ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) — Starting pitcher Jakob Junis and the Kansas City bullpen stymied Texas’ high-powered offense Thursday night as the Royals snapped a three-game losing streak with a 4-2 win over the Rangers.
Jorge Soler and Adalberto Mondesi homered for the Royals, who improved to 8-20 away from home but still have the worst road record in the majors.
Junis (4-5) allowed solo homers to Shin-Soo Choo and Nomar Mazara, and two walks to go with seven strikeouts for his first win since May 1. The victory follows three losses and a no-decision.
“After that first inning, I just stopped trying to try so hard, just letting it come to me and let my body relax,” Junis said. “I slowed things down, and I got pretty sharp there for the rest of the game.”
Ian Kennedy worked a perfect ninth inning for his third save, and the first for Kansas City since May 1.
“We just needed a little bit more offensive production today that we didn’t get,” Rangers manager Chris Woodard said.
Mike Minor (5-4) allowed three runs on seven hits in five-plus innings, matching the most runs he has allowed in his last seven starts. Minor entered the game ranked fourth in the American League in ERA at 2.55, and had given up two earned runs in his previous 30 innings at Globe Life Park.
Soler’s three-run home run struck the foul pole in left field and was his career-best 14th this season. He has 12 RBI in his last nine games.
Mondesi had his fifth three-hit game of the season.
Choo’s homer was his sixth in the last 12 games and the 199th of his career.
Mazara has homered in two of his last three games.
Minor took a four-hit shutout into the sixth inning. After Mondesi left off with a single to left field, left-handed hitting Alex Gordon hit a grounder to the left side against the shift. Third baseman Asdrúbal Cabrera began to field the ball to his left before letting it go through to shortstop Elvis Andrus, whose throw to second base wasn’t in time.
“I think there was a little bit of miscommunication there,” Woodward said of Gordon’s grounder. “He (Cabrera) thought Elvis was going to get it. That’s probably Cabrera’s ball to go after, especially when your momentum is carrying you toward second base.”
Soler then hit a first-pitch fastball at the top of the strike zone.
“He’s not supposed to hit that,” Minor said. “I don’t know how he’s sitting on that when I’m throwing changeups.”
Royals 3B Hunter Dozier left the game with right-side thorax tightness after swinging at a changeup, and was replaced in the lineup by Gordon. Yost said Dozier will probably miss one or two games.
“It’s something you don’t really mess around with,” said Dozier, who attended high school in nearby Denton, Texas. “Try to get on top of it before it gets worse.”
The Royals struck out 16 times, one short of their season high, while the Rangers struck out 12 times. Kansas City’s Whit Merrifield, Chris Owings and Billy Hamilton each fanned four times.
Mondesi, the majors’ leader in stolen bases with 18, was picked off by the left-handed Minor with an 0-2 count on Hunter Dozier to end the third inning. . Chris Owings, Billy Hamilton and Whit Merrifield each struck out four times. … It was the first game of a season-long 11-game Rangers homestand.
Royals: DH Lucas Duda (back) sat out Triple-A Omaha’s game at San Antonio on Thursday night after going 3 for 7 during the first two games of his injury rehab.
Rangers: CF Joey Gallo (wrist) returned to the lineup after leaving Tuesday’s game at Seattle as a precaution and sitting out Wednesday’s game as previously planned. Gallo went 0 for 3 with two strikeouts and one walk. … OF Scott Heineman (shoulder) was recalled from his rehab assignment at Triple-A Nashville because of soreness.
Royals: LHP Danny Duffy (3-1, 3.12 ERA) has pitched to a 1.80 ERA in his last five starts against Texas.
Rangers: The parents of RHP Ariel Jurado (1-2, 2.28) will see him pitch as a pro for the first time during their first trip to the United States.