, as Texas (11-6) improved to five games over .500 for the first time since July 16, 2019.
“That’s fun when it’s on your side,” Bochy said of the Rangers’ big sixth inning, which began with seven consecutive hits. “It did get contagious and that’s baseball.”
The Rangers also dealt the Royals their fifth straight loss. They are 1-11 at home this season, and their 4-14 start is the second worst in franchise history behind only the 2-16 start that Kansas City had in 1992.
“You look at that game, it’s close. They blew it open with that big sixth inning, but I didn’t think the guys came out here thinking about yesterday,” Royals manager Matt Quatraro said. “We were in a good, competitive game and it fell apart.”
Nathan Eovaldi (2-2) went six innings, allowing two runs on seven hits and a walk while striking out five. It was quite the bounce back after last week, when the Rangers’ right-hander allowed six runs on 10 hits in five innings against Kansas City.
“It took me a little bit to find my rhythm,” said Eovaldi, who allowed just one baserunner over his last two innings.
Keller (2-2) allowed three runs on three hits and five walks, including leadoff walks in three of his four innings.
In the third, Brad Miller walked before Travis Jankowski‘s single gave Texas a 1-0 lead. Then in the fourth, Josh Jung and Robbie Grossman walked before the pair scored on a single by Ezequiel Duran and Miller’s fielder’s choice.
Still, the Royals were within 3-2 after RBI by MJ Melendez and Kyle Isbel when the Rangers put the game away in the sixth.
Hernández allowed four straight singles to start the inning, including the two-run base hit by León that extended the Rangers’ lead. Semien followed with his three-run shot that traveled 417 feet and made it 8-2.
The line for Hernández: five runs on five hits without a batter retired.
“We had role players that did some major contributions and you’re going to need that throughout the season,” Bochy said. “You are going to have guys that need to sit, they’re going to miss games, and you’re going to need someone to step up.”
Amir Garrett gave up two more hits in the sixth, running the Rangers’ streak to seven straight to begin the inning. Isbel cut down Jankowski trying to score from second with a spectacular throw from deep center field, though, and Garrett finally was able to settle down enough to prevent Texas from scoring any more runs in the frame.
Given the way the Kansas City offense has performed this season, they already had more than enough.
Rangers ace Jacob deGrom plans to make his next start after leaving Monday night’s game after four hitless innings with a sore right wrist. But the Rangers want to see him throw Wednesday before penciling him into the rotation.
“That’s good news for us,” Bochy said. “Right now it’s all positive, and he’s positive on where he’s at with that arm.”
Rangers: RHP Jon Gray (bruised right forearm) is “good to go” for his next start, Bochy said. Gray threw two shutout innings against the Astros on Saturday before taking a line drive off Yainer Diaz‘s bat off the forearm.
Royals: LHP Kris Bubic (forearm flexor strain) will get a second opinion on his injury Thursday. He experienced tightness during his start Saturday against Atlanta and the Royals have some “underlying concerns,” Quatraro said.
Rangers LHP Martin Perez (2-1, 2.87 ERA) faces Royals RHP Brady Singer (1-0, 4.91) in the series finale Wednesday.
AP MLB: https://apnews.com/hub/MLB and https://twitter.com/AP–Sports