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Royals held in check by Colon, fall in 10th

Special to MLB.com

ARLINGTON -- On the hottest day of the season thus far at Globe Life Park, Royals manager Ned Yost chose an especially apt idiom to describe his offense after it scored three runs early and then vanished in a 4-3, 10-inning loss to the Rangers on Saturday.

"The well went dry," Yost said.

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ARLINGTON -- On the hottest day of the season thus far at Globe Life Park, Royals manager Ned Yost chose an especially apt idiom to describe his offense after it scored three runs early and then vanished in a 4-3, 10-inning loss to the Rangers on Saturday.

"The well went dry," Yost said.

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The game-time temperature was 97 degrees, just shy of a record high for Arlington for May 26. Yost said that influenced his decision to pull starter Ian Kennedy after five innings and 90 pitches; the manager wanted reliever Brad Keller to start a clean inning instead of potentially entering with men on base. Unfortunately for the Royals, Keller allowed a run in the sixth, tying the game until Shin-Soo Choo's walk-off homer off reliever Kevin McCarthy to start the bottom of the 10th.

After the third inning, the Royals' bats went silent. Rangers starter Bartolo Colon retired 14 of the next 16 batters before turning the ball over to the bullpen. The last best chance for the Royals came when Hunter Dozier led off Colon's seventh and final inning with a double, but Colon retired the next three hitters in order.

Video: KC@TEX: Jay opens the scoring with an RBI single

After Colon departed, the Royals managed only two baserunners, on a single and a walk, against three Rangers relievers who each tossed a scoreless frame.

"We scored the three runs early and from that point, you're looking to tack on," Yost said. "Dozier hits the double and you think, OK, you're going to get a shot to tack on and we just couldn't, we just couldn't."

The middle of the Royals' order was especially vexed by Colon; no one from the third to sixth spots had a hit and only one reached base (on an intentional walk to Mike Moustakas) against the 45-year-old righty. That group of Royals -- Moustakas, Salvador Perez, Jorge Soler and Alex Gordon -- struck out four times against Colon.

Video: KC@TEX: Merrifield delivers a 2-run double in the 3rd

"He's been around the league for a long time for a reason," said Royals center fielder Whit Merrifield, who had the only other extra-base hit off Colon, a two-run double in the third. "He doesn't miss over the plate a whole lot. … He's got a short arm, it's a little difficult to pick up initially.

"His ball moves a lot, he does a good job of starting it out off the plate and bringing it back onto the plate. When he's doing that and when he's putting it on your hands, just like any pitcher, if they're not throwing the ball over the middle of the plate, they're going to be pretty difficult to hit, and that's what he was."

Kennedy was also effective, if not as efficient as his counterpart. Kennedy allowed two earned runs on five hits and three walks while striking out four. He left with a 3-2 lead.

"Overall, I felt pretty good with what I was trying to throw where I needed to throw. … It was pretty hot and they put up some long at-bats there," Kennedy said.

MOMENT THAT MATTERED
The pivotal at-bat was Choo's leadoff turn against McCarthy, who had pitched a perfect ninth inning. Choo got ahead in the count, 3-1, and McCarthy left a 92-mph fastball waist-high and down the middle. Choo drove it to the opposite field, with the game-winner landing in the visitors' bullpen in left-center, 411 feet from the plate per Statcast™.

"Trying to go in, it just ran over the plate and he put a good swing on it," said McCarthy, who had retired 15 batters in a row over four appearances until Choo's homer. "I know it's just one pitch, but I'd been on a good run. It just sucks that it ended that way."

Video: KC@TEX: Choo belts walk-off HR in 10th, makes history

YOU GOTTA SEE THIS
Kennedy saved his team -- and his face -- from a potential base hit off the bat of Isiah Kiner-Falefa in the fifth inning. Kiner-Falefa hit a liner with a 69.9 mph exit velocity, according to Statcast™, and Kennedy instinctively reached up with his glove to make the catch as he stumbled backward. After a quick sigh of relief, he smiled broadly as he looked at catcher Perez.

"It was like a changeup," Kennedy said. "You think it's hit harder than it is … it was like one of those ones where you're just trying to defend your face. I looked at [Perez] and I gave the changeup sign and he started laughing."

Video: KC@TEX: Kennedy gloves down line-drive comebacker

HE SAID IT
"He's gonna throw a huge number of strikes and he's going to disrupt your timing. That's what he does really, really well. That's why at 45 years old he's still pitching. He's got that knack where he can command every pitch that he has and he can hit the gas pedal and he can let off. He goes forward, back, in, out, up, down and commands all of it." -- Yost, on Colon

UP NEXT
Jason Hammel takes on Cole Hamels in a battle of similar last names in the series finale on Sunday at 2:05 p.m. CT. Hammel is 1-5 with a 5.70 ERA, but ended a 13-start winless streak last time out in a 5-1 win over St. Louis on Tuesday. Globe Life Park is one of only four parks in which Hammel hasn't earned a win; he has a 6.14 ERA in five games there.

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