Rangers pack 1-2 punch in sweep of Royals
ARLINGTON — The Rangers hopped out to an early lead against the Royals on Sunday afternoon behind a big first inning from outfielders Joey Gallo and Adolis García on their way to a 4-1 victory to complete the three-game sweep at Globe Life Field.
This is the first series win and sweep for the Rangers since May 21-23 at home against the Astros. Texas has only swept its opponent twice this season. Manager Chris Woodward said he felt like it was a more complete game for his squad right from the beginning.
The Rangers excelled by maximizing on Kansas City errors. The Royals had three in the finale, two of which turned into runs. In the big three-run first inning, Isiah Kiner-Falefa reached on a throwing error by Royals starter Brady Singer. Kiner-Falefa was then driven in with an RBI triple from García before Gallo belted a two-run homer over the left-field wall — his third homer in two games — a Statcast-projected 385 feet.
Garcia, an American League All-Star ballot finalist. and Gallo have been a powerful 1-2 punch in recent weeks. During the 10-game homestand, the two went a combined 20-for-68 (.294) with nine home runs, 19 RBIs and 15 walks.
“It’s always good to be able to help the team, first to win, and, it’s good to see [Gallo] because of all the hard work that he has been putting in,” García said through an interpreter. “It’s starting to kind of pay off and it’s pretty cool to be able to help contribute to the team.”
Texas was out-hit, 8-4, but the big first inning along with Kansas City’s errors were the difference in the game. Kiner-Falefa reached base in all four of his plate appearances without recording a hit or a walk. He reached on two errors and two fielder’s choices.
“Anytime you can kind of get a rally off of [your opponent’s] mistakes, it’s important to take advantage of it when you get them,” Woodward said. “It doesn’t happen too often. When they do, you try to take advantage and hopefully it’ll help you win a game. We try to do the opposite on the other side of the ball and try to be as clean as we can to prevent those things, but it was nice to see our guys can take advantage today.”
Rangers starter Jordan Lyles matched his longest outing of the season, throwing seven innings of one-run ball. Woodward said that scoring three runs in the first allowed Lyles to settle in without the pressure of working from behind.
The right-hander allowed two hard-hit singles in the first inning, but retired the final nine batters he faced in picking up his third win of the season.
Woodward emphasized the importance of this series sweep as the Rangers head out on the road again, where they are 10-27 away from Globe Life Field and 20-21 at home.
“I told this team many times we’re obviously young, and there’s a lot of growth and development going on, but at the same time, we’re competitive,” the skipper said. “We want to win. What we went through before [16-game road losing streak] was important for us to kind of get through and come out the other side.
“The way our guys are swinging the bat is a little better and our pitching has been good all year, keeping us in every game. Hopefully we can find a way to win the games like today, where we didn’t bust it out offensively, but we scored early and found a way to win.”
Kennedi Landry covers the Rangers for MLB.com. Follow her on Twitter @kennlandry.