Rougned Odor homers twice for Rangers in 8-3 win over Royals
ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) Rougned Odor homered twice, and A.J. Griffin also went a little deeper for the Texas Rangers.
Odor hit a ball into the second deck of seats for the second game in a row, along with another solo shot that just cleared the wall, and Griffin had his longest outing in seven starts since coming off the disabled list in the Rangers' 8-3 victory over the Kansas City Royals on Friday night.
''I felt like that was a big step. I made a little adjustment in my delivery. I was more direct to the target,'' said Griffin, who was out of the majors the past two seasons after Tommy John surgery. ''Two years off from pitching is a long time. It caught up with me a little bit. I feel like I am getting that second wind. My shoulder's responding a lot better with each outing.''
Griffin (4-1) is the only Texas starter other than All-Star lefty Cole Hamels with a win in July.
The right-hander has been back just over a month from the disabled list, getting sidelined by right shoulder stiffness after going 3-1 in six starts through the first week of May. He struck out one and walked two while throwing 66 of 98 pitches for strikes in 5 2-3 innings.
''Probably the best he's used the up-to-down game,'' manager Jeff Banister said. ''The high fastball, low fastball, cutter, not really focusing on one location at the plate.''
Jurickson Profar also homered for the AL West-leading Rangers, and scored three runs.
Odor's solo homer in the first put Texas up 3-0 against Edinson Volquez (8-9). That 443-foot drive into the second deck in right field came a night after Odor's 465-footer that is the longest in his career. His 21st homer, in the seventh, barely cleared the 8-foot wall in right.
''I don't try to hit homers, but if I hit it I feel good,'' Odor said.
Eric Hosmer homered for the defending World Series champion Royals, who dropped to 10 games behind Cleveland in the AL Central. It is the first time Kansas City, also the AL champion in 2014, has been 10 games back in the division since a 10 1/2-game deficit on Aug. 31, 2013.
''Offense has been sporadic. It's just been tough. You just come to the ballpark the next day ready to find a way to win a game,'' manager Ned Yost said. ''Keep grinding away. ... Your mindset is there's a couple months left of baseball to play.''
FROM NONE TO SOME
Texas loaded the bases with no outs in the fourth without scoring, but Profar and Nomar Mazara had consecutive doubles to start the fifth. An inning later, Profar hit his fifth homer of the season.
After Lorenzo Cain was hit by a pitch with two outs in the sixth, Hosmer snapped an 0-for-14 slump with his 14th homer. That got the Royals within 5-2 and chased Griffin.
Volquez allowed nine hits and six runs while striking out five in six innings. .. Reliever Dario Alvarez made his Rangers debut, two days after coming in a trade from Atlanta. The lefty allowed singles to the only two batters he faced to start the seventh. ... Veteran RHP Kyle Lohse, who allowed 13 runs in 9 1-3 innings while losing both of his Texas starts, declined an outright assignment to Triple-A Round Rock and became a free agent.
Royals: Cain played for the first time since June 28 after missing 25 games because of a left hamstring strain. He was reactivated from the disabled list, and rookie OF Brett Eibner was optioned to Triple-A Omaha. ... RHP Luke Hochevar (thoracic outlet syndrome) will get a second opinion Monday from another specialist in Kansas City after a Dallas specialist on Friday recommended season-ending surgery.
Rangers: Slugger Prince Fielder's season-ending surgery Friday to repair a herniated disk in his neck went as expected. ... LHP Derek Holland, on the 60-day DL with left shoulder inflammation and not eligible to come back before Aug. 20, said he wasn't tired after throwing a 42-pitch bullpen session. He is scheduled to throw live batting practice Tuesday.
Royals: RHP Ian Kennedy (6-9) is 0-3 in five starts this month. He is also 0-2 in three career starts against the Rangers.
Rangers: Lefty Martin Perez (7-7) was 4-0 in five starts in June, but goes into his sixth start in July still without a win. He's 0-3 this month, and has allowed 29 runs (22 earned) his last four starts.