ARLINGTON, Texas — For the most part, the Texas Rangers have looked like a team that is destined for a top-five pick next summer. But on this night, they didn't play the part.
The Rangers put together arguably their most complete game of the season, defeating the Kansas City Royals by a score of 9-4. All of Texas' nine runs came in two innings, as the Rangers put up a four-spot in the fourth and scored five more in the sixth. 10 of Texas' 13 hits came from the five through eight spots in the lineup, while Nate Lowe, Jonah Heim, and No. 9 hitter Charlie Culberson each had two RBI.
The Rangers know Royals starter Mike Minor very well, who pitched two and a half seasons for Texas. While Minor had success in the first three innings, the Rangers adjusted to Minor's changeup — his most dangerous pitch — and eventually got to the 33-year-old southpaw.
"To see Jonah, to see Nate, guys who have been working on certain things to get results, it's awesome," said Rangers manager Chris Woodward. "It's encouraging to see that. I feel like we've made some progress over the last week or so. Better at-bats, more quality up and down the lineup. Hopefully some games like this give us a little bit more confidence.
While the offense did their job tonight, it might have been all for naught if it weren't for the Rangers' defense — and it began right from the start. Charlie Culberson made a difficult barehanded play to rob Whit Merrifield of an infield hit in the first at-bat of the game, and the defensive highlights kept coming.
Culberson added two more stellar plays defensively, while Eli White and Adolis García each made highlight reel plays in the outfield, with the latter saving two runs and preserved the Ranges 4-2 lead in the fifth inning.
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The Rangers have several players who defend well, but this was undoubtedly the most complete effort in the field.
"That's the first thing I told our group after the game," said Woodward. "It allowed our offense to put some distance in the scoring column. I feel like we give a good effort every night defensively. But tonight, that set the tone."
On the mound, Dane Dunning got through five innings, allowing just two runs on five hits with two walks and four strikeouts. John King, who is being stretched out to a starter's workload, nearly recorded a four-inning save, retiring the first 11 batters he faced. However, he allowed three consecutive hits and exceeded his pitch count in the ninth inning, which forced Chris Woodward to go to Spencer Patton for the final out of the ballgame.
The Rangers (28-48) look to build off the positive momentum as they prepare for a 3:05 p.m. start on Saturday against the Royals (33-41) at Globe Life Field. Texas will send ace Kyle Gibson (5-0, 2.17 ERA) to the mound to square off with Kansas City right-hander Kyle Zimmer (3-0, 2.48 ERA).
More on SI's Inside The Rangers:
- Rangers Fall To A's 5-1, Split Four-Game Series
- Adrián Beltré, Chuck Morgan Selected As Newest Members of Texas Rangers Hall Of Fame
- García Clubs Two Homers As Rangers Upend A's 5-3
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