The Kansas City Royals kept the Texas Rangers from taking a series sweep with a 2-1 victory Wednesday at Kauffman Stadium.
Unlike the first two games of the series, this getaway game was all about the pitching, as both teams struggled to generate offense. That struggle didn’t end with the starters — Kansas City’s Zach Greinke and Texas’ Dane Dunning — left the game, either.
The Rangers (36-38) failed to get back to .500 for the first time since May 31. The Rangers were hoping for a series sweep as they enter an off-day Thursday and a three-day set at the New York Mets starting Friday. The Mets (47-29) have the best record in the National League.
Dunning (1-6) had another hard-luck start. The right-hander continues to produce quality starts, as he went six innings, giving up six hits and two runs (both earned). He walked three and struck out three, as he nudged his ERA down to 4.09. Dunning has now turned in four quality appearances in his last six starts. But he ended up going 0-3 for June. Dunning hasn’t recorded a win since April 30.
The difference in the game turned out to be a home run by Kansas City’s Kyle Isbel in the bottom of the fifth that broke a 1-1 tie.
The Royals started former Cy Young winner Greinke (2-4), who is still working his way back from an injury earlier this season. The right-hander gave up just four hits in six innings, while allowing one run, which came on a Leody Taveras home run in the top of the fifth. Greinke struck out three and walked one.
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Both bullpens entered in the seventh inning and pitched scoreless baseball.
Kansas City jumped ahead in the bottom of the first with Bobby Witt Jr. scoring on a MJ Melendez base hit. The Royals had the bases loaded with two outs when Melendez singled, and Taveras threw out Hunter Dozier at home to prevent the Royals from take a two-run lead.
Rangers outfielder Adolis García went 1-for-4 and extended his career-high hitting streak to 11 games.
Rangers rookie third baseman Josh H. Smith went 0-for-4 and saw his 11-game streak of reaching base come to an end. On Tuesday he tied Nick Solak for the most consecutive games to reach base to start a Rangers career.
The Rangers have not provided a probable starting pitcher for Friday’s game with the Mets, which starts at 6:10 p.m. CT. That is supposed to be Glenn Otto’s turn in the rotation, but Otto didn’t get out of the third inning in his first start back from the COVID-19 injured list on Sunday.
You can find Matthew Postins on Twitter @PostinsPostcard