ARLINGTON -- Rangers first baseman Mitch Moreland was the deciding factor in a superb pitching duel between teammate Cole Hamels and Royals starter Yordano Ventura.Moreland smashed two solo home runs off Ventura, the second one coming with one out in the eighth inning, to give the Rangers a 3-2 victory
ARLINGTON -- Rangers first baseman Mitch Moreland was the deciding factor in a superb pitching duel between teammate Cole Hamels and Royals starter Yordano Ventura.
Moreland smashed two solo home runs off Ventura, the second one coming with one out in the eighth inning, to give the Rangers a 3-2 victory over the Royals on Thursday night. Moreland also hit one in the fifth inning, registering the 10th multi-homer game of his career.
"Both pitches were away," Moreland said. "But if I'm able to do that, I'm staying on ball better. It worked out today. Both sides played a pretty complete game. The pitching was good on both sides. You kind of knew it would depend on a couple of timely hits. What Cole did made the night."
• Ventura troubled by HRs in tough-luck loss
Hamels went eight innings, allowing two runs on six hits and a walk while striking out a season-high 12. He also threw a season-high 123 pitches, and this was only the sixth time a Rangers starter has gone at least eight innings this season.
"It's always great when you're doing well and having non-stressful innings," Hamels said. "[Ventura] was having the same, so you were able to keep a good rhythm and pace. Ventura is pretty good, so to get that many home runs off him, it was huge. It was a good win for us."
Ventura took the loss despite being credited for the first complete game of his career and the first by a Royals pitcher this season. He gave up three home runs, including one in the fifth to Rougned Odor that traveled 465 feet. It's only the second time in his career he has allowed three home runs in a game.
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Hamels survives only walk: Hamels did not walk a batter until Paulo Orlando leading off the seventh. Orlando then stole second, and Hamels struck out Alex Gordon. The next two hitters smashed line drives, but Brett Eibner hit his at left fielder Delino DeShields and Drew Butera smacked his at third baseman Adrián Beltré to end the inning.
"That's what Cole does for us," Rangers manager Jeff Banister said. "What you saw tonight. He's our front-end guy."
Royals All-Star first baseman Eric Hosmer, who went 0-for-4, said, "There's no question we've run into good pitchers, but we're better than what we're showing right now. Personally and individually I need to pick it up. I've been in some good situations and haven't come through."
Orlando goes deep: Orlando had seven home runs in 241 at-bats last year, but just one in 250 at-bats this season going into Thursday night. But he took Hamels deep in the second inning for his first home run since May 17.
"He's tough," Royals manager Ned Yost said of Hamels. "That breaking ball, that cutter that he's got. Paulo really got into one there to give us the lead at that point."
Odor sets personal best: Odor hit his 19th home run of the season, and this one landed in the upper deck of the right-field porch. Statcast™ estimated a projected distance of 465 feet, the longest of Odor's career and the 13th longest in the Major Leagues this season. The exit velocity was 109.2 mph. More >
Eibner delivers timely hit: Eibner, after a leadoff base hit by Butera, snapped an 0-for-18 skid with a single in the fifth, giving the Royals runners at the corners. It was Eibner's first hit since before the All-Star break. Butera ended up scoring on Adalberto Mondesi's slow grounder to short.
"I'm definitely not a base stealer. I know that's what I'm looked upon as ... hit the ball in the gap or drive it out of the ballpark. I'm not going up there trying to hit a home run, but I am looking for a good pitch in the zone, put a good swing on it and square it up." -- Moreland, on his role in the Rangers lineup
Odor, with one out in the seventh, hit a grounder to the left side hole for what appeared to be an infield single. The Rangers second baseman slid headfirst and made it closer than it should have. The original call was Odor beat shortstop Alcides Escobar's throw, but the Royals challenged the call and it was overturned after review.
Royals: Right-hander Edinson Vólquez (8-8, 4.56 ERA) takes the mound for the Royals in Game 2 of the series at 7:05 p.m. CT. Volquez gave up one run and seven hits over six innings in a 2-1 loss to the Rangers last Sunday.
Rangers: Right-hander A.J. Griffin starts for the Rangers, still looking for his first win since coming off the disabled list on June 25. He allowed one run in five innings in his last start against the Royals on Sunday.
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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.
Jeffrey Flanagan has covered the Royals since 1991, and for MLB.com since 2015. Follow him on Twitter @FlannyMLB.