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Rangers stay tough on Royals in walk-off win

MLB.com

ARLINGTON -- Elvis Andrus singled home the winning run in the ninth to give the Rangers a 2-1 walk-off victory over the Royals on Saturday night at Globe Life Park. The Rangers have won three straight in this series -- including two in walk-off fashion -- and nine straight over the Royals dating to last season.

"We feel good," Andrus said. "We were playing good baseball even before these last three games. We knew that as a team, we were going to get back on track, especially our bullpen. We know it's a long season and they're going to do their job. They're too good, too talented for whatever was happening. It's pretty big for us mentally. We're grinding every inning, every at-bat. That's what you want to see as a team."

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ARLINGTON -- Elvis Andrus singled home the winning run in the ninth to give the Rangers a 2-1 walk-off victory over the Royals on Saturday night at Globe Life Park. The Rangers have won three straight in this series -- including two in walk-off fashion -- and nine straight over the Royals dating to last season.

"We feel good," Andrus said. "We were playing good baseball even before these last three games. We knew that as a team, we were going to get back on track, especially our bullpen. We know it's a long season and they're going to do their job. They're too good, too talented for whatever was happening. It's pretty big for us mentally. We're grinding every inning, every at-bat. That's what you want to see as a team."

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Royals left-hander Travis Wood entered the game in the ninth and Rougned Odor led off with a single to left. Right-hander Peter Moylan came in to face Andrus and Odor stole second on a 1-0 pitch. Andrus then lined one down the left-field line for the game-winning hit.

Video: KC@TEX: Andrus gets drenched as he discusses walk-off

Rangers starter Nick Martinez, filling in after A.J. Griffin was placed on the disabled list on Friday night, also went seven innings and allowed just one run on four hits. He walked one and struck out three. Rangers starting pitchers now have a 2.47 ERA in their last 13 games, and have allowed just two runs in 21 innings in three games the Royals.

Video: KC@TEX: Martinez holds Royals to one run over seven

"I felt great," Martinez said. "Had good rhythm with my mechanics and we had a good game plan."

Royals starter Ian Kennedy held the Rangers to one run -- Mike Napoli's opposite-field homer that traveled a projected 353 feet, according to Statcast™ -- for seven innings, allowing four hits and walking three. Kennedy lowered his ERA to 2.08 in four starts this season, but the Royals have scored only two runs during his 26 innings, a run support average of 0.69.

Video: KC@TEX: Kennedy holds Rangers to one run over seven

"I made one mistake today," Kennedy said. "It might have been a little more plate than I wanted, I was trying to get a first-pitch out, trying to go down and away and it maybe ran back a little bit. It's gonna happen, the shortest part of that corner over there [in right field]. He's strong enough to get the barrel on it."

MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Butera breaks up no-hitter: Martinez took a 1-0 lead and a no-hit bid into the sixth. But with one out, Drew Butera smacked a ground ball through the left side, just beyond the reach of third baseman Joey Gallo and shortstop Andrus for a single. Butera went to second on Alex Gordon's weak grounder to third and scored when Mike Moustakas grounded a two-out single through the middle.

Video: KC@TEX: Moustakas plates Butera with a single

"It creeped in there a little bit ... right around the time I gave up the hit," Martinez said.

Andrus makes terrific play: Royals right fielder Whit Merrifield led off the fifth with a hard grounder to the left side. Andrus made a backhanded play on the grass, jumped in the air and made a strong accurate throw to first. Merrifield was out by a half-step.

Video: KC@TEX: Andrus takes a base hit away from Merrifield

QUOTABLE
"I didn't notice the no-hitter. I was just watching the game. Tremendous job by Nick." -- Rangers reliever Matt Bush

WHAT'S NEXT
Royals: After earning the loss in his first three starts, Jason Hammel will face the Rangers in the finale of the four-game series on Sunday at 2:05 p.m. CT. Hammel got scarce run support in his last loss, a 2-1 defeat against the Giants in which he threw six innings and allowed one run and six hits.

Rangers: Right-hander Yu Darvish will get the start for the Rangers in the finale against the Royals on Sunday. Darvish is 1-3 with a 5.93 ERA in his last five starts at Globe Life Park dating to last year.

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

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.

Dave Sessions is a contributor to MLB.com based in Texas and covered the Royals on Saturday.