Heim, Semien lead Rangers to sweep of Royals
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Marcus Semien and the rest of the red-hot Texas Rangers are headed home on a high note.
Semien had three hits and drove in a pair of runs, and Jonah Heim capped a big day for the Rangers offense with a three-run shot in the ninth inning, leading them to a 12-3 victory over the Kansas City Royals on Wednesday. That wrapped up a three-game sweep and ran their winning streak to four straight on a 5-1 road trip.
“Everybody is starting to get hot, especially the position players,” said Semien, who has driven in a run in five straight games and 11 total over that stretch. “It's a big road trip for us with all our injuries and definitely a confidence boost.”
In the last few weeks, the Rangers have lost Corey Seager to a hamstring injury and Mitch Garver to a sprained knee.
Imagine how the offense would be performing with them.
Ezequiel Duran added a bases-clearing double Wednesday, and Leody Taveras and Adolis García also drove in two runs apiece, helping the Rangers improve to 12-6 to match the fifth-best start in franchise history.
“You can string together some wins and sweeps, it's always a good sign,” Heim said. “We're just passing the baton.”
Martin Pérez (3-1) allowed three runs on eight hits over 5 2/3 innings. He's gone at least five in 34 straight starts, the longest streak ever by a Rangers left-hander, though he allowed more than two runs for the first time this season.
It hardly mattered against the Royals.
They've been outscored 52-15 while losing six straight games, and they have lost nine of their last 10 to fall to 4-15 under first-year manager Matt Quatraro. Kansas City has won just once in 13 games at home this season.
“There's nothing you can do about the first three weeks of the season,” Quatraro said. “Nobody is happy. You don't want to get beat. You don't want to be embarrassed, especially at home in front of your fans.”
Brady Singer (1-2) didn't give the Royals much of a chance Wednesday. He allowed five runs on six hits and three walks while using 97 pitches just to get through five innings. He had four strikeouts, two of them coming on full-count pitches.
Singer looked like he was developing into a staff ace last season, but this year has been a struggle. The young right-hander allowed eight runs on 10 hits in his last start against Atlanta, and he's allowed 18 runs over 16 innings in his last three outings.
“It looked like it was really fine misses,” Quatraro said. “They did a really nice job of not expanding (the strike zone).”
Just like the previous night, when the Rangers jumped on erratic Royals starter Brad Keller, they took advantage of Singer's early trouble finding the strike zone — fine as the misses were — to jump to a 3-0 lead by the end of the second inning.
Semien led off the game with the first of his three singles and Travis Jankowski worked a four-pitch walk before Garcia's sacrifice fly gave Texas a 1-0 lead. Then in the second, Heim drew a leadoff walk before scoring on a double by Taveras, who proceeded to score when Semien sent a single to right field for a 3-0 lead.
Taveras and Semien also drove in runs in the fourth as the Rangers pushed their advantage to 5-1.
The Royals scratched out two runs in the sixth to make it a game, but the Rangers answered with four in the seventh — the binge beginning with a free base due to catcher's interference — before Heim's punctuating three-run shot in the ninth.
“We just have to keep locking in when there's money on the table,” Semien said.
Rangers: RHP Jacob deGrom (wrist soreness) had no discomfort while playing catch Wednesday and expects to make his next scheduled start. DeGrom left Monday's game in Kansas City after four hitless innings. “We'll continue to watch him,” Rangers manager Bruce Bochy said, “but all went well today.”
Both teams are off Thursday. The Rangers will be back at home Friday night and send RHP Jon Gray (1-1, 3.21 ERA) out for the opener of a three-game series against Oakland. The Royals will be in Los Angeles the same night to face the Angels.
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