ARLINGTON, Texas (KNTU) Yu Darvish threw eight innings of two run ball and Joey Gallo hit his sixth home run of the season to lead the Texas Rangers to a 5-2 victory on Sunday, April 23, over the Kansas City Royals.
The win completed a four game sweep for the Rangers, their first sweep of the season.
After two strong innings to start the game, Darvish ran into trouble in the bottom of the third, giving up back-to-back home runs to rookie Jorge Bonifacio and Mike Moustakis. It was the first home run of Bonifacio’s career.
Unlike his last start, where he was controversially pulled after giving up four quick runs in the sixth inning, the Japanese right-hander responded by retiring 16 of the last 18 batters he faced, finishing the game with eight strikeouts. It was Darvish’s longest outing since returning from elbow surgery last year.
Elvis Andrus, batting cleanup for the first time in his career, opened the scoring for the Rangers in the third inning with an RBI single.
Royals starter Jason Hammel couldn’t match Darvish’s resilience. He lasted just over three innings, giving up three runs, while walking three and hitting two batters.
After flirting with disaster over the first three innings, Hammel lost his command in the fourth. After walking Ryan Rua to lead off the inning, Hammel hit both Joey Gallo and Robinson Chirinos to load the bases. Chirinos was initially ruled to have fouled the ball off the knob his bat, but instant replay showed that the ball struck him on the right wrist. Hammel then walked Jurickson Profar on four pitches to bring in a run.
Hammel has not recorded a win in his last 17 starts in American League ballparks.
Scott Alexander relieved Hammel, getting Carlos Gomez to ground into a fielder’s choice, scoring Gallo, and Shin-Soo Choo to ground into an inning ending double play.
The Rangers tacked on another run in the sixth when Gallo launched a 439-foot blast to right-center field, his second off of a left-handed pitcher this year.
Robinson Chirinos, starting his second game in three days, hit his fourth home run of the season to push the lead to 5-2 in the eighth.
Matt Bush pitched a perfect ninth inning for the save.
The Rangers continue their home stand on Monday, April 24, when they begin a three game series against the Minnesota Twins. Minnesota just finished a disappointing nine game home stand in which they collected a paltry two wins against division opponents. Martin Perez is expected to be on the mound for the Rangers. First pitch is scheduled 7:05 pm.