KANSAS CITY -- Shin-Soo Choo blooped an opposite-field RBI single with one out in the ninth inning, and left-hander Cole Hamels was dominant through 7 2/3 innings for the Rangers in a 1-0 win over the Royals on Saturday night at Kauffman Stadium.Jonathan Lucroy led off the ninth with a
KANSAS CITY -- Shin-Soo Choo blooped an opposite-field RBI single with one out in the ninth inning, and left-hander Cole Hamels was dominant through 7 2/3 innings for the Rangers in a 1-0 win over the Royals on Saturday night at Kauffman Stadium.
Jonathan Lucroy led off the ninth with a bloop single to right off Royals left-hander Danny Duffy before Delino DeShields' successful sacrifice bunt moved pinch-runner Joey Gallo into scoring position.
"Obviously the run scored on a couple of 130-foot hits," Duffy said, "but there could have been so many more baserunners today. It happens, man."
The Rangers have won 12 straight against the Royals. Hamels, who gave up five hits while walking one and striking out five, extended his scoreless-innings streak to 21, the longest active streak in the American League. Of his 99 pitches, 69 were strikes.
"Duffy is a tremendous pitcher," Hamels said. "He's always pitched well. He was making good pitches and getting quick outs, and it was just a matter of going out there and trying to match him. We were both having really short innings so we were kind of building off that and getting through the game, and all of sudden, you look up and it's the eighth inning, it's the ninth inning."
Reliever Jose Leclerc ended up getting the win by striking out Jorge Bonifacio with the potential go-ahead run on second base to end the eighth. Alex Claudio then pitched the ninth and earned his second save in two nights.
Duffy went 8 1/3 innings, giving up five hits and one run while walking none and striking out four.
"This really stinks because Duff pitched so well," Royals first baseman Eric Hosmer said, "and we just couldn't get a run for him."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Triple stands, and is stranded:Mike Napoli led off the second inning with a fly ball off the top of the wall in the right-field corner that caromed away from right fielder Bonifacio. Napoli made it to third for a triple and the Rangers asked for a crew-chief review to see if the ball might have been a home run. The call was confirmed. Napoli stayed at third with his 11th career triple and Duffy stranded him there. Nomar Mazara grounded out to second against a drawn-in infield, Carlos Gomez flied out to shallow left and Rougned Odor fouled out to end the inning.
"I knew the ball hit the rail, we wanted to make sure it didn't ricochet off a fan, which would have been a home run," Rangers manager Jeff Banister said. "We didn't want to leave a run on the board at that point."
Andrus saves a run: The Royals had runners on first and second with two out in the third when Bonifacio smacked a hard line drive headed toward left. Shortstop Elvis Andrus leaped and got his glove on the ball. He didn't catch it, but Andrus knocked it down to keep Alcides Escobar from scoring from second base. Escobar stayed at third and with the bases loaded, Hamels got Lorenzo Cain on a grounder to third to end the inning.
"We had a couple opportunities to score," Royals manager Ned Yost said. "We needed to find a way to get a hit and we couldn't."
Added Escobar, "[Hamels] did a good job throwing cutters and changeups down and in. And then when he threw the fastball, it looked like 98 [mph]."
Rangers: Right-hander Yu Darvish will start the series finale against the Royals on Sunday at 1:15 p.m. CT. Darvish is 1-6 with a 4.25 ERA in his last nine games. Opponents are hitting .227 against him and he has a 1.11 WHIP in that stretch, but the Rangers are averaging just 1.80 runs of support per nine innings for him.
Royals: Right-hander Ian Kennedy (3-6, 4.45 ERA) takes the mound on Sunday at 1:15 p.m. CT against the Rangers in the series finale at Kauffman Stadium. Kennedy gave up three runs over six innings in his last start on July 8 against the Dodgers.
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Jeffrey Flanagan has covered the Royals since 1991, and for MLB.com since 2015. Follow him on Twitter @FlannyMLB.
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.