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Torres' hit up middle becomes LL home run

Royals infielder's hustle provides spark in win over Rangers
Special to MLB.com

ARLINGTON -- With a runner on and two out in the second inning in Thursday night's 8-2 win over the Rangers, Royals' No. 9 hitter Ramon Torres hit a routine chopper up the middle off starter Austin Bibens-Dirkx that suddenly turned into two runs when center fielder Delino DeShields let the ball roll through his legs.

The ball bounced nearly to the wall, allowing Ryan Goins to score easily from first. Torres raced around third and dove headfirst to the plate and just beat the tag from Rangers catcher Robinson Chirinos.

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ARLINGTON -- With a runner on and two out in the second inning in Thursday night's 8-2 win over the Rangers, Royals' No. 9 hitter Ramon Torres hit a routine chopper up the middle off starter Austin Bibens-Dirkx that suddenly turned into two runs when center fielder Delino DeShields let the ball roll through his legs.

The ball bounced nearly to the wall, allowing Ryan Goins to score easily from first. Torres raced around third and dove headfirst to the plate and just beat the tag from Rangers catcher Robinson Chirinos.

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DeShields got in front of the ball, which wasn't hit that sharply, but it skipped wide of his glove for a single and a rare three-base error, and a tone-setting 2-0 lead for the Royals.

"I might have been too passive," DeShields said. "I know the grass in the outfield snakes. I got to it, didn't think the guy was going to third. I tried to get in front of it, but my glove was too deep and I didn't get it down. It kind of zagged away from me. You try to prevent those things from happening and then they happen."

Torres, for his part, wasn't even in the lineup until just before the series opener at Globe Life Park, when he was inserted at third base as manager Ned Yost shuffled the lineup to fill the void left by an injury to left fielder Alex Gordon.

The early offense aided Royals starter Danny Duffy, who allowed one earned run on four hits and two walks in 7 2/3 innings for his longest outing since July 15 of last season, also against the Rangers. He struck out five and threw a season-high 113 pitches.

"It was nice to be able to do something beneficial for the team ... Eating innings is what I'm used to, and it was nice to do that tonight," Duffy said.

This has mostly been a disappointing season for Duffy, who posted a league-high six losses entering Thursday with a whopping 6.88 ERA. Until this gem, he had pitched more than six innings just once in 10 starts, and even that was a forgettable performance -- a road loss against the Red Sox in which he allowed 10 hits and four homers in 6 2/3 innings.

But against a Rangers lineup featuring five players batting under .200, as well as the AL's worst batting average (.226) and OPS (.685), Duffy was nearly unhittable after DeShields led off the game with a single before being thrown out at second trying to advance on a wild pitch.

"Recent past, I've done well against them, but that happens to a lot of teams," Duffy said. "I've been throwing baseball professionally for almost 11 years now and you notice trends that you have success against people. Early on in my career, I did pretty well against the Indians, but they've done well against me as of late. You just kind of be confident in your stuff, trust what you've got and good things happen."

Dave Sessions is a contributor to MLB.com based in Texas.

Kansas City Royals, Danny Duffy, Ryan Goins, Ramon Torres