Chi Chi, Rangers shut down Royals

Chi Chi, Rangers shut down Royals

KANSAS CITY -- Rangers rookie right-hander Chi Chi Gonzalez tossed a three-hit shutout and Mitch Moreland homered as the Rangers topped the slumping Royals, 4-0, at Kauffman Stadium on Friday night.

The Royals, who two weeks ago had the best record in baseball, now have lost eight of 10.

"We just don't have really much going on right now," Royals manager Ned Yost said. "We're just trying to stay focused and get something going."

Gonzalez was making just his second Major League start -- he had 5 2/3 scoreless innings against the Red Sox last Saturday. This time, Gonzalez had little trouble with a Royals offense that has scored just nine runs in those eight losses.

Gonzalez's shutout

Yost said he would not tinker with the batting order.

"Not right now," he said. "I don't see it right now. The whole club is struggling right now so I don't see any value in that."

Gonzalez, the Rangers' first-round pick in 2013, walked two and struck out two..

Edinson Volquez started for the Royals and gave up four runs in 5 1/2 innings. He gave up six hits, walked three and struck out six. More >

Choo delivers first RBI: The Rangers got a break in the first inning when Royals center fielder Lorenzo Cain missed a diving catch on Delino DeShields' slicing line drive to lead off the game. DeShields ended up with a triple and Shin-Soo Choo brought him home with a grounder to second base. That gave Gonzalez a 1-0 lead before he took the mound.

DeShields' leadoff triple

Double play squelches rally: The Royals' only sign of life offensively came in the seventh. Eric Hosmer reached with one out on a bunt single and Kendrys Morales walked. But Alex Gordon went after the very next pitch and rolled into a double play. The ball took a wicked hop on second baseman Hanser Alberto and he bobbled it momentarily. But he recovered and started the inning-ending double play.

"It's frustrating," Cain said. "I know what we can do and as a team we're just not getting it done right now."

Added Hosmer, "We're definitely in a rut, but you can't take anything away from [Gonzalez's] performance. He threw a complete-game shutout. Didn't really walk many people, was firing strikes."

Steals key fifth-inning rally: Mitch Moreland started the Rangers three-run sixth with a leadoff home run of of Volquez but a couple of stolen bases were also important. Elvis Andrus singled with one out and stole second. Leonys Martin followed with an infield hit, putting runners at the corners. He then stole second, putting two runners in scoring position and Robinson Chirinos brought them both home with a single to right.

Rangers swipe four bags

"When you are playing in front of 38,000, 40,000, and all you see is a sea of blue, you know you're in their house. To get a good win, fantastic job by our guys." -- Rangers manager Jeff Banister

The last Rangers shutout on three hits or less was a two-hitter by left-hander Doug Davis on April 11, 2002.

Rangers break review streak
The Rangers finally won a challenge. Mike Moustakas doubled to left field with one out in the first inning, apparently beating a strong throw from DeShields with a head-first slide. But the Rangers challenged the call, believing that Alberto got the tag down before Moustakas reached second base. The call was overturned. The Rangers had been unsuccessful on 10 straight challenges before getting one overturned for the first time since April 26.

"That changed the whole inning," Gonzalez said. "That changed the whole game. Great throw by DeShields."

Rangers get Moustakas on review

Emboldened by their success, the Rangers tried another challenge in the seventh. This came after Hosmer reached on an infield single when Gonzalez, fielding a grounder between home and the mound, pulled Moreland off first base with his throw. The Rangers challenged but the call was upheld.


Hosmer's single confirmed

Rangers: Left-hander Wandy Rodriguez pitches against the Royals at 1:10 p.m. CT Saturday at Kauffman Stadium. Rodriguez has lost his only two career starts against the Royals, but is pitching against them for the first time since 2012.

Royals: Right-hander Yordano Ventura pitches against the Rangers at 1:10 p.m. CT Saturday at Kauffman Stadium. Ventura gave up five runs in seven innings in a 5-2 loss to the Rangers on May 13.

Watch every out-of-market regular season game live on MLB.TV.

Jeffrey Flanagan is a reporter for Follow him on Twitter at @FlannyMLB. T.R. Sullivan is a reporter for Read his blog, Postcards from Elysian Fields, follow him on Twitter @Sullivan_Ranger and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.