KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — A late rally put the Texas Rangers in position for yet another win. Salvador Perez had other ideas.
Perez hit a solo home run with two outs in the eighth inning and the Kansas City Royals avoided a sweep, beating Texas 4-3 Sunday.
The Rangers have the best record in the majors over the last month, winning 22 of 33. Down 3-0, they tied it in the seventh.
“It’s tough to sweep a series, especially against a team like that,” Rangers manager Jeff Banister said. “After the first couple of innings we continued to battle. We battled back and put runs on the board and got back in the game.”
“The game can be fragile. It can hinge on one pitch. If you mis-execute, a good hitter, a calm hitter, can make you pay. We wanted to win the series, but we want to win games, too. We put ourselves in a position to complete the day,” he said.
The Rangers managed just one hit through six innings against Jeremy Guthrie.
“Guthrie’s secondary stuff gave us fits,” Banister said. “It seemed like we continued to look for something we didn’t get. He used the breaking ball and changeup, and we kept looking for the fastball. Give him credit, too. He had five strikeouts pretty quickly. He kept us off balance.”
Guthrie left with a three-run lead after a pair of hits in the seventh, and reliever Kelvin Herrera could not hold it. Elvis Andrus singled to load the bases, Leonys Martin hit a two-run single and Robinson Chirinos’ RBI groundout tied it.
Perez hit his eighth homer, sending a pitch from Keone Kela (4-2) into the Royals’ bullpen.
“It’s pretty cut and dried simple; I didn’t execute my pitch and he executed,” Kela said.
Kela’s fastball ran back inside to Perez.
“It leaned back over into Perez’s nitro zone,” Banister said.
Greg Holland pitched a perfect ninth for his ninth save in 10 opportunities.
Wade Davis (3-1) picked up the victory, working around Prince Fielder’s double in the eighth.
Rangers starter Colby Lewis departed after seven innings and 101 pitches, giving up three runs and eight hits.
Kendrys Morales hit an RBI double in the fifth that made it 3-0.
“We’re playing really well,” Lewis said. “We were in the game to the very end. Our offense has been super strong. Our bullpen has been strong and we’ve had good starting pitching. When all three elements come together we’re going to win a lot of games.”
Rangers: RHP Ross Ohlendorf (strained right groin) was put on the disabled list. He joins 13 other Rangers on the DL. … RHP Neftali Feliz (abscess procedure) threw one inning on a rehab assignment Saturday for Triple-A Round Rock, allowing one unearned run on one hit against Oklahoma City. He walked one and struck out one, throwing 24 pitches. … LHP Matt Harrison (spinal fusion) will make his second rehab start Monday for Round Rock.
Rangers: After an off-day Monday, RHP Nick Martinez will start the series opener Tuesday at Oakland.
Royals: RF Alex Rios is 13 for 27 with four doubles and a home run against RHP Phil Hughes, the Twins’ starter Monday at Minnesota.