Moreland's walk-off HR keeps Rangers on roll

Moreland's walk-off HR keeps Rangers on roll

ARLINGTON -- Another terrific pitching duel between the Rangers and the Royals was decided by one swing from Mitch Moreland.

Moreland hit a two-out home run in the bottom of the ninth inning off reliever Brooks Pounders to give the Rangers a 2-1 victory over the Royals on Saturday night at Globe Life Park.

Moreland hit a 1-0 pitch to give the Rangers a third straight win over the Royals and increase their lead over the Astros to five games in the American League West. It was the Rangers' fourth walk-off win of the season and third on a home run.

Banister on win over Royals

The Rangers also beat the Royals, 3-2, Thursday night on an eighth-inning home run by Moreland. This was his first walk-off home run since June 21, 2011. 

"Definitely nice," Moreland said. "It's a long season, still go a lot of season left to go. A lot can happen during that time. We've got to continue to grind out at-bats and play hard and play all sides of the ball. That's what we've been doing most of the year and we're going to continue to do that."

Moreland on walk-off win

"I was trying to go down and away," Pounders said. "I caught too much of the plate to a really good hitter."

Both starting pitchers allowed one run in seven innings. Royals starter Ian Kennedy allowed six hits, did not walk a batter and struck out six, but is still looking for his first win since June 26. Rangers starter Martin Perez allowed four hits, three walks and had five strikeouts. He also hasn't won since June 26.

"Seven strong innings," Royals manager Ned Yost said of Kennedy's start. "He was on the attack from the get-go. He had his good breaking ball, good changeup, spotted his fastball really, really well."

Kennedy allows one run

The Royals have lost 11 of 15 games since the All-Star break to drop five games under .500. They have scored just 49 runs in those 15 games while their pitchers have a 5.44 ERA.

MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Bush preserves the tie: Matt Bush set up Moreland's walk-off home run by firing two scoreless innings in relief of Perez. Bush rebounded from a tough outing against the A's on Wednesday when he allowed four runs and picked up a loss while getting just one out. Bush gave up only a single through his two innings of work to pick up his fourth win of the season.

"I felt I needed to make a little adjustment after that last outing," Bush said. "I was looking forward to getting back out there. I wanted to locate my pitches and get more on a downward plane rather than trying to throw the ball by anybody."

Bush fans Hosmer

Perez reaches quality-start milestone: Perez recorded his 16th straight quality start at home, setting a club record once held by Jon Matlack. Perez's streak dates back to Aug. 2 of last season. He has a 2.51 ERA at Globe Life Park since May 13.

"I don't know, I just want to go out there and do my job," Perez said. "It's not easy pitching here but you are in front of our fans."

Perez's strong start

Andrus doubles his triples lead: Elvis Andrus hit his sixth triple of the season in the third inning. He leads the Rangers with three more than any other teammate and is tied for second in the American League. He scored on a single by Bobby Wilson.

Wilson's RBI single

Royals' hit-and-run pays off: The Rangers turned three double plays but the Royals used the hit-and-run to stay away from one in the first and score a run. After leadoff singles by Alcides Escobar and Cheslor Cuthbert, Lorenzo Cain hit a hard grounder right at shortstop Elvis Andrus, who fumbled it long enough to just get the force at second. The Royals were left with runners at the corners and Eric Hosmer followed with a hard grounder at second baseman Rougned Odor. But Cain was running on the pitch, so Odor had to throw to first and Escobar scored.

Hosmer's RBI groundout

"We're struggling," Yost said. "We're struggling to put some offense together. We jumped out to a 1-0 lead in the first, and you're thinking, 'OK, good, maybe here we go a little bit.' But Perez just kind of shut us down.

"It's an opportunity that's lost. You had an opportunity to win that game, and that's what we asked our starters to do, just keep us in the game and give us a chance to win it."

WHAT'S NEXT
Royals:
Right-hander Dillon Gee starts for the Royals when they face the Rangers in the finale of the four-game series at 2:05 p.m. CT Sunday at Globe Life Park in Arlington. Gee will make his seventh start for the Royals and is 2-4 with a 6.43 ERA in the previous six.

Rangers: Right-hander Lucas Harrell makes his first start for the Rangers. Harrell was acquired earlier this week from the Braves. He was 2-2 with a 3.38 ERA in five starts for them.

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

Jeffrey Flanagan has covered the Royals since 1991, and for MLB.com since 2015. Follow him on Twitter @FlannyMLB.

T.R. Sullivan has covered the Rangers since 1989, and for MLB.com since 2006. 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.