KANSAS CITY -- Royals catcher Salvador Perez lined the decisive solo home run in the eighth inning in a 4-3 victory over the Rangers in the series finale at Kauffman Stadium on Sunday afternoon. It was Kansas City's fourth win in its last 12 games.
Royals starter Jeremy Guthrie kept the Rangers scoreless through the first six innings, but he exited the game with two runners on base in the seventh, both of whom scored on Leonys Martin's bases-loaded single as part of a three-run inning to tie the game.
"I think it was a big win for us today," Perez said. "We have a happy flight and … tomorrow, we're going to play hard against Minnesota and do everything we can to win the game, win the series."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED Royals offense finds rhythm: After scoring just four runs over its past three games, Kansas City brought in a run in the first, second and fifth innings on seven hits to jump out to a 3-0 lead. Sacrifice flies drove in runs in each of the first two innings, while designated hitter Morales hit an RBI two-bagger to left-center field.
"It was huge on a number of fronts, because we've had a tremendous fan support and crowds out at this stadium the whole homestand," Royals manager Ned Yost said. "When the game started, I could barely find an empty seat, and we just haven't given them much to cheer for. It was big, and we had to find a way to win a baseball game today."
Rangers strike back: With one out in the seventh, the Rangers loaded the bases and Martin smacked a two-run single to right that allowed Elvis Andrus to get to third. With Robinson Chirinos at the plate and the Royals playing for the double play, Martin was running on a 2-2 pitch. Chirinos hit a grounder to shortstop Escobar, who went to first for the out and allowed Martin to score the tying run.
Salvy homers twice in two days: Perez's solo shot into the Royals' bullpen was his second home run in as many days, as he went deep with one out in the ninth in Saturday's 4-2 loss to the Rangers in a comeback attempt that fell short. Perez was met with a standing ovation from the home crowd after the game.
"It's unbelievable," Perez said. "I didn't think it was going to be out. Then I see out in left field the bullpen started to jump, I said, 'Okay, we got it.'" More >
No errors, but … : The Rangers weren't charged with any errors, but they didn't help out Lewis in a couple of key situations. With one out in the second, Omar Infante hit a soft line drive that one-hopped in front of shortstop Andrus. He fumbled the ball momentarily, long enough for Infante to beat it out for a single. Infante ended up scoring on a sacrifice fly by Escobar. In the fifth, the Royals had Escobar on first and two out when Morales dropped a fly ball into left-center. Center fielder Martin got to the ball on one hop but fumbled it, as did left fielder Delino DeShields backing him up, which allowed Escobar to score.
"It's tough to sweep a series, especially against a team like that," Banister said. "I felt like it took us a couple innings to get into the rhythm of the game. After that, we battled." More >
"To play a game as exciting as today's was, and have a full house with the excitement and the noise and energy that they generate was huge." -- Yost, on the sellout crowd
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With Sunday's win, Yost matched Royals Hall of Fame manager Dick Howser (1981-86) with 404 wins, becoming the second-winningest manager in franchise history.
"I don't really see it as my accomplishment," Yost said. "I've got great players who win baseball games, I've got great coaches that help me."
WHAT'S NEXT Rangers: The Rangers open a three-game road series with the Athletics as Nick Martinez (4-2, 2.89 ERA) pitches at 9:05 p.m. CT on Tuesday. The two teams split four games in Oakland to start the season and the A's took two of three from Texas in Arlington at the beginning of May. The Rangers have won six consecutive series.
Royals: The Royals begin an eight-game road stretch with their first of three games against the Twins on Monday at Target Field at 7:10 CT. Left-hander Jason Vargas (4-2, 4.79 ERA) gets the ball in his third start since returning from a left flexor strain after putting in six solid innings and getting the win over the Indians on Wednesday. He is 2-2 with a 5.00 ERA on the road this season.