After being unable to rally from an early deficit one day previous, the Rangers again fell behind to the Royals in Kansas City on Monday night. This time, however, Texas marched from behind to post 10 runs and give Rangers ace Martin Perez win number six on the season by a score of 10-4.
Trailing 1-0 after the first — Perez yielding his first run of the contest on a Bobby Witt Jr. ground-out — Jonah Heim singled to lead off the second. Royals pitcher Kris Bubic uncorked a wild pitch on his first toss to Kole Calhoun, and Heim advanced to second.
Calhoun then earned a 3-1 base on balls to give Texas runners on first and second sacks. Mitch Garver bounced a ball to Witt Jr. that he misplayed, juicing the bases for the Rangers.
Nathaniel Lowe earned a walk to plate Heim, knotting the game at 1-1 while keeping the bases loaded. Following a mound visit by the Royals staff to calm Bubic, Leody Taveras singled to right field to score Calhoun and Garver, giving the Rangers a 3-1 lead. Corey Seager added an RBI on a fielder’s choice to send Lowe home and push the Texas lead to 4-1 after two.
Perez, the Texas ace whose ERA has hovered below 2.00 most of the season, gave up three runs in the bottom of the second to tie the game again, this time at 4-4. After the contest, Perez told MLB that getting raked like that in years past would have sent him into a tizzy.
“Before, something goes wrong, and I can’t control my emotions, and we lose the game,” Pérez told MLB.com. “Now, I know the game is nine innings and 27 outs. So anything can happen, and it doesn’t matter how many runs they score; we just have to go out there and stop it. … It’s just not losing [my] focus.”
And focus he did. Following a mound visit for Perez in the bottom of the second, the crafty left-hander, celebrating his 10th season in the MLB on the day, retired 13 of the next 16 Royals he faced, allowing just two hits and a walk during the span.
“That’s what good pitchers do,” Texas skipper Chris Woodward said. “That’s what aces do, and he’s been doing that all year. But he righted the ship and honestly changed a little bit of how he was pitching those guys. He could see that they were doing certain things to him, and that’s one thing that separates Martín. … He’s willing to make those adjustments.”
With Perez once again sharp on the hill, his teammates at the plate picked him up with six unanswered runs for the 10-4 win.
All told, Perez allowed four earned runs on seven hits with two walks and six strikeouts. The win moves his season record to 6-2, and the uncharacteristic run barrage inflates his ERA to 2.22.
Offensively, the Rangers got a sac-fly from Marcus Semien to give the Rangers a 5-4 lead in the fourth.
In the fifth inning, Mitch Garver hit his eighth homer of the year, this one a two-run shot with Calhoun onboard.
Brett Martin pitched a perfect seventh inning for the Rangers out of the pen, and Brock Burke tossed two scoreless frames to close out the contest for Texas.
The Texas bats plated three more in the sixth with a double by Adolis Garcia scoring one and a single by Calhoun scoring the final two. The win moves Texas to 35-37 on the season, good for second place in the AL West, still 10 games behind first-place Houston and one game ahead of third-place Los Angeles.
The Rangers will face the Royals again on June 28 in game two of a four-game set in Kansas City. Probable starters for the tilt are Jon Gray (3-3, 4.18) for Texas and Jonathan Heasley (1-3, 4.14) for the Royals. The start time is slated for 8:10 EDT.