KANSAS CITY -- Rangers reliever Keone Kela, with the score tied at 3 in the eighth inning, had two outs and was ahead 1-2 in the count against Royals catcher Salvador Perez. Kela had thrown three straight curveballs.
Kela wanted a fastball on the outside corner. He had just struck out Alex Rios on the same count with the same pitch, and he needed one more strike.
"If we could have held them right there, I felt like we had a chance to win the game," Rangers manager Jeff Banister said after a 4-3 loss on Sunday afternoon.
Kela threw the fastball, but it didn't stay outside.
"The ball ran back over the plate," Kela said. "I didn't execute my pitch."
Instead, Perez hit the ball into the Royals' bullpen for a game-winning home run and the Rangers missed their chance to sweep the defending American League champions in their ballpark. Texas trailed, 3-0, into the seventh before rallying with three runs to tie the game.
A misplaced fastball was not the only play lamented in the Rangers' clubhouse after the game. There were a couple of defensive mistakes made behind starter Colby Lewis that cost the Rangers as well.
"We didn't field the ball as cleanly as we would like," Banister said. "It took us a few innings to get in the rhythm of the game."
The Rangers trailed, 1-0, into the second when, with one out, Omar Infante hit a soft line drive toward shortstop Elvis Andrus. After first trying to catch it on the fly, Andrus pulled up, tried for the short-hop play and bobbled the ball momentarily. That allowed Infante to beat out an infield single.
"I didn't see it at first," Andrus said. "It came out of the stands. I thought I had a chance to catch it in the air. When I couldn't, I put my body in front of it and made the throw. He just beat it out."
Infante ended up scoring on a sacrifice fly by Alcides Escobar that made it 2-0, and it stayed that way into the fifth when the Royals had Escobar on first and Kendrys Morales at the plate with two outs.
Morales hit a fly ball to left-center that sliced away from center fielder Leonys Martin and landed safely. Martin got to the ball, but it kicked off his glove. Left fielder Delino DeShields also fumbled the ball backing up the play, and Escobar came around to score.
"If we catch the ball, I don't know if he comes around to score," Banister said. "Those plays didn't go down as errors, but those are challenging plays, ones that we need to secure."